Washington: Bill and Melinda Gates have announced in a joint statement that they were getting divorced after 27 years of marriage.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the couple tweeted on Monday.
According to reports, they met in the late 1980s when Melinda joined Microsoft, reports Xinhua news agency.
They have three children and jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives,” they tweeted.
“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
Bill Gates is the fourth wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes.
Los Angeles: In 1941, the US government hired billionaire entrepreneur Howard Hughes to build a massive airplane to take some 700 American soldiers into combat. Hughes’ legendary “Spruce Goose” had a wingspan of 97.5 metres.
Last week, 80 years later, an even bigger aircraft, the “Stratolaunch,” took to the skies over southern California’s Mojave Desert, in a second successful test flight that awed onlookers marveling at its wingspan of 117.3 metres and six Boeing engines that roared in synchronicity, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
The second successful test flight lasted 2.5 hours and the vehicle reached an altitude of 14,000-feet.
This massive aircraft, resembling two giant Boeing jets flying side-by-side, will not be transporting troops. Its use will be to launch rockets and space vehicles from high atmospheric locations, into the stars.
While the Hughes Aircraft H-4 Hercules, nicknamed the Spruce Goose, remains “the largest flying boat ever built”, according to Flightglobal, it only achieved one successful test flight in 1947, and today sits inside a huge hangar for public viewing in McMinnville, Oregon.
Built of wood with eight massive propeller engines, the Goose pales in power and performance to the six Boeing 747-400 engines that propel the “all-composite” materials used in Stratolaunch, industry experts noted.
But that was 80 years ago.
Stratolaunch Systems tweeted a look at its mega-airplane performing flight test manoeuvers in a dramatic video.
The company called the plane “the world’s largest all-composite aircraft” and structurally super-strong to carry other vehicles into thinner atmospheres for launching into space.
And while Hughes’ Spruce Goose was close to the length of an American football field, the Stratolaunch even exceeds those dimensions.
Stratolaunch, the company, was founded in 2011 by another successful entrepreneur, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, with a mission to create a high stratospheric platform to launch satellites into space, according to Digitaltrends.com.
Stratolaunch describes the carrier aircraft as “a revolutionary launch pad for hypersonic and aerospace vehicles” ,designed to carry launch vehicles that can travel at hypersonic speeds reaching Mach 6, with a reusable Talon-A vehicle.
By stark comparison, the 1947 Spruce Goose’s top speed was 378.1 km per hour.
The Talon-A is being designed to fly at 7,406 km per hour.
Candidates seen canvassing with a handful of party supporters amid strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols and also creating awareness on importance of following Covid-19
Puri: Amid the mounting cases of Covid-19 in Odisha, campaigning for the Pipili bypoll by the three major political parties in the State continues in full swing with door-to-door visits by the candidates in the Pipili-Delnaga area in Puri district.
Candidates of all the parties are seen canvassing with a handful of party supporters amid strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. The candidates said they give more priorities to awareness on Covid than the campaigning
“We are continuing our door-to-door campaign with a handful of supports. During campaigning, we are also making people aware of covid-19 and insist them on maintaining appropriate covid behavior and take vaccine shots,” said BJD candidate, Rudra Pratap Maharathy.
“We are getting public support and expect a better result,” he added.
Similarly, BJP candidate Asrit Patnaik said he is also giving more priority to Covid awareness than the poll campaigning. “Election will be held on its way. But, we first advise people to stay safe during this Covid pandemic. We suggest them to obey government’s guidelines to stay away from the virus,” he said.
“We have found huge public support towards the BJP. They want a change this time. We also request people to vote for our party in large numbers to take forward Narendra Modi’s model of development,” he added.
Pipili by-poll was cancelled mid-way after the death of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj. The Election Commission had issued a fresh notification fixing May 6 as the date of poll.
After the demise of Mangaraj, Congress has fielded Biswa Keshan Harichandan for the ensuing by-election.
Bhubaneswar: Eminent Odia litterateur and Padma Shri Manoj Das passed away while undergoing treatment at a nursing home in Puducherry. He was 87.
Das had been under treatment at the nursing home at Sri Aurobinda Ashram in Puducherry due to old-age related ailments and breathed his last at 8.15 this evening, family sources said.
Das had carved a niche for himself in the field of literature over the past several decades. He wrote many short stories, novels and poems which have been highly appreciated by readers across the world.
He was honoured with the prestigious civilian award, Padma Shri in 2001 and Padma Bhusan this year for his pioneering work in literature.
Odisha Governor Professor Ganeshi Lal condoled the passing away of Das and said he would continue to inspire generations through his timeless literary works.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Das has left an indelible mark in the field of literature with his vast variety of immortal works and left a void which can never be filled.
BJP National Vice-President Baijayant Panda termed the death of Das as an unrepairable loss to the literary world.
Expressing grief over the demise of the legendary writer, Odisha PCC president Niranjan Patnaik said he lost a dear friend and a well wisher.
Rashmika Mandanna is at a career-high with a number of big-ticket movies from South to Bollywood in her kitty. Her fan following is also increasing with each passing day, and everyone is curious about the love life of the National Crush. Recently, the South stunner was seen spilling the beans on her personal life and films in her usual adorable self during the live interaction with fans.
The actress started off by expressing her concern over the surging Covid-19 cases and reminded people to stay at home and wear a mask. She also thanked her fans for all the birthday wishes and love that poured in for her across the country on April 5. She said, “I know it’s super late to thank you, but I was working on my birthday and wanted to thank my fans.”
When a fan asked how her family is doing, the Dear Comrade star shared that she hasn’t been able to see her family for more than four or five months because of the pandemic.
When one of hers asked her if she would like to go on a date with him, Rashmika Mandanna replied, ”I don’t know how to go on a date and if asked, I would prefer doing adventurous sports. That is my kind of date”.
Rashmika also answered the most asked question in the session that who is her boyfriend. She said, “Work..bass..I don’t have time for anything else”.
She ended the session by thanking her fans and promised to be back to interact with them soon. Rashmika Mandanna is currently shooting for her upcoming film Pushpa in Hyderabad.
Washington: US multinational financial services company Mastercard on Tuesday announced a commitment of USD 10 million to address the “gut-wrenching” situation of surging COVID-19 crisis in India.
To be delivered through the Mastercard Impact Fund, the contribution will focus on three priority areas access to hospital resources, access to additional oxygen supplies, and continued support to its employees across the country, an official announcement said.
The situation in India is gut-wrenching; it’s clear that no one has been left untouched and that no one can be a bystander, said Ajay Banga, executive chairman of Mastercard.
We have long been advocates for the people of India, as employers and as enablers of the economy. Now it’s time for us to put our shoulders to the wheel and do whatever we can to help all of India get through this intensified crisis, he said.
The largest contribution will be designated to support the expansion of 2,000 beds through the installation of portable hospitals that can address the immediate healthcare needs.
Working with the government and local partners on the ground, these hospitals can be constructed quickly and could help an estimated 2.5 million Indians gain access to healthcare, adding to the nation’s healthcare infrastructure, Mastercard said in a statement.
“The US and India have a shared history of helping each other during times of crisis, said Richard Verma, general counsel at Mastercard and former US ambassador to India.
We’re hearing from our own teams the challenges that they and their families are facing. It’s critical that we stand by our friends and help those who have been impacted. Our commitment today and into the future is strong and enduring, he said.
Among other things, Mastercard is also allocating funding for additional shipments of 1,000 oxygen generators, as part of a broader corporate effort. It is donating to local charities and NGOs to allow for direct support of those affected by the virus, including the frontline medical workers across the country.
Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the government of India, in a statement said that the steep rise of COVID-19 cases poses an enormous challenge to clinical care facilities.
Revamping existing hospital infrastructure by increasing the number of beds to accommodate more patients requiring critical care and procuring more equipment to enhance oxygenation for patients is of utmost priority.
Mastercard and the office of the Principal Scientific adviser to the Government of India have joined hands to provide 2,000 beds and purchase oxygen concentrators for hospitals in states that have been affected the most. There have been many such partnerships, many more such needed in the coming days. We hope to speedily facilitate them where there is most need, Raghavan said.
With 3,23,144 people testing positive for the coronavirus in a day, India’s infection tally has climbed to 1,76,36,307, while the national recovery rate further dropped to 82.54 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.
Bhubaneswar: In the wake of resurge in Covid-19 cases, the customer service hours in all banks across Odisha has been changed. Now, the customer service will be available from 10 am to 2 pm. The revised timing has already come into effect from today and continue till May 15.
Similarly, banking service will remain suspended in all the urban centres bank branches and offices coming under the jurisdiction of ULBs in the State ‘to break the chain of spread of pandemic’, Tarakanta Bhakta, Deputy Secretary of finance department wrote to the General Manager, UCO Bank-Cum-Convener of State Level Bankers Committee Odisha(SLBC).
Administrative offices and branches of banks may function with reduced staff of 50% on rotation basis. However branches having 5 or less staff, suitable decision may be taken by the respective Controlling Offices with regard to staff requirement keeping in view the business of the branch, for effective functioning of the branch and ensure un-interrupted banking service to the public,” the finance department letter said.
The banks have been asked to continue to provide mandatory services like accepting deposits, cash withdrawals, remittance and government businesses and lending related activities. Besides, all banks have been advised to keep sufficient cash in ATMs in all districts.
Jagatsinghpur: Health experts often advise diabetics to exclude rice from their diet menu as much as possible because of high content of carbohydrates. But, a retired defence personnel in Jagatsinghpur district has come up with an alternative for people with intolerance to high-blood glucose level.
Sarat Mohapatra, a retired air force officer has grown a special variety of paddy, which has less amount of glucose and carbohydrate as compared to other varieties. He has cultivated the new variety on his 12 acres of land at his village Arekana under Raghunathpur block in the district.
Mohapatra had a childhood passion for farming with modern technology. During his service period, he had visited many farm areas in Punjab and Haryana where large quantities of such verities are grown, his wife said.
Mohapatra has installed a solar pumping point at his land for irrigation at a cost of Rs 3 lakh. He said that he had spent Rs 15,000 per acre and will sell the rice for Rs 100 per kg.
“I left job in 1978 and started farming. Bishnu Behera, former PD of Jagatsinghpur insisted me to cultivate the new variety. I started cultivating the paddy on 12 acres of land. I spent Rs 15,000 per acre and expected a return of Rs 50,000-Rs 60,000 per acre,” Mohapatra said.
Many traders have visited him to sign agreement for procurement of the new paddy. “But, I think I should process it on my own and sell it in open market,” he added.
The new variety of rice has brought a sigh of relief for the diabetic patients in the locality. “I am a blood sugar patient. I had never expected such a variety would come which would be beneficial for us. I wish Mohapatra Babu to grow more and more such variety. He is a multi-talented farmer,” a local said.
Researchers say this type of rice will help reducing glucose in blood in type-2 diabetic patients.
The variety is also farmer-friendly as it gives yield within a short span of time.
Puri: The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has decided to provide health insurance cover to the all the priests performing various rituals at the 12th-century shrine throughout the year.
SJTA chief Administrator Krishan Kumar held a meeting today in presence of other temple officials and servitors and approved the resolution.
The temple authorities have roped in the New India Assurance to provide health insurance coverage for all the sevaks of shree Jagannath temple,” SJTA informed through a tweet.
As many as 2,500 sevak families would benefit from the approved insurance scheme, it added.
“The initiative will provide a basic coverage of Rs 2 lakh per family and an additional cover of Rs 1 lkah for critical illness,” it stated.
The insurance scheme would also provide an additional sum of Rs 3 lakh for up to 25 servitors/or their family members for treatment of cancer and kidney transplantation.
The temple administration will look forward for an effective partnership with the company for addressing the health requirement of the priests and their families, it further tweeted.
Health insurance coverage was a long-standing demand of the servitors. The administration had recommended the Odisha Law Department to fix modalities for health insurance for the servitors.
Although there is a public perception that all priests earn well from the shrine activities, most of them struggle very hard to make ends meet, say sources.
Many servitors’ families have been included under Below Poverty Line (BPL) and many others continue to reel under severe financial crunch.
Most of the sevaks are paid a minimum amount of remuneration based on their duty performed for the deities. Several others are also dependant on the donations from the devotees to boost their financial condition.
Though the temple administration had started a group insurance policy for the servitors in 2006, it was discontinued in 2011 due to certain reasons.
Sambalpur: The Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) has approved sanction of Rs 9.32 crore for the development of Hingula Temple in Talcher, informed Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who had earlier sought final assistance for the development of the shrine.
“I have been informed that MCL Board has approved sanction of Rs.9.32 Cr. under their CSR Fund for construction of certain facilities at Gopalprasad, Talcher, Angul, Odisha, for benefit of the local population in general and for providing impetus to tourism in the area in particular,” said Pradhan.
The Union Minister further said, “MCL has a special bond with the Maa Hingula Temple in Gopalprasad. I was touched to know about the generosity of MCL employees, who voluntarily contributed funds from their salary towards the construction of the main temple building.”
“I also understand that recently, the Maa Hingula Thakurani Trust Board, Gopalprasad, Talcher had submitted a proposal to the management of MCL for CSR project involving construction of Natya Mandapa and Jagyan Mandapa of an estimated cost of Rs. 16.64 crores. These developments will not only improve the devotee facilities and experience at the temple but also boost tourist footfalls in the region,” he added.
Maa Hingula temple at Gopalprasad in Talcher is considered one of the most sacred religious sites in Odisha. The temple is believed to have been built by the mythical King Nala of Vidharbha as his tribute to Lord Jagannath. The fire used to cook Mahaprasad in the kitchens of the Jagannath temple at Puri symbolically represents Maa Hingula.