Some of the Microsoft board members last year wanted Bill Gates to step down amid an internal investigation into his alleged affair with an employee, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Gates finally resigned from the Microsoft board in March 2020 before the investigation had been completed, the report said on Sunday.
"Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to the WSJ.
"A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern," the company spokesperson added.
A spokesperson for Gates, however, denied that his resignation from the board was related to the investigation.
"There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably," the spokesperson was quoted as saying, adding that his "decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter".
According to the report, some Microsoft board members "decided it was no longer suitable" for Gates to remain a director at Microsoft after the alleged affair came into limelight.
Gates announced in March last year that he was stepping down from the board of directors of Microsoft, the company he co-founded in 1975 with the late Paul Allen.
"I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve - Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway - to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change," Gates said via LinkedIn.
Gates then began to shift his attention to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Earlier this month, the mega-billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates announced they were divorcing because their 27-year marriage has "irretrievably broken".
The financial magazine Forbes has estimated Bill Gates is worth more than $100 billion.
Tensions between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip have continued unabated for a seventh consecutive day, as the death toll in the coastal enclave climbed to 181, officials said.
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said in a statement on Sunday that since the escalation began on May 10, 181 Palestinians have been killed, including 52 children and 31 women, and 1,225 others had different injuries, reports Xinhua news agency.
Militant groups, led by the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), fired barrages of rockets from the Gaza Strip at cities and towns in central and southern Israel.
Israeli fighter jets intensified its airstrikes on buildings, military posts and facilities affiliated with the militants all over the strip, according to security sources.
The sources said that the houses of Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip Yehya Sinwar and his brother were destroyed in the intensive Israeli airstrikes waged on the southern city of Khan Younis, adding that no injuries were reported.
Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the Health Ninistry in Gaza, told reporters that late Saturday night and on Sunday morning, 23 Palestinians were killed and over 50 wounded in the airstrikes on Gaza.
An Israeli army spokesman said that in the last 24 hours, fighter jets struck 90 targets that belong to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, including the houses of Sinwar and his brother Mohammed.
The spokesman said that Gaza militants fired more than 120 rockets towards Israel, adding that the Iron Dome Air Defense System has intercepted most of them.
Since May 10, more than 2,300 have been fired by the Hamas, according to Israel's Army.
Israel has since responded with airstrikes and artillery shelling, striking more than 650 targets.
According to Israel's Magen David Adom rescue service, 10 people were killed and 636 injured in the Jewish state as a result of the rocket fire.
Meanwhile, Palestinian sources said there were regional and international efforts to reach a humanitarian ceasefire between the two sides.
The sources told Xinhua that Egypt has been trying to pressure the two sides to declare a temporary humanitarian ceasefire to alleviate the suffering in Gaza until a permanent truce is reached.
They added that the Egyptian proposal "is under discussion by the Palestinian factions and will be on the table of Israeli cabinet for discussion on Sunday".
Peer-review publication, Clinical Infectious Diseases, has noted that Covaxin demonstrates protection against the new Covid-19 variants.
Bharat Biotech's Covaxin retained neutralising activity against emerging variants of coronavirus, as per a new study.
A study published by Clinical Infectious Diseases found that vaccination with Covaxin produced neutralising titres against all key emerging variants tested including B1617 and B117, first identified in India and the UK, respectively.
A modest reduction in neutralisation by a factor of 1.95 was observed against B1617 variant compared to vaccine variant.
Despite this reduction, neutralising titre levels with B 1617 remain above levels expected to be protective.
No difference in neutralisation between B 117 first identified in the UK and vaccine strain was observed.
The study was conducted in collaboration with National Institute of Virology and Indian Council of Medical Research.
Thirteen Covid patients died at Goa's apex government hospital, the Goa Medical College, in the early hours of Friday owing to oxygen mismanagement, even as the death toll of patients who died between 2 am and 6 am at the premier facility in the last four days reached 75.
Amid the spate of deaths, Goa Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Friday conducted a review of the Covid-19 situation in a virtual conference with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane.
"Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari today reviewed the Covid-19 situation in Goa during his meeting with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane held online," according the Governor's official Twitter handle.
In all, 61 Covid patients died in Goa's hospitals on Friday, taking the total death toll due to Covid-related complications to 1,998. Goa currently has 32,387 active cases, which amounts to more than 2 per cent of the state's entire population of approximately 15 lakh.
Videos of chaos at the numerous wards of the Medical College have gone viral, with patients and relatives pleading for assistance as well as uploading emotive snapshots of helplessness and lack of hygiene in the health facility.
A video shot at Ward No. 145 shows patients sleeping on mattresses with oxygen monitors beeping in the background and the dull echo of family members patting patients in a bid to reassure them. The video also shows debris of used food packets and other waste piled at a corner of the ward, spilling out of garbage bags.
(See video: www.facebook.com/watch/?ref=search&v=1090344154789645&external_log_id=c9789f05-1399-43d9-a797-ff8ee29ed9e4&q=gmc goa)
In another video shot at Ward No. 147, a patient's relative complains of a procession of six to seven deaths at the hospital ward due to oxygen shortage. "The government says there is enough oxygen supply, but it is playing with the lives of people".
(See video: www.facebook.com/Goanreporters/videos/318535493001330)
Opposition MLA of the Goa Forward Party, Vijai Sardesai, has called the four hours between 2 am and 6 am -- when most of the deaths occurred -- as the "dark hour" of death.
"In all, 75 people have died at the dark hour between 2 am and 6 am in the dead of the night in the last four days," Sardesai said.
While 26 persons died on May 10 during the four hours, on May 11, 21 persons died due to lack of oxygen.
Despite a grilling of government agencies by the Bombay High Court, which is hearing a bunch of public interest litigations related to poor Covid management and shoddy oxygen management at the premier hospital, the spate of deaths did not stop, with 15 persons dying on May 12 and 13 dying in the early hours of Friday.
"There is a complete collapse of governance. In spite of HC intervention, deaths are happening at this dark hour. Rather than the government, the HC should rule Goa because the government is doing nothing other than photo ops and filing cases against those who expose them," Sardesai said.
Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat on Friday demanded that the state government should compensate the relatives of the deceased Covid patients, saying the deaths occurred due to government blunder.
"With @BJP4Goa Government clearly admitting of Deaths in GMC due to gross negligence, @goacm must own the responsibility & immediately announce substantial compensation to the families of those patients who were murdered by Government apathy & blunder. @INCGoa #OxygenCrisis," Kamat tweeted.
The Bombay High Court has also expressed unhappiness over the shoddy oxygen management practices at the hospital and has recommended a slew of measures to streamline the oxygen delivery systems at the medical college.
Earlier on Friday, a team of Youth Congress officials, who have been assisting the patients with refilling of oxygen cylinders, also visited the Covid ward of the medical college.
"If the high court has to intervene in every matter, why do you need a government? We had demanded RT-PCR tests to be made mandatory because of increasing tourist footfalls in Goa, especially from Maharashtra which was facing a huge spike," Youth Congress president Varad Mardolkar said.
"This oxygen issue has been around for 14-15 days. But the government could not fix it. It took the high court to intervene and take some steps to address the crisis," Mardolkar said.
The tragedy also comes against the backdrop of a feud between Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane over the control of the state's Covid management mechanism.
On Thursday, state BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade had told reporters that Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to both the CM and the HM, and the "misunderstanding" has been addressed.
Meanwhile, the Goa government has formed a committee headed by IIT-Goa Director B.K. Mishra to streamline oxygen supply to the facility. The committee is expected to submit a report within three days.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced that the US state will reopen on June 30, after witnessing a steady decline in Covid-19 trends.
In a statement issued by his office on Thursday, Inslee said that all counties in Washington will move to Phase 3 of the 'Healthy WA: Roadmap to Recovery' reopening plan effective May 18 until June 30.
The announcement comes after the Governor paused phase movement for two weeks to review an emerging flattening trend in statewide Covid-19 data.
"What we know now gives us the confidence to close this chapter in this pandemic and begin another," Inslee said at a press conference Thursday.
"This next part of our fight to save lives in Washington will focus on increasing vaccination rates and continuing to monitor variants of concern as we move toward reopening our state."
The full reopening could happen earlier than June 30 if 70 per cent or more of Washingtonians over the age of 16 initiate vaccination, the statement said.
Washington has administered over six million doses of a Covid vaccine, and 56 per cent of the state's residents have initiated inoculation.
Inslee also announced that Washington will fully adopt the latest masking guidance issued by the CDC, which does not requite fully vaccinated people to wear a face covering indoors or outdoors.
Tensions between Israel and the Islamic Hamas movement, the worst since 2014, have continued unabated in the Gaza Strip with no sign of any ceasefire between the two sides to end te violence.
Overnight and at predawn on Friday, the tit-for-tat violent military confrontations between the two sides were intensified, reports Xinhua news agency.
Hamas militants fired more barrages of rockets into Israel, and Israeli fighter jets kept striking on the enclave.
The Hamas-run Ministry of Health said that 122 Palestinians have been killed, including 31 children and 20 women, and 900 others injured since Monday in the Gaza Strip.
Witnesses and Palestinian security sources told Xinhua that Israeli army artillery on Friday struck the eastern area of Gaza city with tanks, killing at least two.
Tanks hit the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia, killing a mother and her four children, according to medical sources.
An Israeli army spokesman said in a statement that the forces have intensively attacked posts that belong to Hamas, adding that 160 war jets, artillery, and tanks participated in the military operation.
The statement said 150 targets were hit overnight and on Friday morning, adding that many of the targets were underground.
It said the Israeli army will continue its strikes on the militants who fire rockets at Israel.
As the Israeli bombardments intensified, Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants announced that their militants fired more barrages of rockets into Israel.
Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, claimed responsibility for launching 100 rockets at the Israeli city of Ashkelon, in response to Israel's "targeting of civilians" in the enclave.
Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, also said that its militants carried out intensive rocket strikes at Israeli cities in southern and central Israel.
The Israeli army said Gaza militant groups have fired more than 1,750 rockets at Israel, most of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.
The rockets fired from Gaza killed at least nine Israelis and wounded 200 others.
Meanwhile, Palestinian sources said the contacts to reach calm between the two sides had so far failed, adding that Egypt, Qatar and the UN lead the mediation between the two sides for reaching a truce.
Eight Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Friday.
Two people died after being shot by Israeli soldiers in the stomach and chest, respectively, according to the ministry, the dpa news agency reported.
The other six also died in confrontations with the soldiers in various locations in the West Bank.
Some 50 Palestinians were wounded by bullets and rubber projectiles, the Palestinian authorities said.
The Israeli army has not commented on the incidents yet.
The army said earlier that an Israeli soldier had shot and killed an attacker in the West Bank, after the man had tried to stab him at a military post.
US President Joe Biden said that Senate Republicans will give him a revised infrastructure offer next week as the two sides seek compromise on the issue.
"We had a very, very good meeting and I am very optimistic that we can reach a reasonable agreement," Biden said after a meeting with a group of six Republican senators at the White House on Thursday.
"I laid out what I thought we should be doing, how it should be paid for. And my colleagues in the Senate came back and said they'll come back to me with a counteroffer of what they are prepared to do and fund, and how to fund it, and then we'll talk again next week," he said.
Following the meeting, Shelley Moore Capito, Republican ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, also said both sides voiced their desire to reach a bipartisan agreement, reports Xinhua news agency.
"We promised to come back with another offer that he will react to then and counter-offer. We did what we intended to do, which was get next steps, be very cordial and ready to deal," Capito told Fox News.
"I think we all felt that he was an honest broker here in terms of wanting to actually do something together that we've traditionally gotten done together, which is infrastructure," Capito said of the President.
The meeting came after Senate Republicans last month unveiled a $568 billion infrastructure investment plan, while Biden had proposed a $2.3 trillion proposal.
During the meeting, Biden also stressed that inaction was a red line for him and that he wanted to see real progress toward a potential bipartisan deal by Memorial Day, according to the White House.
"President Biden and the six Senators agreed to stay in touch and follow up on their conversation next week. The President will be in touch with Senator Capito about further talks," the White House said in a readout of the meeting.
The two sides remain far apart on the definition of infrastructure and how to pay for such a package, according to local media.
The much-awaited Friends reunion special will be premiering on May 27.
"Friends: The Reunion" will debut on the one year anniversary of the launch of the network HBO Max and exactly one year after it was originally supposed to air. The special was delayed multiple times due to the production shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, reports variety.com.
It was originally set to film in February 2020 but the unit was only able to begin filming in April.
The special stars the original cast of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer.
Aniston shared the trailer on Instagram on Thursday night, India time and wrote: "It's official! The #FriendsReunion premieres May 27th on @HBOMav -- could we BE any more excited?! "
The reunion special will also feature guest stars including David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Elliott Gould, Kit Harington, Larry Hankin, Mindy Kaling, Thomas Lennon, Christina Pickles, Tom Selleck, James Michael Tyler, Maggie Wheeler, Reese Witherspoon and Malala Yousafzai.
Ben Winston directs the special and executive produces along with "Friends" executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane.
The special comes from Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon, Fulwell 73 Productions and Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions.
Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry, and Schwimmer also executive produce, with Emma Conway, James Longman and Stacey Thomas-Muir co-executive producing.
"Friends: The Reunion" will debut on HBO Max.
On anticipated lines, the Maharashtra government on Thursday announced that ithas decided to extend the ongoing stringent lockdown-type restrictions across the state till June 1.
The move by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government comes amid rising Covid-19 cases and fatalities in many districts in the state, though Mumbai and parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region are currently in a better shape.
As per the new directives, Mumbai suburban trains will not permit regular commuters but only those engaged in essential services and other pre-notified categories.
At the cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, all ministers belonging to Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress supported the need to extend the lockdown.
Following the cabinet nod, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte issued the official notification this afternoon extending the lockdown provisions from 7 a.m. on May 15, till 7 a.m. on June 1.
The state also made it mandatory for any persons entering the state by any mode of transport to carry a Covid-19 negative report which is issued within 48 hours prior to his/her arrival.
The government has directed the local Disaster Management Authorities to keep tight vigils over rural markets and APMCs to ensure covid appropriate behavior and if rules are not complied, they can shut these down or impose further restrictions on a case-to-case basis.
Kolkata, May 13 (IANS) Burmese beauty queen Htar Htet Htet has turned rebel, promising to bring down the brutal military junta in Myanmar or die fighting it.
Htet Htet represented Myanmar in the first Miss Grand International beauty pageant in Thailand in 2013.
Eight years later, the 32-year-old fitness instructor, who contested against 60 participants, has joined ethnic armed groups in Myanmar's border regions.
Hundreds of ethnic Bamars or Burmese, angered by death of protesting comrades in military/ police firings, have joined the newly-formed urban rebel groups like the Federal Army and United Defence Force.
Nearly 800 Burmese have been killed in these indiscriminate firings.
Like Htet Htet, these angry youths are now training in weapons use and guerilla tactics in bases of Myanmar 's old ethnic rebel armies like the Karen National Union.
Some may have returned already to Burmese cities for action.
The former beauty queen recently posted her pictures with an assault rifle in her Burmese Facebook page, in which she wrote: "The time has come to fight back. Whether you hold a weapon, pen, keyboard or donate money to the pro-democracy movement, everyone must do their bit for the revolution to succeed."
It was not clear which rebel base was Htet Htet undergoing training and for how long.
She did not reveal further details, but her appeal to fight the junta may boost recruitment to the Bamar urban insurgent groups.
"Htet Htet is quite an icon among the Burmese youth, beautiful and sexy but very political and socially conscious," said her friend, who is another beauty queen and presents a popular TV program.
But she asked not to be identified for obvious reasons.
"She is quite a draw and very courageous. I wish I could do what she did."
These Bamar groups are believed to be responsible for individual assasinations and select strikes against police informers and on an off-take station in the Chinese financed and operated oil-gas pipeline connecting terminals in Myanmar's Rakhine province and China's Yunnan province.
Chinese interests have become target because most in the pro-democracy movement see Beijing as the principal backer of the Myanmar military regime.
"That will be further reinforced by the junta's recent clearing of 15 foreign investment proposals, almost all Chinese. Beijing is having a windfall backing a blood thirsty junta which is shooting its own boys and girls like flies," said Kolkata-based Myanmar watcher Amrita Dey, who edited a volume on Burmese democracy movement.
Dey says the 2021 generation is different from the 1988 generation that led the country's most powerful uprising in the last century.
"The current generation is tech savvy, better exposed to the world and more educated , having benefitted from a decade of relative openness. And this generation is more passionate about democracy because they have somewhat experienced it and feel they have so much to loose," Dey told IANS.