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BW Businessworld

A First In Many Years

Angela Merkel, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, Oscar Pistorius, underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, and more

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German chancellor Angela Merkel has been named Time’s “Person of the Year”, for her strong leadership during Europe’s debt, refugee and migrant crises, as well as Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. The chancellor is the fourth female Person of the Year (the competition began in 1927), and the first woman to win in 29 years. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State extremist group, US presidential candidate Donald Trump, and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani were named by Time as runners up.

The Reality Of Charity
Mark Zuckerberg and wife, Priscilla Chan, made headlines last week when they announced that they would give away 99 per cent of their Facebook shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. But this money — a sum worth about $45 billion today— won’t all go to charity. The organisation where the couple’s fortune will go to, is structured as a limited liability company, which means that it will indeed be able to donate to nonprofit organisations and also be able to make investments in private companies.

At War With Muslims
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump provoked severe condemnation from all across for saying Muslims should be banned from entering the US. Republicans, Democrats, Muslim leaders, the UN and foreign leaders criticised the call as dangerous and divisive. There was even a petition to deny entry to Trump in UK which racked up nearly 360,000 signatures in 24 hours. However, the UK government has signalled that it will not support the petition.

Bail After Conviction

A week after former Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a model and law school graduate, on Valentine’s Day in 2013, he has been granted bail for 10,000 rand, or about $692. Under the terms of the bail, the double-amputee athlete, will remain under house arrest while he awaits sentencing at a hearing scheduled for April 18.

And, Sold!
A government auctioneer sold an eatery once owned by dreaded underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, his green sedan and tenancy rights to a property in suburban Matunga. A former journalist emerged as the top bidder at Rs 4.28 crore for the food joint notwithstanding a threat from the don’s aide Chhota Shakeel. Interestingly, Hindu Mahasabha won the bid at Rs 3.32 lakh to buy Ibrahim’s Hyundai Accent, which was priced at measly Rs 15,700.

A Fresh Start
Months after Dick Costolo resigned as CEO and board director of Twitter, he is ready to be back in the game. At a recent conference, he hinted at launching a company next spring. While details are scarce, he does say it will be a software company in the personal wellness space.

Customer Care
German audio specialist Sennheiser’s co-CEO Daniel Sennheiser will personally deliver a set of the company’s $55,000 headphones to Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan should he purchase a set next year. Sennhei-ser said the royal would be one of the few individuals able to afford the HE 1060 / HEV 1060 headphones, believed to be the world’s most expensive, ahead of their launch.

Out Of The Game

Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala left the Finnish mobile games maker after just 16 months on the job.Rantala took over from co-founder Mikael Hed in August 2014, but after a difficult year which saw mass job losses, a disappointing response to Angry Birds 2 and slowing momentum for 2016’s ambitious animated Angry Birds movie, he has now been replaced by former head of legal and EMEA sales Kati Levoranta.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 28-12-2015)