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MacKenzie Scott Gets Married to Seattle Science Teacher

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MacKenzie Scott, a philanthropist, is one of the world’s wealthiest women, ranked 22nd worldwide. She’s also known as the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos—whom she’s married to for a total of 25 years. According to Forbes, Mackenzie Scott is worth a whopping total of $53 billion, thanks to her share in the world’s leading eCommerce.  

In 2019, when Scott’s divorce with Bezos was finalized, she signed the Giving Pledge— a promise to give half of her lifetime fortune to charity. Ever since, she’s been an active philanthropist, notably giving $4 billion in four months to communities in need. Through the Giving Pledge, the news about Scott’s marriage emerges to the public. 

Mackenzie Scott’s New Husband

It turns out Mackenzie Scott has found love again with Dan Jewett, a Seattle teacher. The couple met each other at Lakeside School, the private school attended by Scott’s children. It’s been confirmed that Dan Jewett is a teacher at Lakeside School who’s teaching science or chemistry. 

Jewett joined hands with Scott in her charitable journey, writing a Giving Pledge statement posted last March 6. According to Jewett’s statement, he’s happy to marry one of the most generous people in existence. He says he is joining his wife’s commitment “to pass on an enormous financial wealth to serve others.” 

He continues the statement by saying it’s strange to write a letter indicating his plan to give away most of his wealth in a lifetime. Plus, he noted that for the “majority” of his life, he’s been a teacher. So, he never “sought to gather the kind of wealth.” 

In the last part of Dewett’s letter, he says that “this pledge will benefit me as much as if benefits anyone else served by it.” As a final note on his letter, Dewett expressed that he looks forward to “the growth and learning” he’ll experience as he goes through his part of the undertaking with his wife. As much as both are private with their lives, we can say that they are excellent for each other. 

Jeff Bezos’ Reaction

Meanwhile, the ex-husband reacted to the news positively. An Amazon spokesperson provided a statement to Forbes from Bezos saying, “Dan is such a great guy.” Bezos further commented that he’s happy and excited for the husband and wife. 

Other Charitable Acts of MacKenzie Scott 

The most recent public remark from Scott is from her last year’s $4.1 billion donations. According to Scott, although she’s far from completing her lifetime pledge, it’s a “year of giving.” In December, she wrote that the year began with the exposure to leaders of historically marginalized groups that’s fighting inequities. 

She further continued by saying it ended with the “exposure of thousands of organizations.” These organizations are working hand-in-hand to alleviate the suffering of people who’ve been hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic. Overall, the announced donations of Scott to charitable and nonprofits total $5.8 billion. 

Final Note

In the end, we can say people can find love in the most unexpected places— even your local private school. Let’s wish all the best for Scott and Jewett on their journey as a married couple. From the get-go of this relationship, we can say that a new philanthropist power couple is born.

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Featured

Nature’s #MeToo: How Female Animals Fight Back

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The #MeToo social movement has gained international attention over raising awareness against sexual abuse and publicizing sex crimes and harassment. As it turns out, females fighting back when facing injustice isn’t exclusive to humans. In fact, recent studies show that certain animals also have their own ways of retaliating when ill-treated. 

Yes, nature has its very own #MeToo movement, and the hummingbirds and octopuses show us how it’s done in the wild.

#MeToo: Female Hummingbirds Take What’s Theirs

First, let’s talk about hummingbirds, particularly the white-necked jacobin hummingbirds (Florisuga mellivora). The male birds of this species have blue-colored heads and throats, while female ones have more muted hues – olive-green heads and backs, with spotted throats. On the other hand, some females also have blue coloring, and they often use it in their #MeToo movement.

According to a study published in Current Biology, researchers found that female birds display their blue coloring. Though birds often show their colorful features during mating season to attract those of the opposite sex, the study found that procreation isn’t their motivation. In fact, males don’t seem to prefer blue-colored female birds.

University of Washington evolutionary biologist Jay Falk who led the study, said mating choices don’t exclusively determine animals’ looks. Falk’s team released over 400 birds in Panama and used genetics to know their sex to conduct the study.

To make the research even more interesting, the researchers placed green or dull-colored dummies on feeders. According to the results of the study, males attempted to mate with the dummies, mistaking them for live female birds.

Falk described male jacobins as the” show-off jocks of the hummingbird world,” and for a good reason. Aside from attempting to court the dummies, some male birds also attacked the dummies. And when this happened, other species of hummingbirds also followed suit. According to Falk, this only goes to show why female birds wanted to show off their blue color – they want to have as much power as the males.  

Female Octopuses Don’t Stand Back

For other animals, it takes a lot more than showing colors to gain a bit of leverage in the struggle for power between genders. Such is the case for female octopuses off the Australian coast. Their #MeToo move? They throw a fit – literally. 

University of Sydney scientist Peter Godfrey-Smith and his team filmed Sydney octopuses at a site in Jervis Bay. Some people call the place Octopolis because it’s one of the few locations in the sandy sea bottom where the octopuses can create dens, thus their big population in the area. 

According to the study, the females throw shells and silt to target males that harass them. How do they do it? Godfrey-Smith says the females hold algae, silt, or other objects under their bodies with their tentacles. They then angle their siphons and shoot water afterward. As a result, they propel the projectiles in a move akin to throwing.

Godfrey-Smith says octopuses often use this move to excavate dens or to dispose of the remains of meals. In that sense, it was easy to assume that the move was a harmless deed without malice. However, they started to suspect that something was up when they saw that the females hit males.

When they gave it a closer look, they indeed found the difference between throws that clear the den and throws that target others.

In fact, they even caught a female octopus throwing silt ten times at a male that was attempting to mate with her. The female was successful in hitting its target five times. The male tried to duck and avoid the projectile but to no avail.

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Featured

Hackers Threaten The Alexander Lukashenko Regime

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A group of hackers threatens Alexander Lukashenko’s empire. The hackers say they have data of all corrupt and misdoings of the dictator.

Belarus is a country bordered by Russia and Ukraine. It is the 13th largest country in Eastern Europe, with a population of 9.3 million. Its dictator, who has been appointed into office since 1994, is the first president of Belarus. For close to three decades, Alexander Lukashenko reigned supreme with the most restrictive police authorities. The tyrant used his power to remain in office to date.

However, Alexander Lukashenko’s opposition is trying to overthrow this almost 30-year regime by collaborating with a group of hackers. They aim to expose the wrongdoings of Alexander Lukashenko and his political intentions. 

The group of hackers called Belarus Cyber Partisans consists of activists in Belarus with over 77,000 subscribers on Telegram. Belarus Cyber Partisans has penetrated Belarus’s authoritarian government. 

Leaked information about Alexander Lukashenko

It all started when Belarus Cyber Partisans leaked information they gathered from the most confidential government and police networks. These activists protested against the dictator in September 2020. It’s by using government websites to unleash a series of fraudulent systems — including the country’s most recent election. 

Although Lukashenko won by a mile, the people of Belarus believed that the win was a total fraud. Experts believe that this might be the most comprehensive hacks of a nation in history. 

Belarus Cyber Partisans claims they have successfully infiltrated a majority of the Belarus administration by breaching the most sensitive police and government networks. The group has released evidence of Belarus police crimes, the country’s cover-up on the real COVID-19 mortality rate, and the violent crackdowns on the people’s peaceful protests. 

Since the group has hacked almost all of the administration’s systems, they assured more information is coming. They say that the series of leaked information is just a fraction of the other ruthless crimes that Alexander Lukashenko committed. 

An anonymous Belarus Cyber Partisans representative said in an MIT Technology Review interview that, “What we want is to stop the violence and repression from the terroristic regime in Belarus and to bring the country back to democratic principles and rule of law.”

The country’s thriving IT scene led to the formation of the Belarus Cyber Partisans. The group comprises 15 IT professionals who started causing turmoil in September 2020 when the group began defacing the country’s government websites.

Help from officers and former politicians

In December 2020, Belarus Cyber Partisans sought the help of a Belarusian law enforcement group called BYPOL. This is an organization of intelligent officers and former politicians working from outside and inside the country to dethrone Alexander Lukashenko and end his unjust and cruel methods. Last year alone, the dictator arrested over 27,000 people from peaceful protests. 

A former Belarusian diplomat attested to the regime’s criminal activities and supported both groups’ plans in exposing Alexander Lukashenko’s misdeeds. He says the groups will open the people’s eyes by making the crimes more “transparent.”

The series of leaked information also included drone footage of violent crackdowns of the people’s protest, audio recordings, and video feeds from surveillance cameras and isolation cells. 

Overall, the Belarus Cyber Partisans’ goal is to weaken the regime’s infrastructure by implementing cyberattacks that cripple the government’s security forces. Moreover, the group also ensures that protesters get the protection they need.

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Business

Kuda Raises $55 Million Series B Funding Quicker Than Most Startups

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One of the most promising industries to launch a startup is in the digital banking or fintech sector. Untapped markets can become a goldmine for startups that aim to disrupt the banking infrastructure. And that’s what Kuda has experienced over the past couple of months. Read more about Kuda here and how they were able to raise millions for their Series B funding.

Kuda: An Overview

What sparked Babs Ogundeyi and Musty Mustapha to start Kuda? Excessive and inconsistent fees. Fueled to reduce that, they launched the fintech company to develop a savings app. Wanting to make banking easier and more accessible without any charges, the founders aim to change banking for Nigerians all over the world.

Series B Funding and Possible Kuda Expansion

Kuda raised $55M funding for Series B. For Kuda, this funding will be fundamental not only in the creation of new services on their savings app but also in launching it to Africans across the continent. Ogundeyi hopes that their app can become a widely used app for Africans globally. 

Expansion is vital for Ogundeyi and his team. He maintains that Nigeria is still a market crucial to their operations, but the funding will also go to expanding efforts.

Back in March 2021, Kuda raised $25M, all thanks to Valar Ventures. Back then, they had only 650K app users, but they doubled that number in August 2021, with registered users around 1.4 million.

This funding round is once again led by Valar Ventures. But Target Global and SBI have also played a role in helping the fintech startup raise $55 million. Target Global leader Ricardo Schäfer believes in the impact that Ogundeyi and Mustapha will have in Africa. But what excited him the most was the idea that 1 billion users would benefit from their app.

Faster Funding Rounds and Other Disruptors

It was surprising how quickly Kuda raised funding over the course of a few months, but it’s due to the current market conditions and the numbers presented to investors. A McKinsey report foresaw this growth, wherein digital financial services would become a major market. Plus, with inaccessibility, Kuda knew that they could change the way Africa could do digital banking.

Kuda isn’t the only fintech startup aiming to change the banking infrastructure in Africa. Other Fintechs changing the game are:

  • Airtel Africa
  • Chipper Cash
  • FairMoney

Meanwhile, here are the other fintech and banking companies also competing to stand out in the market:

  • Revolut and N26 (Europe)
  • WeBank (China)
  • Varo and Chime (U.S.)
  • Nubank (Brazil)

However, what makes Kuda stand out from the others is they have a banking license. With this in mind, they can develop services on their own. This will also help them create and develop other products and services and build credibility more than their competitors.

The Future of Kuda

Ogudenyi aims to launch their app to other African countries but won’t say where they’ll launch it. However, Kuda has an ongoing credit service (through an overdraft allowance) that proves the fintech startup is growing and moving forward.

He says that they do a pre-qualification screening for those who can receive credit. In the 2nd quarter of 2021, over 200,000 users were eligible. They gave over $200M in credit. And to ensure they remain with their purpose of creating their app, they do an allocation of overdraft proportion. It’s based on user activities, and they won’t overpay.

Due to Kuda’s promising mission towards banking in Africa, Valar Ventures seems eager to fund the fintech startup once more in the future. Andrew McCormack, a general partner of the investment firm, says that growth and population acceptance towards digital banking are factors in continuing their support.

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