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Billionaire Bill Gates talks about his splurges, including his Porsche



Gates has since sold the Porsche 911, but he’s added a few more fast cars to his collection, including a Porsche 930 Turbo, a Jaguar XJ6 and a Ferrari 348.

As for his second big ticket item, “eventually, for my travel, I got a plane,” he told DeGeneres, “which is a huge indulgence.”

He’s not the only billionaire who has splurged on a private plane. Mark Cuban, John Paul DeJoria and Tilman Fertitta have all made the same investment. At the end of the day, “time is the one asset we simply don’t own,” Cuban told Men’s Fitness. That’s why a “brutally expensive” private plane that “saves me hours and hours” is completely worth the price, he says.

What Gates has that the other billionaires may not also have, though, is “a trampoline room,” he told DeGeneres. It has, he assured her, “a very high ceiling.”

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Don’t miss: Melinda Gates: This is the one thing I wish everyone knew about Bill

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Biden to sign executive orders on hunger, workers’ rights



President Joe Biden will sign two executive orders Friday designed to reduce hunger and bolster workers’ rights during the coronavirus pandemic, as his administration pushes Congress to pass another sweeping coronavirus relief package.

One White House measure urges the federal government to offer any relief it can through “existing authority,” National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told reporters Thursday night. The other calls for “empowering federal workers and contractors.”

The orders set out multiple tools to offer aid during the pandemic, while Biden tries to nudge his $1.9 trillion proposal through Congress.

  • Biden will ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider allowing states to expand access to enhanced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits as the country confronts a hunger crisis unseen in decades.
  • The USDA will also examine increasing by 15% the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program, which replaces meals for low-income children who would otherwise get food at school.
  • The president will urge the Treasury Department to adopt tools to more efficiently deliver the direct payments approved by Congress to eligible people. The White House said up to 8 million people did not receive the first $1,200 stimulus check passed in March.
  • Biden will ask the Labor Department to set out rules clarifying that workers have the right to turn down work that risks their health during the pandemic — without losing eligibility for jobless benefits.
  • The president asked his administration to prepare a potential executive order, which he aims to sign in his first 100 days in office, that would require federal contractors to offer a $15 per hour minimum wage and emergency paid leave.
  • Biden will revoke executive orders issued by former President Donald Trump that the White House said damaged workers’ collective bargaining power, and get rid of a rule that limited job protections for civil servants.
  • He will call on agencies to review which federal workers make fewer than $15 per hour.

Deese stressed that the orders and others signed this week to provide immediate aid cannot replace another relief package from Congress.

“These actions are not a substitute for comprehensive legislative relief … but they will provide a critical lifeline to millions of American families,” he told reporters.

The executive actions fit into Biden’s early push to curb the outbreak and mitigate its damage to the economy. He signed a series of orders Thursday designed to promote mask wearing and streamline production of Covid vaccines and protective equipment, among other goals.

His first-day actions Wednesday included extensions of a federal eviction moratorium through March, and a pause on federal student loan payments and interest accumulation through September. Both pandemic relief measures would have expired at the end of the month.

Biden has moved to boost the economy through executive orders while he tries to get the $1.9 trillion aid package passed by Congress. Republicans have started to express doubts about backing another relief bill after Congress approved $900 billion legislation last month.

Democrats, who control a 50-50 Senate through Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote, will need to win 10 GOP votes for the plan or use budget reconciliation, which requires only a majority. The White House has said Biden wants to pass a bill with bipartisan support.

The Biden administration has warned that the U.S. economic recovery could fizzle and stressed that the risk of spending too much money is lower than the risk of spending too little. Another 900,000 people made first-time jobless claims last week, and roughly 16 million people were receiving benefits, the Labor Department said Thursday.

A $300 per week federal unemployment supplement included in the latest aid law expires on March 14. Biden’s plan seeks to extend the jobless benefit at an increased $400 per week through September.

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Hydrogen will take 25% of oil demand by 2050: Bank of America analyst



Hydrogen is set to play a major role in the global energy markets over the coming decades, supplanting a large chunk of oil demand, according to Bank of America’s head of global thematic research.

Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday morning, Haim Israel accepted that while oil and gas would still be needed going forward, it was nearing a peak in demand. “We think it’s peaking this decade, it’s soon — way sooner than what everybody thinks,” he said.  

Israel listed several factors which would affect oil and gas going forward, including cheaper renewable energy, regulation and the electrification of cars.

“We believe that hydrogen is going to take 25% of all oil demand by 2050,” he went on to state, adding that oil was “facing headwinds left and right. Yes, we’ll still need it, yes, it’s still going to be around, but the market share of oil is going to plummet.”

As noted by the U.S. Department of Energy, hydrogen “is an energy carrier, not an energy source,” meaning it’s a secondary energy source like electricity. The DOE adds that hydrogen “can deliver or store a tremendous amount of energy” and “can be used in fuel cells to generate electricity, or power and heat.”

Changing times?

In recent years, governments and companies around the world have announced goals to reduce their environmental footprint and move away from fossil fuels. Both the U.K. and European Union are, for example, targeting net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

If these kinds of goals are to be met, the world’s energy mix will need to see a significant shift to renewable and low carbon sources, a mammoth undertaking. For his part, Bank of America’s Israel emphasized the importance of diversification for companies involved in fossil fuels.

“We … strongly believe that the ‘big oils’ need to think in different ways,” he said. “They need to think about not ‘big oil’ anymore but ‘big energy’ from here onwards, to go much more into renewable sources, to diversify their sources.”

In a sign of how things may be starting to change, a number of energy majors — who, it should be noted, remain big players in oil and gas — are now ramping up investment in renewables such as solar and wind. 

Last September, it was announced that BP had agreed to take 50% stakes in the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects from Norway’s Equinor. The $1.1 billion deal is due to close in the early part of 2021.

When fully up and running, Equinor says the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects, set to be located in waters off the East Coast of the United States, will each be able to power over 1 million homes.

Hopes for hydrogen

Hydrogen is another area starting to gain momentum. The EU has laid out plans to install 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers and produce as much as 10 million metric tons of renewable hydrogen by the year 2030.

Hydrogen can be produced in a number of ways. One includes using electrolysis, with an electric current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen. If the electricity used in the process comes from a renewable source such as wind then it’s termed “green” or “renewable” hydrogen.

At the moment, the vast majority of hydrogen generation is based on fossil fuels. Nevertheless, recent years have seen major firms including Repsol, Siemens Energy and BP get involved in projects connected to “green hydrogen” production.

At the start of this week, it was announced that a subsidiary of German industrial giant Thyssenkrupp had been awarded an engineering contract to carry out the installation of an 88 megawatt water electrolysis plant for Hydro-Québec. The electricity for this project will come from hydropower.

A few days later, on Wednesday, Danish energy firm Orsted said it was pushing ahead with plans to develop a demonstration project which will harness offshore wind energy to produce green hydrogen.

The International Energy Agency says global dedicated hydrogen production amounts to roughly 70 million metric tons per year, and states that demand continues to grow, having increased “more than threefold” since 1975. According to the Paris-based organization, “less than 0.1% of global dedicated hydrogen production today comes from water electrolysis.”

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Schumer says House will deliver Trump impeachment article to Senate on Monday



Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) displays a signed an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Stefani Reynolds | Getty Images

The House will deliver the impeachment article against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday.

The action will start the process for the second trial the ex-president has faced for charges of high crimes and misdemeanors. While Trump has already left the White House, the Senate can vote to bar him from holding office again if it chooses to convict him.

The House earlier this month charged Trump with inciting an insurrection against the government by inflaming a mob that overran the Capitol on Jan. 6. The riot, which disrupted Congress’ count of President Joe Biden‘s electoral win, left five dead, including a Capitol police officer.

Speaking after Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expressed concerns that Trump would not have enough time to mount a defense. He had asked the House to send the article on Thursday to ensure “a full and fair process.”

Trump has hired South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers to defend him during the trial. The nine impeachment managers who will make the House’s case are Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Diana DeGette of Colorado, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Joaquin Castro of Texas, Eric Swalwell and Ted Lieu of California, Stacey Plaskett, the delegate for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania and Joe Neguse of Colorado.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who would not say Thursday when her chamber would transmit the article to the Senate, argued the managers would not need to prepare as much evidence for the second trial as they did for the first last year.

“This year, the whole world bore witness to the president’s incitement, to the execution of his call to action, and the violence that was used,” the California Democrat told reporters Thursday.

Schumer said he has spoken to McConnell about “the timing and duration of the trial,” but did not give any details about how long it will last. The Democratic leader aims to balance impeachment with confirmation of Biden’s Cabinet members and passage of a coronavirus relief bill.

“The Senate must and will do all three,” he said Friday.

The first trial Trump faced last year for charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress lasted about three weeks. The Republican-held Senate acquitted him.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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