Today’s Guest editor, Melinda Gates, who with her husband Bill, is one of the world’s leading philanthropists. The sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett, talks to Mrs Gates about philanthropy in the US.
Nur Nadir, the wife of Asil Nadir, says her husband is innocent after he was jailed for ten years for stealing £29m from his Polly Peck empire
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Buckingham Palace says 91-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth taken to hospital as “precautionary measure”.
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Zimbabwe’s first lady takes on Nestlé by selling her own range of milk and ice-cream in local supermarkets
She has long been accused of milking the country for all its worth. Now Grace Mugabe, wife of one of Africa’s most notorious autocrats, appears to be giving something back by launching her own dairy range.
The first lady of Zimbabwe – labelled “DisGrace” by her critics – has begun selling milk under her brand Alpha Omega, according to local media.
This follows a falling out with Nestlé three years ago when, facing a possible global consumer boycott, the multinational food giant stopped buying milk from her farm. The previous white owner of the Gushungo dairy estate in Mazowe had reportedly been forced to sell it to Grace under duress.
She is now taking on the mighty Nestlé by selling her dairy products direct in supermarkets, with the news site New Zimbabwe describing it as a “brazen challenge”.
“The country’s biggest supermarket chain, OK, on Wednesday was selling pints of fresh milk and sour milk under Mugabe’s Alpha Omega brand,” the site said. “Also being processed at the farm is powdered milk, ice-cream and various other products which will soon enter a market dominated by Nestlé.”
At four decades younger than her husband, Grace has a reputation as a woman who gets her way. Already married, she had two children with Mugabe when she was his secretary and his Ghanaian first wife, Sally, was dying from cancer. She married the president in 1996 in a Catholic mass dubbed the “Wedding of the Century” by a loyal press. He was 73 when she gave birth to their third child.
Grace, 46, has been criticised for extravagant overseas shopping trips and lavish properties, one of which was dubbed Gracelands. She has been the subject of a newspaper scandal about her private life and filed a libel action over a story that she was profiting from “blood diamonds”. Three years ago in Hong Kong she reportedly punched a British photographer in the face, inflicting cuts and bruises. Like her husband, she is subject to EU and US sanctions.
In a recent interview with the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper, Grace described Mugabe and herself as farmers who have installed a state-of-the-art plant at the Gushungo estate. She said it was possibly the second-biggest dairy parlour in southern Africa, capable of milking 64 cows at a time, and claimed that the couple own 2,000 head of cattle.
She does her own cooking, laundry and ironing, she told the paper. “I believe I am in this world for a purpose, to play a part. As Shakespeare said, all the world’s a stage and all the women and men merely players. I am playing my part to complement those being played by others.”
Grace told the Sunday Mail Mugabe rose at about 5am and has a small amount of porridge and a cup of tea for breakfast. He id not carry money, she said, and denied that the couple were wealthy, insisting: “No, we do not have lots of money, we work for it.”
President Mugabe has been accused of ethnic cleansing, election rigging and violent crackdowns on opposition during his 32-year rule, but Grace said: “He is one very humble person. He carries himself with a high degree of humility; a down-to-earth person … He is a caring and considerate man. He thinks about his people so much.”
She described her relationship with her 88-year-old husband as “very close”, adding: “We talk about a lot of different things, a lot. We shout at each other as well. That is normal; we are normal people. In a relationship you cannot say you will not anger each other. I would be lying. It would be a blatant lie if I said we do not fight. We do sometimes and then we talk and iron out our differences.”
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We told HomeServe we didn’t want to renew our insurance policy, but it took money from our credit card anyway
My husband and I had an upsetting experience with HomeServe last April when we had a significant water leak on our driveway. As a result, we decided we would not renew our insurance policy with the company.
When the renewal came up in April, my husband wrote to HomeServe cancelling the policy, and instead of sending it freepost as instructed in their renewal letter, he sent it recorded delivery and kept a photocopy.
HomeServe acknowledged receipt of the letter but took the money from his credit card anyway. Although I think this amounts to theft, our daughter, who teaches law at a local college, says it is a civil matter and we will have to reclaim the money through the small claims court.
Surely we can’t be the only ones affected by this policy? RT, Kingswinford, West Midlands
This is turning into something of an annus horribilis for HomeServe. Back in November 2011 the company shocked investors and customers by suspending its entire sales workforce for several weeks amid fears they had been mis-selling its products. Then it emerged that a whistleblower who worked for the West Midlands-based firm had told the Financial Services Authority that the company had been ignoring complaints by customers it had let down during the previous very cold winter.
If that wasn’t enough, a few weeks ago HomeServe was fined £750,000 by the media telecoms regulator Ofgem for making silent (or abandoned) sales calls to customers. You have to wonder what’s going at the firm, which insures over three million people in the UK against burst pipes, broken gas boilers and electrical problems. The fact that it took your money, even though you had told it you were not renewing – and sent it recorded delivery – is hardly surprising given what else has been happening, and it is not a good sign.
Happily, your complaint was easily resolved. HomeServe has thanked us for “bringing this to our attention”. The company says the money has now been refunded to your credit card. It has also sent you a further £150 in relation to the matter that caused you not to renew in the first place – the repair to a main leak on your drive.
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3 is an upcoming Tamil film directed by Aishwarya Rajinikanth Dhanush, who makes her directorial debut with the film. It stars her husband Dhanush along with Shruti Haasan.The film which is produced by Dhanush’s father Kasthuri Raja, features music…
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Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert had a heart attack early Monday in Dubai where he was preparing to run Game On Dude in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
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