(TMU) – For most people across the world, the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdown measures have been nothing short of ruinous. Countless small and large businesses have faced bankruptcy while in the United States, local government budgets are in shambles while the unemployment rate is projected by Goldman Sachs to peak at 25 percent, rivaling or exceeding the worst moments of the Great Depression.
Amid the unfolding economic catastrophe, however, the wealth gap between average people and the ultra-rich has widened drastically. For mega-billionaires like Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos – the richest man on the planet whose net worth is estimated at $143 billion – the health crisis has only made them richer.
And now, the Amazon founder is slated to likely become the world’s very first trillionaire, according to business software comparison platform Comparisun.
The site’s projection shows that Bezos is likely to achieve trillionaire status by 2026, when he will be 62 years old. Comparison based their projection on the average percentage of yearly growth over the past five years, which was then applied to future years.
According to the company’s figures, Bezos’ net worth has grown by an average of 34 percent over the last five year. In the last year alone, Bezos’ worth has grown by over $28 billion.
Amazon has been thriving during the pandemic, with shoppers flocking to online shopping platforms due to the unavailability or inherent risks of in-person shopping at brick-and-mortar retail spaces, which had been struggling to compete with Amazon even before the novel coronavirus outbreak.
As a result, Amazon share prices have increased – greatly benefiting Bezos, who has an 11.2 percent stake in the company. Additionally, Bezos sold $3.4 billion in shares precisely before their value tanked in March due to fears over the spread of COVID-19.
The discussion of Bezos’ potential trillionaire status also comes as Amazon employees have launched protests and strikes over their safety as they continue working through the pandemic. On May 1, workers held a one-day strike demanding “adequate protection in the workplace” and an end to the harassment and firing of organizers in company warehouses.
News about Bezos potentially becoming a trillionaire in 2026 has riled up online communities on Twitter and other social media platforms, with users pointing to the expanding economic and financial suffering of people while Bezos rakes in billions.
Twitter @Thomas_A_Moore wrote:
“Jeff Bezos is about to become the world’s first trillionaire while we’re about to enter a depression.”
Jeff Bezos is about to become the world’s first trillionaire while we’re about to enter a depression pic.twitter.com/901vsfmD5p
— Thomas Moore (@Thomas_A_Moore) May 14, 2020
While the popular account “The Tweet Of God”, which humorously pretends to be the official Twitter account of the Abrahamic deity, wrote:
“I have a plan to save the world but it requires borrowing money from Jeff Bezos.”
Twitter user “The Volatile Mermaid” asked:
“If Jeff Bezos makes $2500 per second and is traveling west at 35 MPH and Mark Zuckerberg makes $1500 per second and is traveling north at 50 MPH, how long will it take before you can pay off your student loans?”
Amazon was conceived by Bezos in 1994 as an “everything store” where users could buy everything from books to music and DVDs. The disruptive company quickly expanded its operations in the ensuing years, largely rendering traditional booksellers both large and small obsolete and becoming an e-commerce giant selling everything from furniture to groceries and its own lines of clothing, electronics and office equipment, among other basic consumer goods.
The company is also the world’s largest internet hosting firm through its cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), which was launched in 2006. The private cloud platform has provided web hosting to clients ranging from Dropbox to the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as helping form the “backbone” for Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (DHS-ICE) deportation operations.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.