Bill Gates, the brain behind Microsoft, is the richest man in the world. And, incidentally, he has never been a government employee. His net worth ranges from 42 to 46 billion dollars depending on varying share prices.
Bill Gates' net worth page on the Internet, produced by Gates' followers and fans, reveal that he has been accumulating money at the rate of 150 dollars a second while working a 14-hour-a-day. In fact, in the first half of 1997, he made 16 billion dollars.
And for those inquisitive souls who are interested in knowing about other peoples' wealth, I will give some information. If Gates' fortunes were converted into dollars it would take 296 Boeing 747's to fly the pile from Microsoft's headquarters outside Seattle to New York. Once there, they would cover every inch of Manhattan; Gates can afford to buy every house in Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota six times.
In terms of his wealth, 250,000 dollars for a Lamborghini is the same as a 63 cent purchase would be to an ordinary American. The same calculation can be done in reverse: An evening at the cinema for Bill and Jennifer Gates would come to around 10 million.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, never travels first class when on company business. He goes club class, saying he does not want to waste shareholders' money.
On his own, he lives well. He has built a 60-million dollar "futuristic" house with the latest technology. However, according to the latest reports, this posh residence built for the Microsoft chief, still has some bugs to be ironed out. Bill Gates says: "I brought up a big screen in my bedroom and for some reason the system stopped working. It was just sitting there shining. And I wanted to go to sleep ... So finally I had to get a blanket and put it over the screen." This house in Medina, Washington, took seven years to build, and features a 20-seat theater, its own pier, and a 20-car garage.
This quite unassuming man, using his gray cells, has made an impact and will probably rank among the 100 most famous people of the 20th century.
In America, a survey was made recently: Which of the two Bills is more important? Meaning Bill Clinton or Bill Gates. Gates won by an overwhelming majority; however, it was not 99.2%!
The war against organized crime today cannot be fought by governments and police forces acting alone.
Police cooperation on a regional, and even global basis, is called for in order to keep pace with the ever-changing crime scene and continue to defeat those behind it. It is in this context that the Arab world has done very well to bring its police and security officials together over the past 25 years for a regular exchange of views and the formulation of common strategies and joint operations.
Changes occur constantly in the way that big time drug traffickers and money launderers operate, making use of the latest in electronic banking and communication technology.
It will take the most-skilled policemen acting in cooperation with the local and international banking system to uncover the criminals in these fields.
All countries have to fight drug trafficking on two fronts. Rehabilitation of drug addicts plus keeping the young away from drugs is as important as preventing the import and trade in drugs. At the same time, police and security officials everywhere have to be alert to the possibility of terrorism.
As the world moves into the 21st century, Arab police and security officials must draw up an agenda to counter terrorism, which is now not only linked to extremist ideologies but also to ultra criminal activity.
It is gratifying to note that Muslims in our part of the world usually treat those who are needy, poor and handicapped with consideration. We know that they are also part of us. In fact, this is an important part of our religious belief.
Children who are handicapped in speech or hearing, or are mentally retarded, are often endowed with artistic talent and/or good singing voices. So every effort must be made by government or voluntary organizations to help these children express themselves through art and other activities, and become more involved with the community.
A couple of months ago, an exhibition of art works by 28 handicapped children was held in Sharjah, UAE. The pupils, between five and 11, produced their work during a summer course and the drawings were mainly of natural scenes, such as marine life, parks and the desert.
Such artistic activities will also serve these children as a healing process. Others will be able to understand the thoughts and feelings of these children better through the drawings and paintings they produce.
The main thing is that, through art, handicapped children are not made to feel that they are "different" and must therefore live apart from the rest of the community.
Let us also pledge to do something to help those poor among us.