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MICROSOFT

Bill Gates in Sweden for high society wedding

Microsoft billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates is in Gothenburg this weekend to attend the wedding of billionaire Charles Simonyi and Swedish socialite Lisa Persdotter.

Bill Gates in Sweden for high society wedding

Gates arrived in Sweden on Friday in time for the start of the three day wedding celebrations for old friend and Microsoft colleague Charles Simonyi (60) and his 28-year-old bride-to-be Lisa Persdotter.

Gates was accompanied by a bevy of beefy Danish bodyguards as he passed through Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport en route to the glitzy wedding to be held at the German church in Sweden’s second city.

“There is a bodyguard at every entrance to the church,” according to GT/Expressen’s reporter Johan T Lindvall.

The weekend will not be all champagne and canapés for the Microsoft billionaire however as he has been appointed as one of the ushers for the service which will begin at 2pm on Saturday.

With security tight, Gates, the happy couple and the other key figures in the ceremony were taken through their paces for the rehearsal on Friday afternoon.

All the details of the rehearsal were completed in time for the weekend’s festivities to begin with a reception at Gothenburg’s art museum on Friday evening. Gates arrived early and told the assembled media:

“It feels great to be here,” on being asked what it was like to be in Sweden.

The star-studded guest list is expected to include Ace of Base star Ulf Ekberg as well Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.

Simonyi and Swedish socialite Lisa Persdotter were engaged on 08/08/08 in the romantic setting of St.Tropez in the south of France.

Simonyi, like Gates, is an active philanthropist and is known as something of a jetset billionaire.

His jetset lifestyle has not only been limited to the planet Earth and Simonyi caught the headlines last year when he spent 13 days in outer space on a trip that set him back a modest $25 million. He is preparing for his second trip into space, in 2009, that will make him the first tourist to make a return journey into the great beyond.

Charles Simonyi has been described by British scientist Richard Dawkins as “a sort of combination of International Renaissance Man, Playboy of the Scientific World, Test Pilot of the Intellect, and Space-age Orbiter of the Mind as well as of the Planet.”

Dawkins was the first to hold the chair of the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, created by Simonyi in 1995.

Until he fell in love with the Swedish beauty Lisa Persdotter last autumn Simonyi had been in a 15-year-long relationship with US television personality Martha Stewart.

Persdotter is known to have come from a privileged background, has studied in Edinburgh and New York and is currently employed as an investment manager. The family have known Simonyi for a long time as they own neighbouring properties in St.Tropez.

IKEA

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.

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