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Briefs (left)

Microsoft’s Gates To Relinquish Day-To-Day Role

By John Markoff and Steve Lohr


Three decades after he started Microsoft with the dream of placing a personal computer in every home and business, Bill Gates said Thursday that he would leave his day-to-day role there in two years.

He will shift his energies to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which his Microsoft fortune has made the world’s largest philanthropic organization, dedicated to health and education issues especially in poor nations.

At a news conference after the close of the stock market, Gates, 50, emphasized he was not leaving Microsoft altogether. He said he planned to remain as chairman and maintain his large holding in the company.

“I always see myself as being the largest shareholder in Microsoft,” Gates said.

But the move, analysts said, points to the changes sweeping the software industry. Probably more than any other person, Gates has been identified with personal computer software, while computing is increasingly shifting to the Internet.

Conjoined Twins Separated
By Surgeons

By Maria Newman

At 6:20 p.m. Pacific time on Wednesday, Regina and Renata Salinas Fierros, born as one, became two for the first time when doctors made the final incision in a long and complicated operation to separate the 10-month-old conjoined twins.

After that, the girls underwent surgical procedures that lasted until early Thursday morning. A team of 80 doctors and medical assistants divided their shared intestines, liver and other organs, and turned one girl’s pelvis around so her legs would face the right way.

On Thursday afternoon, the babies, who were placed in separate beds for the first time in their short lives, were in serious condition in the intensive care unit of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, with stable vital signs.

“We are all obviously extremely excited at how things went,” Dr. James E. Stein, the pediatric surgeon who led the operation, said at a news briefing with other doctors who took part in the surgery. “There were no particular surprises.”

Annan Downplays Fear
Of Looming U.N. Budget Crunch

By Warren Hoge


Secretary-General Kofi Annan SM ’72 said Thursday that he thought the United Nations would avoid a threatened budget showdown at the end of this month over management changes, but he warned against threats to “pull the plug” on the organization if it did not meet some countries’ expectations.

“The cap on the budget will be lifted, there will be no crisis, as far as I can see, this month,” Annan said at a news conference.

Led by the United States, the major contributors to the United Nations in December obtained agreement on a six-month cap on the current budget that links disbursement of money after June 30 for the two-year, $3.8-billion budget to progress in management improvements.

In addition, John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador, has periodically hinted that if sufficient changes were not made, the U.S. Congress would move to withhold its U.N. dues.