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Bill Gates is known for being one of the world's biggest optimists, in addition to one of its largest philanthropists. But Gates is concerned about the impact if the U.S. follows through on plans to cut foreign aid.

"Overall like Warren Buffett I am optimistic about the long run," Gates said during a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) forum. "I am concerned in the short run that the huge benefits of how the US works with other countries may get lost. This includes the aid we give to Africa to help countries there get out of the poverty trap."

Gates, who has said the idea of a "robot tax" is worth exploring to slow the pace at which human jobs are automated, says the notion of a guaranteed basic income probably isn't an option — at least for now.

"Over time countries will be rich enough to do this. However we still have a lot of work that should be done — helping older people, helping kids with special needs, having more adults helping in education. Even the U.S. isn't rich enough to allow people not to work. Some day we will be but until then things like the Earned Income Tax Credit will help increase the demand for labor."

Gates expressed other concerns, including his usual priorities around clean energy, improving education, eradicating disease and making sure artificial intelligence doesn't wipe out humanity. And he weighed in on the decades-old question of whether Microsoft copied Apple in creating Windows.

The Microsoft co-founder also took some time to address lighthearted issues, including offering up his top vacation picks (Australia and the Amazon) and how he sometimes wears a hat to disguise himself in public.

Go deeper

41 mins ago - World

HRW: Over 100 former Afghan security members dead or missing under Taliban rule

Members of the Taliban movement patrol Kabul's airport in September. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The Taliban have "killed or forcibly disappeared" over 100 former members of Afghanistan's security forces since the group took power in August, a Human Rights Watch report published Tuesday found.

Why it matters: It means former military members and officials from the ousted government, activists and other Taliban critics are facing peril amid executions driven by revenge — despite Taliban promises of an "amnesty" with no retributions, notes the New York Times, which first reported the news.

2 hours ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

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