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Australia earmarks $74 Million to Fight Bird Flu

Australia has earmarked $74 million to combat the bird flu threat over the next four years.

Prime Minister John Howard was to announce the funding in Busan, Korea, where he is attending the Asia Pacific // Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum.

International agencies, like the World Health Organization (WHO), would get around 20 percent of the money while 10 percent would go on a simulation exercise run by APEC to test the region's preparedness. The bulk will go to the governments of developing members of APEC.

'This is an area where Australia has a strong capacity,'said a statement quoting Howard as saying.

Bird flu has killed 67 of the 130 people it has infected in Asia since 2003.

--IANS
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