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Five Countries Plan Hike in Airfare Tax to Buy Drugs for AIDS Patients

France, Brazil, Britain, Norway and Chile announced a tax on airline tickets to raise $300 million dollars to buy AIDS drugs for patients who cannot afford them//.

Representatives from the five nations, including Presidents Jacques Chirac of France and Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, were present for the announcement at the UN. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and former US President Bill Clinton also attended.

Annan called the initiative to tax airline tickets an "innovative" way to raise money for AIDS patients.

"It can provide a continuing source of funding," Annan said. "It is a real and immediate tool to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria."

The plan, known under the acronym UNITAID and based in Geneva, can help pay for treatment of 100,000 children living with the AIDS virus and another 100,000 who have become resistant to the antiretroviral AIDS drugs.

It can also raise money to help treat children afflicted with tuberculosis.

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