NEW YORK ( - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) announced on Wednesday that Microsoft Co. chairman Bill Gates, the wealthiest man in the United States, donated $1.7 million to the fund which seeks to limit population growth in poor nations through abortion and birth control.

      The William H. Gates Foundation, founded by the technology tycoon and his wife, gave the money to cover a three-year grant for population programs, including a nation-to-nation technology exchange, and for a five-year review of the 1994 Cairo population conference. The Gates foundation has been active in the population and reproductive science fields, awarding previous grants for research on contraceptives and last year giving Johns Hopkins University money to use technology to address the so-called over-population problem.

      Gates, who has a reported net worth of $40 billion, joins the list of big-name donors to the UN which includes media tycoon Ted Turner who gave the organization a $1 billion, five-year grant last October for use in several projects.

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April 24-26, 1998 volume 9, no. 80         DAILY CATHOLIC