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Tobacco Ties Sink Gates Grant

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A Canadian research center lost a major grant for a tobacco-control program in Africa after foundation officials learned that the group's board chair had ties to the tobacco industry, the New York Times reported April 12.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation withdrew its $5.2-million grant to the Canadian International Development Research Center after learning from tobacco-control advocates that board chair Barbara J. McDougall has also served on the board of Imperial Tobacco Canada since 2004.

“We are deeply disappointed by this revelation and feel this conflict is unacceptable as we work to support meaningful tobacco-control programs in Africa,” said foundation program officer Kate Teela.

The research center also expressed disappointment but officials said that they understood and respected the foundation's decision. McDougall herself did not comment.

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