Nations impose new air tax to fight AIDS

Reuters reports 13 countries, led by France, will soon start levying a new tax on air travel as a means of raising funds to fight AIDS and other diseases.

"There are six million people on the planet who need urgent treatment against AIDS and don't get any medicine," says French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy. "We are creating something that is completely new and revolutionary." That "something" is a levy of at least one euro on air tickets (up to 40 euros on international flights).

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The other countries joining France are Brazil, Britain, Chile, Congo, Cyprus, France, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nicaragua, and Norway. Another 25 countries are not imposing the tax but plan to contribute to the central fund.

The United States is among the countries officially opposed to the new tax.

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