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DRUDGE REPORT FLASH 2006�

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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN AUG 20, 2006 16:01:02 ET XXXXX

BILL GATES 'CHARITY' FOUNDATION FINANCES NEWSPAPER PURCHASES

The BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION declares its noble mission is to bring "innovations in health and learning to the global community."

But the world's largest philanthropic organization also is among the organizations that collectively loaned nearly $400 million to MEDIANEWS GROUP INC. -- for the acquisition of newspapers in California and Minnesota!

"I thought this foundation was all about starving kids, not starving newspapers," mocked one Seattle insider.

MORE

The GATES FOUNDATION loaned an unspecified amount to MEDIANEWS, along with GENERAL ELECTRIC.

In April, MEDIANEWS agreed to buy four newspapers, including the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS and CONTRA COSTA TIMES, from MCCLATCHY CO. for $1 billion. MEDIANEWS also bought California's MONTEREY COUNTY HERALD and the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS in Minnesota. It also own the DENVER POST.

The move into funding media acquisitions was unusual for the BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION, whose donations usually go to health and anti-poverty purposes.

In June, financier Warren Buffett announced he would donate an estimated $31 billion to the GATES FOUNDATION, bringing its total endowment to more than $60 billion -- which could easily save every newspaper in America!

Developing...

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