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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Gordon Brown visits Pope
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¬†Chancellor Gordon Brown had a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome on Friday while promoting a scheme to provide life-saving vaccines to children in the developing world. During the audience he invited the Holy Father to visit England. and gave him a book of sermons delivered by his father, a preacher in the Presbyterian Church. In return, the Pope gave him a Vatican medal. The Rev Dr John Ebenezer Brown, who died in 1998 aged 84, was the minister at the St Brycedale Church in Kirkcaldy and often urged his son to do more for the poor. The Chancellor has made no secret of his father's influence on his life, often referring to him, and to his sermons. Earlier, Chancellor Brown met the Pope together with Queen Rania of Jordan, Paul Wolfowitz, the head of the World Bank, and a small group of other finance ministers to discuss the vaccination scheme. The Pope said he would pray for each of the finance ministers "Almighty God will assist your endeavours to accomplish this important work". He also said he would bless their families. Later, at the Italian Treasury, Mr Brown helped launch the new Advance Market Commitment for Vaccines. Under the programme, Britain has pledged £249 million, out of a total of £760 million to encourage pharmaceutical firms to research and develop new vaccines to inoculate members of the Third World. Until now, he said, there was no financial incentive for pharmaceutical firms to spend money on developing new drugs, since the countries that need them are too poor to pay. The first vaccine that will be developed will target pneumococcal diseases, which cause pneumonia and meningitis. Mr Brown estimated the programme could save more than five million children from an early death by 2030.
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