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Octopus, a 126m long yacht owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (photo: Bjørn Giesenbauer)

In 2009, the Gates Foundation gave out $1.8bn in grants to improve health in developing countries. If it were a state, it would be the world’s 10th largest international aid donor. Its operations certainly resemble a state, complete with an eight acre headquarters in Seattle housing 1000 staff and a virtual diplomatic service in the countries it assists. Its buildings are designed to look like arms reaching out to the globe.


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