American billionaires pledge fortunes to charity
A group of 40 American billionaires have pledged at least half their fortunes to charity as part of a campaign by the financier Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
The film director George Lucas, hotel heir Barron Hilton and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg are among those to have signed up to the "giving pledge", an initiative launched six weeks ago to encourage philanthropy among America's richest people.
Others who have added their names include the CNN founder Ted Turner, and the businessmen David Rockefeller, T Boone Pickens and Ronald Perelman.
Mr Buffett has promised to donate more than 99pc of his estimated $47bn (€36bn) fortune and is giving most of it in annual instalments to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"We're hoping that America, which is the most generous society on Earth, becomes even more generous over time," said Mr Buffett.
"We hope that not only will that norm move toward even greater philanthropic contributions but toward smarter ones."
Mr Buffett said he had contacted around 70 of America's 80 richest individuals to ask them to get involved in the programme, which is not legally binding and does not specify what charities should benefit.
He said he had not put any pressure on them, adding: "It was a very soft sell."