November 2005 Archives

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by Stephen Thorne, Canadian Press

OTTAWA (CP) - Irish rock star Bono says Prime Minister Paul Martin's inability to further increase foreign aid mystifies him, especially facing an election in a country that clearly favours more foreign aid.

"I'm mystified, actually, by the man," the U2 lead singer told a news conference Friday. "I like him very much, personally.

"I just think that it's a huge opportunity that he's missing out on. This is important to the Canadian people. I think the prime minister will find out if he walks away from the opportunity to (boost foreign aid) he will hear about it in the election. I am absolutely sure of that."

Bono said he was heartened by polls suggesting most Canadians support a boost to foreign aid. He wants Canada to increase foreign contributions to 0.7 per cent of its gross domestic product.

That would more than triple the $3 billion Canada currently spends on foreign aid each year.

He has also called on Canada to erase foreign debt and advocate fair trade in a world where a billion people live on less than a dollar a day.

Martin said he'd spoken with Bono on the phone for about 15 minutes on Friday morning.

"His role is to push me forward," Martin said at a first ministers' conference in Kelowna, B.C., before reiterating his oft-stated belief that Canada can't commit to the 0.7 per cent target without a firm plan for reaching that goal.

Bono And The Christian Right

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(CBS) The members of the Irish rock band U2 have always believed that their group was about something more than making records and playing concerts.

The themes of their music, often about social injustice, ranging from the American civil rights movement to genocide in Bosnia, have helped them sell more than 130 million albums around the world and gross nearly a billion dollars on the concert trail. And offstage, their lead singer, known by his teenage nickname "Bono," is equally impressive. His political activism, working to help erase third world debt and supplying Africa with AIDS drugs, has made him a political force.

Correspondent Ed Bradley takes a look at U2 and the double life of their lead singer.


After 25 years of touring, most critics say U2 is as good today as they've ever been, still selling out some of the world's largest stadiums and arenas when touring around the globe.

"It's only rock and roll where people are burned out at 40. I want to see what can happen with a band if they keep their integrity, keep their commitment to each other, and can we create extraordinary music," says Bono, speaking to 60 Minutes while on tour in Milan, Italy this past summer.

"You know what would have happened - and I'm not making a comparison, because I don't feel worthy to touch their hem - but what would have happened if the Beatles lived, and didn't, you know, disappear up their own arses but actually stayed in contact with the world, were awake. Didn't let their money buy them off. You know I'm still hungry. I still want a lot out of music," Bono says.

Bono has said when fans are screaming, it's not about the band, it's about them. "It's unexplainable what a song means to you. Because, remember, songs, it's not like a movie you see once or twice. A song, it gets under your skin and that's why [we] abandon ourselves to it," says Bono. "It has a sense of kind of uplift, of getting airborne."

Achtung, baby! U2 aiming to crash Games finale

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By Patrick Donovan and Peter Ker

THE kings of motor sport are idling, laughter is taking a holiday and there will be no new movies. But Irish rock singer Bono plans to crash Melbourne's Commonwealth Games party.

One of the world's biggest music acts, Bono's U2 is expected to play two shows at Telstra Dome next March in front of up to 80,000 fans on the same weekend as the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.

After 18 months of negotiations, promoter Michael Coppel Presents is expected to announce the two shows for Telstra Dome on March 24 and 25.

If the dates are confirmed, several hundred thousand people can be expected in the city centre for the shows and sold-out Games events at the MCG and Vodafone Arena.

Blue-ribbon Games events such as the men's and women's 4x100 metre running relays, finals in the women's pole vault -- likely to feature Australia's Tatiana Grigorieva -- and sold-out finals of the netball competition are the pick of Games finals on those days.

The Age believes the rock shows are not of major concern to Melbourne 2006 organisers, who have had strong ticket sales for the nights in question.

But the prospect of adding tens of thousands of concert-goers to Melbourne's public transport system -- which is expected to carry 70 per cent of Games patrons -- is a headache for the State Government, which is already under fire for its public transport policy.

This Generation's Moon Shot

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A rock star turned activist challenges the world to wipe out poverty and disease

By BONO

I was a 9-year-old boy in Dublin when a man first walked on the moon. It wasn't just any man--it was an American. I thought I already knew something about America from Elvis, the movies and the hip gear sent home by Irish people who crossed the Atlantic. But now American meant something new. It meant having a sense of infinite possibility, doing the things everyone says can't be done. Even this freckle-faced Irish kid could see that America went to the moon not just because it was a scientific milestone--a career move for the human race--but because it was an adventure.

More than ever, we need to renew that sense of adventure and purpose. Never before has the West been so scrutinized. Our convictions and credibility are under attack. Who are we? What are our values? Do we have any at all?

We can't answer these questions by going back to the moon. But there is a goal out there worthy of our generation. It's earth-bound this time, but no less exhilarating. It is the defeat of humanity's oldest foe: disease.

Just a few years ago, this was Mission Impossible; today it is tantalizingly within our reach. It is no longer crazy to suggest that we can eliminate tuberculosis and malaria from the planet. It is no longer unthinkable to imagine a world without AIDS or extreme poverty. And this isn't hope talking, or faith. This is hard science pointing us toward a better, healthier world.

In the past year we learned that for the first time there's a vaccine that offers real, if partial, protection against malaria. No more death by mosquito bite is a goal that is within sight. Two new vaccines have been developed for rotavirus, the main cause of diarrheal disease. Today nearly a million people with HIV in poor countries are on lifesaving antiretroviral drugs--more than double the total just 18 months ago.

That's enough to get even a rock star out of bed in the morning.

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