February 2008 Archives

Dublin split over the U2 Tower

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Dubliners like a good debate and a recent hot topic of discussion has been the U2 Tower, the development in the city's docks area that has earned its nickname through the involvement of Bono and other members of the Irish rock band.

Paul Shearer, Times Online

Prices have been falling across most of Ireland, but in the capital developers have not lost their appetite for looking skywards. Dublin, the argument runs, is suffering from urban sprawl. Traffic is clogging up and polluting the city and surrounding suburbs. The city council says that it has been losing tax revenue as business park and retail developments have been built outside the city. So the developers' solution is to build tall in the city centre - a decision that has caused considerable local controversy, as similar schemes have done in London.

By Dara Doyle

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- U2's Bono helped persuade George W. Bush and Tony Blair to increase African aid and cancel a portion of Third World debt. Ireland's most famous rock star is finding it harder to charm Dublin preservationists as he seeks to expand the 177-year-old Clarence Hotel.

The singer failed to win over opponents with several bottles of wine and lunch at the Clarence in September, said Michael Smith, former chairman of An Taisce, an independent planning watchdog. The 150 million-euro ($220 million) project would triple the hotel's size and top it with a panoramic glass bar.

"The Clarence demolition is an old-fashioned money-driven, anti-environmental exploit," said Smith, 42, who attended the lunch. "Bono is behaving like just another private-jet-addicted property speculator feeding on Ireland's greedy zeitgeist."

U2 Hits The Studio In Dublin

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Jonathan Cohen, Billboard

U2 has hit the studio in Dublin to continue work on its next studio album with longtime collaborators Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. "We're going to try and break new sonic ground and deliver a masterpiece," Lanois tells Billboard.com. "The sleeves are rolled up. Bono is all charged up with a lyrical angle."

As previously reported, U2, Eno and Lanois have spent time working on new material on three prior occasions in France and Morocco, and Lanois confirms the results are prolific.

"There's so much material," he says, referring to speculation that the sessions could yield two new albums. "When you get Eno and I and those guys in the room, before lunch there's like eight things."

"We've had some exciting beginnings via jam sessions," he continues. "Now we will pick our favorite beginnings and say, 'OK, that's a lovely springboard. Now what are we trying to say?' The springboards are sometimes melodic, sometimes riff-based, but I can assure you they are exciting."

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NEW YORK (AFP) - An art auction conceived by U2 frontman and campaigner Bono together with British artist Damien Hirst raised 42.5 million dollars in New York late Thursday for UN-backed health programs in Africa.

The auction, which drew Hollywood celebrities, supermodels and rock stars, was described as the largest charity event ever mounted and would help keep thousands of AIDS patients on antiretroviral drugs for years to come.

Artists such as Georg Baselitz, Howard Hodgkin, Jasper Johns, Anish Kapoor and Jeff Koons contributed works for the red-themed Valentine's Day sale, which raised far more than the upper pre-sale estimate of 29 million dollars.

Proceeds from the sale, organized by Bono's charity organization (RED), were to go directly to the United Nations Foundation to support HIV/AIDS relief programs run by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

2.14.08_tn.jpgWatch Bono's speech and song

By Erica Werner, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Tom Lantos of California, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, was remembered at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday as a humanitarian who fought for the dispossessed worldwide.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Lantos, a Democrat who chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee, "the epitome of a true American hero."

Rock star Bono, a friend who'd worked with Lantos on issues including HIV/AIDS prevention, led the hundreds of House members and senators present in a chorus of the Beatles' "All You Need is Love."

Rice and Bono were among a string of luminaries, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, who delivered tributes in Statuary Hall.

Bottom Line for (Red)

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The "Red" campaign launched a year ago by rock star Bono has generated more than $22 million to fight H.I.V. and AIDS in Rwanda, but critics say not enough money is getting to clinics.

By Ron Nixon, The New York Times

KIGALI, Rwanda - A year ago, staff members at the Treatment and Research AIDS Center could barely cope. Patients, unable to find care elsewhere, flowed in from every corner of the country. And if one of them was fortunate enough to find a bed here, she often had to share it.

At the Treatment and Research AIDS Center in Kigali, doctors now have more time for patients, in part because of Red money.

Today, a dozen patients, mostly women, sit in neat waiting rooms, laughing and talking as children play around them. Doctors greet one another as they make their rounds, and take all the time they need to explain the complicated schedule H.I.V. drugs require.

U2 May Be Next to Leave Record Biz

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Roger Friedman, Fox News

I told you earlier this week that the Rolling Stones are looking at a deal with concert promoter Live Nation that would also cover the release of their CDs. The deal is similar to the one Madonna signed in 2007.

Now I'm told that at least two more big acts are in talks with Live Nation along similar lines. The most surprising of these is U2, which has spent its entire career on either Island Records or a company connected to it, Interscope. They are all part of the Universal Music Group.

But times are changing quickly in what's left of the music business, and U2 is said to be wanting out. If they go with Live Nation, their exit from UMG will be a blow to all, including Doug Morris and Jimmy Iovine, the group's principal contacts.

My sources say the group's most recent release, 2004's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," fulfilled their Interscope contract. UMG also released a remastered version of the group's seminal album, "The Joshua Tree," recently. That also may have concluded the contract.

Interestingly, the current U2 movie, a 3D concert film that's received high praise, has no CD soundtrack to accompany it. Considering that U2's catalog is light on live recordings, the lack of an Interscope CD does set off alarms.

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