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How to save the music industry

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By Paul McGuinness, GQ Magazine

Even after three decades managing the world's biggest rock band, I have a lifetime hero as far from the world of U2 as you could ever get. He was a feisty 19th-century composer of light orchestral music. His name was Ernest Bourget.

It was Bourget who in 1847, while enjoying a meal in a Paris restaurant, suddenly heard the orchestra playing one of his own compositions. He was startled - of course he had not been paid or asked permission for this. So he resolved the problem himself: he walked out of the restaurant without paying his bill.

Bourget's action was a milestone in the history of copyright law. The legal wrangling that followed led to the establishment of the first revenue-collection system for composers and musicians. The modern music industry has a lot to thank him for.

In Ireland, Tuesday's Grace

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By Bono, New York Times Op-ed Guest Columnist

Dublin

ONE of the most extraordinary days in the mottled history of the island of Ireland was witnessed on both sides of the border last Tuesday.

The much-anticipated and costly Saville report ... the 12-years-in-the-making inquiry into "Bloody Sunday," a day never to be forgotten in Irish politics ... was finally published.

On that day, Jan. 30, 1972, British soldiers fired on a civil rights march in the majority Catholic area of the Bogside in Derry, killing 14 protesters.

It was a day that caused the conflict between the two communities in Northern Ireland -- Catholic nationalist and Protestant unionist -- to spiral into another dimension: every Irish person conscious on that day has a mental picture of Edward Daly, later the bishop of Derry, holding a blood-stained handkerchief aloft as he valiantly tended to the wounded and the dying.

Profile: Bono - With or without him?

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By Claire Prentice, Scotsman.com

IT'S NO fun growing old when you are a rock god. It's a young man's game jumping from platforms, punching the air, and belting out your songs of rebellion and hope.

Until this week, Bono seemed to be holding back the years pretty well. The lead singer of U2 and global ambassador for good causes has kept his weight in check and the wrinkles at bay, even if his hair does look suspiciously black.

But last week, the 50-year-old global superstar was rushed into hospital in Munich for emergency spinal surgery, after suffering severe compression of the sciatic nerve while preparing for the next leg of U2's tour. Hospital spokesman Dr Muller Wohlfahrt said Bono's prospects for a full recovery were "excellent".

Though the prognosis is good, it's too late to save the tour. Sixteen US dates have been cancelled, and Damon Albarn's band Gorillaz have stepped in to replace U2, who were scheduled to headline at Glastonbury. Bono, who must recuperate for two months, said he was "heartbroken".

Africa Reboots

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By BONO, NY Times Op-Ed Guest Columnist

I SPENT March with a delegation of activists, entrepreneurs and policy wonks roaming western, southern and eastern Africa trying very hard to listen -- always hard for a big-mouthed Irishman. With duct tape over my gob, I was able to pick up some interesting melody lines everywhere from palace to pavement ...

Despite the almost deafening roar of excitement about Africa's hosting of soccer's World Cup this summer, we managed to hear a surprising thing. Harmony ... flowing from two sides that in the past have often been discordant: Africa's emerging entrepreneurial class and its civil-society activists.

It's no secret that lefty campaigners can be cranky about business elites. And the suspicion is mutual. Worldwide. Civil society as a rule sees business as, well, a little uncivil. Business tends to see activists as, well, a little too active. But in Africa, at least from what I've just seen, this is starting to change. The energy of these opposing forces coming together is filling offices, boardrooms and bars. The reason is that both these groups -- the private sector and civil society -- see poor governance as the biggest obstacle they face. So they are working together on redefining the rules of the African game.

Ten for the Next Ten

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By Bono, New York Times Op-Ed Guest Columnist

Dublin

IF we have overindulged in anything these past several days, it is neither holiday ham nor American football; it is Top 10 lists. We have been stuffed full of them. Even in these self-restrained pages, it has been impossible to avoid the end-of-the-decade accountings of the 10 best such-and-suches and the 10 worst fill-in-the-blanks.

And so, in the spirit of rock star excess, I offer yet another.

The main difference, if it matters, is that this list looks forward, not backward. So here, then, are 10 ideas that might make the next 10 years more interesting, healthy or civil. Some are trivial, some fundamental. They have little in common with one another except that I am seized by each, and moved by its potential to change our world.

Rebranding Africa

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Graphic by Patrick Thomas

By Bono, New York Times Contributing Columnist

DATELINE: Imminent. About now, actually.

Soon, Air Force One will touch down in Accra, Ghana; Africans will be welcoming the first African-American president. Press coverage on the continent is placing equal weight on both sides of the hyphen.

And we thought it was big when President Kennedy visited Ireland in 1963. (It was big, though I was small. Where I come from, J.F.K. is remembered as a local boy made very, very good.)

But President Obama's African-ness is only part (a thrilling part) of the story today. Cable news may think it's all about him -- but my guess is that he doesn't. If he was in it for a sentimental journey he'd have gone to Kenya, chased down some of those dreams from his father.

A Time for Miracles

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By BONO

Fifty years ago this week, the idea of Europe was set to paper, on a continent unsettled but past the worst of the postwar period. The air was clear of sulfur if not spleen. Ireland was a small rock in the North Atlantic made relevant only by its cultural totems and ever increasing diaspora. In Berlin a chasm was opening up between East and West--the partition of lives, fortunes and fates. In the global struggle between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., between freedom and totalitarianism, Europe was the fault line and the front line. Old Europe was being rebuilt to fight the next war: a battle not just of ideologies but also, very possibly, of nuclear arsenals. It was not a moment for dreaming--more like one for digging a basement and ordering a year's supply of tinned soup.

And yet this was the moment the New Europe was born.

On the continent that had been the theater for mankind's darkest hour, we witnessed a very human miracle. The people of Europe found that their capacity for destruction was mirrored by an equally immense capacity for forgiveness, grace and hope. Looking to the U.S., Europeans could see how cherry-picked European ideas from minds like Locke, Rousseau and Tom Paine could flourish in a society not polluted by blood and aristocracy. And so, in 1957, six nations signed the Treaty of Rome and, with that one crucial act, built a showcase of multilateralism, prosperity and international solidarity.

The Rock Star's Burden

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By PAUL THEROUX

Hale'iwa, Hawai

THERE are probably more annoying things than being hectored about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star in a cowboy hat, but I can't think of one at the moment. If Christmas, season of sob stories, has turned me into Scrooge, I recognize the Dickensian counterpart of Paul Hewson - who calls himself "Bono" - as Mrs. Jellyby in "Bleak House." Harping incessantly on her adopted village of Borrioboola-Gha "on the left bank of the River Niger," Mrs. Jellyby tries to save the Africans by financing them in coffee growing and encouraging schemes "to turn pianoforte legs and establish an export trade," all the while badgering people for money.

It seems to have been Africa's fate to become a theater of empty talk and public gestures. But the impression that Africa is fatally troubled and can be saved only by outside help - not to mention celebrities and charity concerts - is a destructive and misleading conceit. Those of us who committed ourselves to being Peace Corps teachers in rural Malawi more than 40 years ago are dismayed by what we see on our return visits and by all the news that has been reported recently from that unlucky, drought-stricken country. But we are more appalled by most of the proposed solutions.

I am not speaking of humanitarian aid, disaster relief, AIDS education or affordable drugs. Nor am I speaking of small-scale, closely watched efforts like the Malawi Children's Village. I am speaking of the "more money" platform: the notion that what Africa needs is more prestige projects, volunteer labor and debt relief. We should know better by now. I would not send private money to a charity, or foreign aid to a government, unless every dollar was accounted for - and this never happens. Dumping more money in the same old way is not only wasteful, but stupid and harmful; it is also ignoring some obvious points.

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.

Bono's essay of "Elvis: American David"

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