VARIOUS: Time Magazine chooses trio of Bill and Melinda Gates and rocker Bono for their 2005 'Person of the...
- Title: VARIOUS: Time Magazine chooses trio of Bill and Melinda Gates and rocker Bono for their 2005 'Person of the Year'
- Date: 21st December 2005
- Summary: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, USA (DECEMBER 18, 2005) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) STEVE KOEPP, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR OF TIME MAGAZINE SAYING: "Bono made it cool to care about poor people and especially about extremely poor people and what he did was he leveraged his own incredible celebrity to really persuade politicians around the world of rich countries to relieve the debts of poor countries to the tune of 40 billion dollars (USD), and what this did is it relieved all those poor countries of these huge debts and enabled them to spend the money on education, and health and lots of other things that would have been neglected."
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- Story Text: The richest man in the world, Bill Gates, and his wife, Melinda, were named Time magazine's "Persons of the Year" along with Irish rocker Bono for being "Good Samaritans" who made a difference in different ways.
"For being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow, Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono are Time's Persons of the Year," the magazine said in its Dec. 19 issue, made public on Sunday.
Time Magazine's Deputy Managing Editor Steve Koepp said the three had been chosen as the people most effective at finding ways to eradicate such calamities as malaria in Africa, HIV and AIDS and the grinding poverty that kills 8 million people a year.
"They showed the world a whole new way to look at the poor and how to help them. It's not so much about pity, which is, you know, lets ease the suffering and throw some money at the problem, but it's more about 'there's an injustice here, let's settle the score, let's help these people help themselves'."
The founder of computer giant Microsoft Corp., whose personal fortune of 46.5 billion in U.S. dollars topped Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest again this year, and his wife were named for their work in the Gates Foundation, the world's biggest charity with a 29 billion dollars (USD) endowment, while Bono was described as the "rocker who has made debt reduction sexy."
The Gates Foundation funds hundreds of projects around the world primarily focused on public health, from vaccinating children to developing new drugs, as well as educational programs and scholarships in the United States and abroad.
"What these people are about is, how can they use their money and leverage it to save as many people as possible. How can they find people who can be saved with a two dollar pill but who couldn't afford that because they live on a dollar a day. They just bring a kind of businessman's efficiency to saving people," said Koepp.
"The rocker's job is to be raucous, grab our attention. The engineer's job is to make things work," Time said, describing the unlikely alliance that developed after the three met for dinner in 2002. They were reunited on Friday in Omaha, where Bono was performing with U2, to be photographed for the cover.
Bono and fellow musician Bob Geldof spearheaded a popular campaign to tackle poverty in Africa through cancelling the debts of the poorest countries in the world, raising global awareness through the Live 8 concerts in July.
Partly due to popular pressure, the world's industrialized nations agreed in July to double aid to poor countries by 2010, adding 50 billion dollars (USD) a year, and to cancel poor countries' debt.
"Bono made it cool to care about poor people and especially about extremely poor people and what he did was he leveraged his own incredible celebrity to really persuade politicians around the world of rich countries to relieve the debts of poor countries to the tune of 40 billion dollars (USD)," said Koepp.
Time said he expected the choice to surprise some people, but the unlikely alliance of the richest man in the world and a "hell-raiser" like Bono was an inspiring example of how different approaches could be effective.
Time said the "odd couple" of former Presidents Bush and Clinton had been among the contenders for "Person of the Year," which ranged from talk show host Oprah Winfrey, for her influential campaigning for hurricane relief, to Mother Nature, encompassing the tsunami, hurricanes and earthquakes.
Time has been naming its person of the year since 1927 and the tradition has become the source of speculation every year, as well as controversy over unpopular choices such as Adolf Hitler in 1938 and Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.
The aim is to pick "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse."
Time's 2004 Person of the Year was U.S. President George W. Bush while "The American Soldier" graced the 2003 cover in the year when U.S. troops invaded Iraq.
Time also named former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton as "Partners of the Year" for their humanitarian efforts after the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, and the unlikely friendship that developed from that work.
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