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TIME names Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates Persons of Year

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This story was originally published on December 19, 2005.

(CNN) -- The good deeds of an activist rock legend and one of the world's richest men and his wife carried the day in 2005, as TIME magazine on Sunday named U2 frontman Bono and philanthropic couple Bill and Melinda Gates as its "Persons of the Year."

At Friday's photo shoot for TIME, Bono said, "I'm experiencing an unusual feeling. I think it's called being humbled.

"The work that I do with DATA and the One Campaign has been helped by what Bill and Melinda do," he said. "This can be a generation in which we eradicate extreme poverty."

Bono is a co-founder of the DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) organization, which fights poverty and HIV in the developing world. From that organization was spawned the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History.

"It has been a great year for global health to get more visibility," Bill Gates said Friday. "The more people know about it, the more they want to act."

The magazine said that while sudden disasters grab the headlines, other tragedies unfold daily.

"And who is proving most effective in figuring out how to eradicate those calamities? In different ways, it is Bill and Melinda Gates, co-founders of the world's wealthiest charitable foundation, and Bono, the Irish rocker who has made debt reduction sexy," TIME's managing editor Jim Kelly writes.

The Gateses, the magazine notes, "spent the year giving more money away faster than anyone ever has."

In January, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed $750 million to improving access to child immunizations, accelerating introduction of new vaccines and strengthening vaccine delivery systems.

The foundation focuses on education, global health, improving public libraries and supporting at-risk families, according to its Web site. The Gateses awarded grants to schools in Texas, Colorado and Massachusetts, as well as the Lutheran World Relief program, which received $640,000 to help nomadic communities in Niger avert food crises.

Bono was one of the organizers behind this year's Live 8 concerts in nine cities worldwide. The concerts were aimed at getting the leaders of the world's developed nations to come to the aid of impoverished Africa. They did so at the G8 summit, agreeing to double aid to Africa to $50 billion by 2010 and cancel the debts of the poorest nations.

"Bono charmed and bullied and morally blackmailed the leaders of the world's richest countries into forgiving $40 billion in debt owed by the poorest," the magazine said.

Time's list of "People Who Mattered" in 2005 ran the gamut from President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to a fictional villain, a spy and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. (Photo essayexternal link)

Along with Darth Vader, CIA agent Valerie Plame and Pope Benedict XVI, TIME tapped:

  • Plame's husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson
  • Texas Rep. and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
  • Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
  • Apple computer chief Steve Jobs
  • New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin
  • U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald
  • British Prime Minister Tony Blair
  • Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin
  • Chief Justice John Roberts
  • Peace activist Cindy Sheehan
  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  • "Commander in Chief" star Geena Davis
  • Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican.
  • Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada
  • Rapper Kanye West
  • Teen golfer Michelle Wie, who turned pro in '05.
  • Time for Kids readers picked their "Person of the Year," choosing Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling in a narrow vote over seven-time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong.

    Pulling in third were "Heroes in Times of Need" -- those who worked to help people affected by 2005's string of natural disasters, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the tsunami and the Pakistan earthquake. (Local heroesexternal link)

    Time's editors tapped former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush as their "Partners of the Year" who came together as emissaries and fundraisers, first for victims of the tsunami in south Asia and then for the victims of the other disasters.

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