Saturday, October 3, 2015

Humanitarian award for Adi Roche and Ali Hewson

Adi Roche and Ali Hewson will receive the Princess Grace Humanitarian Award from Prince Albert in Monaco tonight in recognition of their work in helping thousands of children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Ms Roche, peace campaigner and a former presidential candidate and Ms Hewson, Irish activist, businesswoman, and wife of U2 frontman Bono, have raised more than €100m for Chernobyl Children International.

The charity was established in response to the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 95km north of Kiev, near the Belarus border. More than 8m people continue to live in Chernobyl and contaminated areas of Belarus and Ukraine — many of them children.

Chernobyl Children International has brought around 25,000 children to Ireland for medical treatment and recuperation. The children stay with host families during the summer and the charity also flies surgeons to the Ukraine to carry out life-saving procedures on infants.

Ms Roche, from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, but now living in Cork with her husband Se├ín, established the charity in 1991 after doctors in Chernobyl appealed to anti-nuclear groups to help them get children out of the area. Two years later, Ms Hewson got involved with the charity and they have worked hard to keep it going during difficult financial years in 2012 and 2013 so it could continue with its life-saving programmes. The charity’s financial situation stabilised last year and while Ms Roche is a full-time executive, she works for the organisation on a voluntary basis.

The Ireland Fund of Monaco’s Princess Grace Humanitarian Award will be presented at a gala dinner in Monte Carlo.


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Ali Hewson and Adi Roche were awarded the Princess Grace Humanitarian Award

Ireland’s leading ladies were centre stage at the Ireland Fund of Monaco Ball.
Bono’s wife Ali Hewson jetted into the city to receive the prestigious  Princess Grace Humanitarian Award from Prince Albert and was joined by the U2 frontman.

Joined by peace campaigner Adi Roche, both women were recognised for their work in helping thousands of children affected by the Chernobyl disaster.

Opting for a floor-length off the shoulder black gown, Ali paired the look with an oversized clutch.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Bono and Mark Zuckerberg aim to bring the Internet to the globe

They call for Silicon Valley tech companies to take action.

U2 frontman and humanitarian Bono and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg want to bring the Internet to the entire world. The pair co-authored an op-ed for the New York Times, “To Unite the Earth, Connect it,” in which they laid out a plan to provide Internet access to everyone by 2020.

Today, only about 3 billion people have access to the Internet, less than half of the upwards of 7 billion people on earth. They write: “The Internet should not belong to only three billion people, as it does today. It should be see as a necessity for development, and a tool that makes larger things possible.”

Bono and Zuckerberg argue that international economic development is closely tied to global connectivity. In Ethiopia, access to the Internet has helped farmers get better prices for their crops, track their inventory, and make insurance payments to protect their assets in case of an emergency. In Guatemala, the Internet has given expecting mothers information on how to have a healthy pregnancy.

Bono y Mark Zuckerberg quieren llevar Internet a todo el mundo

Bono and Zuckerberg write that 9 out of 10 people living in rural Africa don’t have electricity, so the first step in extending connectivity on a global scale is extending energy access.

They point to a handful of government initiatives that are helping with these goals, but call for the private sector, specifically Silicon Valley tech firms, to build on that foundation:

More technology companies and entrepreneurs must take more responsibility. Silicon Valley should look beyond itself and act more on issues like education, health care and the refugee crisis. We challenge the tech industry to do far more for those most marginalized, those trapped in poverty, and those beyond or on the edge of the network.

Bono at the Global Citizen Festival

The Global Citizen Festival 2015, aimed at taking action against major global issues, took place on September 26th in New York's Central Park. At the festival, the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, as agreed upon by world leaders, were unveiled and the #62MillionGirls campaign was kicked off by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Bono gave a rousing introduction to Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and her fellow female activists, demanding the audience chant one of his favorite Nelson Mandela quotes, "It is always impossible until it is done."

U2 songs featured in Rock Band 4

Videogame makers Harmonix and Mad Catz have announced U2's "Cedarwood Road" and "I Will Follow" will be among the songs featured in the upcoming release of Rock Band 4, available for pre-order starting today. According to the game's press release, "fans can expect additional U2 tracks to be added to the in-game Music Store for download after launch." Other artists include Aerosmith, Avenged Sevenfold, The Black Keys, Elvis Presley, Fall Out Boy, Foo Fighters, Jack White, Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars, St. Vincent, Queens of the Stone Age, Van Halen, The Who and many others. The game will be released on October 6.

Every breaking wave nominated for Camerimage award

U2's "Every Breaking Wave" is nominated for Best Music Video and Best Cinematography in a Music Video at the upcoming Camerimage awards.

The festival website describes the event as, "The greatest and most recognized festival dedicated to the art of cinematography and its creators—cinematographers."

Cinematographer Steven Annis and Director Aoife McArdle will be recognized, should the video win. U2's competitors for the awards include Pharrell Williams, Rhianna, Florence and the Machine, and Imagine Dragons.

The winners will be announced at the festival's closing ceremony in Bydgoszcz, Poland on Nov. 21. No word yet on whether any of the band members will attend, but they do have a break between their Belfast and Dublin gigs at that time.

Berlin: 22 to 29 September 2015

Four intense nights in Berlin for the iNNOCENCE and eXPERIENCE tour.

On the first night: Zoo station.

'I'm ready 
Ready for the laughing gas
 I'm ready Ready for what's next...' 

 Zoo Station into the show  to mark the band’s arrival in Berlin, Germany... a song made just down the road at Hansa Studios. Went down pretty well online.  And after a blistering opening quartet of songs, Bono paused before 'Iris'. 
 'Here we are in the heart of Europe. The beating heart of Europe. We have many many friends here..sometimes we feel a little too at home here...' 
 According to the people who know these things (@U2gigs), this was the tenth time the band have played Berlin - they first performed here in 1981 on the Boy Tour. The city was written through the show tonight - with seven songs from Achtung Baby, the album that was born in this city nearly a quarter century ago. Extraordinarily resonant moment when the great graffiti-strewn wall fell from the roof, dividing the venue in two for the The Fly - just like a wall once divided a city and a country. Zoo Station was the biggest surprise, the first time it's been played live for nearly ten years, along with a snatch of Ultraviolet in Beautiful Day and everyone on song for One which closed the night.

'Last night was strong but I can see tonight is going to be even stronger,'said Bono, catching his breath after  The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone), Electric Co, Vertigo and I Will Follow.

'Berlin knows what to do on a Friday night.
Berlin knows what to do with the Irish cousins...'

And Berlin is also host to a special anniversary tonight, marked with respect to Herr Mullen, for 'making that great invitation to us, thirty nine years ago... wow!'

Bono returned to the theme introducing Every Breaking Wave.
'I saw that notice and I wanted to be in a band but I didn't think I could be but a friend of mine, Reggie Manuel, the Cocker Spaniel, talked me into it and took me to Larry Mullen's house on his motorbike.
Reggie Manuel, the Cocker Spaniel, is in Berlin tonight and I want to sing this song for him…'

Good to have Reggie in the house tonight and good to have another special guest appearance - underlining the Achtung Baby Berlin vibe in his slicked back hair, devil horns and gold lame suit, and grooving all the way down the stage for Mysterious Ways. 

'Wow Mr Macphisto, haven't seen him in a while...'

Special intro to Beautiful Day, as Bono prepares to fly to New York.  'Well tonight, as we sing, as we pray, world leaders at the United Nations are adopting some new Global goals & it's a big deal' (@atu2)

There's a hint of Moment of Surrender as Beautiful Day ends - and it's another night in Berlin where we all surrendered to the music.

New Year's Day in Germany

'All is quiet on New Year's Day.
A world in white gets underway.
I want to be with you, be with you night and day.
Nothing changes on New Year's Day...'

No mistaking those opening chords and the roof nearly came off the Mercedes Benz Arena when everyone realised New Year's Day was making its tour debut.

All in all, it was a special night. As Bono put it earlier, 'This cannot be Monday night... it must be Friday night.' The band have been enjoying life in Germany.

'We've been hanging out here in your fine city... Yesterday we found a pub to watch the Rugby World Cup... and met some people who had come from working in the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan...

Some of them are here tonight, thank you to them for doing God's work.
It's been nice to walk around your home town. Next few songs we're going to walk around our home town... where it all began for us...'

And with that we were into Cedarwood Road. Later Bono mentioned that apart from catching the rugby in Berlin, he'd also found time on the weekend to fly to New York and back. He hinted at the reason in Beautiful Day - 'See the world in green and blue, Global Goals right in front of you' - and then explained some more.

'I had a bit of a mad weekend.. I went to New York for 14 hours... for the launch of the Global Goals… a road map for how we might rid this planet of extreme poverty and turn around the climate crisis in the next 15 years.. so its a big idea…'

It was a moment to thank the people of Germany for their leadership in showing Europe how to respond to the refugee crisis. 'We love this Germany… we are in awe of this Germany.

'I saw your Chancellor, and she wants to make sure that in the next five years we have the first HIV-free generation. We can do that... we really can.'

'Two hearts' on night four

I can't stop to dance
Honey, this is my last chance
I said, can't stop to dance
Maybe this is my last chance...'

All the way from 1983, Two Hearts Beat As One was the set list surprise tonight, only the fourth time in thirty years. 

And special mention for film director, photographer and longtime band friend Wim Wenders who was in the house tonight celebrating his birthday, with Bono leading the audience in Happy Birthday. 

'In Dublin, where we grew up, sometimes birthdays can go on for a very long time.. like if someone's really... something.. it can go on on for a really, really long time… and tonight is actually the official end of the great Wim Wenders 70th birthday party.. and he's here with us tonight and for Wim Wenders we would like you to sing… Happy Birthday…. what a gift dear friends to this country… great visionary… great man... it is indeed a beautiful day... gift to the world.'

It was always going to be a great night, this last one in Berlin. 

'You have made us feel very special, explained Bono after I Will Follow. 'Thank you very much. Maybe you treat all your rock and roll bands like this… its ok... if it's a Summer romance.. just let us know.. but we've kind of fallen in love sort of thing.. we want to take the relationship to the next level.. we are kind of at the moving-in phase… we may not want to move-out phase.. We are liking Berlin a little too-much kind of phase.. but if we are gonna get married then you probably know some stuff about us, where we came from, how we started out... so where gonna take you to where we come from, to our home town… to Dublin, to the North side of the city… to the streets where we grew up.'

Amra, from Sarajevo - also known as @U2_ultraviolet - was volunteering with the ONE campaign at the show yesterday. Tonight she was up on stage for Mysterious Ways, dancing with the band. What a journey. Amra's first ever U2 gig was when the band played Sarajevo in 1997. During the 360 tour she met @harrykantas, another hardcore fan and now her husband. They've been all over this tour…

'I don't even know how this song ends.' said Bono, introducing Every Breaking Wave. 'It's not finished yet.' 

And we can't not mention that a great show closed with Bad going into '40' - most people seem to think that is the finest ending to any U2 show ever.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bono meets German Development Minister

German Development Minister Gerd Mueller meets with Bono at the German Ministry of Development on September 23, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.

German Development Minister Gerd Mueller meets with Bono at the German Ministry of Development on September 23, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.

German Development Minister Gerd Mueller meets with Bono at the German Ministry of Development on September 23, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.