NEW YORK — Time magazine has named Bill and Melinda Gates and rock star Bono its Persons of the Year, citing their charitable work and activism aimed at reducing global poverty and improving world health.
The magazine said 2005 was a year of extraordinary charity in which people donated record amounts in response to the tsunami in South Asia and Hurricane Katrina.
"Natural disasters are terrible things, but there is a different kind of ongoing calamity in poverty and nobody is doing a better job in addressing it in different ways than Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono," said Jim Kelly, Time's managing editor.
The 2005 Persons of the Year package hits newsstands today.
"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.
Time praised the Gateses for building the world's largest charity -- the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has a $29-billion endowment -- and for "giving more money away faster than anyone ever has."
The foundation has saved at least 700,000 lives in poor countries by investing in vaccination programs, has donated computers and Internet access to 11,000 libraries, and has sponsored the biggest scholarship fund in history, the magazine said.
Time said Bono's campaign to make wealthier countries address the debt of poorer ones has had an equally impressive effect on the world.
In 2005, "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.