Bono Mixes With Presidents

IT'S been quite a week for Philadelphia. The local Phillies beat our atrocious New York Mets for a National League playoff spot, and a few days before, Bono was the guest of honor at an event where he was awarded the city's prestigious Liberty Medal, which is given annually to "individuals or organizations whose actions represent the founding principles of the United States." The U2 singer/ activist extraordinaire received his honor from last year's co-recipient, President George H.W. Bush, who shared the accolade with President Bill Clinton for their bi-partisan efforts towards securing Hurricane Katrina relief. Bono's work on behalf of underprivileged Africans has earned him kudos from leaders the world over, and once again he spoke eloquently about America's role as a beacon of hope for those who have none.

"Your America is where Neil Armstrong takes a walk on the moon," Bono during the ceremony at the National Constitution Center. "Your America gave Europe the Marshall Plan. Your America gave the world the Peace Corps.

"America is not just a country, it's an idea, isn't it? It's a great and powerful idea," he added. "America has so many great answers to offer. We can't fix all the world's problems, but the ones we can we must."

Bono donated the $100,000 prize money to DATA, (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), the group he co-founded to highlight the humanitarian disaster that many parts of Africa has become. The event was complete with Irish and African music, and undoubtedly a good time was had by all.

Last weekend Bono popped over to New York City to take part in the Clinton Global Initiative, which is no surprise as he's a regular attendee at the ex-prez's annual confab of world leaders. He was at the event's concert at the Apollo Theater, and was praised by everyone from Colombian singer Shakira to Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

According to an Israeli website report, Bono was on the receiving end of a formal invitation from Livni to visit Israel, and the new friends swapped contact details. The report also said that Bono is working on a project involving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Never fear, U2 fans, Bono is still committed to making music - though if a report in the British press on Monday is factual, we might want him to continue with his relief efforts for a while longer.

Word has it that he's penned a song for the reunited Spice Girls, and that it will be included on a greatest hits album to be released later this year. "It might seem unusual with the Spice Girls' pop roots and the much more rockier work of Bono, but it works," a source told the Sun newspaper.

"There's been a bit of unease as to how the album will perform and if there's still a solid Spice Girls' fan base out there. However, Bono's involvement has lifted the whole camp and he's delighted to have been asked and add his experience."

Bono and U2 guitarist The Edge are still hard at work on a musical stage version that will bring Spiderman to life on Broadway sometime next year.

"If we pull off what we're trying, it will be something the likes of which no-one has seen or heard," he said.

"It should be a hallucinogenic experience for theater goers. You have the visual energy she (director Julie Taymor) brings. The myth of the arachnid and the elasticity of these characters - you can turn theatre upside down.

"We've got some punk rock in there and some beautiful opera," Bono added.

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