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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 December 2005, 15:32 GMT
Gates and Bono praised by Time
(From left to right): Bill Gates, Bono and Melinda Gates on the cover of Time's latest issue
Time said the winners had been "shrewd about doing good"
The world's richest man Bill Gates, his wife, Melinda, and rock star Bono have been named "Persons of the Year" by America's Time magazine.

Time said the US couple and the Irish singer had been chosen for their charitable work and efforts to reduce global poverty and improve health.

Time has been awarding its somewhat controversial awards since 1927.

It aims to pick "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill".

In 2004, the "Person of the Year" went to President George W Bush, while in 2003 the magazine honoured "The American Soldier". Nazi leader Adolf Hitler won in 1938, and in 1979 the award was given to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Time named former US Presidents George Bush Sr and Bill Clinton "Partners of the Year" in 2005 for their humanitarian work.

'Impressive impact'

"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," Time said in its latest special issue, which will hit newsstands on Monday.

It praised the US couple for building the world's largest charity - the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - and for "giving more money away faster than anyone ever has" in 2005.

The foundation has saved some 700,000 lives in developing countries around the world by supporting vaccination programmes, has donated computers to tens of thousands of libraries and sponsored a big scholarship fund, the magazine said.

Mr Gates - the founder of computer giant Microsoft Corp. - has personal fortune of $46.5bn and this year again topped Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest person in 2005.

Time said Bono's efforts in fighting global poverty has had an equally impressive impact.

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

Former Presidents Bush and Clinton were named "Partners of the Years" for their humanitarian efforts after the deadly Asian tsunami in December and Hurricane Katrina which devastated several US states.

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