Bono Waxes Enthusiastic About Brazil Lula’s Battle on Poverty

U2 Irish rock band leader and social activist Bono met privately on Sunday, February 19, with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazilian capital BrasÀ­lia and lauded the President’s fight against poverty.

"It is a dream to be here because Lula (Silva) is fighting against poverty not only here but also in Africa. I feel very enthusiastic about it," Bono told cheering fans at Brasí­lia’s airport.

"Bono for president of United Nations," read the sign of one of many fans waiting outside the presidential retreat for a glimpse of the rocker. Bono has worked on poverty relief efforts and Lula’s best known social program is called Zero Hunger.

Brazilian Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil, who became famous as a pop music star before joining the government, was also present at the barbecue in the presidential farm.

U2, performing in Brazil for the first time since 1998, will play at Sao Paulo’s Morumbi stadium on Monday and Tuesday.

According to Lula’s spokesperson André Singer, the Brazilian president told Bono of his plans to develop biodiesel production in the Northeast of the country where 40 million of the poorest Brazilians are concentrated.

Private companies and the Agrarian Reform Ministry will conduct the program that is expected to distribute land among peasants to farm oil producing crops.

"For each worker in the biodiesel industry, a thousand jobs will be created in the camp; Lula’s administration target is 100,000 new jobs by the time his mandate is up," said Mr. Singer.

"Our dream is to develop Northeast Brazil on bio-diesel", President Lula told the U2 band leader.

Meanwhile in Rio the city was still recovering from the two hours Rolling Stones open show in Copacabana.

The Stones had visited Brazil three times, but Saturday was the first time the band played for free in the country, where few can afford tickets to see top international acts.

About 400 city workers hauled almost 220 tons of rubbish left behind by the 1.3 million people who attended the concert, which brought a Carnaval spirit to the city a week ahead of the world-famous annual celebration.

Civil defense officials said nearly 500 people received minor medical treatment during and after the show. The most serious cases were three stabbings during robbery attempts, but none of the victims reportedly suffered life-threatening wounds.

The Stones’ opened with "Jumpin’ Jack Flash" and played mostly older hits, with a few songs from their newest album, "A Bigger Bang."

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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