Bono says financial woes hurting AIDS fight

U2 TOUR FANS 360 Show SYDNEY (Reuters) - Financial tough times in developed economies are undercutting efforts to stop the global spread of AIDS, U2 lead singer Bono said on Tuesday.

“Times are hard in the Western world,” the Irish rock star and campaigner told Reuters after launching World Aids Day, marked around the world on December 1, at Sydney’s Opera House.

Bono said agencies established to arrest acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) “were fighting hard for funding” nearly three decades after the disease was first diagnosed.

He added that more money was needed to meet a target set by the Global Fund to eliminate the transmission of HIV from pregnant mothers to their unborn children by 2015.

According to the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF, over a thousand babies are born each day in Africa with HIV and about half of the HIV-positive women in Africa do not get the drugs they need to prevent transmission of the virus to their babies.

“In recessionary times, people have to tell their politicians this is important to them,” Bono said.

An estimated 33.3 million people worldwide had the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS in 2009, according to the latest figures issued by UNAIDS. There were 26.2 million in 1999.

There is no cure and no commercially available vaccine but combinations of drugs called antiretrovirals can keep patients healthy. However, the virus stays in the body forever and can reactivate if people stop taking the drugs.

“Some people think that the pandemic is on its way out and it’s job done,” Bono said. “It is really not so.”

(Reporting by James Regan, editing by Mike Collett-White and Paul Casciato)



U2 360° To End Year Down Under

In the middle of the night, as the U2 slept in their beds dreaming of the bands arrrival to another city. A update was placed for all to dream about. Yes we have an offical tour annoucement.

Tour Dates announced for Australia and New Zealand: U2360° will visit Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and include  U2’s first Perth date since Popmart in 1998. 

‘U2 has always been at their best when surrounded by their audience, and this extraordinary production makes that happen in stadiums,’ says U2’s manager Paul McGuinness. ‘It was important to the band that we were able to bring the whole 360°  production to Australia and New Zealand so fans could experience the latest of U2’s legendary productions.’

The U2360° Tour kicked off again in Turin, Italy this month and will visit 17 cities, including Moscow and Istanbul, before finishing at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on 8th October. By the time it reaches New Zealand and Australia, U2360° will have been seen by over 4 million fans.

With a cylindrical video system of interlocking LED panels, and a steel structure rising 150 feet from the floor over a massive stage with rotating bridges, the band has truly created an intimate  experience for concert goers. Long-time U2 Show Director Willie Williams has worked again with architect Mark Fisher (ZooTV, PopMart, Elevation and Vertigo), to create an innovative 360 design, which affords an unobstructed view for the audience.

‘To have an in-the-round transportable stadium production is something that the touring industry has been trying to figure out for some time. The extra capacity U2 360° gives us means that there are a large number, several thousand in fact, of low priced tickets at every show’, said U2 tour producer/promoter Arthur Fogel, CEO of Live Nation Global Touring.

 In keeping with the concept that this tour is more about a unique staging configuration with excellent sight-lines tickets in all 5 cities will be available starting at $39.90 with general admission floor tickets available at $99.90. Additional reserved seat tickets also available starting at $99.90.

 Tickets for the U2 performances in Australia and New Zealand will go on sale Friday, September 3rd at all usual outlets. U2.com subscribers will be able to buy tickets ahead of the public on-sale. 

Australia & New Zealand Tour Dates 2009

November 25 Auckland, NZ    Mt. Smart Stadium 
December 01 Melbourne, AU  Etihad Stadium 
December 08 Brisbane, AU Suncorp Stadium
December 13 Sydney, AU ANZ Stadium
December 18 Perth, AU  Subiaco Oval 
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