U2 frontman Bono and Microsoft billionaires BILL and MELINDA GATES have been named Persons of the Year (05) by US magazine Time.

Gates, the world's richest man, his wife Melinda and Bloody Sunday hitmaker BONO were honoured as a reflection of their tireless work to alleviate poverty and lavish their charity on those less fortunate.

Bono was feted for his Live 8 performance and mission to persuade the leaders of rich countries to drop the debt owed by the developing world. The Gates were in turn praised for their creation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has quickly become the world's biggest charity.

The latest issue of the magazine, published today (19DEC05), reads, "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 publication aim to honour "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill".

Previous recipients of the award include George W Bush and former Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.