U2 frontman and human rights activist Bono has guest-edited British newspaper The Independent today (16MAY06), in conjunction with his anti-AIDS campaign Red. The Irish mega star announced "No News Today" on the front page of the popular broadsheet in a design by acclaimed artist Damien Hirst, adding in small print at the bottom: "Just 6,500 Africans died today as a result of a preventable, treatable disease." The singer unleashed his talents on the publication in a bid to encourage the corporate world to join the battle against disease in Africa. Coverage of the continent comprised the first seven pages of the newspaper, and Bono contributed an impassioned plea for action in his editorial. The letter, entitled "I am a witness. What can I do?" begins with an appeal to disregard preconceptions of "messianic rock stars" and concentrate instead on the issues being raised. Bono urged, "Not for the sake of my vanity, but for the sake of people who are depending on you - the reader - to respond to the precariousness of their lives. "(Former US Secretary Of State) COLIN POWELL describes HIV as "the most lethal weapon of mass destruction on the planet. So forgive us if we expand our strategy to reach the high street, where so many of you live and work." Top-selling brands including Gap, Converse, American Express and Giorgio Armani have already signed up to back the Red initiative.