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Taking Names: Suu Kyi meets up with ‘star-struck’ Bono

- - Monday, June 18, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi and Bono joined forces Monday as the Myanmar democracy activist's European tour moved from the home of the Nobel Peace Prize to the land of U2.

The pair spent more than an hour answering questions at an Oslo conference of peace mediators at the end of Mrs. Suu Kyi's four-day visit to Norway. Then they jetted together to the Irish capital, Dublin, for an evening concert in her honor.

Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore and a trio of children, two of them Myanmar nationals, offered Mrs. Suu Kyi flowers as she arrived at Dublin Airport. Several thousands excited well-wishers, ranging from Irish glitterati to virtually Ireland's entire Myanmar community, awaited her arrival at a dockside Dublin theater.

Mr. Gilmore called the Dublin celebrations, involving actress Vanessa Redgrave and the "Riverdance" troupe, "a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the warmth and affection in which this remarkable and courageous woman is rightly held by the Irish people."

"I hope that the recent positive developments in Myanmar, including Ms. Suu Kyi's election, herald the real beginning of a new era of peace, democracy and human rights," Mr. Gilmore said.

Bono, who wrote the 2000 hit "Walk On" in praise of Mr. Suu Kyi's long exile from her family and dedicated U2's 2009 world tour to her, had never met her before. He acknowledged he found her a wee bit intimidating.

"I'm star-struck ... but I'm managing to get over it," said the 52-year-old Bono, who donned his trademark yellow-tinted wraparound glasses and high-heeled boots.

Mrs. Suu Kyi, in turn, said Bono had hit the right note with "Walk On," which was written from the point of view of her husband, Michael Aris. Myanmar's military rulers refused to let him see his wife from 1995 to his death from cancer in 1999.

"I like that song, because it's very close to how I feel, that it's up to you to carry on," said Mrs. Suu Kyi, who turns 67 on Tuesday. "It's good if you have supporters; it's good if you have people who are sympathetic and understanding. But in the end, it's your own two legs that have to carry you on."

In Norway, Mrs. Suu Kyi gave two acceptance speeches for awards she received long ago — the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and the Rafto Prize in 1990 — and was to embrace more time-delayed honors in Dublin.

At the Dublin concert, called "Electric Myanmar," Bono is scheduled to unveil Amnesty International's top prize, the Ambassador of Conscience, an award for Mrs. Suu Kyi that the singer announced at a Dublin U2 concert in 2009. Mrs. Suu Kyi was finally released from house arrest the following year.

Paul McCartney still rocks as he marks 70th birthday

Paul McCartney can still rock at 70 — what more could a former Beatle want?

He celebrated his birthday in private Monday, perhaps resting up between gigantic gigs this summer, but is showing no sign of slowing down as his music is passed down to generations too young to have seen him in Wings, much less the Beatles.

Once a pot-smoking counterculture rebel, "Sir Paul" is very much part of the British establishment now, closing Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee concert earlier this month with a mix of favorites that included a raucous "All My Loving," one of the Beatles' first smash hits.

He's also preparing for a featured role closing the London Olympics' opening ceremony on July 27 — just another global audience measuring a billion or more for one of the most popular performers in pop history.

It's been a strong year for Mr. McCartney, who in October took his third wife, dark-haired American heiress Nancy Shevell, closing the book on his failed union and messy divorce from second wife Heather Mills. His first wife, Linda, died of breast cancer in 1998.

John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, tweeted birthday wishes to Mr. McCartney on Monday, and singer Paul Weller made a one-day-only digital release of the Beatles' song "Birthday" as a tribute, with proceeds going to charity.

Radiohead pays homage to victim of stage collapse

The drummer for the British rock group Radiohead paid homage Sunday to Scott Johnson, the sound technician killed when an outdoor stage set up in a Toronto park for a group concert collapsed.

"We have all been shattered by the loss of Scott Johnson, our friend and colleague," drummer Phil Selway wrote in a brief statement posted on the group's website.

Mr. Johnson died Saturday when part of the metal-frame stage at Downsview Park collapsed, a Toronto police spokesman said.

Mr. Johnson "was a lovely man, always positive, supportive and funny; a highly skilled and valued member of our great road crew. We will miss him very much.

"Our thoughts and love are with Scott's family and all those close to him," read the message, signed simply "Phil."

The late Mr. Johnson, 33, was a native of Doncaster, England, according to a group spokesman cited by Canadian media.

The Saturday accident occurred about 3½ hours before the show was to start.

The concert was canceled, and officials opened a probe into the cause of the accident. Contrary to early speculation, there were no strong gusts of wind at the time the stage collapsed.

• Compiled from Web and wire reports