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U2 star Bono declared corruption "the biggest killer of them all" at the World Bank as he expressed concern over the "fiscal cliff" facing the US budget.
"Everybody here knows that the biggest killer of them all -- biggest killer of them all, bigger killer than AIDS, TB, malaria, probably the lot together -- is corruption," said the Irish rocker, who co-founded the anti-poverty ONE campaign.
"And it's not just corruption south of the Equator; it's corrupt ideas north of the Equator, and sometimes actual corruption north of the Equator," Bono said during an hour-long public exchange with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
According to Bono, who peppered his serious speech with jokes, guaranteeing transparency would be the biggest "turbo-charger" to the fight against extreme poverty.
Before an enraptured audience, the megaband superstar also said he fears the consequences on poor countries of the "fiscal cliff," a poison-pill agreement between Republicans and Democrats that forces harsh budget cuts and tax increases from January 1.
"There's so much pain coming from the economic downturn and recession and this fiscal cliff," Bono said, adding that it threatens "real jeopardy."
Bono said several hundreds of thousands of people across the globe would see critical aid programs cut if the US government does not negotiate a solution to avert the disastrous cuts and tax increases.
"We know there's going to be cuts," he said, referring to expected budget slashing as the US works to reduce its ballooning deficit.
"But not cuts that cost lives."