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Brin, Bono Picked as Gorbachev Finalists

Google billionaire co-founder Sergey Brin, U2 lead singer Bono and film director Steven Spielberg were picked as finalists for Mikhail Gorbachev's The Man Who Changed the World award.

Brin, Bono and Spielberg were among nine nominees announced late last week for the award created this year by organizations including the Gorbachev Foundation as part of the former Soviet leader's 80th birthday celebrations.

"Each of the award nominees already made a big personal contribution to the development and changing of the world we live in for the better," Gorbachev said in a statement distributed at a reception hosted by British Ambassador Anne Pringle.

The winners of the award in three categories — contribution to the development of global civilization, culture of an open world and modern science and technology — will be announced March 30 in London during a charity concert at Royal Albert Hall dedicated to Gorbachev's March 2 birthday. The presentation will become an annual event, with the next ceremony to take place in Germany.

Other nominees include World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee; former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva; engineer Martin Cooper, who made the world's first mobile phone call in 1973; and CNN founder Ted Turner.

The ceremony will be hosted by Hollywood actors Sharon Stone and Kevin Spacey and feature singer and songwriter Bryan Ferry, heavy metal band the Scorpions and Russian rock band Mashina Vremeni, or Time Machine.

Bono helped organize the concert with actors Hugh Grant and Catherine Deneuve. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli President Shimon Peres, London Mayor Boris Johnson and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be among the attendees of the event, where suites cost £100,000 ($160,000).

When asked about not including Russian citizens among the nominees, Gorbachev replied that Brin was from Russia. The Google founder immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1979, when he was 6.

"I think there will be Russians as the award lives on," Gorbachev said.

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