Global heroes: three people whose actions have made an impact on the world

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The Independent Online


Born 1940

Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, known throughout the world as Pele, scored an incredible 1,283 goals during his career. With the young maestro in the side, Brazil became the first team to win the World Cup three times - in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

The legend was born in Tres Caracoes, a poor district of Brazil. His father Dondhino was a football player. and the young Edson was in love with the beautiful game too. However, his mother was not so enthusiastic about her son's chosen vocation - her husband earned little money from football and she desperately wanted better for her son.

But fate stepped in. Ex-Brazilian international Waldemar de Brito spotted the youngster's talent and at 14, Pele was invited to join Bauru Athletic Club Juniors. Aged 15 he moved to Santos, where he stayed until 1974.

Pele played his first World Cup match in 1958 in Sweden, aged 17. Fans were won over by the talented teenager and his dazzling skills. He scored six times to help Brazil lift the trophy for the first time.

Injuries ruled him out of the 1962 and 1966 tournaments but he bounced back at Mexico '70, capping a brilliant tournament with a header in the final.

In 1977, Pele hung up his boots for good. He played a cameo role in the 1981 film Escape to Victory, and has been an ambassador for the UN and UNICEF.


Born 1955

In 1989, British techie Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. By 1991, he was rolling it out to the (influential and techie) masses. The internet as we know it was born!

Because we use it so frequently and rely on it so heavily, it's easy to forget just how great an invention the internet is. In terms of business, it allows companies from all over the world to communicate with clients, making the world of business a much smaller and more interlinked environment.

For most people, the internet means we can shop and browse information far more easily than ever before. With services such as msn, hotmail and yahoo we can "talk" to people all over the world instantly. With the advent of the webcam we can now see them too.

In 1994, Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web consortium and has since served as its director, co-ordinating Web development across the globe.

Berner-Lee's truly ground-breaking achievements have been recognised in recent years. A quiet and modest Oxford graduate, he got the shock of his life when he received a phone call (not an email!) to tell him that he was being knighted in the 2003 New Year's Honours list. He's come a long way since building a computer with a soldering iron and an old TV!


Born 1975

Angelina Jolie is best known for her model looks, movies and off-screen life. However, there is much more to her than meets the eye. She's an international ambassador and human rights campaigner, who remains dedicated to various charities.

Born in Los Angeles, Jolie went to Beverly Hills High School and then New York University. Her first starring role was in the 1995 film Hackers. Jolie then played the title role in Gia, a film based on the true story of a model who died from AIDS. Then came her kick-butt action roles as Lara Croft. But underneath all the glitz and glam, Jolie has a more serious life-changing role. She has been a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commision for Refugees since 2001. As well as donating to charity, Jolie gives up her time too. Instead of attending the premiere of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, she visited earthquake-hit northern Pakistan.

Jolie has a child with Brad Pitt and has also adopted children from Cambodia and from Ethiopia.

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