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'One' Campaign To End Poverty

This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
I saw Nelson Mandela staring at me from a full page ad in several of my newspapers this morning and wondered, "What's this all about?"

Mandela is appealing to the leaders of the G8 summit next week to really do something about the poor by addressing issues of disease and hunger. The ad is sponsored by an organization called "One" -- the campaign to make poverty history.

One's Web site claims that by pledging an additional 1 percent of the U.S. budget -- about $24 billion -- 10 million children will not become aids orphans, 104 million kids can go to grade school, 900 million people can get water, six and a half million kids could be vaccinated to prevent common diseases from killing them.

One is just part of a growing global trend to move the problems of the world's poor to the top of the global agenda.

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Remember when Tony Blair came to the United States a couple of weeks ago? His number one priority was aid to Africa and reducing Third World debt.

HBO just released a much publicized movie called "The Girl From The Café," which shows how the girlfriend of a British bureaucrat harasses the Prime Minister and head of Treasury into sticking up for the poor at a G8 meeting. Sticking up for the poor and standing up to the Americans. It's fiction of course, but very effective.

We are the richest nation on Earth and always claim to be able to do whatever we set our mind to, so why not Africa? It's complicated, and corrupt to be sure, but this growing chorus wants an answer. Why not Africa? Why not now?

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith

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