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Live8 ? G8? What's Going Down ?

U2 and Paul McCartney opened the biggest rock'n' roll show in history on Saturday July 2nd with a fantastic version of Beatles' classic Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Read the U2.Com report of U2's set here

Live 8 has been conceived and planned to raise political pressure on world leaders to do more to fight poverty in Africa.

For several years - and especially in the last few months - campaigners on behalf of the poorest countries have been working to ensure that this time round the G8 Summit strikes a deal to make the world fairer for the poorest people. They are demanding G8 leaders take 3 steps to make extreme poverty history...
1. double the aid sent to the world's poorest countries,
2. fully cancel their debts,
3. change the trade laws so that they can build their own future.

If you're not sure what the G8 is this is a good introduction.

In early June, campaigners achieved their first big success when the wealthiest countries agreed to write off more than $40 billion of African debt. The deal would wipe out the debts owed by 18 of the world's poorest countries immediately and up to 38 in total, most of which are in Africa. Find out what Bono had to say about this at DATA, the campaigning organization he founded to lobby for global change for the poorest people.

Watch a short film explaining how Live8 came about - and what it is for.

Live 8 was conceived by Bob Geldof, Bono and Richard Curtis, the film director, and this explains how it came about and what their hopes are.

It was 20 years ago, in response to a tragic famine in Ethiopia, that Bob Geldof organised
Live Aid - raising $140m in emergency famine relief. Ever seen U2 performing Sunday Bloody Sunday at Live Aid ?
Since then Geldof, Bono and others have come to argue that charity funds are not enough to help the poorest people - the political structures which keep them in poverty have to be reformed.

In the UK and much of Europe, the campaign focus in 2005 centres on Make Poverty History - the mantra Bono has been reciting at show after show on the current tour. Here he explains on video why 2005 is so important.

You may also have seen him wearing a white band. 'By wearing one you are part of a unique worldwide effort in 2005 to end extreme poverty.'

Since the start of the Vertigo tour in March, U2 have been highlighting the way that new technology can help ordinary people to join the campaign. It's been called 'the cellphone moment' in the show and already more than 800,000 people have signed up to the One Campaign in the US. Read about how it works

And if you're in the US, sign the ONE Declaration.

To keep up to speed on developments in Africa, here's an invariably reliable source of news.

U2's music has always been about heart and mind, body and soul and the band have succesfully thrown a spotlight on the work of many key campaigning groups trying make the world a better place. From Amnesty International and Greenpeace to the Chernobyl Childrens Project we keep an eye on these campaigns in our Hearts and Minds area.

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