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Bob Geldof to give concert in Malta

Bob Geldof addressing a news conference in Johannesburg last Tuesday. He said that unless the world`s G8 group of rich countries delivered now on pledges made last year, African leaders would instead turn to Beijing, which has adopted a no-strings attached approach to doing business in Africa.

Bob Geldof addressing a news conference in Johannesburg last Tuesday. He said that unless the world`s G8 group of rich countries delivered now on pledges made last year, African leaders would instead turn to Beijing, which has adopted a no-strings attached approach to doing business in Africa.

Anti-poverty campaigner and rock star Bob Geldof is to perform in concert in Malta to raise funds for YMCA, a spokesman for the charity told The Sunday Times last week.

The concert will be held on June 28, at a venue yet to be announced.

Bob Geldof, the creator of the Live Aid and Live 8 concerts, has pledged his support to YMCA, and the Malta event aims to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless in Malta.

The concert falls within a string of the star's European dates and rounds off a trio of big names to play in Malta in early summer: Sting stages a concert here on June 6 and Roger Waters on July 10.

Bob Geldof's commitment to YMCA's cause is a huge coup for the charity.

YMCA has worked hard to turn the spotlight on Malta's homeless in recent years. Last year, the YMCA assisted 9,000 social cases, although not all were homeless. About 300 people officially don't have a roof over their heads in Malta, where many people still find it hard to believe homelessness is a big issue.

Born in County Dublin, Geldof, 54, fronted the Irish new wave band Boomtown Rats in the Seventies and Eighties and shot to international fame in 1979 with I Don't Like Mondays. But in 1984, he was famously moved by BBC footage of starving children in Ethiopia and vowed to do something to help. He teamed up with Ultravox's Midge Ure and co-wrote the smash hit Do They Know It's Christmas? which was recorded by a host of British and Irish stars in a group called Band Aid.

Riding on the success of the single, Geldof organised the Live Aid charity concerts in London and Philadelphia in July 1985 and raised unprecedented funds to relieve African suffering.

A year later he was given an honorary knighthood in recognition for his work. As a non-British national he did not become "Sir Bob" but can use the letters KBE after his name if he so wishes. Ironically he is still nicknamed Sir Bob and even St Bob. Geldof has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Boomtown Rats, which had released seven albums, split that year and Geldof launched a solo career and released four albums.

On July 2 last year he organised another string of mega-concerts in major cities across the world, this time called Live 8, part of the Make Poverty History campaign. U2's Bono, founder of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), was also heavily involved. The ONE campaign to Make Poverty History was spawned from DATA.

The object this time was not to raise cash but to exert as much pressure as possible on the G8 leaders, who were meeting at Gleneagles in Scotland a few days later, to cancel Third World debt. An estimated three billion people watched the event.

In the end, G8 leaders agreed to double aid to Africa to $50 billion by 2010 and cancel the debts of the 18 poorest nations. Geldof and his collaborators are now working to make sure those promises are kept.

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