November 9th, 2012
04:55 PM ET

My view: Malala spurs school-for-all vow, now deliver

Getty ImagesBy Gordon Brown, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Gordon Brown served as Britain's prime minister between 2007 and 2010 after a decade as the country's finance minister, or chancellor of the Exchequer. In July this year he was appointed as a United Nations Special Envoy on Global Education by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) - Pakistan has a new heroine and a new cause - a girl's right to education - and after Friday's announcements from the Pakistani government that they will adopt new measures to get every child into school by end 2015, that cause has a timetable and a deadline for delivery.

Everywhere you go in Pakistan you find people talking animatedly about the 15-year-old girl, Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban last month.

A rickshaw touring the streets of Islamabad has a slogan posted on it: "Malala for education and peace." Go to the local girls' school and every girl seems to have written either a poem or a song, a letter or a card to Malala.

Listen to the politicians and every speech is laced with references to the courage of Malala. Meet civil society organizations and they will tell you that the audience for their educational demands has risen markedly over the last few weeks.

It seems that Malala's courage has awoken Pakistan's silent majority who are no longer prepared to tolerate the threats and intimidations of the Pakistan Taliban.

Can Pakistan convert its momentary desire to speak out in support of Malala into a long term commitment to getting its three million girls and five million children into school? Can the politicians, long-criticized for a failure to deliver, find the teachers, the classrooms and the reading materials to give millions of children a basic education?

Read Gordon Brown's full column

Football teams becomes Sandy clean-up crew
A truck drives through a neighborhood flooded by Hurricane Sandy in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.
November 9th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Football teams becomes Sandy clean-up crew

Editor's note: Steve Politi is a sports columnist for The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey. He can be reached at or Twitter: @StevePoliti

By Steve Politi, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Football can't do much to help the devastated communities along the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy. But this is what residents in dozens of towns are discovering this month: Football players can.

From Union Beach to Seaside Heights, from Belmar to Bayville, local high school teams are aiding the recovery effort with supplies, with support, and sometimes, with strength.

That was the scene in Point Pleasant Beach last weekend. More than a dozen members of the town's undefeated high school team went door to door helping their neighbors. They carried out flood-ravaged debris to the curb, from couches to dressers to dining room furniture, and when they finished one house they would walk as a group to the next and start again.

"I said to the kids when I texted them (to organize the cleanup), the community has been so behind us, this is an opportunity for us, in a way, to say thank you," said John Wagner, the team's head coach.

Many of the players had done the same thing at their own homes earlier in the week. Others were displaced, living in hotels or shelters, not sure where their families would settle long-term.

This is the case up and down the Jersey Shore, the epicenter of the devastation from the unprecedented storm. The images on television days after, from the roller coaster from the Seaside boardwalk sitting in the ocean to the boats piled up like toys on the streets, do not begin to sum up the damage.

Read the full story