Michelle Obama's visit to a girls' school in a diverse east London neighborhood turned into a love fest Tuesday when she was greeted with singing, poetry and interpretive dance on her mission to promote education for girls.

In return, the U.S. first lady spoke from the heart about the role education played in her remarkable rise from a tough working-class environment, and the need for girl students to fight discrimination and carve their own proud path in the world.

"The world needs more girls like you growing up to lead our parliaments and our boardrooms and our courtrooms and our universities," Obama said, visibly moved. "We need you."

She came to London to promote her "Let Girls Learn" initiative, which now has the backing of the British government. The two nations on Tuesday announced plans to support girls' education in countries hit by crises, such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. About $200 million will be devoted to the efforts.

Messing makes pitch for the arts

Actress Debra Messing is making a pitch to restore acting classes at her old high school. The "Will & Grace" star returned to Rhode Island on Monday night to accept the Pell Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts. The Providence Journal reports Messing signed a petition presented by an aspiring actress and sophomore at East Greenwich High School to restore acting classes at her school. Messing said she was drawn to acting when she was 7 and her mother took her to see "Annie." She says she saw the kids up on stage and thought, "I can do that."

honored: Poet James Fenton has won the PEN Pinter Prize, a writing award that celebrates champions of free speech. Fenton is a former Oxford University professor of poetry and war correspondent. Many of his poems deal with conflict and its aftermath, including those in the collections "The Memory of War" and "Children in Exile." Maureen Freely, president of writers' group English PEN, said Fenton "has spoken truth to power — forcefully, fearlessly and beautifully."

crash: Actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson said he sideswiped a truck while filming his latest movie in Massachusetts. The "San Andreas" action star took to Instagram on Monday to say he'd hit a parked truck and damaged its side mirror while on route to the movie set. Johnson says truck owner Audie Bridges recognized him and refused to accept money for last month's damage. Johnson is filming "Central Intelligence," an action comedy also starring Kevin Hart.

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