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Obama targets poverty in San Antonio, Philadelphia and other U.S. 'zones'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will be the first targets of President Barack Obama's plan to combat high poverty in American communities, the White House said on Wednesday.

The president will announce the five areas as the first in a series of so-called "Promise Zones" that combine various other efforts under the Obama administration to address struggling neighborhoods, the White House said in a statement.

Obama has pledged to make addressing income inequality in America a top priority. The selection comes on the 50th anniversary of the unofficial war on poverty launched under President Lyndon Johnson.

A formal announcement is planned for 2 p.m. EST.

The Promise Zone initiative, put forth in Obama's 2012 State of the Union speech, aims to partner local businesses with the community "to create jobs, increase economic security, expand access to educational opportunities and quality, affordable housing and improve public safety," the statement said.

The zones will combine several other revitalization efforts such as the Obama administration's Promise Neighborhoods and Choice Neighborhoods that fund local programs aimed at education, housing and other areas.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Rosalind Russell)