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George News: April 24, 2006

GEORGE AND NICK CLOONEY'S TRIP TO THE SUDAN
The article says that George filmed their trip and will appear on TV shows to talk about it. It also says that they'll both attend the 'Rally to Stop Genocide' next Sunday :) Which, to be shallow for a moment, means hopefully new pics and interviews! :)

From The Cincinnati Post: Post columnist Nick Clooney, just back from an eight-day trip that he and his son, actor George Clooney, made to Sudan and Chad, says he hopes the stories they relate will prompt more protection and humanitarian aid for 2 million refugees from the Sudan province of war-torn Darfur.

"This is an ongoing and terrible story that we were able to see up close," said Clooney. "These folks are helpless out there. There's nobody between them and very bad people.

"They have only minimal protection provided by the African Union. What's holding these people together is help from humanitarian agencies, 80 of them from around the world, many of them from the United States."

Nick Clooney will be writing about the trip in at least three columns, beginning Wednesday, and George Clooney, who filmed much of the trip, will be appearing on several television programs.

Both Clooneys plan to attend a "Rally to Stop Genocide" organized by the Save Darfur Coalition next Sunday in Washington, D.C.

"The reason we wanted to make the trip at this time was because of the demonstration on behalf of Darfur," said Clooney. "We're hoping to be able to make this as timely as possible and raise awareness."

A three-year conflict between Darfur's rebels and the Arab-dominated central government of Sudan has caused an estimated 180,000 deaths - Clooney said it was 250,000 - mostly from disease and hunger, and displaced 2 million people.

The United Nations has described the conflict as the world's gravest humanitarian crisis, and President Bush has called it genocide.

Negotiators are trying to broker a peace deal between warring factions by an April 30 deadline. Members of the African Union have agreed in principle to hand over peacekeeping duties to the United Nations beginning Sept. 30.

On Sunday, the day the Clooneys arrived back from their trip, Osama bin Laden upped the ante in Sudan by calling on his followers to go to Sudan to fight a proposed United Nations force.

Bin Laden, who was based in Sudan before being expelled, said in an audio tape that his supporters should "prepare for (a) long war" in Sudan.

Clooney said he and his son, accompanied by two acquaintances - David Pressman, who previously worked for the United Nations in Darfur, and camera operator Mike Herron, formerly of Cincinnati and now of New York - made the trip on their own.

"Nobody sponsored us, no group organized it," he said, adding with a laugh, "George and I split expenses. He paid for transportation and equipment. I paid for cigarettes and coffee."

Clooney said they wanted to see the situation first hand in Sudan and neighboring Chad, where there was a coup attempt a week before they arrived.

"We were trying to find out what was going on over there," he said. "Obviously, we're very disturbed and concerned about 250,000 deaths and 2 million displaced people and nobody seems to be doing much about it.

"We found that in more than 25 refugee camps there are 2 million displaced people out of 6 million in Darfur. That's one-third of the population displaced. Meanwhile, the killing continues, and more are being displaced."

Clooney said he and his son tried to get into Darfur, but were stopped at two borders by armed troops.

"I stood across a dry river bed from Darfur, but could not get in," he said. "We also couldn't get in Khartoum (the capital of Sudan)."

However, Clooney said "with the help of some very remarkable and courageous people, we were able to get into a village with displaced people and a refugee camp of 29,000 people in Chad.

"We spent a couple of days talking to refugees and what happened to them and how we might be able to help. The were sitting under trees, waiting for someone to help them.

"They had left Darfur two weeks before their villages were destroyed and their cattle killed and their brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers killed.

"The stories I heard clearly indicated the United Nations' definition of genocide. Call it ethnic cleansing or what you will, it needs to be addressed."

FROM THE 'OH, WE WISH!' FILE
From Cleveland.com: And what's the deal with NBC touting its new shows as "all new?" Can't the promos just say "new?" Is NBC having money troubles, too? Will it start airing shows that are "partially new?" As in, "Here's a mostly new' episode of ER.' To cut costs, we're going to splice in a few scenes from 1996 featuring George Clooney as Dr. Doug Ross. Let's see if anyone notices."

THE CLOONEY FAN SITES
New(ish. New to me :P) George livejournal community - do_me_clooney Fabulous name ;) The community has updated with photos of George on the Michael Clayton set. Thanks Zosia!
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