Saturday, February 16, 2008

Worthwhile News From Hollywood

Amazingly, with all of the good being done by celebrities like Steven Spielberg, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Nicole Kidman and others the media seems to be more interested in broadcasting Britney Spears stories EVERY evening.

Maybe one day the media and the American public will be fed up with stories about anyone name Spears of Hilton.

Let's hope.

except from
Darfur Investors Take Heat on Yahoo! News

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 15 (OneWorld) - Steven Speilberg and human rights groups ratcheted up the pressure on China this week while nearly 100,000 activists turned their sights on Wall Street's biggest investment firms, urging them all to wield their power to help bring peace to the strife-torn Darfur region of Sudan.

"We won't rest until UN peacekeepers have the resources they need to provide a lifeline to Darfur's most vulnerable civilians," said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, an influential rights watchdog.

Like many other human rights defenders, Cox thinks Wall Street investors who have major stakes in Sudan's oil industry can play a powerful role in molding Khartoum's political behavior in the Darfur region.

"Through shareholders resolutions, we are pushing these firms to pressure Sudan to quickly admit the full peacekeeping force," Cox said Wednesday.

As part of its campaign, Amnesty and its partners have initiated talks with six major investment firms, including Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Merrill Lynch.

The group said its activists have also sent some 95,000 letters to 10 of the top investment companies, urging them to apply pressure on Sudan to allow the full deployment of the UN force.

Under increasing pressure from the United Nations, Arab leaders, and the United States, Sudan agreed this week on the rules of operation for the peacekeepers in Darfur, allowing the force, which currently comprises only 9,000 of the 26,000 personnel originally envisaged, to become operational. Khartoum has been consistently criticized for dragging its feet and hampering the international peacekeeping efforts as it continues to carry out its own military strikes in Darfur.

This week's move has largely failed to satisfy peace advocates, many of whom believe that as long as China continues to embrace a soft policy on Darfur, prospects for peace will remain bleak.

China, which has strong economic and military ties with Sudan, has consistently opposed Western attempts to apply strict UN sanctions against Sudan for its Darfur policy.

However, in the face of growing international criticism, China has recently made some adjustments in its policy towards Sudan, particularly by contributing troops to the UN force in Darfur. But, many believe that is not enough.

On Wednesday, Hollywood film director Steven Spielberg made headlines in the world press by announcing his resignation as artistic adviser for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker accused China of not doing enough to pressure Sudan to end the "continuing human suffering" in Darfur.

"I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual," he said in a statement.

"At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur."

More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2 million forced from their homes in the five-year conflict. Some analysts put those numbers significantly higher, though the remoteness of the region and ongoing fighting make it impossible for statisticians to determine the exact toll.

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