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Archive for Tuesday, September 2, 2008

People in the news

September 2, 2008

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Jude Law touts peace in Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan - Jude Law is visiting Afghanistan to promote peace in the war-ravaged country.

Together with director Jeremy Gilley, the Oscar-nominated Law has returned to Afghanistan to help maintain momentum for Peace Day - an annual day on Sept. 21 urging a global cease-fire and nonviolence.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Peace Day in 2001, following a lobbying campaign by Gilley which he documented in the film "Peace One Day."

"When I left Kabul last year, I was hugely moved not by the conflict that I have read so much about, but by the people's courage and the people's sense of hope," Law told reporters in Kabul on Monday.

Noted for his roles in movies such as "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "Cold Mountain," Law helped Gilley produce his second documentary film, called "The Day After Peace."

The documentary, which also features former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama, Angelina Jolie, Annie Lennox and Jonny Lee Miller, charts the way Peace Day can be used as a focus for lifesaving activity, Gilley said.

Law said the movie "was the most important film I have been part of."

Law and Gilley, who arrived in Kabul on Sunday, are to meet President Hamid Karzai, top NATO and U.N. officials, and members of the aid community.

He said ordinary Afghans, who marched and prayed as they marked Peace Day last year, are among the film's stars.

"It is Peace Day's commitment to take this film as a message from people of Afghanistan to the rest of the world," he said.

The visit coincides with one of Afghanistan's most violent periods since the ouster of the Taliban from power in 2001. More than 3,700 people - mostly militants - have died as a result of the war this year.

Lewis telethon raises record $65 million

Las Vegas - Jerry Lewis raised a record $65 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in his annual Labor Day telethon, a benefit that also made a pitch for those inconvenienced by Hurricane Gustav.

This year's 22-hour telethon added a special plea for MDA-registered families forced to leave their homes because of the hurricane, which made landfall Monday in Louisiana. The storm affected nearly 5,000 MDA families needing services in their new location, the organization said.

Lewis also urged viewers to contribute to the Salvation Army's emergency disaster services. The 2008 haul for the 43rd annual fundraising blitz was $1.2 million more than last year's total.

Lewis said he was prepared not to exceed the 2007 number because of the sluggish economy.

"Each year I tell myself, 'This has got to be it. There's no way we can do better.' Then, the following year, I'm astounded to see that generosity driven by love and compassion has a greater capacity than I thought possible," Lewis said.

The freewheeling 82-year-old showman co-hosted the telethon from the South Point hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Longtime participant Ed McMahon, Tony Orlando, "Access Hollywood" host Nancy O'Dell and others shared the hosting duties. Celine Dion, 3 Doors Down, Kid Rock and Reba McEntire performed.

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