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Entries in George Clooney (9)

Sunday
Oct212012

George Clooney Called to Testify at Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Trial

(NEW YORK) -- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a rare appearance at his trial in Milan, claiming movie star George Clooney can help him prove he did not have sex with an underage showgirl.

Berlusconi, a 76-year-old media mogul known for hosting infamous “bunga bunga” parties that are allegedly lavish orgies, is accused of paying a Moroccan showgirl, known as “Ruby the Heart Stealer” for sex more than a dozen times when she was underage.

Ruby claims she saw Clooney and and his ex-girlfriend, Elisabetta Canalis, at one of the bashes however Clooney has denied ever partying with the former prime minister.

“I spoke to their people and said, ‘I will come and testify if you’d like,’ because I wasn’t at the party that I was said to have been at. I wasn’t at his ‘bunga bunga’ party,” Clooney told Time Magazine last year.

Berlusconi admitted he gave Ruby nearly $80,000, but said it was for a beauty salon she planned to open.

Berlusconi is also accused of abusing his power after he allegedly got Ruby released from jail in 2010, claiming she was the Egyptian president’s niece.

“To have a big movie star come from Hollywood all the way to Italy to testify on your behalf, I mean that’s credibility for you,” said legal analyst Jean Casarez. “It also could give some respect to the defense itself.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar152012

George Clooney Lobbies President Obama on Sudan

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Actor and activist George Clooney visited the White House Thursday to lobby the president on the plight of the people in South Sudan.

“The good news is we feel like there is a commitment at a very high level,” Clooney told reporters at the White House after his meeting with President Obama.

Clooney said he pressed the president on the need to open a humanitarian corridor to allow aid to reach the south before the rainy season begins.

“These are not people who have been suffering a drought and suddenly need our help,” he said. “These are people who farm this land and have lived there -- they are the oldest society in the world -- they have survived a lot of things. Right now their villages have been burned, their crops have been burned. It is too late to grow any crop in order to survive the rainy season.”

Clooney said that the president plans to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao in the coming weeks and that efforts to stop the violence in Sudan will be one of the topics they discuss.

China has new economic incentives to get involved in the effort, Clooney explained. The violence is shutting down oil production, cutting off some of China’s supply.

Asked about the viral Kony 2012 video, which aims to bring attention to accused war criminal Joseph Kony, Clooney, who has been traveling and hasn’t yet seen the video, said “anytime you are making the names of people who are charged for war crimes famous, I think that’s good.”

Clooney brought his message to Capitol Hill this week, where he called for tougher economic sanctions and increased diplomatic pressure on the Sudanese government to stop committing “war crimes” against civilians.

Clooney was joined at the White House by John Prendergast, founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project, an organization that uses satellite imagery to monitor Southern Sudan. The group hopes to use the images as evidence of the atrocities in Sudan to raise the level of protection and bring those responsible to justice.

The actor, who has donated money to Obama’s campaign, also attended the State Dinner at the White House Wednesday night, where he sat next to first lady Michelle Obama.

Asked about Obama’s chances for re-election, Clooney said “I hope they’re very good. I’m a Democrat and a supporter of the president. I hope he has a successful election.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar152012

President Obama First Heard About Kony Video from Daughter Malia

Kent Nishimura/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama met Thursday with two activists focused on Sudan, actor George Clooney and John Prendergast of The ENOUGH Project.

Among the many items they discussed was the Kony 2012 video (currently up to 79 million hits on YouTube), which brings attention to accused war criminal Joseph Kony, thought to be in the Central African Republic.

Clooney later revealed that, having been out of the country, he hasn’t seen the video.

According to a senior administration official, President Obama first heard about the video the same way so many people have: from one of his children.

In this case, it was from Malia, 13.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar142012

Clooney on Capitol Hill: 'Constant Drip of Fear' in Sudan

C-Span(WASHINGTON) -- Actor George Clooney argued before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that what happens in conflict-torn Sudan matters to Americans economically.

“South Sudan is shutting off its oil,” Clooney said. “Six weeks ago the South shut down their oil production. They just stopped. And overnight China lost 6 percent of its overall oil imports which means they have to go elsewhere and that raises the price of oil.”

Clooney called on the United States Senate to help toughen the sanctions on the Khartoum government, a government he says is committing “war crimes” against civilians, a bill similar to the House-passed “Sudan Peace Security and Accountability Act.”

Clooney asked the Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee to increase America's engagement in “real diplomacy” starting with China to help solve the cross-border issues together, for “good-solid economic reasons” for both countries. He called on the Obama administration to send a high-level envoy to China to work together on this.

“We can take this moment and engage with China I think for the first time,” Clooney said. “There are economic reasons to do this for both of us and it seems to me that we can use this opportunity, this window of opportunity before it gets too long, too late, by sending a high-level envoy.”

Clooney was just back from a trip to the violent border region between Sudan and South Sudan where he observed the aftermath of Omar al-Bashir’s bombs being dropped on villages and civilians in the Numa Mountains. Aided by a short video of his trip last week, Clooney told the story of villagers forced to dwell in caves out of “constant drip of fear” from the aerial attacks.

“We found children filled with shrapnel including a nine year old boy who had both of his hands blown off,” Clooney said of his trip. “It is a campaign of murder and fear and displacement and starvation.”

John Prendergast, founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project, which uses satellite images to monitor southern Sudan as an “anti-genocide paparazzi” also spoke alongside Clooney. Prendergast says the satellite images are used to “create evidence or future arrest warrants and prosecutions based n the crimes that are being committed now."

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH., wanted to know if, given the popularity of the video, Clooney is contemplating a “stop Kony-like” video for Sudan.

Clooney said he was surprised by the response to the video and noted the powerful role that social media can have in raising attention world-wide to all atrocities.

But Clooney noted that there is “donor fatigue,” and “misery fatigue,” and that big pushes around singular events are extremely important to keep momentum going.

Clooney will meet with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later this week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar042011

Sudan: Satellite Images Show Burned Villages, Military Buildup

Satellite Sentinel Project(WASHINGTON) -- A satellite imagery network set up by actor George Clooney to document abuses in Sudan released a set of photographs Friday showing the smoldering remains of structures in a tense oil-rich region that is coveted by both sides of a long-standing conflict there.

One of the images released by the Satellite Sentinel Project shows at least 20 civilian buildings that appear to have been intentionally burned in the village of Maker Abior. Other images show a buildup of Sudanese Armed Forces units, including artillery, near the Abyei region.

Another image released Friday shows burned structures in the village of Todach. Clooney's group says the absence of scorched ground vegetation or trees is indicative of apparent arson.

In the past week, intense fighting around Abyei has killed at least 100 people and countless more have been displaced or fled in fear. According to the Enough Project, which partnered with Clooney on the six-month, $750,000 satellite mission, the motivations of the fighting depend on which side is talking. Southern Sudanese authorities say the attackers were members of the Sudanese army and allied militias, while some tribal officials say southern forces have instigated the violence by disguising troops as part of a police force that is meant to be neutral. Neither side is supposed to have troops in the area.

"The United States calls on local and national authorities to ensure that the UN Mission in Sudan has the access required to protect civilians, increase patrols where fighting is taking place, and engage with local leaders to restore calm," said State Department spokesman PJ Crowley.

Clooney has lent his star power to the cause of peace in Sudan and has made several trips there in the past year to highlight the violence.

Oil rich Abyei remains at the heart of a smoldering conflict between North and South Sudan. The two sides fought a bloody civil war that lasted for decades. It ended in 2005 with the signing of a US-brokered comprehensive peace agreement that called for referenda this year on South Sudan's independence and on the status of Abyei.

In January the South Sudan referendum took place under what international monitors called free and relatively peaceful circumstances, resulting in overwhelming support for South Sudan's independence, but the referendum on Abyei was delayed over concerns that conflict there would jeopardize the rest of the process in the rest of the country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Clooney’s Satellite Project Confirms Troop Presence in Sudan

Photo Courtesy - White House Press(WASHINGTON) – A satellite project co-founded by actor George Clooney has confirmed reports of company-sized deployments of Sudanese Armed Forces troops in the Abyei region of Sudan.

The Satellite Sentinel Project has spotted the troops on both sides of the volatile North-South border in numbers consistent with other sources that estimate as many as 55,000 SAF troops along the South Kordofan border.

“These first images and analysis have deepened our understanding of the evolving situation following Southern Sudan’s historic vote on independence,” Clooney said in a statement. “Although the SAF in South Kordofan apparently remains a force largely in hiding, we showed they are field-deployed, and they are controlling major roads by running checkpoints.”

The imagery, however, depicts stationary forces that “are not showing signs of advancing,” according to Clooney and the SSP. The news could mean more time to address unresolved issues between the North and South to avoid further conflict.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Sudan's foreign minister Wednesday and “reaffirmed U.S. willingness to take steps toward normalization of relations,” according to a readout. Those steps would come as Sudan makes continued efforts toward fulfilling commitments set forth by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which, among other obligations, would require a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Darfur.

The SSP was launched by Clooney late last year as a way to publically monitor security threats along the border.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan102011

George Clooney in Sudan to Bring Attention to Independence Referendum

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SUDAN, Africa) -- George Clooney is in Sudan, ahead of a week-long referendum that began Sunday and will likely lead to the southern part of the country declaring its independence.

Clooney has been actively involved for years in ending the civil conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, so the elections are important to him.  He tells ABC News, "I get an awful lot of undue attention at times in my life, and I thought I could parlay that, and if I was going to get that kind of attention, I should do it somewhere where people really need the attention."

Clooney says it's important that the referendum not result in more violence.  To that end, his organization Not On Our Watch helped launch a website late last month, SatSentinel.org, that is monitoring troops in the country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan022011

Clooney Hopes Satellites Will Shed Light on Sudan

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Actor and activist George Clooney said he hopes that technology can bring public attention to the border region of Sudan and prevent potential violence and even genocide after a critical referendum there next week.

In an exclusive interview with ABC’s This Week, Clooney talked about the goals of the newly-launched Satellite Sentinel Project, a joint effort backed by the U.N., Google and human rights groups to have satellites monitor the border between Sudan’s northern and southern region.

Southern Sudan will vote next Sunday on whether to break away from the northern part of the country, which has been wracked with violence in the past decade. The Satellite Sentinel Project, backed by Clooney and John Prendergast of the Enough Project, will provide high-resolution images of the border region on the project’s website that the public can monitor, in hopes of drawing attention to the region in case of violence after the referendum.

“If you see actual evidence of those kind of attacks, that's something … that the U.N. can actually work with,” Clooney said. “But for the most part, our job is to say that these things have been happening in the dark for a long time … We're going to be able to … not show it afterwards, but show it beforehand, that there were plans, there are tanks lined up, that there are helicopters online, that are going to … that are about to commit atrocities.”

Clooney said the project, which will cost $750,000 to run, is a cost-effective way to prevent violence, instead of “putting Band-Aids on a wound after the wound has been inflicted.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct132010

George Clooney Urges Diplomatic Action to Prevent Conflict in Sudan

Photo Courtesy - The White House/ Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- George Clooney is trying to raise awareness about the possible renewal of civil war in Sudan.  He recently returned from a week-long trip to southern Sudan, a region that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls "a ticking time bomb."

The region is torn from 21 years of a civil war that has killed two million people, according to the U.S. State Department.  Clooney is concerned that without immediate diplomatic action from the United States, Sudan is on its way to resume that bloody conflict.

The Oscar winner isn't the only one concerned.  In the past week, both the U.N. Security Council and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have visited the region.  Both organizations are trying to intervene before a Jan. 9 referendum to decide whether animist and Christian south Sudan should secede from the Muslim north, and which side will obtain ownership of the oil-rich region of Abyei.

Clooney is making an urgent plea for "robust" diplomatic action, which he believes can prevent further conflict.  To that end, he met with President Obama and Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday before making a presentation to the Council on Foreign Relations last night.

During his trip, Clooney traveled to remote, conflict-prone areas of southern Sudan.  With him was human rights activist John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, an anti-genocide advocacy group, and co-author of The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes.

Clooney first visited the region in 2008 with his father, when he shot a film on the genocide in Darfur to teach Americans about the conflict.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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