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Wyclef Jean Joins George Clooney To Lead MTV’s ‘Hope For Haiti Now’ Telethon

Two-hour global telethon will air Friday, January 22

Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean will join George Clooney and CNN’s Anderson Cooper in hosting MTV Networks’ “Hope for Haiti Now,” the global two hour telethon to air commercial-free across ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, BET, The CW, HBO, MTV, VH1, and CMT plus CNN International, National Geographic and MTV on Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Hope for Haiti Now” will feature performances and celebrity appearances to be announced in the coming days, as well as live news reports from CNN. Clooney will host from Los Angeles, Wyclef Jean will be in New York and Anderson Cooper will be live from the devastation, with the Hollywood actor lining up a who’s who of guests to drop by and perform on the night.

All proceeds will be split evenly among five relief organizations who are on the ground helping the people of Haiti: Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF and Yele Haiti Foundation. Both Facebook and MySpace have signed on as official social-media partners to help steer viewers to the telethon and drive donations.

Celebrities across the fame spectrum have harnessed social-networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to rally support for the Haitian people, announcing their personal donations or directing their fans to contribute to deserving aid groups.

Yele Haiti FoundationHaitian-born musician Wyclef Jean has become the unofficial face of this celebrity humanitarian movement. More than $1 million has flooded in to Jean’s Yéle Haiti since Tuesday, according the charity’s fund-raising organizers. The Hollywood Foreign Press announced it would donate $100,000 to Yéle, while figures such as Lindsay Lohan, MC Hammer, and Haitian-born soccer star Jozy Altidor have tweeted their support for Jean’s cause.

Producing the telethon will be Joel Gallen, who produced the 9/11 telethon “America: A Tribute to Heroes” that aired 10 days after that tragedy.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that several other celebrities are using their social clout and talent to direct attention to Haiti.

  • Lance ArmstrongCyclist Lance Armstrong announced to his 2.3 million Twitter followers that his Livestrong foundation had pledged $250,000 to two humanitarian aid groups.
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  • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Actors-turned-philanthropists Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have donated $1 million to the Doctors Without Borders organization; Oprah began her talk show Wednesday by asking viewers to contribute to the Red Cross; Coldplay front man Chris Martin is urging his fans to donate to Haiti via Oxfam; and even Paris Hilton promoted the efforts of the Red Cross via Twitter.
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  • David BlaineMeanwhile, magician David Blaine is taking a slightly more hands-on approach. At 9 a.m. Friday, Blaine started what will be a 72-hour, nonstop “Magic Marathon” in Times Square. Benefits of the event and all proceeds from his online store will be given to the Red Cross.
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  • RihannaBut George Clooney isn’t the only celeb tapping his golden connections. East Coast nightlife guru Unik Ernest, whose Edeyo Foundation supports community-building projects in Haiti, has begun organizing a telethon and benefit concert. While the date of the event is yet to be released, celebrities said to be featured include: Rihanna, Usher, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Mark Wahlberg, Jay-Z, Susan Sarandon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and others, according to Tonic.com.

Celebrity support of the Haitian people has contributed to the success of this week’s aid efforts. The American Red Cross reported Wednesday evening that in the 48 hours following the quake some $35 million in donations had poured in – more than it had received in the two days following Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis.

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Tampa Police: Marine Reservist Attacked Greek Priest He Mistook for a Terrorist

Posted by Audiegrl

Marine reservist Jasen Bruce charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Marine reservist Jasen Bruce charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

St. Petersburg Times/Jamal Thalji—A Marine reservist armed with a tire iron beat and chased a man he thought was an Arab terrorist and even called 911 to say he was detaining the man, police said.

But the man he assaulted was actually a Greek Orthodox priest visiting from overseas who spoke limited English, police said.

That’s why police arrested reservist Jasen D. Bruce on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Police said they’re also investigating whether Bruce, 28, committed a hate crime.

The incident took place around 6:35 p.m. Monday, police said. The priest, Alexios Marakis, 29, is from Crete, Greece. He is visiting St. Nicholas Greek Cathedral at 17 E Tarpon Ave. but police said he was in the Westshore area to bless another retired Greek priest.

Lance Cpl. Jasen D. Bruce, seen with his wife Nichole, is accused of attacking the Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece.

Lance Cpl. Jasen D. Bruce, seen with his wife Nichole, is accused of attacking the Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece.

But Marakis apparently got lost and exited northbound Interstate 275 into downtown Tampa, police said.

The priest followed several cars into the Seaport Channelside Apartments on Twiggs Street. He got out of his car and asked Bruce for help.

Instead of offering help, Bruce struck the priest on the head with a tire iron, police said.

He then chased the priest for three blocks to the Madison Avenue and Meridian Avenue, police said, and even called 911 to say that an Arabic man tried to rob him.

Bruce said he was going to take the Arab into custody. When police arrived, Bruce told them the victim was a terrorist.

The priest was taken to Tampa General Hospital. There, a translator helped Marakis speak to police.

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The Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece, is carried to an ambulance after being beaten.

The Rev. Alexios Marakis, 29, of Crete, Greece, is carried to an ambulance after being beaten

SunCoastNews/Josh Poltilove—In a 911 call, Bruce made a derogatory comment about a man he said was a terrorist and was trying to rob him and had grabbed him in a sexual manner, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

When officers arrived, police say, Bruce told them he heard the man say “Allahu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is great.”

That’s what they say before they blow you up,” Bruce said, according to police.

But at a news conference today, Bruce’s attorney said his client didn’t understand what Marakis said.

Lance Cpl. Bruce defended himself with the full legality of the law for being sexually attacked and potentially robbed,” lawyer Jeffrey Brown said.

Bruce, 28, faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was released on $7,500 bail.

McElroy said Bruce “teared up when we told him that (Marakis) was a Greek Orthodox priest and not a terrorist.”

Rev. Alexios Marakis at St. Gregory the Theologian Parish in Mansfield, MA 2007

Rev. Alexios Marakis at St. Gregory the Theologian Parish in Mansfield, MA 2007

Marakis, 29, was treated at Tampa General Hospital and released. He told investigators he’s visiting St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs.

Marakis declined to comment today, saying he does not speak much English. The Rev. Michael Eaccarino of St. Nicholas said Marakis is doing well.

Before deciding whether the incident qualifies as a hate crime, police will determine whether Bruce’s motive was based on a belief that Marakis was Arabic.

The Marines Reserve will wait for the investigation to conclude before taking any action, an official said.

In 2007, Bruce was accused of pushing a tow truck driver in the back and chest when his Jaguar was about to be towed, records show. Bruce told police the truck driver had grabbed him to stop him getting in his car.

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Filed under Christianity, Florida, Greece, Hate Crimes, Islam/Muslim, Military, Police, Religion, Reserve, Tampa, FL, Uncategorized, Violence

Derogatory Free Speech: Court Overturns Lawsuit Against Church

Posted by Audiegrl

Funeral ProtestEUR—A federal court has ruled that it’s acceptable for church members to picket outside the funeral of a gay soldier holding signs that read reading “God hates fags” and “Thank God for dead soldiers” because their message was protected under the First Amendment Right of free speech.

In doing so the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., reversed a lower court’s $5 million award against Westboro Baptist Church concluding that members didn’t violate the privacy of the family of fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder when they picketed his 2006 funeral in Westminster.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the Westboro membership is made up largely of the members of a single extended family who say the deaths of U.S. service members are God’s way of showing he disapproves of America’s alleged tolerance of homosexuality.

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Mathews father, Albert Snyder talks with reporters Oct. 31 at the federal courthouse in Baltimore. (AP Photo/The (Baltimore) Sun, Glenn Fawcett)

Mathews father, Albert Snyder talks with reporters Oct. 31, 2007. (AP Photo/The (Baltimore) Sun, Glenn Fawcett)

Associated Press—A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the signs contained “imaginative and hyperbolic rhetoric” protected by the First Amendment. Such messages are intended to spark debate and cannot be reasonably read as factual assertions about an individual, the court said.

A jury in Baltimore had awarded Albert Snyder damages for emotional distress and invasion of privacy. The 2006 funeral of Snyder’s son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder in Westminster, Md., was among many military funerals that have been picketed by members of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas.

Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder

Fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder

Albert Snyder’s attorney, Sean E. Summers, said he and his client were disappointed.

“The most troubling fact is it leaves these grieving families helpless,” Summers said. “If you can’t use the civil process, you have no recourse.”

He said he will appeal the ruling to either the full appeals court or to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We feel we owe that to Mr. Snyder and other families who have been harassed, humiliated and abused,” Summers said.

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