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Hollywood stars donate to tsunami appeal

Story by: Jack Foley

HOLLYWOOD celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Sandra Bullock have donated large sums of money to survivors of the tsunami disaster, via some of the big relief agencies that are currently working in South Asia.

NBC is also planning a celebrity-packed TV benefit show, much like the two-hour telethon organised by all four major US networks 10 days after the September 11, 2001, attacks on Washington and New York (which raised over $150 million in pledges to assist victims).

The gestures of goodwill followed a plea from American President, George W Bush, for US citizens to give generously to those suffering in South Asia and East Africa, where the official death toll has now climbed to almost 150,000 in the aftermath of the December 26, 2004, disaster.

Of the individual celebrities known to have contributed so far, the American Red Cross said it had received $1 million (£530,000) from Sandra Bullock for tsunami relief work.

The amount matches that which the Speed and Two Weeks Notice star donated to the Red Cross in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

DiCaprio, meanwhile, has pledged a 'sizable' contribution to UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, which is believed to be targeted for aid to devastated areas of Thailand, where his film, The Beach, was filmed in 2000.

According to Reuters, NBC and its sister cable networks - USA, Bravo, Trio, Sci-Fi, MSNBC and CNBC - are apparently planning to simulcast a benefit special on January 15 featuring celebrities and musical performances.

In the music world, American nu-metallers, Linkin Park, have created a relief organisation for the tsunami appeal, which they have generously donated to, while artists including Sir Cliff Richard and Boy George are planning a relief record in the UK.

There are also plans afoot for a special Live Aid style concert at Wales' Millennium Stadium as soon as possible.

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