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Port-au-Prince, Haiti: From George Clooney to Lance Armstrong, celebrities tap star power to urge giving

To boost donations after the Haiti earthquake, MTV and George Clooney are teaming up to host a two-hour telethon on Jan. 22, while magician David Blaine will conduct a 72-hour Magic Marathon in Times Square.

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These star-studded events could mean millions more dollars for Haiti. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, the “Shelter From the Storm” one-hour benefit concert reached viewers in nearly 100 countries and raised an estimated $30 million for Bayou relief.

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Several other celebrities are using their social clout and talent to direct attention to Haiti.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong announced to his 2.3 million Twitter followers that his Livestrong foundation had pledged $250,000 to two humanitarian aid groups.

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.

Meanwhile, 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.

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. (To donate to the Red Cross, text “HAITI” to 90999.)


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