US artists converge for tsunami aid

Major Hollywood stars and famous musicians have participated in a televised concert to raise funds for Asia's tsunami victims, with songs like "We're all in this thing together".

    Over 167,000 have died in a dozen tsunami-hit countries

    Among others, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross also rendered numbers in the telethon late on Saturday while some movie stars answered phones and chatted with viewers calling in to make a donation to the tsunami relief effort.

    Some Hollywood stars made personal appeals over the commercial-free two hour show, broadcast live from venues in Los Angeles, New York and London.

    "Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope" was telecast on one US television network and its affiliates.

    Donations went to the American Red Cross International Response Fund in support of victims of the 26 December 2004 tsunami that killed over 167,000 people and uprooted millions of others from their homes in a dozen countries along the Indian Ocean coast.

    "All the performers with us tonight are here because they were moved by the massive need of those hit by the tsunamis," said one of the movie stars.

    It was not immediately known how much was collected from the telethon but 10,000 hits were recorded in the first hour on the Red Cross website, through which viewers could also pledge donations.


    "This is a concert for hope and, thanks to you, there is hope," said former US President Bill Clinton, who appeared with his predecessor George Bush senior, to appeal for funds.

    Donations to Red Cross

    US Red Cross says it is grateful
    that celebrities are lending a hand

    "The Red Cross is grateful that so many celebrities are lending their time to help our humanitarian mission," said Marsha Evans, president and CEO of the American Red Cross.   

    Telephones used by the celebrities were sold off for $3000 per unit while copies of the show script were snapped up for $1000 each.

    The show was punctuated by tales of suffering by survivors and video recordings of the disaster.

    One musician dedicated "Love and Mercy" to a friend, Swedish musician Markus Sandlund, who is missing from the tsunami tragedy in Thailand.

    "We love you, Markus," the musician said at the end of the song.

    One online entertainment company has offered exclusive downloads of live performances from the concert.

    All proceeds from download sales will also be donated to the Red Cross.



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