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  • Bring Change 2 Mind, in partnership with Brandon Marshall's Project 375, is launching #StrongerThanStigma to raise awareness around the unique challenges that men face when discussing mental health, to encourage open dialogue, and to promote help seeking behavior. Also appearing in the video is Wayne Brady.

    #StrongerThanStigma :30

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  • UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie recently visited internally displaced Iraqis living in an informal settlement and a formal camp at Khanke, near Dohuk. There, she heard dramatic stories of escape from the more than 20,000 Yazidis who fled Sinjar and surrounding areas last August.

    Iraq: Angelina Jolie Visits Displaced Iraqis

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  • Al Gore and Pharrell Williams have announced that 2015 will see a return of Live Earth – seven concerts to raise awareness of climate change.

    The pair made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

    On June 18, 2015, together with the United Nations, Live Earth will once again create a global series of events over 24 hours, on six continents, anchored from Paris and New York. Live Earth Road to Paris will be broadcast across all major media platforms and supported by a yearlong campaign in partnership with the world's leading brands, NGOs and non-profits. A seventh concert is planned in Antarctica, with a band of scientists at a research station playing to a global audience.

    The events aim to bring together a billion voices to shine a global spotlight on the nations convening in Paris this year and deliver a single message to all leaders – Take Climate Action Now.

    Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Al Gore described some of the deadly, destabilizing and destructive "costs of carbon" that occurred over the last year -- the hottest in recorded history, and the latest in a 14 out of the last 15 years' warming trend. He then focused on clean solutions, arguing that the danger of our current trajectory is offset only by the enormous opportunity, led by the business community, to change the course of history.

    Al Gore framed the climate crisis facing humanity as two questions: "Do we want to change our current course? If we do, can we? The danger of first question is masked by opportunity of second," he said.

    To find out more about the Live Earth concerts, click here.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13146-al-gore-and-pharrell-williams-announce-the-return-of-live-earth

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  • Here is your chance to bid on a very exclusive package! This amazing experience will take you to platinum seats at the sold-out GRAMMY Awards PLUS two tickets to the exclusive GRAMMY Event: the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute honoring the legendary Bob Dylan!

    

This unique package also gives you access to watch rehearsals for the GRAMMY Awards and attend the official after-party. This is your opportunity to go backstage, behind-the-scenes, and attend special events that are not open to the public. The GRAMMY Awards telecast is Music's Biggest Night, and you will enjoy every moment while staying across the street from all the action at L.A. Live!

    

This Package Includes:

    • Two Platinum Tickets to the sold-out 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 8, 2015 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. Platinum level tickets are reserved for celebrities, sponsors and VIP guests. The only better seats in the house are those of the nominees and presenters.
    • Two Tickets to the official GRAMMY Celebration After-Party. Hosted by The Recording Academy, the celebration is immediately following the Telecast and features exciting entertainment, food and signature beverages. Past performers include: Black Eyed Peas, Ne-Yo, OneRepublic and more!
    • GRAMMY Rehearsals. You and your guest are invited to attend one of the rehearsal days prior to the Telecast and get a sneak peek at some of the artists' performances for the show!
    • GRAMMY Backstage Production Tour. You and your guest are invited to go behind-the-scenes for an up-close look at many of the elements of the GRAMMY production including, red carpet, backstage, gifting lounge, etc…
    • Two Tickets to the sold-out 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute honoring Bob Dylan on February 6, 2015. Enjoy seating for two at the official GRAMMY Week charity gala and one of the most celebrated charity events in the music industry. The event will pay tribute to the music, humanitarian efforts and philanthropic generosity of the legendary Bob Dylan.
    • Hotel accommodations for four nights at the beautiful J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live, directly across the street from the STAPLES Center and where all the action is!

    The star-studded line-up of artists that will perform to pay tribute to Bob include: Bruce Springsteen, Beck, Crosby, Stills and Nash, John Doe, Norah Jones, Tom Jones, Los Lobos, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Eddie Vedder, Jack White, Neil Young and more.

    This private, industry event draws almost 3,000 key executives and celebrities in the music and entertainment world and features a reception, silent and live auctions, dinner and all-star concert that pays tribute to the honoree.

    The auction ends TODAY, so head over to CharityBuzz.com to find out more.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13148-your-chance-to-attend-musicares-person-of-the-year-tribute-honoring-bob-dylan

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  • Save the Children Action Network commends President Obama for prioritizing the needs of children in his State of the Union address.

    This is the third consecutive year the President has pushed for greater federal investments in early childhood development during the State of the Union.

    The president proposed tripling the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), from $1,000 to $3,000 per child, and expanding the credit to make it available to more of America's middle class. This bold initiative would benefit 5.1 million families and increase access to child care for 3.5 million children under the age of five.

    "Every child deserves a strong start to life, and that includes access to high-quality child care for kids from all economic backgrounds," said Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network. "Save the Children Action Network applauds President Obama for reinforcing his administration's commitment to investing in kids by calling for an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. The President was exactly right when he said quality child care is a national economic priority and expanding access to more kids is a critical step toward securing a better future for all American children."

    In addition to his proposal to expand the CDCTC, for the third straight year President Obama also called for a global effort to eradicate extreme poverty, which would save the lives of millions of children around the world. Save the Children Action Network now looks forward to the release of the President's budget, and has called for him to commit to investments in domestic and international programs that directly improve the lives of children.

    Sign this petition and urge President Obama to prioritize investment in kids' programs in his forthcoming budget proposal.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13147-save-the-children-action-network-praises-obamas-call-for-investing-in-children

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  • Tickets are on sale for the Friars Club ESPN Roast of Terry Bradshaw, presented by Redd's Wicked Apple.

    As previously announced, the Roast will be hosted by Joel McHale with appearances by Friars Jerry Lewis, Jimmy Kimmel, Don Rickles, Larry King, Lisa Lampanelli, Jeff Ross, as well as Jordin Sparks, Frank Caliendo, Howie Long, Jim Norton, Rob Riggle, Erin Andrews, Curt Menefee and more NFL players, Hall of Famers and entertainment VIPs.

    Tickets start at $500 for the Friars Club Roast, to be held Thursday, January 29, 2015 at a luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, in Phoenix, AZ. To purchase tickets, visit www.friarsclub.com/eventpurchase.

    The broadcast of the Roast will premiere on ESPN2 in an hour-long special set to air Friday, January 30th from 8p-9p ET.

    One of the most prolific quarterbacks in history, leading the Steelers to an unprecedented four Super Bowl championships, Bradshaw has seen football from inside the game to analyzing and commentating them -- more fodder for the Friars comedians and his peers to use against him as they turn their Roasting spits of wit.

    Bradshaw joins the ranks of recent honorees Jack Black, Quentin Tarantino, Betty White and fellow NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Make-a-Wish Arizona, The V Foundation for Cancer Research and the Gift of Laughter Wounded Warrior Program, a project of the Friars Foundation that provides uplifting entertainment to enhance and increase the wellbeing and positive attitude of troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan who are currently in military hospitals throughout the United States and in Europe.

    Redd's Wicked Apple is the Title Sponsor of the Roast and Broadcast. Redd's has been a friend of the Friars having sponsored previous Friars Roasts including Boomer Esiason and Jack Black. Delta Air Lines is a signature sponsor and the Friars Club's signature airline.

    "The Redd's Family of Brands is thrilled to continue its partnership with the Friars Club," said Anup Shah, Director of Marketing and Innovations. "Just as Redd's Wicked Apple is a refreshingly hard ale, the Friars Roast offers a refreshingly fun and unique twist on comedy."

    For more information on the Friars Club ESPN Sports Roast, visit www.friarsclub.com. Join the conversation by following @friarsclub on Twitter and using #BradshawRoast.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13149-tickets-on-sale-for-friars-club-espn-roast-of-terry-bradshaw

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  • Paul Simon and James Taylor were among the star-studded lineup for a special concert in NYC earlier this week.

    The Nearness of You concert honored 15-time Grammy winner Michael Brecker, who died of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) in 2007. Proceeds from this concert benefit cancer research at Colombia Univeristy Medical Center under the supervision of Azra Raza, MD and Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD. DPhil.

    Hosted by Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness, the concert also included Bobby McFerrin and was held at the Appel Room/Jazz at Lincoln Center on Tuesday, January 20.

    Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) finds itself at an auspicious moment with the opportunity to dramatically change the course of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) research, treatment and patient care. Every element needed to discover a cure for MDS is here — their ability to perform research with the largest group of patients and tissue samples; the technology and facilities offered by the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC); the capacity to approach every area of patient care; and the access to the best clinical staff in the field. CUMC is eager to capitalize on this rare opportunity to become the leader in MDS care in the country, and the world. To support the cause, click here.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13150-paul-simon-and-james-taylor-honor-michael-brecker-at-charity-concert

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  • The British Heart Foundation has launched an exclusive online auction of luxury items and experiences as part of their glamorous ‘Roll out the Red' Ball taking place on Tuesday 10th February at the Park Lane Hotel, London.

    The auction runs until 11.30pm on Tuesday 10 February and includes a variety of money can't buy prizes donated by a host of famous faces.

    Prizes include a host of experiences and luxury items including:

    * VIP backstage passes to the Graham Norton Show
    * The opportunity to win an afternoon being styled by fashionista and Roll out the Red Ball host The Saturdays0 Mollie King
    * VIP tour of the Red Arrows training base
    * Private tour of Art15 including lunch at the fair's Food 4 Art restaurant, curated by food critic Fay Maschler
    * An eight week Body Transformation with celebrity personal trainer, Andy Elliott
    * A custom-made BHF red Swifty Scooter
    * Ambassador Pippa Middleton's red LK Bennett dress
    * A bottle of House of Commons whisky signed by: Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, John Major, Margaret Thatcher, James Callaghan and Edward Heath
    * Monica Vinader jewellery
    * An MCM backpack
    * A case of Sir James Cuvée Brut from wine sponsor, Hardys

    Check out the full list of prizes up for auction.

    The Roll out the Red ball is now sold out but you can still support BHF by bidding in the auction.

    "I'm honoured to be hosting the Roll out the Red Ball in aid of the British Heart Foundation," said The Saturdays' Mollie King. "It is such a fantastic charity which is very close to my heart. My grandfather sadly died of heart disease.

    "The BHF has already made vital discoveries in the prevention and treatment of heart and circulatory conditions but there is still so much work to be done.

    "Guests attending the ball will be raising funds which will go directly into life saving heart research. The evening promises to be one to remember!"

    All the proceeds from the online auction will help fund groundbreaking research to fight coronary heart disease -- the UK's single biggest killer.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13151-british-heart-foundation-announces-star-studded-charity-auction

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  • The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) will present its 23rd annual Academy Awards Viewing Party on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles.

    Sir Elton John and David Furnish will host the gala event sponsored by the Foundation's generous corporate friends Chopard, Neuro Drinks, and Wells Fargo. For a third consecutive year, Chef Gordon Ramsay will prepare the sumptuous dinner for party guests to enjoy while watching a live telecast of the 87th Academy Awards.

    Following dinner and an exciting live auction, Grammy award winner Nile Rodgers & CHIC will take the stage to perform, and DJ Johnny Dynell will spin tunes for guests to dance the night away. As a cultural icon and music innovator with more than 200 production credits to his name, Nile Rodgers transcends all styles of music across every generation. Signed to Warner Bros. Records, Nile is currently preparing the first new CHIC album in nearly 25 years and will take CHIC on the road throughout 2015 following the March 20 release of the first single "I'll Be There."

    The Foundation's Academy Awards Viewing Party is the most highly visible and successful fundraising event in Hollywood on Oscar night. Over the past 23 years, this annual event has raised nearly $45 million, thanks to the generosity of EJAF's supporters. These funds help the Foundation to make a real difference in the lives of people at risk for or living with HIV/AIDS, including urgently needed medical care in the Caribbean, innovative treatment and prevention programs in the Southern United States, and national initiatives addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States and Canada.

    Audi, The Fiore Group, M∙A∙C Viva Glam, and the Starkey Hearing Foundation have partnered with EJAF as the evening's generous Co-Sponsors. The Foundation is especially grateful to the City of West Hollywood for continued collaboration with EJAF on shared goals. American Airlines is EJAF's official airline.

    This year's event co-chairs are Tim and Jane Allen, Francesco Aquilini, Bill and Tani Austin, Johnny and Edwina Barbis, Joseph W. Blount, Jim Carrey, Chris Colfer, Miley Cyrus, John Demsey, Roland Emmerich, Frank Giustra, Tim Hanlon and Anthony Klatt, Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Diana Jenkins, Nick Jonas, Quincy Jones, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, Heidi Klum, Ryan Kwanten, Fred Latsko, Shelley Lazar, Sandra Lee, Jared Leto, Sheryl and Rob Lowe, Eric and Janet McCormack, Joe McMillan, Mike and Kelly Myers, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Tyler Perry, Adam Press, Caroline Scheufele, Russell Simmons, Ian Somerhalder, Sharon Stone, and Denzel and Pauletta Washington.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13152-elton-john-to-host-his-23rd-annual-academy-awards-viewing-party

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  • American television icon Bob Barker, best known for hosting CBS's The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007, has teamed up with Cruelty Free International to call for an end to cosmetics testing on animals in the United States.

    "Testing cosmetics on animals is a cruel, outdated, and unnecessary practice," said Bob Barker. "Our nation's largest trading partner, the European Union, has banned the sale of animal tested cosmetics and proven it is possible to produce safe cosmetics without harming animals. I am proud to join Cruelty Free International in urging the United States to end cosmetics testing on animals."

    Countless animals suffer in unnecessary outdated and cruel tests for cosmetics. Despite modern alternatives to animal testing becoming increasingly less expensive, faster, and more accurate at predicting human reactions than the antiquated animal tests they replace, there is no national law in place to limit animal testing for cosmetics in the United States.

    Ending cosmetics testing on animals in the United States would match progress made elsewhere; the European Union, Norway, Israel and India which have testing bans in place. Additionally, Brazil, New Zealand and South Korea recently made significant strides toward ending animal testing via legislation or policy decisions. Prohibiting animal testing for cosmetics would also reflect the interests of US consumers who, multiple polls show, support ending cosmetic testing on animals.

    Cruelty Free International, CEO, Michelle Thew, said: "We are thrilled to have Bob Barker supporting our efforts to see the United States match the progress we have made around the world in ending the use of animals in cosmetics tests. Mr. Barker clearly understands that when one considers the cost in animal lives for cruel cosmetics tests, the price is wrong."

    Cruelty Free International is the only organization solely campaigning for a global ban on animal cosmetics testing. With offices in the UK, US, Brazil and Asia, it works with governments, regulators, companies and partner organizations worldwide and has placed the issue of animal testing on the agenda of many governments for the very first time.

    Other celebrities to support Cruelty Free International include Ricky Gervais, Peter Dinklage, Norman Reedus, Sir Paul McCartney, Mayim Bialik, Kunal Nayyar, Lori Singer, Alicia Silverstone, Vanessa Marano and Ashley Bell.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13153-bob-barker-backs-cruelty-free-international

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  • Earlier this week, Bill and Melinda Gates share their 2015 Annual Letter.

    "Our Big Bet for the Future" addresses the breakthroughs they see coming over the next fifteen years that will improve the lives of people in poor countries faster than at any other time in history.

    "Forty years ago, Bill and his childhood friend Paul Allen bet that software and personal computers would change the way people around the world worked and played," reads the letter. "This bet wasn't exactly a wager. It was an opportunity to make computers personal and empower people through the magic of software. Some people thought they were nuts. But the bet turned out well.

    "Fifteen years ago, the two of us made a similar bet. We started our foundation in 2000 with the idea that by backing innovative work in health and education, we could help dramatically reduce inequity. The progress we've seen so far is very exciting — so exciting that we are doubling down on the bet we made 15 years ago, and picking ambitious goals for what's possible 15 years from now."

    Read the letter and find out how breakthroughs in health, farming, banking and education will help make the world a better place at www.gatesletter.com.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13154-bill-gates-shares-his-2015-annual-letter

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  • Comedian Alexei Sayle has joined Animal Defenders International (ADI) in calling for action on wild animal circuses, urging Government "to get a move on" and "bring their own bill in" as a backbench bill to bring in the ban promised, but sat upon by Government, faces its tenth attempt to pass to committee stage.

    Incredibly, it is Conservative back benchers who have blocked this bill to pass their Government's own legislation nine times.

    Opposition to the use of wild animals in circuses is overwhelming, with support for the ban uniting Parliament and the public alike. Legislation has now been pledged by Government for three years, with the promised ban due to come into force at the end of this year. ADI is urging David Cameron to keep his word and progress the law.

    ADI President Jan Creamer said, "The Government made a clear promise to act on this issue yet three years on we are still waiting for the law to pass. The public and Parliament do not want to see wild animals continuing to suffer in British circuses. David Cameron must keep his word and bring in the ban without delay."

    Social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell joined Alexei Sayle in the plea for action stating he hoped David Cameron "will stop his foot-dragging and bring forward legislation to ensure there are no more wild animals in circuses in Britain" alongside X Factor boyband Fifth Street who said that the ban would "keep the public happy and keep the animals happy."

    Angela Eagle MP today attempted to progress the ban by asking William Hague, Leader of the House of Commons, if the Government would give the Circus Bill time for a Second Reading. He responded: "I certainly support that Bill and the Government supports that Bill. I think it would be wrong for the Government to pick bills out of the Private Members' process and give them Government time… the Bill will have to take it's normal chances."

    This seems extraordinary double-speak since the bill was promised by the Government over two years ago and is only in the Private Members' process because the Government has not given it time.

    The issue has become an embarrassing Parliamentary saga. The proposed ban on wild animals in circuses was announced by the Government in 2012, although a ban was promised to Parliament as long ago as 2006. In 2010 a Government Public Consultation saw over 90% of respondents calling for a ban and in 2011, backbench bench MPs voted unanimously for the Government to introduce a ban.

    The Private Member's Bill introduced by Jim Fitzpatrick MP is identical to the Government's own Bill that was unveiled to media fanfare but has simply gathered dust. Unfortunately, an objection from just one MP prevents it from progressing, and tomorrow eyes will be on Tory MP for Christchurch, Christopher Chope, who has blocked the bill on six occasions.

    Wales is committed to a ban and is seeking to be included in England's legislation, but whilst efforts to ban wild animals in circuses are stalling, 30 nations around the world have acted. ADI is currently assisting the Peruvian Government enforce a ban and have 21 lions in their care removed from circuses.

    ADI's campaign to stop circus suffering in Britain is supported by politicians of all parties, leading animal protection groups and celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Dame Judi Dench, Brian Blessed, Twiggy, Eddie Izzard and Sir Roger Moore.

    ADI has vowed not to let the matter drop and the backbench bill will have another second reading on Friday 27 February.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13155-alexei-sayle-tells-government-to-get-a-move-on-over-circus-ban-farce

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  • Former Miami Heat player, Shane Battier and his wife Heidi, continue to give back to the community they call home by hosting the fourth annual "South Beach Battioke" on March 3rd, 8 p.m. at the Fillmore Theatre in Miami Beach -- a star-studded, karaoke charity event where attendees include Miami's elite, philanthropists and socialites and Miami Heat stars live out their pop star fantasies, all for a great cause.

    "We are proud that we have been able to engage our community and send brilliant young minds to colleges and universities through the fundraising efforts of South Beach Battioke," said Shane Battier, Founder of The Battier Take Charge Foundation. "This will be our fourth year putting together the most authentic and entertaining event in South Florida. I am extremely thankful to the Heat organization and everyone that supports us including my former teammates that come out and sing karaoke for charity."

    Notable past karaoke participants include Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Pat Riley, James Jones, Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem, Greg Oden, Jimmy Buffet, Gabrielle Union and Ken Jeong. Last year's event was attended by over 600 people and raised more than $300,000 dollars. This year's event aims to shatter that record, yet again, with funds raised through ticket sales, auction items and sponsorships.

    "South Beach Battioke" 2015 is an annual event that raises funds and awareness for The Battier Take Charge Foundation, a non-profit organization established by Shane and his wife, Heidi. The foundation awards college scholarships to underprivileged high school students in Miami, Houston and Detroit. The foundation partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, KIPP Academy in Houston and Horizon Upward Bound in Detroit by empowering our future young leaders to "Do Well, Do Good," the phrase that serves as the motto of the foundation and the Battier family.

    Tickets to the "South Beach Battioke" 2015 are currently on-sale and are available for purchase at www.takechargefoundation.org. Advanced purchase tickets are significantly discounted at $175 per person. Admission at the door is $250. First 100 general admission tickets sold will receive a personalized Shane Battier autograph. In addition, table sponsorship packages are available by emailing info@takechargefoundation.org. Admission price includes delicious delectables from some of South Florida's top restaurants, an open bar and of course, a chance to watch your favorite celebrities take the stage and belt out your favorite tunes. Attendees must be 21 or older.

    The Battier Take Charge Foundation, established by Shane and Heidi, is dedicated to providing resources for the development and education of underserved youth and teens. The Battiers' charge is to encourage and inspire a new generation of potential leaders through educational opportunities and the cultivation of effective leadership skills. National partnerships include Houston's KIPP Academy, Detroit's Horizon Upward Bound and Miami's Big Brothers Big Sisters. Learn more at www.takechargefoundation.org.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13156-the-battier-take-charge-foundation-presents-4th-annual-south-beach-battioke

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  • Break out the first-rate feline finery for the furriest celebration of independent film.

    Now in its third year, the Catdance Film Festival presented by Fresh Step litter and hosted by actress and animal activist Nikki Reed, returns to famed Park City, Utah at the heart of the independent film scene on Jan. 24 to bestow the golden litter scoop to the best original feline short film and entertain guests with other MEOW-velous festivities.

    Fresh Step is presenting Catdance as part of its Million Meow Mission, a campaign to help shelters and rescues find more forever homes for cats. For the first time, feline film fans will mingle with adoptable kittens on the red carpet. Six featured films starring shelter cats will debut at the festival along with a custom 14-karat gold and diamond cat dome ring worn by Reed. The feline bling will be auctioned off beginning Jan. 24 at Charitybuzz.com/catdance and 80 percent of the auction price will benefit the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

    "I'm thrilled to host the Catdance Film Festival this year and support Fresh Step in its Million Meow Mission," said Reed. "I get to share the red carpet with adorable kittens, debut amazing feline films starring shelter cats, and wear a stunning cat ring to benefit the ASPCA, a cause very close to my heart – what's not to love about this special night!"

    Give a Round of Ap"paws" For Fantastic Feline Films

    
Catdance scratched the surface of kitty flicks in its first two years, and is back this year with six original cat short films, each starring shelter cats. The festival helps shine the spotlight on the fun and quirky nature of cats and supports Fresh Step in its Million Meow Mission. Help share 1 million cat moments using #MillionMeowMission.

    "The 2015 Catdance Film Festival gives Fresh Step an opportunity to recognize and support both the talented filmmakers that put kitties on the silver screen and the adorable, adoptable felines that deserve the spotlight," said Shekinah Eliassen, Fresh Step brand manager. "We hope the films will inspire cat lovers to support their local shelters and consider adopting a shelter cat."

    While many filmmakers pounced at the opportunity to enter, Reed will bestow the coveted 2015 golden litter scoop and $10,000 "kitty" to only one grand prize winner, who will see his or her film on the big screen that night. Also making its Catdance Film Festival debut is Fresh Step Lightweight Extreme litter, which will present a special film called "Hover Cat" showing how cats defy gravity. All kitty lovers can get their feline flick fix at FreshStep.com where the 2015 Catdance films after the event on Jan. 24.

    Bring on the Beautiful Bling to Benefit the ASPCA

    
In addition to introducing the films, Reed will debut the latest in feline bling to benefit the ASPCA. Striking a pose on the catwalk, Reed will bear a paw-some ring designed by jewelry artist Ashley Berman of Ashley Morgan designs. The one-of-a kind cat-inspired dome ring is 14-karat gold with stunning sapphires and diamonds that make kitty's face irresistible. Feline fashion lovers everywhere have the chance to get their paws on this custom ring, which will be on auction Jan. 24 through Feb. 10 at Charitybuzz.com/catdance. Eighty percent of the auction price will benefit the ASPCA.

    Fresh Step's Million Meow Mission

    
Fresh Step's Million Meow Mission is designed to help shelters find cats loving homes. "For more than a decade, we've supported a multitude of cat care causes," said Eliassen. "Through the Million Meow Mission, Fresh Step users can take simple steps that benefit cats in need one scoop at a time, one cat at a time."

    Each time a Fresh Step Paw Points member enters their point, Fresh Step donates a scoop of litter (up to 1 million scoops) to animal shelters. Members can also join the Mission by donating their Paw Points to local animal shelters. Fresh Step has already donated nearly 4 million points to local animal shelters. To learn more or join the Million Meow Mission, log onto freshstep.com/pawpoints.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13157-nikki-reed-to-host-the-third-annual-catdance-film-festival

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  • Multi-platinum, GRAMMY Award-winning rock band Imagine Dragons and iconic lifestyle brand Hard Rock International have joined forces to help slay cancer with Dragons, and support the band's Tyler Robinson Foundation, through the Imagine Dragons Signature Series: Edition 33 merchandise line.

    Hamish Dodds, CEO of Hard Rock International, Wayne Sermon, Dan Reynolds, Ben McKee and Daniel Platzman of Imagine Dragons, meet with Christian Smith and Kate Pierson, who have benefitted from the Tyler Robinson Foundation
    Hamish Dodds, CEO of Hard Rock International, Wayne Sermon, Dan Reynolds, Ben McKee and Daniel Platzman of Imagine Dragons, meet with Christian Smith and Kate Pierson, who have benefitted from the Tyler Robinson Foundation
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    The limited-edition collectible pin and men's T-shirt featuring an original design by Imagine Dragons will be available online at HardRock.com and at Rock Shops at Hard Rock Cafes, Hotels and Casinos worldwide beginning in January 2015.

    "We feel very passionate about the Tyler Robinson Foundation and are excited to work with Hard Rock to use their global reach and charitable roots to help us spread the message of Tyler and this cause," said Imagine Dragons frontman and Tyler Robinson co-founder, Dan Reynolds.

    Proceeds from the sale of Hard Rock's Imagine Dragons Signature Series merchandise will benefit the Tyler Robinson Foundation (TRF), an organization established by the band in 2013 to help families handle unexpected financial costs of pediatric cancer. TRF assigns financial advisers to families affected and covers expenses such as child care, rent, utility bills and travel costs for treatments. Through the Signature Series: Edition 33 merchandise, fans can join Imagine Dragons in their mission to support families struggling with the financial burden of childhood cancer, so they can focus on treatments and healing.

    Hard Rock's Imagine Dragons Signature Series: Edition 33 men's T-shirt ($26) is slate-blue and features an image of a bird and a guitar nestled in a bird's nest, symbolizing the little things the Tyler Robinson Foundation does to keep their recipients and families safe and happy. The T-shirt also displays the band's logo and a city-specific Hard Rock brand logo. The new Signature Series Pin ($12) is shaped like a guitar-pick and features an image of a bird, nest and guitar with Imagine Dragons and Hard Rock logos.

    "We have fostered a valuable friendship with Imagine Dragons over the past several years," said James Buell, Director of Music and Marketing for Hard Rock International. "We are honored to further our partnership with these award-winning artists by supporting a cause they are extremely passionate about and we look forward to raising funds and awareness for this inspirational cause."

    To celebrate the partnership, Hard Rock will also join forces with Imagine Dragons to support the band's sophomore album, Smoke + Mirrors, on the day of the album's release. On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, Imagine Dragons will be the first artist to take control of Hard Rock Cafe's internal video system, played on more than 20,000 screens in Hard Rock's 150 cafe locations around the world. Guests who visit one of Hard Rock's many cafe locations worldwide will experience the "Dragons" takeover first-hand, including the band's latest video releases and other hand-picked favorites.

    Additionally, Hard Rock Cafe locations will offer a limited-edition beverage menu to support the Tyler Robinson Foundation through February 2015. Guests are encouraged to visit their local Hard Rock Cafe and enjoy a delicious way to give back to the cause!

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13158-imagine-dragons-and-hard-rock-partner-to-benefit-the-tyler-robinson-foundation

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  • The SAG Awards Ceremony Auction, the final auction in the online series benefiting the Screen Actors Guild Foundation is now live at at sagawards.org/auction.

    The SAG Awards Ceremony Auction offers movie and television fans the chance to win autographed collectibles signed by many of this year's nominated actors and casts, including an original wardrobe piece worn by Eddie Redmayne in "The Theory of Everything," a one-of-a-kind "Birdman" action figure signed by Michael Keaton, a collectible "The Grand Budapest Hotel" hardcover book signed by Wes Anderson, Netflix swag packages and more. Also up for bid are set visits to "E! News," "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider," as well as premium items and unique experiences provided by the networks, studios, and SAG Awards sponsors. The auction ends on February 2 at 9 p.m. (ET) / 6 p.m. (PT) at sagawards.org/auction.

    

Proceeds from the SAG Awards Ceremony Auction support the SAG Foundation's award-winning children's literacy programs: BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), reading to over 60,000 children monthly in classrooms and hospitals nationwide, and Storyline Online, the interactive literacy website that attracts over four million global views each month. The auction also supports the SAG Foundation Catastrophic Health Fund, Emergency Assistance and scholarships for performers and their families.

    

The following is a list of items up for bid at the SAG Awards Ceremony Auction organized by autographed memorabilia & collectibles, experiences, and premium items.
    


    Autographed Collectibles and Memorabilia

    * "The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel" hardcover book signed by Wes Anderson
    * "The Theory of Everything" poster signed by the cast
    * Eyeglasses worn by Eddie Redmayne in "The Theory of Everything," created for the film, approximating the famous pair worn by Professor Stephen Hawking in real life
    * A replica of the Albert Einstein Award presented to Professor Stephen Hawking, created for a scene in the film "The Theory of Everything"
    * Limited release "Birdman" action figure signed by Michael Keaton
    * "Cake" poster signed by Jennifer Aniston
    * "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" poster signed by the cast
    * "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" script and 810 photo signed by the cast
    * "A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey" book signed by the cast
    * "Gone Girl" poster signed by Rosamund Pike and writer Gillian Flynn
    * Limited Edition Danner Boots signed by Reese Witherspoon of "Wild"
    * "The Imitation Game" poster signed by the cast
    * "Into the Woods" poster signed by the cast
    * "Boyhood" DVD signed by Richard Linklater and Ellar Coltrane
    * "Boyhood" poster signed by Richard Linklater, Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette and Lorelei Linklater
    * "Boyhood" view-master and photo book
    * "Modern Family" pilot script and DVD set signed by the cast
    * "VEEP" seasons one and two Blue-Ray set signed by the cast
    * Netflix package including an "Orange is the New Black" script signed by Danielle Brooks, Adrienne C. Moore, Uzo Aduba, Vicky Jeudy, and Jackie Cruz, a "House of Cards" jacket, "The Killing" scarf, Netflix beach towel and Netflix canvas tote bag
    * Showtime memorabilia package

    Experiences, Tapings and Packages

    * 2 Tickets to a 2015 Film Premiere of your choice plus A-list After-party and Celebrity Red Carpet Experience
    * "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider" set visit for two
    * "E! News" live taping for two

    Premium Items

    * Champagne Taittinger 6L Bottle signed by 21st Annual SAG Awards recipients
    * Chateau St. Jean 2011 Magnum of Cinq Cepages wine
    * One year home delivery of FIJI Water
    * The Couture Gift Collection Gift-Basket
    *
    For additional information, please visit sagfoundation.org, follow @SAGFoundation on Twitter and Instagram and like and subscribe to SAG Foundation on Facebook and YouTube.


    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13159-sag-awards-ceremony-auction-is-now-live

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  • Hugh Jackman and Carnegie Mellon University alumnus Judith Light -- ambassadors for the recently announced Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University Excellence in Theatre Education Award – share how their teachers have influenced their lives and careers in the special video messages below.

    Video: Hugh Jackman on Theatre Education
    Video: Judith Light on Theatre Education

    Nominations for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award are open to the public now through March 31, 2015, for teachers at an accredited K-12 institution or recognized community theatre organization anywhere in the United States. One winner will be selected to receive the Excellence in Theatre Education Award on stage at Radio City Music Hall during the 69th Annual Tony Awards telecast on CBS at 8 p.m. (Eastern Time), Sunday, June 7, 2015.

    To nominate a teacher and for more information, visit www.TonyAwards.com/educationaward and use #NominateMyTeacher to spread the word about the nomination.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13160-hugh-jackman-and-judith-light-share-how-teachers-impacted-their-lives

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  • Numerous celebrities and athletes are coming together during Super Bowl week to compete in an electrifying video game tournament to raise money for the charity of their choice.

    The inaugural "Gaming to Give" presented by All Sports United, Endless Possibilities Events, and Tiltify will take place on Thursday, January 29th at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, AZ from 3 p.m. -- 7 p.m. Pro Player Insiders and Yahoo Sports Radio are the media partners supporting this groundbreaking event.

    "Gaming to Give" consists of various celebrities playing the game "Super Smash Bros" on Nintendo Wii, in a tournament style format to win money for their charity. Some of the many celebrities confirmed to attend the event are former Green Bay Packers Running Back Ahman Green, recording artist Brian McKnight, Detroit Lions Safety James Ihedigbo, St. Louis Rams Guard Davin Joseph, New York Giants Punter Steve Weatherford, Arizona Cardinals Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, Baltimore Ravens Tight End Crockett Gilmore, Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver Charles Johnson, and Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Ed Moses.

    The idea of "Gaming to Give" was created by All Sports United co-founders Alan Pavlosky and Scott Manthorne. The goal of All Sports United is to build a community for collaboration between athletes and sports industry professionals to emphasize best practices in philanthropy work.

    "We wanted to host a very unique event during Super Bowl week," said Pavlosky. "Tiltify specializes in video gaming for charity so we decided to partner with them to run the tournament at Gaming to Give. We also needed an expert event partner and chose Los Angeles based Endless Possibilities Events to run all the logistics. We're excited about the support of our media partners Pro Player Insiders and Yahoo Sports Radio. We knew this would be a really unique and fun event that people can enjoy and would allow us to raise some money for the charities competing."

    One of the athletes due to compete at the event is Arizona Cardinals Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who is playing for his own charity, the ACES Foundation, which stands for Accountability, Communication, Education, and Sports. "To raise money for a charity is always fun and it gives me an excuse to play video games, can't do that often with family," said Alexander. Even though Alexander doesn't play video games much anymore, he did have a message for his opponents, and it was short and sweet, "Beware."

    Tickets for "Gaming to Give" can be found here. For information on either tickets or sponsorship opportunities, feel free to contact Alyssa@endlesspossevents.com.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13161-all-sports-united-hosts-inaugural-gaming-to-give-charity-fundraiser

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  • On March 24 Shout! Factory will release A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney, a collection of never-before-seen performances from the 2012 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute concert honoring Paul McCartney, on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

    During a sold-out gala event on Feb. 10, 2012, 18-time GRAMMY winner McCartney, along with a cast of superstar guests, performed some of the quintessential songs from his celebrated career. The 15 exclusive performances featured on A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney include exceptional solo performances by McCartney of "Magical Mystery Tour," "Junior's Farm," and "My Valentine"; a riveting medley of "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight" and "The End" by McCartney, with Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh joining the performance of "The End"; and incredible performances by a slate of GRAMMY-winning artists, including Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Coldplay, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Diana Krall, James Taylor, and Neil Young with Crazy Horse.

    Proceeds from the sale of A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney will provide essential support for MusiCares, which ensures that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.

    The MusiCares Person of the Year gala is an annual event that celebrates a legendary artist and raises funds for the MusiCares Foundation. This year's honoree is Bob Dylan, who will be feted at a tribute ceremony on Feb. 6 during GRAMMY Week. The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place at Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 8, airing live on the CBS Television Network from 8--11:30 p.m. ET/PT.

    Pre-order the Blu-ray here.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13162-musicares-tribute-to-paul-mccartney-to-be-released-on-dvd-and-blu-ray

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  • Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has teamed up with The Prince0s Trust to help establish a new state-of-the-art centre in the heart of Newcastle to support thousands of disadvantaged young people from across the region.

    She has committed to raise £2million to help get the centre up and running, through her own charitable foundation, Cheryl's Trust. The pop star is planning a host of exciting fundraising activities across the region over the coming months.

    The Centre, which will allow the Prince's Trust to support almost 4,000 young people in the North East each year, will help the region's most at-risk young people, including those facing drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, mental health problems and those leaving care, to turn their lives around.

    Cheryl, who officially launched her campaign at the charity's current centre in the west end of the city, met with some of the young people who have already worked with The Prince's Trust to find out how the charity's support has helped them.

    Cheryl said: "I'm proud of where I grew up but I'm only too aware of the challenges that young people faced. Opportunities often seem pretty limited and I saw so many friends who had loads of potential fall into a life of alcohol, drugs and crime. Sadly, many got in too deep, and never found their way back to a happy life.

    "It's really scary to see that this is still happening in so many communities across the UK. Too many young people are wasting their lives away because they feel they have no-one to turn to.

    "My life could have turned out very differently if I didn't have the support of my family who believed in me and told me I could achieve anything. A little bit of self-belief can go a long way. I know how lucky I am.

    "The young people The Prince's Trust works with, day in day out, are those who are unemployed, have no qualifications and sometimes even suffer with mental health issues and drug and alcohol addiction. They are often already resigned to the belief they will fail in life.

    "That's why I am raising money to open the new Centre here in Newcastle. I want to give back and help young people who feel like they'll never achieve anything reach their dreams and live a happy life."

    The new centre will enable The Prince's Trust to provide enhanced support to vulnerable young people on a range of its programmes. The partnership will also see the opening of a new music studio and a state-of-the-art digital media hub within the centre, where young people will be able to gain confidence and skills in music and media.

    Martina Milburn CBE, Chief Executive of The Prince's Trust, said: "I am truly inspired by Cheryl's passion and determination to help young people who are the most disengaged from society -- especially those who are battling drug and alcohol addiction. We know that Cheryl is genuinely passionate about this cause, and over the years she's met a number of the young people we support at The Prince's Trust.

    "As a charity, The Prince's Trust relies on generous support from individuals and organisations. The Centre will change thousands of lives each year and I'd like to thank Cheryl for her generosity."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13163-cheryl-fernandez-versini-to-fund-new-princes-trust-centre

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  • The UN refugee agency0s Special Envoy Angelina Jolie is in Dohuk, Iraq, visiting Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to offer support to 3.3 million displaced people in the country and highlight their dire needs.

    In Baghdad, Angelina Jolie visits with displaced Iraqi families
    In Baghdad, Angelina Jolie visits with displaced Iraqi families
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    Since Jolie's last visit to Iraq in September 2012, the scale and gravity of the humanitarian situation have increased dramatically, as the conflicts in Syria and Iraq intensify and become intertwined.

    "It is shocking to see how the humanitarian situation in Iraq has deteriorated since my last visit. On top of large numbers of Syrian refugees, two million Iraqis were displaced by violence in 2014 alone. Many of these innocent people have been uprooted multiple times as they seek safety amidst shifting frontlines."

    While a massive aid response has been launched by UNHCR and partners, an estimated 330,000 people across the country still live in sub-standard shelters as they face their first winter away from home.

    On Sunday, Jolie visited internally displaced Iraqis living in an informal settlement and a formal camp at Khanke, a 40 minute drive from Dohuk city. Together, the sites now accommodate more than 20,000 people from the Yazidi minority who fled Sinjar and surrounding areas in early August. Jolie spoke to people with dramatic stories of escape, including people who managed to flee their imprisonment by walking through the night and hiding by day. She also met elderly women who were among the 196 Yazidis recently released by insurgents and now staying in the informal settlement at Khanke.

    The women recounted their ordeal of kidnap, detention, escape, and release. Jolie listened to the stories of extreme hardship and loss, including from people who still have sons, husbands and daughters detained, and others who had heard their daughters were moved to Syria. Others had lost all contact with their loved ones and had no idea of their fate.

    "Nothing can prepare you for the horrific stories of these survivors of kidnap, abuse and exploitation and to see how they cannot all get the urgent help they need and deserve," Jolie said. "The needs so dramatically outstrip the resources available in this vast crisis. Much more international assistance is needed," the Special Envoy added.

    Funding shortfalls have affected the scale and type of programmes to help survivors of violence and human rights abuses alongside the provision of shelter and other assistance. While much aid has been provided by the government, UNHCR and partners over the last six months -- including 34 new camps built or under construction -- aid operations are hampered by lack of funding alongside security constraints. UNHCR, for example, has received only 53 per cent of its required USD 337 million for its response to internal displacement in Iraq during 2014 and has received the go-ahead to proceed on projected funding for only 31 per cent of its required USD 556 for 2015.

    The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is hosting some 900,000 displaced people, placing an enormous strain on hosting communities, authorities and infrastructure. The huge influx of people from Mosul and Sinjar between June and August 2014 caused a three-month delay in the start of the school year, as over 700 public schools in Dohuk were occupied by uprooted people. An estimated 20 per cent of the five million people in the KRI are either displaced Iraqis from elsewhere or refugees.

    "I am very thankful to the Kurdish authorities for hosting so many displaced Iraqis alongside Syrian refugees at a time when they are facing so many challenges," the Special Envoy said.

    On Sunday morning, Jolie made a return visit to the sprawling Domiz camp which now hosts more than 50,000 Syrian refugees -- more than a 5th of the entire population of Syrian refugees in Iraq, which currently stands at 233,000. She last visited Domiz, now the largest Syrian refugee camp in Iraq, on 16 September 2012 when it hosted some 8,500 people.

    As the conflict in Syria approaches its fifth year, Ms Jolie said: "The war in Syria is at the root of so many of the problems faced here in Iraq and across the region. There is an urgent need for international leadership to break the cycle of violence in Syria, and to find a way forward towards a just and sustainable peace agreement."

    Jolie is on her fifth visit to Iraq and her sixth visit to Syrian refugees in the region.

    "Too many innocent people are paying the price of the conflict in Syria and spread of extremism," Jolie said wrapping up the first day of her two-day visit to Iraq. "I express my deepest sympathy to the family of Haruna Yukawa the Japanese hostage reportedly murdered in Syria on Saturday, and to all the families and victims of these vile and extreme acts."

    More than 3.8 million Syrians have fled to the neighboring states of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Another 7.6 million Syrians are displaced inside the country.

    There are some 3.1 million internally displaced Iraqis throughout the country, including a million who had been displaced between 2003 and 2013 and 2.1 million who were displaced in 2014.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13164-angelina-jolie-visits-iraq-calls-for-international-leadership-to-end-suffering

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  • At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, UN Women – the United Nations entity dedicated to achieving women's empowerment and gender equality – unveiled a new initiative to galvanize the support of global leaders to bring an end to the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls around the world.

    Ban Ki-moon Meets Emma Watson in the presence of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
    Ban Ki-moon Meets Emma Watson in the presence of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
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    At a press conference in the Swiss city, UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, who launched the HeForShe campaign in September, said this next phase, HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10, will focus on engaging governments, businesses and universities to make concrete commitments to advance women's empowerment.

    "Women share this planet 50/50 and they are underrepresented, their potential astonishingly untapped. We are very excited to be launching IMPACT 101010 to bring the HeForShe into the next phase," said Watson alongside UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, as well as several political and business leaders.

    In the months following the kick-off of the initiative in September, several Heads of State, along with celebrities and thousands of men from around the world have committed to be champions for the HeForShe campaign. Watson said: "Everyone from Desmond Tutu to Prince Harry to Hillary Clinton and Yoko Ono has issued their support."

    Best known for playing the leading role of ‘Hermione Granger' in Harry Potter saga, Watson said: "I've had my breath taken away when a fan told me that since watching my speech [in September] she has stopped herself being beaten up by her father. I've been stunned by the number of men in my life that have contacted me since my speech to tell me to keep going and that they want to make sure their daughter will still be alive in a world where women have parity, economically and politically."

    To date, more than 200,000 men and boys have signed their commitment to gender equality. HeForShe has reached more than 1.2 billion people on social media. But more can be done.

    "Decide what your commitment is, make it public, and then please report back to us on your progress so that we can share you story. We want to support, guide and reinforce your efforts. Impact 101010 is about concrete commitments to change, the visibility of these commitments and the measurability of them too," declared Ms. Watson.

    Joining Watson at the press conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: "HeForShe has signed up fathers who want to raise empowered daughters; leaders who know their societies will be stronger when there are as many women in parliament and in business as men; and ordinary people who are fed up with violence and discrimination against women -- and want to be part of a global force for change."

    Underling the alliances the campaign is building, Ban said that the partnership involves individuals and corporations, government leaders and activists, celebrities and global citizens.

    "Ultimately we need everyone to get involved if we are to turn the tide," said UN Women Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

    "The HeForShe IMPACT Initiative puts responsibility for change right where it matters- and spotlights leaders who can make it happen. The founding Champions from industry and Government will pave the way for others to join in, using the pilot initiatives to streamline decision-making on relevant and successful activities," the Executive Director said.

    The World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2014 highlights a large current gap between men and women in terms of political engagement and opportunity and little improvement in equality for women in the workplace since 2006. Universities join the impact trio because youth engagement represents one of the greatest opportunities for accelerating progress toward the achievement of gender equality, and ending violence against women.

    At the launch, global leaders who will serve as IMPACT 10X10X10 founding Champions were announced. They will steer the initiative and lead in mobilizing their communities and include: Prime Minister of the Netherlands; President of Sierra Leone; Prime Minister of Sweden; CEO and Chairman of Unilever; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tupperware Brands Corporation; Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. JPMorgan Chase is also a Title Sponsor of the HeForShe campaign.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13165-emma-watson-launches-next-phase-in-heforshe-campaign-at-davos-forum

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  • Dozens of celebrities and athletes are going to be hitting the gaming tables to raise public awareness and funds to support Every Kid Counts.

    The charity poker tournament and casino event kicks off at noon, Saturday, January 31st at a private residence in Scottsdale, AZ. This exclusive event leading up to the big game is produced by Dream Dealers and Pro Player Insiders.

    NFL Icon Jim McMahon and 2003 World Series of Poker Champion (WSOP) Chris Moneymaker are hosting the celebrity filled Hearts and Helmets Charity Poker Tournament.

    Three time Super Bowl champion former Oakland/LA Raider, Henry Lawrence will perform during the VIP reception.

    This fun-filled, interactive fundraiser will also provide an unforgettable evening of charitable casino gaming, silent and live auctions, raffles, premium cocktails, and delicious cuisine. Prizes include tickets to the Big Game at the University of Phoenix Stadium, WSOP entries, cruise vacations, dinners with celebrities, autographed memorabilia, plasma TV's and invitations to exclusive events. The real winners of the night will be the designated charities and causes.

    Among those confirmed to participate, subject to availability, are Warren Sapp (former NFL), Darnell Dockett (Cardinals), Jay Novacek (former NFL), Andre Reed (NFL Hall of Famer), CeCe Peniston (award winning singer), Tim Brown (former NFL), Marcellus Wiley (NFL/ESPN), Calais Campbell (Cardinals), Shelly Duncan (MLB), Chris Duncan (MLB), Jeni Summers (model), Miss Black USA Arizona (2015), Marvin "Young MC" Young (Grammy Winner), Will Lowery (Golf Channel), Steve Weatherford (Giants), Demetrius McCray (Jaguars), Kenny Stills (Saints), Tony Jefferson (Cardinals), Major Wright (Buccaneers), Sean Baker (Falcons), Kevin "Special K" Daley (Harlem Globetrotters), and more.

    Every poker table will feature a celebrity and/or athlete. Poker players begin with $10,000 in chips and the Texas Hold'em tournament is structured with gradual 25 minute blind increases which should appease all poker fans. Seating for the poker tournament is limited and those who want to participate should pre-register here.

    VIP admission tickets are $250 and include access to the 12 p.m. celebrity reception, a seat in the tournament with $10,000 in poker chips, and a $500 voucher to play the casino games. General admission is $120 and opens at 6 p.m. General admission includes a $500 voucher to play blackjack, craps, and roulette from 7 p.m. -- 10 p.m. All tickets include catered meals and a hosted bar.

    "We are really excited to work with Dream Dealers on this event as their status among athletes and celebrities for hosting top-notch poker events is second to none," said Melissa Mahler, Founder and CEO of Pro Player Insiders. "Every Kid Counts Children's Charity is an amazing organization and we are proud to advocate for such a great cause."

    "Teaming up with Pro Player Insiders is the perfect combination to me. We have a reputation for executing the best poker tournaments and Pro Player Insiders is the media leader in sports and philanthropy and host many celebrity charitable events," said Jeff Geller, President of Dream Dealers. "As partners, we are producing an awesome event before the big game."

    Jim McMahon spent 12 years in the NFL and is best known for leading the 1985 Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl Championship. After football, McMahon has dedicated a lot of his time to his two favorite charities – the Linda McMahon Foundation for Literacy and Players Against Concussions (PAC).

    Chris Moneymaker revolutionized poker by being the first amateur to win the WSOP Main Event. Chris Moneymaker is considered the figurehead for kickstarting poker's popularity into mainstream life as we know it today.

    Henry Lawrence is a versatile performer of stage and screen who has appeared across the U.S., Asia, and Europe. He has been a featured singer at major athletic events such as Super Bowl parties and John Madden's NFL Hall of Fame Induction. Henry was an All-Pro offensive tackle for the Oakland/LA Raiders with two Super Bowl victories in his 13-year career.

    Event sponsors include FelCor Lodging Trust, National Football Players Women Association, and Financial Literary Project.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13166-jim-mcmahon-to-host-hearts-and-helmets-celebrity-poker-tournament

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  • United Nations Messenger of Peace Princess Haya Al Hussein, of Jordan, has been awarded the 2015 Hunger Hero Award by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) during a ceremony at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

    Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan speaks during the 2015 Hunger Hero Award ceremony
    Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan speaks during the 2015 Hunger Hero Award ceremony
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    UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon presented the award. A former WFP Ambassador Against Hunger, Princess Haya was honoured for her works to address hunger during a special event and panel discussion on Empowered Women and Innovation, hosted by the WFP, on the margins of the Forum.

    In his remarks at the ceremony, Mr. Ban said Princess Haya's work epitomizes the spirit of partnership the world needs. "[She] shines a bright spotlight on the Millennium Development Goals, especially our hunger target," he said, noting that she had supported United Nations operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Gaza and different parts of Africa and raised money and awareness, travelling to Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States to act and advocate.

    Her Royal Highness created the first Middle Eastern food assistance nongovernmental organization (NGO), Tikiyet Um Ali (TUA), in her native Jordan, which ensures that any Jordanian family unable to pay for food receives a generous monthly ration. Even with the influx of refugees from Syria and Iraq putting extra pressure on Jordanian resources, the number of recipients had tripled in recent years. The Organization also played a prominent role in feeding Gazan families during the conflict in 2014.

    At the global level, Princess Haya chairs the International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai, the largest logistics centre for aid distribution, which is used by the WFP along with eight other United Nations agencies and dozens of NGOs, and, as a WFP ambassador, she visited WFP operations in many countries, including Malawi, Syria and Cambodia.

    "Princess Haya's steadfast support for our expanded capacity and operations out of Dubai as well as her advocacy for the people we serve throughout the world are greatly appreciated," said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin ahead of the award ceremony. "She is a true champion of WFP's mission, and I look forward to continuing our work together in the future."

    In her role as a UN Messenger of Peace, Princess Haya has worked hard to raise attention for the Millennium Development Goals, especially with regard to hunger. She supported UN operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Gaza and sub-Saharan Africa through numerous field visits, fundraising and publicity.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13167-un-messenger-of-peace-honoured-for-anti-hunger-efforts

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  • BTIG, LLC, a global financial services firm specializing in institutional trading, investment banking and related brokerage services, announced today that it will host its 13th annual international Commissions for Charity Day on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

    The BTIG Commissions for Charity Day is a star-studded event. Throughout the trading day, all-star athletes, top-recording artists, celebrities from film and television and cultural icons join BTIG in an effort to raise money for a variety of charities worldwide. With celebrities working alongside the firm's institutional traders, clients team up with some of their favorite stars to raise funds for meaningful causes.

    "Giving back is a cornerstone of the BTIG corporate identity and we work to build Commissions for Charity Day participation from our growing list of clients and celebrity partners each year," said Scott Kovalik, Co-Founder of BTIG.

    Celebrities committed to join BTIG this year so far include Eli Manning, Mark Cuban, Shaquille O0Neal, Tom Coughlin, Joe Girardi, Allan Houston, Petra Nemcova, Jeremy Roenick, Bobby Valentine, Woody Johnson, Victor Cruz, and Beth Ostrosky Stern. Previous participants have included Michael J. Fox, Michael Strahan, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira, Reggie Jackson, John McEnroe, Carmelo Anthony, Joe Namath, Bode Miller, Kelly Ripa, Rex Ryan, Bridget Moynahan, Padma Lakshmi, Eduardo Garcia, CC Sabathia, Damaris Lewis, Matt Dillon, David Wright, David Diehl, Hannah Storm and Eric LeGrand in New York; Ronnie Lott, Joe Morgan, Marshawn Lynch and Vida Blue in San Francisco; Marcus Allen and Tony Gonzalez in Los Angeles; and Mike Gatting OBE, Chris Tarrant OBE, Brian Conley, Aled Jones MBE and Sinitta in London.

    BTIG pioneered its first Commissions for Charity Day in 2003, raising funds for three charities. In the last twelve years, BTIG's Commissions for Charity Day has grown into a global initiative, supported by the firm's clients, celebrity partners and employees throughout its U.S., London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney offices. Since 2003, BTIG has raised more than US$30 million for hundreds of charitable organizations around the world, including over US$5 million from the May 2014 event last year. Charities are nominated by clients and the firm encourages the selection of child-focused charities.

    "We are increasingly inspired by the charities that we collaborate with each year, many of them focused on helping children around the world," said Steven Starker, Co-Founder of BTIG. "It's a tremendous honor to be a part of this event, and the enthusiasm of our clients, celebrity partners and employees is a testament to the dedication of everyone involved in its success."

    Additional celebrity participants and nominated charities for the 2015 event will be announced throughout the coming months.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13168-btig-announces-star-studded-2015-commissions-for-charity-day

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  • David Walliams and Comic Relief have travelled to Kenya to see the positive change happening right now in sub Sahara Africa.

    David Walliams In Kenya
    David Walliams In Kenya
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    To mark the launch of Red Nose Day 2015 the comedian visited the town of Kisumu in the far west of the country to see just how much progress is being made.

    The first port of call was the Hope for Victoria Children (HOVIC) project which uses Comic Relief cash to give children living unimaginably tough lives the chance to build a better future. Since 2003, staff at the centre have provided basic but vital care such as food, shelter, medicines and education.

    It's not David's first visit to HOVIC though, because it was here in 2011 that he first met Phillip, the boy who inspired him to take on his titanic Thames swim. Back then the youngster was living under a plastic sheet on waste ground in the middle of a duel carriageway. Along with a handful of other young street children, Philip was eating scraps off plates at restaurants and his future was looking incredibly bleak.

    Now, thanks to HOVIC, Philip, who is now 15 years old, isn't just off the streets, he's crucially in the classroom too, getting the education he needs to be able to support himself in later life.

    When they saw each other again David found it hard to hide his emotions at the transformation he saw:

    "It was one of those moments where you want to cry because you feel happy. It was incredible to see how he's changed. He's grown up, but also the look on his face was totally different, the look in his eyes," David said. "He had such a tough life before, unimaginably hard to someone like me. And now he's in such a better place and I feel proud to be part of that. I'm so pleased that the message we can send home is that this works. This works. Your money works. It changes lives. You can see that with Philip."

    The good news isn't just confined to Philip either, during the past three years alone HOVIC has helped 661 children access education and provided health care services for over 2,000 children.

    Further afield back when Comic Relief began only around 50% of children completed their primary school education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Today that figure stands at 70% and rising. And since the last Red Nose Day, 12 million people have been helped by Comic Relief, 250,000 of them are homeless children like Philip.

    What's more, compared to back in 1990, almost 2000 more children are surviving past their fifth birthday every single day across the region, in part because of the strides made in the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria.

    There's still much to do, of course there is, but real tangible progress is being made and your support is what will help keep the good news coming and what will help see more lives totally transformed, just like Phillip's has been,

    For more information on how the money you raise changes lives, click here.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13169-david-walliams-visits-kenya-with-comic-relief

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  • Top British celebrities have today criticised the UK Government for failing to resettle more refugees from Syria.

    The stars, including British Oscar winner Emma Thompson, Michael Palin, Dame Vivienne Westwood, Vanessa Redgrave and musician Sting, have written an open letter to David Cameron in support of a joint Refugee Council, Amnesty International and Oxfam call for Britain to do more to help Syria's refugees find safety in the UK.

    On 29 January 2014, the Government announced it was setting up a special resettlement scheme for Syrian refugees following considerable public pressure. However, one year on, the latest figures show that just 90 people have arrived.

    Meanwhile, the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding Syria and the surrounding region continues to worsen, with the number of refugees swelling to over 3.7 million; many of whom are struggling to survive in the region's severe winter conditions.

    As Syria's refugees struggle to survive snow and freezing temperatures in makeshift shelters, the stars' letter says they are ‘ashamed' of the size of Britain's resettlement scheme, issuing a stern reminder to David Cameron that helping those in need chimes with Britain's most cherished values.

    The celebrities say in their letter:

    "In a climate where children are sent to work in order to help their parents survive, where young girls are sold off as child brides and where torture victims are unable to rebuild their lives, every resettlement place countries like Britain provide is a lifeline.

    "Resettling ‘several hundred people' just isn't good enough for a global leader. This issue isn't about migration statistics or party politics, it's about people. It's about the values that we in Britain hold dear; compassion and humanity.

    "Your choice is simple, yet historic. You are in a position to offer some of the most vulnerable people in the world safety in Britain. You can offer hope. You can offer a future."

    The UN's Refugee Agency UNHCR is calling on governments from around the world to offer 100,000 resettlement places for Syria's refugees in 2015/2016.

    So far, the British Government has said it anticipates resettling just ‘several hundred people' over a three year period and has resisted calls to resettle more people. Other countries, including Germany and the USA, have promised to resettle thousands. In early January, Canada announced it would open its doors to 10,000 Syrian refugees.

    Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: "The Syrian crisis presents us with one of the greatest refugee crises of our time and, arguably, one of the greatest moral questions of our time.

    "The UK's commitment to the relief effort has been laudable but it's not enough. The question is, does David Cameron want to go down in history as the Prime Minister who rationed his compassion to a few hundred people when there was the opportunity to offer safety to so many more?"

    Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen added: "The UK often prides itself on its history of offering sanctuary to refugees but this government can't hold its head high when it comes to the most vulnerable refugees from the conflict in Syria. Millions are living in extremely precarious conditions in neighbouring countries. Given the numbers, it is shocking that the UK has only taken in 90 refugees since it agreed to a resettlement programme a year ago.

    

"The international community must urgently step up its efforts to take the pressure off Syria's neighbours and resettle the most vulnerable of these refugees for whom protection here could literally be a matter of life or death."

    Oxfam Chief Executive Mark Goldring said: "This is about Britain standing side by side with a region in crisis and offering to improve the lives of some the most desperate Syrian refugees. Our aid contribution has been highly generous, but we can no longer continue to treat this problem solely at arms length. For some refugees, life in camps or makeshift shelters is not just hard, it is impossible. A year ago we promised to reach out to these most vulnerable people, but so far Britain has not done enough to live up to that promise."

    The celebrities' letter follows a call made by over 30 leading aid and refugee agencies for the British Government to resettle up to 10,000 refugees from Syria by the end of 2015.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/13170-stars-slam-british-prime-minister-over-syrian-refugee-policy

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