Not On Our Watch

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi spent her 64th birthday locked in prison Friday as global campaigns demanding her freedom erupted across Twitter, Facebook and other Web sites and at rallies worldwide.

Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, celebrities Madonna and David Beckham, Nobel laureates and world leaders joined voices to call for the military government to release Suu Kyi, who has now spent 14 birthdays in detention.

Many posted online messages on social networking sites and videos on YouTube in what human rights groups called an unprecedented and enormously powerful tool to harness support for Suu Kyi and highlight her struggle.

Suu Kyi planned to mark the day by sharing food with her prison guards.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will celebrate her birthday by treating the people around her to rice and chocolate cake,” said lawyer Nyan Win, who planned to bring her the food and birthday cards Friday. He said lawyers have informed her of the worldwide campaign. “Daw” is a term of respect in Myanmar. Read more. Thanks Gabriella.

Jolie Pitt Foundation supports Pakistan

They’re between film shoots, but Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have kept busy.

First, it was the creation of the Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center, named after Brad’s mother, in his hometown of Springfield, Mo. And Wednesday, in support of Jolie’s eight-year relationship with the UN Refugee Agency, the Jolie-Pitt Foundation gave $1 million to help displaced people in Pakistan, a country she has visited three times.

The head of the agency, António Guterres, thanked the foundation for its assistance, calling Pakistan’s plight “the most challenging humanitarian crisis of the past decade,” as more than 2 million people are currently displaced in the country. Read more.

St. John’s Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center

It’s a big deal that’s about to get better for families in the Ozarks. On Saturday, St. John’s Hospital announced its children’s hospital will become a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital affiliate.

For families in the Ozarks, this means:
– As an affiliate, many treatments that are administered at St. Jude will be administered at St. John’s, meaning families won’t have to be away from home for weeks, months or years.
– For St. Jude patients treated at St. John’s, their family will not pay for any treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance will not have to pay.

For other pediatric cancer patients who are not St. Jude patients, the hospital will work with their family concerning payments, said Mike Peters, president of St. John’s Foundation for Community Health. “We provide a lot of charity care based on a family’s ability to pay,” Peters said.

Other major announcements Saturday:
– St. John’s Auxiliary has pledged $1 million, over the next four years, to help fund the children’s hospital and other projects.
– St. John’s is expanding its children’s hospital services and hiring the region’s first pediatric hematology/oncology physician.

To make this possible, the Brad Pitt family, Doug and Lisa Pitt and Rob and Julie Neal donated $1 million to establish an endowment fund from which cancer specialists will be paid. In honor of their mother, the center will be renamed St. John’s Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center.

When Mike Peters announced the new name Saturday at a dinner, Jane Pitt wiped away tears. Doug Pitt patted his mother on the arm before getting up to make a speech on his family’s behalf. Pitt referred to his mom as the “pretty one” in the back. “My mom is everything good,” Pitt said. Read more/video. Thanks Gabriella.

Jolie-Pitt Wheels

When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie left Namibia with their newborn baby three years ago, they left behind a legacy.

Today, in Ondangwa, their generosity will see 73 bicycles specially designed for rough terrain donated to school children.

After Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt was born to much media attention on May 27 2006 in Swakopmund, her famous parents donated N500000 (R500000) to the Michelle McLean Children’s Trust.

The charity, run by the Namibian-born beauty since she won Miss Universe in 1992, managed 10 projects with the Jolie- Pitt donation. “The money was a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the first picture of Shiloh with her parents,” said McLean.

The bicycle handover is the second consignment of two- wheelers.

The Jolie-Pitt donation was also used to train pre-primary teachers to prepare children for grade 1, equipping children with financial skills, running a basic first-aid development programme for teachers and care- givers at pre-primary schools, and donating food and clothes to the San people in the Tsumeb region. Source. Thanks Gabriella.

The William A. Pitt Court

Drury University broke ground Friday on the O’Reilly Family Event Center and revealed that Springfield’s Pitt family has donated $600,000 to pay for the center’s Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design Gold certification.

The 65,000-square-foot center will be the first Gold LEED-certified arena in the country, according to a Drury news release. The Pitt family – which includes actor Brad Pitt and local businessman Doug Pitt – made the donation in honor of their father, William A. Pitt. The playing surface of the 3,100-seat arena will be named the William A. Pitt Court.

The original arena design called for a minimum of Silver LEED certification. Features will include low-flow water fixtures, a dedicated recycling area and a solar-reflective roof and pavement materials, the release said. Read more. Thanks Gabriella.