George Clooney urges more aid, intervention in embattled Darfur

Actor George Clooney said Thursday Americans should not "turn our heads and look away" from the atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan and urged the U.S. government to do more to end the humanitarian crisis that it calls genocide.

The Oscar winner, back from a five-day trip to the region with his father, Nick, told a packed room at the National Press Club that he wants to use his "credit card" as a Hollywood star to highlight the plight of 2 million desperate refugees in the embattled region.

"Is the American government slow to act? Of course we're slow to act; we always are," Clooney said, referring to prior delayed U.S. interventions in Rwanda and the Balkans.

"It's something that has to start today," Clooney said. "If we don't get to work on it today, there's a few thousand people who will be dead by the end of the week," Clooney said, reports AP.

Hollywood actors, political, religious leaders and sporting personalities will be among those at the rallies, which are expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people.

"What we cannot do is turn our heads and look away and hope that this will somehow disappear," Clooney said to an unusually packed news conference at the National Press Club. "It's the first genocide of the 21st century."

Clooney showed a short video from his visit with his father to Sudan and neighboring Chad, a collection of interviews and disturbing pictures of emaciated children in dusty camps.

The actor, flanked by conservative Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, and liberal Sen. Barack Obama, a Democrat from Illinois, said a young girl asked him during his trip when he would return and "stop this," informs Reuters.

O.Ch.