George Clooney Returns to Sudan Crisis

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With the glitz of the Oscar and awards season fading away, George Clooney has turned his attention to a far more serious matter, one close to his heart: The volatile Sudanese region of Africa.

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According to the Associated Press, The Descendants star/human rights activist met with South Sudan's minister of defense and a regional governor last week, and also made the dangerous crossing into Sudan's Nuba Mountains region to meet with civilians forced to seek shelter in caves due to aerial military attacks.

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The conflict along the Sudan-South Sudan border has increased following last year's secession of South Sudan; South Sudan has accused Sudan of stealing its oil, threatening to shut down its oil industry, and a hunger crisis looms. Clooney was there in January 2011 to observe the vote to secede, part of a peace deal to end more than two decades of civil war. Following that visit, the star helped found the Satellite Sentinel Project, which tracks military movements/actions using satellite imagery, with the intention of bringing attention to hostilities and potentially heading off violence.

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According to the AP, a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to examine the Sudan oil dispute and the limited access aid groups are being given to the country's southern regions.