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Celebrities, sports stars dig deep for Australian fire victims

Celebrities and sports stars have offered donations and condolences for victims of the devastating dev·as·tate  
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.

2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
 wildfires which have razed raze also rase  
tr.v. razed also rased, raz·ing also ras·ing, raz·es also ras·es
1. To level to the ground; demolish. See Synonyms at ruin.

2. To scrape or shave off.

 towns and killed at least 181 people in southeastern Australia.

Musician Leonard Cohen cohen
 or kohen

(Hebrew: “priest”) Jewish priest descended from Zadok (a descendant of Aaron), priest at the First Temple of Jerusalem. The biblical priesthood was hereditary and male.
, the Australian and New Zealand cricket
NZC redirects here. For the award for bravery, see New Zealand Cross

New Zealand Cricket, formerly the New Zealand Cricket Board, is the governing body for professional cricket in New Zealand.
 teams and organisers of the Women's Australian Open
    This article is about the Australian Open tennis tournament. For the Australian Open golf tournament, see Australian Open (golf).
The Australian Open is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments to be held each year.
 golf tournament have separately offered to donate to the relief fund set up to help the survivors.

Canadian singer-songwriter Cohen donated 200,000 dollars (131,000 US) along with local star Paul Kelly and their touring companies at the end of a three-week visit to Australia which started in the fire-struck Yarra Valley The Yarra Valley is the name given to the region surrounding the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. The river originates in the Yarra Ranges approximately 60 kilometres east of Melbourne and flows towards and into the city of Melbourne and out into Port Phillip Bay.  in January.

"Leonard has loved his time in Australia In mainland Australia, the keeping of standard time is divided into three time zones: eastern (UTC+10), central () and western (UTC+8). There are also some areas using an unofficial "central western" zone (). Most Australian external territories also observe different time zones.  on this tour and is shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the fires," said Michael Gudinski Michael Solomon Gudinski AM (born August 22, 1950) is a Melbourne-based entrepreneur and businessman who is a leading figure in the Australian music industry, mostly known for forming the highly successful Australian record company Mushroom Records in 1972 through whom Gudinski , managing director of The Frontier Touring Company.

Australian star Kylie Minogue was also reportedly considering hosting a benefit gig with her sister Dannii and fellow Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia in London.

Australian author Kathy Lette, a friend of Melbourne-born Kylie, told Tuesday's edition of free commuter newspaper London Lite that plans were under way for an event to honour those who had perished, Australian Associated Press Australian Associated Press (AAP) is Australia's national news agency. The organisation was established in 1935.

AAP employs more than 175 journalists who work in bureaux in all Australian states and territories.

"We're working on that now. The situation down there is really, really dreadful," Lette was quoted as saying.

Imbruglia said: "I think we should definitely talk about doing something like a fundraiser for those affected by the bushfires."

Offers of help and aid have poured in from around the world as firefighters continue to threaten rural towns in Victoria state.

Whole towns were wiped off the map in a matter of hours as the inferno, whipped up by strong winds and tinder-dry conditions, caught communities by surprise and overwhelmed rural volunteer firefighting teams.

The death toll of 181 is expected to rise to more than 200, officials said, with more than 1,000 homes destroyed.

Australia's cricket team visited one of the towns lying in the path of the bushfires and played a game of backyard cricket with some of the children made homeless by the blaze.

The Australian and New Zealand New Zealand (zē`lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland.  teams raised six million dollars for the relief appeal at a one-day game in Adelaide on Tuesday night.

"We've actually decided as a group that we're going to fly to Melbourne and get on a team coach and go out to Whittlesea and spend a few hours there to try and make things a fraction easier if we can," Ponting said earlier.

Japanese soccer fans will have a chance to give to the bushfire appeal when the Socceroos wear black armbands as a mark of respect before they play in the World Cup qualifier against Japan later Wednesday.

A sell-out crowd of 70,000 is expected to pack Yokohama's Nissan Stadium and Japanese officials have made arrangements for the crowd to donate.

Organisers of the Women's Australian Open in Victoria state capital Melbourne this week have pledged their support, offering five dollars for every birdie, AAP AAP - Association of American Publishers  reported.

Australian Ladies Professional Golf tour boss Warren Sevil said players were being invited to match this or to donate some of their prize money.

"Leading players have already committed significant dollars before they have hit a shot, and we are confident 'Birdies for Bushfires' will generate much-needed funds," he said.

Close allies such as Britain, New Zealand and the United States have been joined by nations including Brazil, China and Japan in offering sympathies or assistance, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told parliament Tuesday.

A team of New Zealand victim identification specialists headed to Australia Wednesday to assist in the grim task of naming people who failed to escape the fires.

The Australian public has pledged more than 30 million dollars to relief appeals.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Feb 11, 2009
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