Iraqis and French send Katrina aid

AP via Houston Chronicle:

France has offered to fly over some of the city's musicians and provide them with rent-free residences and monthly stipends for up to three months, in hopes of compensating for concerts canceled after Hurricane Katrina.

Major French museums _ including the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay and the Centre Pompidou _ also intend to help the New Orleans Museum of Art put on an exhibit of major French artists, probably in 2007.

It's all part a French effort to help residents of Louisiana, which has retained strong cultural ties to France since Napoleon sold the territory to the United States in 1803.

"It's like a family story," said Pierre Lebovics, the French consul general in New Orleans. "You love a person, and this person goes to the hospital and you discover that you really love that person. Such tragedy happens and you discover the reality and the depth of your feelings."

French companies have donated more than $18.5 million in aid to Louisiana, and the national and local governments are sending money and planning programs aimed at helping Louisiana cash in on its cultural heritage.

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And, there is this from the Washington Times:

Iraq's Red Crescent relief organization found its own way to mark the Thanksgiving holiday yesterday by announcing that it had sent a $1 million "thank you" donation to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The sum, transferred by wire on Sunday, amounts to 20 percent of the organization's annual budget.
"I wish we could have a billion dollars to give," Said Hakki, the organization's president, said by telephone from Baghdad. "Even then, it is not enough to show our appreciation for what the U.S. has done for Iraq and is still doing."
The donation was made with the approval of the office of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and is thought to mark the first time that Iraq has sent aid to the United States.
Haydar al-Abadi, a senior adviser to the prime minister, said in a separate telephone interview that he was worried that the gesture -- though noble -- could prompt complaints that the money should have been spent on the country's own emergencies.
But Mr. Hakki was adamant.
"Giving thanks is an Iraqi tradition as well as an American one. This is the minimum we could do after the Americans shed their blood in our country, mixing their blood with ours," he said.

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