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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 15, 2010

Mutual admiration at awards ceremony


Advertiser News Services

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Actress Meryl Streep, left, presents a leadership award to Ingrid Betancourt at Saturday's inaugural DVF Awards.

AMANDA SCHWAB | StarPix via Associated Press

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Sean Penn

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UNITED NATIONS It was hard to tell who was more impressed when film star Meryl Streep presented a leadership award to Ingrid Betancourt, the former Colombian presidential candidate who endured years of captivity in jungle camps.

Betancourt was one of four women honored Saturday at the inaugural DVF Awards, created by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg to honor women working for change in their countries.

Betancourt, a French-Colombian who was running for president of Colombia when she was kidnapped in 2002 by leftist FARC guerrillas, quipped that she didn't know who was more impressive, the presenters or the women being honored.

"It's like a dream, being here with Meryl Streep," she said.

As for Streep, she wondered how Betancourt endured years of captivity in the jungle without losing her spirit. "Myself, I can't imagine not being destroyed by this," Streep said.

BOLIVIA WON'T HOST MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT

LA PAZ, Bolivia Bolivia is dropping its bid to host the Miss Universe pageant because it would cost more than anticipated.

President Evo Morales has lobbied foreign leaders to help him bring the glamorous contest to the impoverished South American nation.

But Culture Minister Zulma Yugar said yesterday that a closer look at estimated expenses forced the government to pull out.

Developing countries including Vietnam and Thailand have hosted the pageant in recent years.

Nevertheless, Miss Universe was an odd fit for an anti-capitalist president who is a strong advocate of indigenous culture. Political opponents accused Morales and his party of using the pageant to court voters in conservative eastern Bolivia ahead of April elections.

PENN TO STAY IN HAITI UNTIL MID-APRIL

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Look closely at the foreigners buzzing around a hospital tent above one of Haiti's biggest earthquake-refugee camps and a face stands out: There, carrying the box of supplies, that's Sean Penn.

Now he's guiding a Haitian girl to waiting doctors. Now he's lobbying the chief of U.N. peacekeeping operations to provide better security for the camp's 45,000 people. And now he's talking to the press.

"These people are going to have nowhere to go ... in the rainy season," the Oscar-winning actor said. "The efforts that we've seen ... have been extraordinary down the line. But this is an impossible kind of situation."

The 49-year-old actor came to Haiti about a week after the Jan. 12 quake killed a government-estimated 230,000 people and made 1.3 million homeless. He's left just a few times since mostly for Haiti-related meetings, he said, and to present the Oscar for best actress and doesn't plan to leave again until mid-April.