Copyright 2002 Associated Press

[ November 20th 2002 ]

Actor Danny Glover began a three-day visit to Trinidad on Wednesday to film a television program on HIV/AIDS and children, a U.N. spokeswoman said. The 55-year-old American, who starred in the "Lethal Weapon" movies and the film "The Color Purple," arrived early Wednesday at the Caribbean country's Piarco International Airport, U.N. spokeswoman Vashty Maharaj said.

Glover will host the first of 10 episodes of a series called Hot Spots, scheduled to begin airing in January on the American cable network Showtime, Maharaj said. The program is part of a series about the various struggles children face around the world. Actress Angelina Jolie will visit a refugee camp in Zambia and actor Jeff Bridges will host an episode looking at hunger in the United States. The Trinidad episode will focus on children and HIV/AIDS, with Glover talking about the virus with Trinidadian youths.

Some 17,000 people out Trinidad and Tobago's population of 1.3 million have been infected with HIV, including 300 children, officials say. Some 3,600 children under age 15 were living without a mother or father or both because they had died of AIDS, according to 2001 U.N. estimates. The Caribbean has the world's second highest infection rate after sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 2 percent of people, or 500,000, - excluding Cuba where infections rates are low - are HIV-positive, according to the Caribbean Task Force on HIV/AIDS. The producers of the series, RCN Entertainment, also produce PBS's "Reading Rainbow." The U.N. helped develop the idea for the series.

Glover is also one of several celebrities who serve as goodwill ambassadors for the U.N. Development Program to draw attention to poverty. After his visit to Trinidad, Glover plans to travel to Jamaica on Friday, Maharaj said. A Jamaican film festival plans to present Glover with a lifetime achievement award on Saturday, organizers said. The fourth annual Jamerican Film and Music Festival, taking place from Wednesday through Sunday in the northwestern resort town of Montego Bay, will give Glover its third Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award. Last year, the award went to British actor Roger Moore, the star of various James Bond films. The first was presented in 2000 to entertainer Harry Belafonte.

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