|Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie began a goodwill trip Monday to Sierra Leone to meet survivors of this battered West African nation's devastating war and urge authorities to make public the recommendations of a special commission set up to reconcile the nation. Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since 2001, flew to Freetown late Monday, agency spokeswoman Rachel Goldstein-Rodriguez said. Sierra Leone's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up after a brutal 10-year-war ended in 2002, has collected thousands of written statements documenting atrocities and held public hearings in a bid to offer victims a shot at catharsis by recounting their tales. The commission's final report was presented to President Ahmed Tejah Kabbah in October 2004, but it and its recommendations have yet to be made public. Jolie is expected to meet Kabbah on Wednesday, as well as other government officials, aid workers and victims of the bloodshed during her three-day visit, the New York-based nonprofit organization Witness said in a statement. (more about Angelina Jolie.)|
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Angelina Jolie is facing strong criticism over her adoption of Ethiopian
orphan Zahara Marley after it emerged the baby has a grandmother desperate
to raise the money to keep her.
Almaz Blfnhe, 45, toiled to care for the baby for four months after her daughter Mentewabe died from complications in childbirth, but eventually accepted she was too poor to look after her.
Children's charities are critical of the Mr. & Mrs. Smith star and argue she would have done more good donating some of her $54 million fortune to the heartbroken family.
Matthew Collinson, of the League for African Development says, "A more sensitive solution would have been for her to help the grandmother in the same way that people sponsor children abroad. Alternatively she could have adopted a child that truly had no one else on the planet to care for it."
Blfnhe says, "No woman wants to give away her own flesh and blood, but the adoption office said they could give her a better life."
She appeals to Angelina, "Send me a picture one day so I can remember my granddaughter and her beautiful big brown eyes, just like my daughter's eyes."
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