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Ed McMahon urges people to donate DVDs for troops in Iraq

"Tonight Show" talk show sidekick Ed McMahon asks people to endow DVDs for U.S. troops in Iraq, because movies offer them a safe escape from wartime realities.

"This program accomplishes two things: the troops are entertained and they know that citizens at home care and support them," McMahon, 84, said Wednesday during ceremonies at the Palm Springs Airport's United Service Organizations facility.

Operation DVD collects new and used DVDs to distribute overseas to U.S. military personnel. The year-old program has already collected more than 250,000 DVDs.

"This war in Iraq is unusual because soldiers never know where the next attack will come from. They need a safe mode of recreation since they become potential targets playing soccer or softball outdoors," McMahon said.

Robert Boots, California spokesman for Operation DVD, said the goal is eventually to have 1 million DVDs distributed to U.S. troops, with more than 200 titles in rotation at each base.

"The least we can offer them is some DVDs for entertainment so they can escape their realities for a while," Boots said.

Collection boxes are located across the United States at schools, retail stores, churches, and government offices.

Russia's Ministry for Foreign Affairs is seriously concerned about the state of health of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Sergei Skrypal's niece, Victoria Skripal, said that her uncle had already died.

UK wants Sergei Skripal dead

The Basmanny Court of Moscow arrested Michael Calvey, the founder of Baring Vostok investment fund, on allegations of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles from Vostochny Bank. Calvey will be held in custody until April 13

Putin informed about arrest of US investor Michael Calvey
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