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Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 10:28 am
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With weeks to go before her job as secretary of state comes to an end, Condoleezza Rice said Monday she is looking for a new home near Stanford University in northern California, reports the AFP.      

       “I have a place to live temporarily,” said Rice who will resume her academic career at Stanford after Barack Obama becomes the U.S. president on Jan. 20.      

       “I have not really had time to look and so when I get out to California, I will start looking for a place to live,” she said. “But I know I will not live too far from where I work, because I am not a commuter by nature.”      

       For eight years under President George W. Bush, first as national security adviser and then secretary of state, she lived at the Watergate complex in Washington, just a few hundred yards (meters) from her State Department office.      

       Rice is due to take up her new post at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, a research center specializing in international relations. She was teaching at Stanford when the Bush administration brought her aboard in 2001.      

       She also plans to write two books, one a tribute to her African American parents at the time of the racially-segregated south and the other on international affairs.      

       “I will write a book on foreign policy as every secretary of state is obliged to do,” she said. But the second one might have to simmer for a while because it “has been such a turbulent time and such a consequential time that it may take a little reflection,” she added.      

       “I want to write a book about my parents who were incredible people and emblematic really of a whole generation of black parents who just were not going to let their children be held hostages to segregation,” Rice said.       

       “And so they just invested and invested and invested. And so I want to write about that,” said Rice, the only child of a couple from Alabama and the first African-American female secretary of state.



Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 6:24 pm
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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was part of a piano quintet that performed for Queen Elizabeth II Monday night at Buckingham Palace, the Associated Press reports.


       Rice played Brahms’ Op. 34 with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s wife, Louise, on violin, and three members of the London Symphony Orchestra. The queen gave Rice an audio recording of the performance as a gift.      

       Rice, a classically trained pianist, has said in past interviews that she would like to someday play at the palace.  Her wish came true during her final trip to Britain before President-elect Barack Obama takes office next month.


       On Tuesday, she gave a farewell speech to NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.



Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 11:22 am
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In her waning days in office, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday named major league baseball all-star Ken Griffey Jr. as a new public diplomacy envoy, a job that calls for travel abroad to help polish Washington’s image.


       Griffey joins Cal Ripken Jr, figure-skating champ Michelle Kwan and actress Fran Drescher as current diplomacy envoys. Rice said Griffey will take a trip to Panama in January in his new role.      

       “When Ken Griffey travels overseas, one of his greatest objectives will be to talk to young people and to spark their interest in America and in our culture,” Rice told a ceremony at the State Department.      

       She added: “I am so very proud that Ken Griffey, Jr., has stepped up to that task of helping us to share the story of America, the culture of America, and the values of America.”      

       Griffey, a 38-year-old outfielder, said he jumped at the chance to take up the role.      

       “I played in Japan for the Super Series and just watched how other countries go about their business in playing baseball,” Griffey said. “After a certain age, you pretty much set your ways. But we can reach out to young children about our culture and also about our pastime, which is baseball.”


THANDIE DETAILS CONDOLEEZZA EXPERIENCE: Actress describes preparations, makeup, false teeth and other tools used to nail character in W September 9, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 2:43 pm
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Just how did British actress Thandie Newton become convinced she could take on the role of American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the film “W,” Oliver Stone’s upcoming biopic of George W. Bush?


      “Oliver woke me up,” she tells Britain’s Times Online. Stone had an “absolute belief that I could play this character who was absolutely nothing like me. She didn’t look like me; she’s a couple of decades older than me. And I’m English, for goodness’ sake.”


       Newton, who appears opposite her “Crash” co-star Ludacris in the upcoming film “Rock n Rolla,” says she didn’t even know how to spell Condoleezza when she first discussed the role with Stone.


       “I knew she was secretary of state and that was about it.” But the script was on point, she said, which led her to accept the offer. “I decided to close my eyes and leap. I wanted to take the risk.”       

Thandie Newton as Condoleeza Rice in ‘W’

       Newton said she immediately got to work studying Rice’s every move. “That was when it got really f***ing fun,” she says, rubbing her hands with glee. “It was like doing a really involved paper back at Cambridge and my paper was Condoleezza Rice.”       

       She poured through biographies, articles, books on the Bush administration, on Cheney, on torture, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo. “You name it, I read it,” she says. “I had two things going on: reading about this young woman, and the incredible story of the Bush administration. This gigantic beast, this machine and how it was cranking toward war. I wanted to become drunk with knowledge.”       

       By the time rehearsals began in Louisiana, Newton said she was beginning to have second thoughts. “I was thinking, ‘F***, have I made a mistake?'” The make-up team told her that prosthetics were out of the question because they would melt in the heat. “That was a bit of a blow,” she said. “They told me they would do a ‘feel-alike’ rather than a lookalike, and I knew that was going to be a real problem for me.”       

       During the six week rehearsal period in Louisiana, Newton struggled to find a way to accurately portray Rice, finding inspiration in the way she used her own voice to conquer the challenges of playing the ghost-child in “Beloved” ten years ago.      

       “I suddenly realized that I had this weird, very deep voice that I could use,” she said. “I remember Jonathan [Demme, the director]’s face when I started speaking. It was priceless. We didn’t need the voiceover.”        

       As for the physical transformation into Rice, she consulted with a close friend who happens to be a make-up artist. “I thought we could create something with some clever make-up and shading,” said Newton. “We just hadn’t got close to her in rehearsals and they were trusting me to come up with a character under my skin, but the truth is that I needed a lot on my skin. We spent the afternoon experimenting. By the time the kids came home from school I was all Condi’d up, complete with some fantastic false teeth. She nailed it for me. I was still terrified, but now I had the equipment.”