TIME Television

Saturday Night Live Announcer Don Pardo Dies At 96

He spent nearly four decades with SNL and seven at NBC

Don Pardo, the Saturday Night Live announcer whose effusive baritone ushered in the show’s weekly episodes since 1975 — either live or as a prerecording — died on Monday evening at the age of 96.

The Hollywood Reporter says that the longtime showman and media personality — who announced on NBC the breaking news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 — broke his hip last year, but it is unclear if related health issues were factors in his death.

Pardo was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2010 for a lifetime’s achievement in broadcasting.

TIME New York

Amish Sisters Reportedly Kidnapped In New York Are Safe

There are currently no compelling leads on a suspect

A pair of Amish sisters purportedly kidnapped near their home in upstate New York on Wednesday night are safe, authorities told the Associated Press.

Fannie Miller, 12, and her 7-year-old sister Delila were tending to customers at their family’s farm stand at around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night when they went missing, prompting a manhunt as far north as the Canadian border that lasted until the girls appeared at a private residence in Richville, 13 miles from their home.

Their disappearance prompted the State of New York to issue an Amber Alert and created a panic among St. Lawrence County’s Amish community — the second largest in the state — many members of which had gathered for a vigil just before the girls turned up on Thursday.

There are currently no compelling leads on a suspect, although authorities believe that more than one person may have been involved.

TIME South Korea

Pope Francis Meets Asian Youth and Sewol Ferry Survivors

Pope Francis Visits South Korea - Day Two
Getty Images Pope Francis speaks in Daejeon, South Korea, on Friday, August 15. He is visiting South Korea from August 14 to August 18.

He also took to Twitter to urge young Koreans "to see the things in life that really matter"

Pope Francis has said his first Asian mass before a 50,000-strong crowd in the South Korean city of Daejeon, which is playing host to Asian Youth Day — the largest gathering of young Catholics on the continent. The Associated Press (AP) reported that crowds crying “Viva il Papa” greeted him as his open-sided vehicle entered the soccer stadium where the service was held Friday morning. K-pop singers and rappers warmed up the crowd before the pontiff’s arrival.

The pope also met a group of survivors and family members of victims of April’s Sewol ferry disaster, in which almost 300 people, mostly high-school students, were drowned. He will be given a large cross carried by relatives who undertook a 21-day pilgrimage to Jindo Island, near the location where the Sewol capsized, AP said. Pope Francis expressed this hope that the tragedy would bring “all Koreans together in grief and confirm their commitment to work together in solidarity for the common good.”

Later in the day, the pontiff tweeted in both English and Korean, encouraging young people “to see the things in life that really matter.” He also paid a visit to a shrine dedicated to the first Korean to be ordained a Catholic priest, St. Andrew Kim Taegon, who is the patron saint of South Korea and was executed in 1846, at the age of 25, after running foul of the ruling Joseon dynasty.

On Saturday, the pope will hold a ceremony to beatify 124 Korean Catholics martyred in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

South Korea is a rare outpost of Catholicism in Asia. This is the first papal visit to the region since 1989 and reflects what many believe to be the Vatican’s hopes to grow the church in the region.

TIME Iraq

Obama: U.S. ‘Broke’ Siege of Iraqi Mountain

Displaced Iraqi families from the Yazidi community cross the Iraqi-Syrian border at the Fishkhabur crossing, in northern Iraq, on Aug. 13, 2014.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye—AFP/Getty Images Displaced Iraqi Yezidi families cross the Iraqi-Syrian border in northern Iraq on Aug. 13, 2014

"We helped vulnerable people reach safety and we helped save many innocent lives"

Updated 1:33 p.m. E.T.

President Barack Obama said Thursday that U.S. air strikes and humanitarian drops, as well as the efforts of Kurdish forces, have broken the siege of Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, where thousands of members of the Yezidi religious minority had been trapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon from Martha’s Vineyard, where he is vacationing, Obama said a U.S. military and civilian team concluded Wednesday that U.S. efforts have dramatically lessened the likelihood that a rescue would need to be staged to free the civilians on the mountain.

“Because of the skill and professionalism of our military and the generosity of our people, we broke the [ISIS] siege of Mount Sinjar,” Obama said. “We helped vulnerable people reach safety and we helped save many innocent lives.”

U.S. military aircraft have carried out around a dozen air strikes in Iraq since Obama authorized military action a week ago, and U.S. transport planes have delivered more than 114,000 meals and 35,000 gallons of fresh water on the mountain in airdrops carried out over the past seven nights.

Obama maintained that the situation in Iraq remains “dire” for those Iraqis who live in areas under the control of ISIS, which has taken large swaths of territory and several of the country’s largest cities in offensives over the past several months. Obama said the U.S. stands ready to carry out similar humanitarian efforts elsewhere in Iraq if necessary, and reiterated that U.S. air strikes would continue in order to protect American military advisers and diplomatic facilities in Iraq.

Obama added that the burden for a long-term solution to the crisis in Iraq lies on the shoulders of the Iraqi government, saying that after a conversation with newly selected Prime Minister–designate Haider al-Abadi, he is “modestly hopeful that the Iraqi government situation is moving in the right direction.”

Al-Abadi would replace Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is struggling to hold onto power even as domestic factions and international leaders have withdrawn support. Al-Maliki insists that he should have a third term in office, given the success of his Shi‘ite-led faction in an election this past April. However, President Fouad Massoum has asked al-Abadi, a lawmaker from al-Maliki’s Dawa Party, to try to form a government.

TIME Theater

Finding Neverland Will Soar Onto Broadway Next March

The 68th Annual Tony Awards
CBS Photo Archive—CBS via Getty Images Jennifer Hudson performs a song from the musical 'Finding Neverland' at the 68th Annual Tony Awards in New York in June 2014.

The theatrical version comes a decade after the critically acclaimed film about Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie

Finding Neverland, the story of author J.M. Barrie as he sets off to write his opus Peter Pan, will open on Broadway in March 2015, a decade after the release of the critically acclaimed film.

The New York Times reports that the show, bankrolled by veteran producer Harvey Weinstein, received a trial run at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Wednesday night — the culmination of a lengthy and highly public production process.

It is the first major theater project that Weinstein has directly tackled, though he is acquainted with Broadway: a 2012 story in the Times described him as a “passive investor” in such successful shows as The Producers and Billy Elliot.

The original film, which starred Johnny Depp as Barrie and received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Original Score, and others, was produced by Miramax Films, which Weinstein founded and runs with his brother Bob.

Much remains up in the air. The show’s creative team, headed by Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus, has yet to announce either a cast or a theater in New York where the show will play.

TIME South Korea

South Korean Protestants Rally Against Pope Francis’ Visit

South Korea Pope
Ahn Young-joon—AP Workers set a platform as they prepare for a special Korean reconciliation mass by Pope Francis at Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul on Aug. 12, 2014

Not everyone is happy about the Pontiff's trip

Around 10,000 South Korean Protestants gathered at a convention center near Seoul on Tuesday to protest Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to the country.

The demonstration, organized by fundamentalist Protestants who view Catholicism as blasphemous, underscores tension among some denominations in South Korea, where nearly 30% of the population is Christian.

Participants in Tuesday’s protests, the Wall Street Journal reports, sought to undermine recent efforts by moderate Protestant leaders to reconcile differences with the country’s Roman Catholic establishment.

Pope Francis arrives on Thursday — making the first papal visit to East Asia in a quarter of a century — and will remain in South Korea for four days, during which he intends to beatify 124 Korean Catholics killed by dynastic leaders in the 18th and 19th centuries and also celebrate Asian Youth Day, a massive convention for the continent’s young Catholics.

There had been hopes that the Pope would be able to preach unity on the Korean peninsula, however these fell flat after authorities in Pyongyang declined his request to visit North Korea. The Associated Press reports that he will nevertheless issue a “message of peace and reconciliation for all Koreans.”

TIME celebrities

Justin Bieber Won’t Go to Jail on That Miami DUI Charge

Justin Bieber
AP This Jan. 23, 2014 file photo made available by the Miami Beach Police Dept., shows Justin Bieber at the police station in Miami Beach, Fla.

But he's not out of legal hot water yet

Justin Bieber is basically off the hook for engaging in what looked like an illegal drag race through Miami this past winter. On Wednesday, he will plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges — careless driving and resisting arrest without violence — as part of a court deal to avoid the initial driving-under-the-influence charge that could have yielded more serious legal consequences.

He won’t be serving any jail time, to the relief of Beliebers everywhere. Instead, he’ll make a charitable donation of $50,000 and take an anger-management course, Variety reports.

Police in Miami Beach pulled him over after midnight on Jan. 23 for driving at excessive speeds — as fast as 130 m.p.h. at one point — in a rented Lamborghini. Reports say he had marijuana and Xanax in his system at the time.

Bieber has had his fair deal of legal trouble recently. Last month, he paid more than $80,000 in damages after egging a neighbor’s house in Los Angeles. In his hometown of Toronto, meanwhile, he faces charges of assaulting a limo driver last December, though his attorneys — who will appear in his stead in court on Wednesday — insist he’s innocent.

TIME movies

Two More LEGO Sequels Are Reportedly in the Works

The Lego Movie
Warner Bros. The Lego Movie

Not surprising, given the box office triumph of the first film earlier this year

After the explosive success of The LEGO Movie earlier this year, Warner Brothers will release two more films in the franchise in addition to the impending sequel.

The studio announced on Wednesday that it had slated two untitled films to come out over Memorial Day weekend in 2018 and 2019; The Hollywood Reporter says that these are the third and fourth films of the LEGO franchise. Filmmakers made plans for the first sequel, to be released in 2017, in early February — just days after The LEGO Movie tore through U.S. box offices, drawing in nearly $70 million in its first weekend.

When all was said and done, it went home with $468 million and thoroughly positive reviews.

The studio hasn’t announced who will comprise the sequels’ voice casts. The first film featured the voices of Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, and others.

[Hollywood Reporter]

TIME weather

Hawaii Is Preparing for a Double Hurricane Hit

Tropical Weather
AP This image provided by NOAA taken Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, shows Hurricane Iselle, center, and Hurricane Julio, right.

Hurricanes Iselle and Julio will be the first to directly strike Hawaii since September 1992

Two hurricanes currently churning in the Pacific Ocean are projected to pass over Hawaii this weekend.

Governor Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation on Wednesday as hurricanes Iselle and Julio approached the island chain from the east.

The storms will be the first hurricanes to directly strike Hawaii since September 1992, when Hurricane Iniki battered several of the state’s major islands.

Forecasters expect Iselle to make landfall over the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday afternoon local time, bringing with it maximum sustained winds of up to 70 m.p.h. and as much as a foot of rain. Julio will graze the island by Sunday morning, weakening as it passes.

“The Big Island will get the worst of it,” Eric Lau, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, told TIME. “People should expect potential power outages, downed trees and flying debris. It’s not a common occurrence here.”

Hawaii’s largest island is home to nearly 200,000 of the state’s 1.4 million people, while some 75% of the population lives on Oahu, to the west, where Honolulu and the outlying area are currently under a tropical-storm warning.

The local press have described the impending weekend as a meteorological “one-two punch” — two storms, relatively weak on their own, that together will bring potentially dangerous conditions for as long as five days. Abercrombie’s proclamation will last until Aug. 15, allowing the state to turn to a $2 million fund earmarked for emergencies.

Residents are meanwhile buckling down at home. The Hawaii State Department of Education closed all schools on the Big Island and neighboring Maui on Thursday and Friday, while voters hustled to cast early ballots in Saturday’s primary election for governor and congressional representatives.

“Water and Spam have been flying off the shelves,” Honolulu resident Kory Johnson joked. (The state reportedly eats 7 million cans of the precooked meat each year.) “A lot of businesses are closing down — including the medical clinic I’m working for — and there are massive lines at Costco. People are stocking up.”

Many tourists, however, are vying to steer clear of the storms before they hit. To assist travelers in altering their plans, Hawaiian Airlines has temporarily waived its reservation-change fee — typically $30 to $200, depending on the route — as have other carriers. At the Wailea Marriott Resort and Spa in Maui, staff members have posted hurricane information flyers for visitors to consult, but their audience is dwindling: a hotel clerk who identified herself only as Alicia told TIME that a number of tourists have canceled their reservations in anticipation of the hurricanes.

She stressed, though, that the hotel had safety measures in place should the weather turn severe.

“We have an evacuation route planned on the island,” she said. “The safety of our guests is our first priority.”

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Drops In on The Colbert Report to Plug Memoir

Lots of name-dropping, but still no talk of 2016

Hillary Clinton and Stephen Colbert went head-to-head in the name game on Tuesday night when the former Secretary of State made an unannounced visit to the Colbert Report.

“This book is 656 pages of shameless name dropping,” the faux-conservative pundit said of Hard Choices, Clinton’s recent memoir of her time at the State Department, just before she walked out onstage.

The two engaged in a lightheartedly schticky debate over which one of them is better connected in the world—Colbert hangs out with Tom Hanks at George Clooney’s place; Clinton once had lunch with Meryl Streep and the president of Ecuador—but the conversation pretty much stopped there.

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