Jim Nabors, Gomer Pyle on ‘Andy Griffith Show,’ Dies at 87

Jim Nabors, the shy Alabaman whose down-home comedy made him a TV star as Gomer Pyle and whose surprisingly operatic voice kept him a favorite in Las Vegas and other showplaces, died Thursday. He was 87.

Nabors, who underwent a liver transplant in 1994 after contracting hepatitis B, died peacefully at his home in Hawaii after his health had declined for the past year, said his husband, Stan Cadwallader, who was by his side.

“Everybody knows he was a wonderful man. And that’s all we can say about him. He’s going to be dearly missed,” Cadwallader said.

The couple married in early 2013 in Washington state, where gay marriage had recently been made legal. Nabors’ friends had known for years that he was gay, but he had never said anything to the media.

“It’s pretty obvious that we had no rights as a couple, yet when you’ve been together 38 years, I think something’s got to happen there, you’ve got to solidify something,” Nabors told Hawaii News Now at the time. “And at my age, it’s probably the best thing to do.”

Nabors became an instant success when he joined “The Andy Griffith Show” in the early 1960s. The character of Gomer Pyle, the unworldly, lovable gas pumper who would exclaim “Gollllll-ly!” proved so popular that in 1964 CBS starred him in “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

In the spinoff, which lasted five seasons, Gomer left his hometown of Mayberry to become a Marine recruit. His innocence confounded his sergeant, the irascible Frank Sutton.

Audiences saw another side of Nabors in appearances in TV variety programs — his booming baritone. The contrast between his homespun humor (“The tornado was so bad a hen laid the same egg twice”) and his full-throated operatic arias was stunning.

For two seasons beginning in 1969, CBS presented “The Jim Nabors Hour,” on which he joshed with guest stars, did sketches with Sutton and fellow “Gomer” veteran Ronnie Schell, and sang country and opera.

Offstage, Nabors retained some of the awed innocence of Gomer. At the height of his fame in 1969, he admitted, “For the first four years of the series, I didn’t trust my success. Every weekend and on every vacation, I would take off to play nightclubs and concerts, figuring the whole thing would blow over some day.

“You know somethin’? I still find it difficult to believe this kind of acceptance. I still don’t trust it.”

After the end of his variety show, Nabors continued earning high salaries in Las Vegas showrooms and in concert theaters across the country. He recorded more than two dozen albums and sang with the Dallas and St. Louis symphony orchestras.

During the 1970s he moved to Hawaii, buying a 500-acre macadamia ranch. He still did occasional TV work, and in the late 1970s, he appeared 10 months annually at Hilton hotels in Hawaii. The pace gave him an ulcer.

“I was completely burned out,” he later recalled. “I’d had it with the bright lights.”

In the early 1980s, his longtime friendship with Burt Reynolds led to roles in “Stroker Ace,” “Cannonball II” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”

He returned to concert and nightclub performances in 1985, though at a less intensive pace.

“It was kind of like `The Twilight Zone’ for me, all of us standing there in costumes, the girls in spangles, no tops,” he told The Associated Press during his comeback stint at the Las Vegas Hilton. “I looked around and told the girls, `I’m used to being on the back of a tractor, then to be dropped into the midst of this! It’s kind of weird.”‘

Among his regular gigs was singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” at the Indianapolis 500 each year, which he first did in 1972. The first time, he wrote the lyrics on his hand so he wouldn’t forget.

“I’ve never thought of [the audience reaction] as relating to me,” Nabors said. “It’s always relating to the song and to the race. It is applauding for the tradition of the race and the excitement.”

Illness forced him to cancel his appearance in 2007, the first one he had missed in more than 20 years. He was back performing at Indy in 2008, saying, “It’s always the main part of my year. It just thrills you to your bones.”

Nabors was an authentic small-town Southern boy, born James Thurston Nabors in Sylacauga, Alabama, in 1930, son of a police officer. Boyhood attacks of asthma required long periods of rest, during which he learned to entertain his playmates with vocal tricks.

After graduating from the University of Alabama, he worked in New York City for a time, and later, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was an assistant film editor and occasional singer at a TV station.

Nabors moved on to Hollywood with hopes of using his voice. While cutting film at NBC in the daytime, he sang at night at a Santa Monica club.

“I was up there on the stage the night that Andy Griffith came in,” Nabors recalled in 1965. “He said to me afterward, `You know somethin,’ boy? You’re good. I’m going to bring my manager around to see you.”‘

In 1991, Nabors got a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in ceremonies attended by pals Carol Burnett, Loni Anderson, Phyllis Diller and Florence Henderson. His reaction? “Gollll-ly!”

The late Associated Press Entertainment Writer Bob Thomas wrote biographical material for this story.

France Invites US to Dec. 13 Summit on Boosting Fight Against W.African Militants

French President Emmanuel Macron fears Islamist militants have scored military and symbolic victories in West Africa while a regional military force has struggled to get off the ground, a French presidential source said on Thursday.

To help get the new G5 Sahel force operating effectively, he said, France has invited the United States to a summit with the five participating countries as well as the African Union and European Union in Paris next month.

Thousands of U.N. peacekeepers, French troops and U.S. military trainers and drone operators have failed so far to stem a growing wave of jihadist violence, leading world powers to pin their hopes on the new G5 Sahel force.

The G5 Sahel initiative – grouping Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – faces an immense security challenge in a largely desert and weakly governed region and already faces questions over its financing and provision of equipment.

“Emmanuel Macron believes that it’s not going quickly enough and that the terrorists have registered military and symbolic victories, especially in Niger, and (that) it’s urgent to reverse this trend,” the French official said in Ghana where Macron was winding up a three-day Africa trip.

“The (objective) will be to accelerate the calendar for the support of the force, and the operational calendar.”

The jihadist threat hit home again last month with an attack in Niger in which eight U.S. and Nigerien troops were killed, prompting American officials to forecast that U.S. involvement in the Sahel region would deepen.

As well as the leaders of the G5 nations – all former French colonies – and the EU and African Union, the French presidential official said the United States had also been invited to the Dec. 13 summit.

The G5 force is to eventually comprise 5,000 men from seven battalions and police the region in collaboration with 4,000 French troops deployed there since Paris intervened in 2013 to beat back an insurgency in northern Mali.

It will also have to coordinate with MINUSMA, Mali’s U.N. peacekeeping mission. MINUSMA has been frequently attacked in the north where Islamists have regained ground since 2013.

A donor conference will be held in Brussels on Dec. 14 to raise funds for the Sahel force. Paris has also asked Saudi Arabia to help finance the force and representatives of the kingdom could also be in Paris on Dec. 13, the official said.

Denmark Detains Russian Man at Moscow’s Request

Denmark has detained a 43-year-old Russian national at Moscow’s request pending an international extradition, Danish prosecutors said Thursday.

Henriette V. Norring from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said Russia now has to make a formal extradition request.

She says Denmark will consider the request “thoroughly,” adding any extradition “will only be possible if all conditions of Danish extradition legislation are met.”

She declined to name the man but his lawyer said it was Alexander Panesh, a resident of France. Panesh was detained Nov. 21 and can be held in custody until Dec. 19.

The lawyer, Kim Bagge, told The Associated Press that her client was wanted for bribery and making false statements, among other allegations.

Bagge said Panesh claims he fled Russia because of ties to the political opposition – a claim that could not be independently verified.

In July 2016, Moscow request an Interpol Red Notice be issued for her client, Bagge said, adding that he was arrested at Copenhagen airport during a transit for Lithuania where he had gotten permission from Lithuanian police to pick up papers to be used in his French asylum request.

“It is my client’s understanding that this is clearly politically motivated,” Bagge told the AP. Denmark “cannot extradite a person fleeing from personal persecution. All Denmark does is delay an asylum process in France.”

“It is beyond understanding why a man who has lived openly in France for a year and where his asylum application is being processed is now arrested in Denmark,” he said. “His name must have popped up as sought-after on computers at the airport.”

In 2002, Denmark refused to extradite London-based Akhmed Zakayev, a top aide to Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, who was arrested in Copenhagen at Russia’s request. Danish officials released him after rejecting Moscow’s request to extradite him because of insufficient evidence.

Moscow Mulls Next Move in Escalating Media Spat With US

The Kremlin voiced dismay Thursday over the withdrawal of a Russian state-funded TV station’s credentials in the U.S. and warned of a quick retaliation.

 

A committee that governs Capitol Hill access for broadcast journalists on Wednesday withdrew credentials for Kremlin-funded RT after the company complied earlier this month with a U.S. demand that it register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, denounced the move as a violation of media freedom and “extremely hostile act,” adding that “we are deeply disappointed.”

 

 “Such hostile and undemocratic decisions can’t be left without an answer,” he said in a conference call with reporters. “You don’t have to be a soothsayer to forecast an emotional response from our lawmakers regarding the U.S. media.”

 

Senior Russian lawmakers warned that representatives of the U.S. media can lose access to parliament and government agencies as a quid pro quo. Foreign correspondents in Russia can currently access the Russian parliament and some government agencies with their press credentials issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

 

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, said the U.S. move was a “challenge to the universal values of freedom of speech.”

“This is an attack on the foundation of democracy, and we aren’t going to tolerate it,” he said. “We are considering options for a symmetrical, quid pro quo response to the hostile U.S. actions. They will come soon.”   

 

The U.S. move and the Russian threats of retaliation follow the endorsement of a new Russian bill that allowed the government to designate international media outlets as foreign agents in response to the U.S. demand made to the RT TV channel.

 

The bill, quickly passed by the Russian parliament and signed into law by Putin over the weekend, says that any government- or private-funded foreign news outlets could be declared foreign agents, leaving it to the Justice Ministry to single them out.

 

The ministry already has notified the U.S. government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, along with its regional outlets, that they could be designated as foreign agents under the new law.

 

U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged that RT served as a tool for the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia has denied any interference.

 

Russia’s hopes for better relations with the U.S. under President Donald Trump have been shattered amid the Congressional and FBI investigations into alleged ties between Trump campaign in Russia.

 

Speaking in a TV interview broadcast Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the Russia-U.S. relations are in a “horrible” shape, the lowest point since the Cold War times.

 

 “Some American politicians are trying to solve their problems and put a pressure on their president by playing the `Russian card,'” Medvedev said.

 

He drew a parallel with a hunt for purported communist infiltrators in the 1950s led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy that often involved unfounded accusations and sowed fear, adding that “even then it wasn’t about settling scores with their own president.”

Німеччина надасть 750 тисяч євро на психологічну допомогу постраждалим від конфлікту на Донбасі – посольство

Німеччина надасть 750 тисяч євро на проекти із психосоціальної опіки осіб, постраждалих внаслідок конфлікту на сході України, повідомляє у четвер прес-служба німецького посольства.

«Німеччина додатково виділить близько 750 тисяч євро у 2018 і 2019 роках. Сама гуманітарна організація (Мальтійська служба допомоги – ред.) зробить суттєвий власний фінансовий внесок в розмірі близько 400 тисяч євро для здійснення проектів», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Згідно з повідомленням, проект передбачає надання послуг не лише з підтримки осіб, постраждалих від конфлікту, а й підвищення кваліфікації представників органів місцевої влади, гуманітарних закладів та служб підтримки через навчальні заходи.

«Цільовими територіями проведення заходів є Луганська й Донецька області, в яких будуть працювати мобільні команди, щоб дійти до тих, хто потребує допомоги, у віддалених районах, наприклад, вздовж лінії розмежування», – повідомили у посольстві.

За даними Плану гуманітарного реагування для України на 2017 рік, представленого ООН і українським урядом, близько 3,8 мільйона людей потребують допомоги внаслідок конфлікту, що триває на сході України з весни 2014 року. За даними ООН, внаслідок конфлікту загинули понад 10 тисяч людей.

Hollywood’s Long-Awaited Movie Museum to Open in 2019

The founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including silent film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, said at its inception in 1927 that the organization needed a library and museum. The Academy, best known for giving Oscars at its annual awards ceremony, soon got its library, but has been waiting nearly a century for the museum. 

The long wait is nearly over, said film historian Kerry Brougher during a tour of the site of the $388 million Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction and scheduled to open in 2019 with Brougher as its director. The 27,000-square meter facility will be built around a historic department store that was built in 1939, and which, since 1994, has been used for exhibitions of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art next door. The expanded facility will include a glass-domed sphere with a view of the Hollywood Hills and a 1,000-seat theater.

​Brougher says the museum will open as Hollywood enters a new phase in creating entertainment, extending its reach beyond movie theaters. “Film is expanding,” he says. “It’s in the theaters still, but it’s also projected onto buildings, it’s also on your iPhone, it’s on your computer…It’s part of the art gallery world, with film installations.” And while films and multi-media projects are made worldwide, he says the heart of the industry is still in Hollywood.

​The museum will feature exhibits from the Academy’s collection of 12 million photographs and 80,000 screenplays, and which include props, costumes and set elements from such classic films as Casablanca, Psycho and The Ten Commandments.

Known as the Academy Museum, the venue will also feature Oscar statuettes donated by people who won them.

Brougher says visitors will have the feeling that they are in a movie in immersive exhibits. They will even get a chance to walk on a red carpet and accept their own Academy Award.

It will be “like a journey,” Brougher says. “You won’t necessarily know what’s coming next, what’s around the next corner. And you’ll be in environments sometimes that make you feel like you’ve gone back to the past, that you’re in the era that you’re actually exploring.”

​Visitors to Los Angeles have been able to tour movie studios and view the sidewalk plaques that honor movie stars or the footprints of them in the courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. They can visit the Dolby Theatre, where the Oscars are presented, but beyond that, they are often at a loss, says Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I think they wander around wondering where they can experience this great golden ticket…to the movies,” he says. “Now they’ll have a place.” That will include the hundreds of thousands of people who work in the movie business and who will finally be able to visit a site that celebrates LA’s iconic industry, Garcetti notes.

​​

Через негоду на Запоріжжі знеструмлені 20 населених пунктів – ДСНС

Через негоду – дощ і мокрий сніг – в ніч на 30 листопада у Запорізькій області сталося знеструмлення 20 населених пунктів, повідомили в Держслужбі з надзвичайних ситуацій України.

Згідно з повідомленням, відновлюють електропостачання бригади обленерго.

Водночас ДСНС попереджає, що погіршення погодних умов очікує і сьогодні на жителів окремих регіонів України.

«30 листопада в Україні вдень у західних, Житомирській та Вінницькій областях дощ, у Карпатах та на Закарпатті сильні опади, на решті території невеликий дощ, місцями з мокрим снігом. Вранці на більшій частині території країни ожеледь, на дорогах ожеледиця, подекуди туман. Вітер південно-східний, 7-12 м/с, в Україні, крім сходу, пориви 17-22 м/с, у західних областях місцями 25-28 м/с. Температура 2-7 тепла», – йдеться в повідомленні.

На Київщині сьогодні невеликий дощ, подекуди з мокрим снігом, на дорогах ожеледиця, місцями туман. Вітер поривчастий 17-22 м/с. Температура в Києві 2-4 градуси тепла.

Russian Network RT Loses US Capitol Hill Credentials

Broadcast reporters for Russian state-funded TV channel RT will no longer be able to report daily from the U.S. Capitol.

A committee that governs Capitol Hill access for broadcast journalists has withdrawn credentials for RT after the company complied earlier this month with a U.S. demand that it register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The law applies to people or companies disseminating information in the U.S. on behalf of foreign governments, political parties and other “foreign principals.”

The action also comes just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation allowing Russia to register international media outlets as foreign agents, an act seen as the Kremlin’s retaliation for the Trump administration decision on RT. The new rules require disclosures to the Russian government and are seen as stigmatizing the news outlets as promoters of American propaganda.

 

In Washington, C-SPAN’s Craig Caplan informed RT that its credentials were being withdrawn after a unanimous vote of the executive committee of the Congressional Radio and Television Correspondents’ Galleries.

Caplan, the chairman of that committee, wrote that gallery rules “state clearly that news credentials may not be issued to any applicant employed by ‘any foreign government or representative thereof.’ ” He said the FARA registration made the network ineligible to hold news credentials, and their withdrawal is effective immediately.

Many news outlets with ties to foreign governments are required to similarly register. English-language newspaper China Daily is registered due to its affiliation with the Chinese government, for example. But the pressure on RT has angered Russian officials, who have said they will retaliate with restrictions on U.S. news outlets.

The letter was sent to Mikhail Solodovnikov of RT’s U.S.-based production company, T & R Productions. RT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged RT served as a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin as part of a multi-pronged effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia denies interfering.

 

Snapchat Seeks to Attract More Users by Redesigning App

Snapchat is separating what friends share and what media organizations publish in an attempt to appeal to a broader range of users.

The photo messaging app has not been gaining enough users, especially beyond its core of younger people. Parent company Snap Inc.’s stock is down sharply since its initial public offering earlier this year.

Users will now see two separate feeds — one from friends and one from publishers and non-friend accounts they follow. Before, Snapchat was mixing those posts, much the way Twitter, Facebook and other rivals continue to do. Snap hinted at changes three weeks ago, but didn’t provide details then.

CEO Evan Spiegel took a jab at rivals, writing that social media “fueled ‘fake news’” because of this content mixing.