Combs, Gates unite against AIDS

Johannesburg, South Africa � Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Microsoft mogul Bill Gates have more than cash in common � the unlikely duo are pairing up in the fight against AIDS.

Combs and Alicia Keys, along with several South African artists, are scheduled to perform Nov. 23 at MTV's HIV/AIDS Awareness Concert in Cape Town.

It's scheduled to air on MTV globally as a 90-minute special for World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.

Funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the concert is intended to help fight the stigma and discrimination that can surround the illness.

A similar concert is scheduled for Nov. 7 in Seattle, with performances by Michelle Branch, Dave Matthews and Missy Elliott.

Film world honors late Beatle

London � George Harrison will be honored at a film ceremony next week for his work as a producer of independent movies.

The late Beatles guitarist, who died last year at 58, financed a string of low-budget hits. His contribution to the nation's movie industry will be remembered with a lifetime achievement award at the British Independent Film Awards on Wednesday in London.

Movies financed by his company, Handmade Films, include "Life of Brian," "Time Bandits" and "Withnail and I."

Controversial announcer retires

Las Vegas � Radio talk show host Art Bell, whose overnight talk of UFO sightings and conspiracy theories made him famous, has announced his retirement.

Bell, 57, said on Wednesday night's show that he'll retire because of ongoing back problems.

Regular guest host George Noory will replace Bell on Jan. 1. Barbara Simpson will play host on weekends.

"Coast to Coast AM" will continue its current broadcast schedule until Dec. 31. Bell hosts three nights a week, Noory hosts three nights and Simpson one night.

Bell, who broadcasts from his home studio in Pahrump, 60 miles west of Las Vegas, plans to be an occasional guest host for Noory.

"Coast to Coast AM" airs on 525 stations nationwide over the Premiere Radio Networks Inc., a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications. The show deals with arcane mysteries, alien abductions and all things unexplained.

Nimoy finds venue for photos

Seattle � Spurned by the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, former "Star Trek" actor Leonard Nimoy and his photography got a warm reception at a synagogue.

About 450 people applauded Thursday night after Nimoy showed slides from his black-and-white art photo book "Shekhina," which includes images of unclad women with Jewish prayer garments and ritual accessories.

Many who came to Temple Beth Am said they wanted to show support for Nimoy. Some were Trekkies who wanted to see the actor who played Mr. Spock.

The group dropped the 71-year-old actor from its fund-raising banquet Wednesday night for fear of losing donations because of concern about the book.


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