Names in the news, July 22

Posted July 22, 2011, at 5:02 p.m.

Jazz great Herbie Hancock (photo) is being named UNESCO’s new Goodwill Ambassador, and he says he expects to use his music to build bridges across cultures and promote excellence and literacy. Hancock said his appointment Friday to the post is humbling but fits his humanistic ideals. One project he is espousing is the creation of an international Jazz Day that could begin next year. He sees jazz as a “metaphor for freedom but freedom with discipline” that can be used to build bridges across cultures and promote excellence and literacy. Hancock, whose signature pieces include “Chameleon” and “Watermelon Man,” has adapted his music in a half-century-long career and says that at 71 his UNESCO post gives him a new lease on life. He says, “I’ve just started.” … Peter Jackson says he’s nearly a quarter of the way through his long shoot for his two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” Jackson told an audience at the Comic-Con fan convention in San Diego on Friday that he just finished the first 60 days of production and is on break before resuming for 200 more days of shooting. Jackson spoke during a panel alongside Steven Spielberg, where they previewed footage of their action tale “The Adventures of Tintin.” Spielberg is directing “Tintin,” Jackson producing. … William Shatner says he always loved “Star Trek,” but he recently developed a new fondness for his fellow starship commanders. Shatner came to Comic-Con i on Friday to discuss his new documentary, “The Captains,” in which he interviews the actors who have played “Star Trek” captains. The film is set to premiere Friday night on the Epix TV channel. Avery Brooks, who played Captain Sisko on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” also scored the film.

EAST AFRICA A man carries wood on his donkey cart near the border town of Dadaab, Kenya, on Friday. Al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia vowed to keep most international aid workers away despite a worsening famine, as the U.N. warned Friday that 800,000 children could die in the region from starvation. Frustrated aid groups said they want to deploy more food assistance in Somalia but don’t yet have the necessary safety guarantees to do so.

AP Photo by Schalk van Zuydam

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