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Names and faces

by The Associated Press | February 8, 2022 at 4:43 a.m.

• Pope Francis has notched a new first in his nearly 9-year-old papacy -- an appearance as a TV talk show guest. The 85-year-old pontiff spoke about personal friendship as well as about concerns like migration while interviewed by the host of a popular Italian talk show on Rai state television that airs on Sunday nights. The studio is in Milan; the host interviewed Francis, at the Vatican, by remote. The pontiff has given interviews to Italian and foreign media since being elected pontiff in March 2013. But this was the first time that he answered questions on a talk show regularly followed by millions of viewers. In the TV interview, Francis expressed anew his insistence that migrants be welcomed and integrated in society. And, when interviewer Fabio Fazio cited the tensions in Europe over whether Russia might invade its neighbor Ukraine, Francis didn't weigh in directly, replying only "war is always destruction." There were also lighter moments in the hour-long interview on the program "Che Tempo Che Fa" (what the weather is like). Asked about his recent visit to a record store in Rome, Francis said he likes classical music a lot, as well as tango numbers, like many of his fellow Argentines who hail from Buenos Aires. Someone "who doesn't dance the tango isn't from Buenos Aires," Francis quipped. Asked if he felt alone, or if he has friends, Francis said he needs friends and has them -- they are "few but true." At the interview's conclusion, he asked those who don't pray to "at least send me good thoughts, I need the closeness of people."

• Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost once made comedy skits on "Saturday Night Live," but now the married couple will reunite onscreen to dodge a mind-reading Alexa device in a new Super Bowl commercial. In the 60-second ad launched Monday, Johansson, 37, and Jost, 39, put their normal game-day routine at home into action with the help of the Amazon device -- a virtual personal assistant that plays music, tells the weather, delivers news and sports. In the ad, the couple is initially in awe of Alexa's functionalities, but then imagines a world where Alexa reads their thoughts on a daily basis. The commercial attempts to take a comical approach on the situation, which Jost believes every couple would "relate to on some level." "They exaggerated the situation that I think are grounded in reality of couples in general," said Jost. Johansson hopes the millions of Super Bowl viewers enjoys their ad as much as they do, the "Black Widow" star said. "It's a little nerve-racking, but it's also exciting to get an audience with that reach." But if what the commercial depicts could actually happen in real life, Johansson said that it would be "absolutely terrifying" and they would try to "live off the grid."

Print Headline: Names and faces

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