- - Monday, May 28, 2012

Lady Gaga told fans she was “devastated” at having to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia following threats by Islamists who called her a “devil worshipper.”

Controversy over the concert is a blow to the predominantly Muslim country’s reputation as a tolerant, pluralist society that respects freedom of expression. Some fans accused police — who refused to issue a permit over concerns about security — of buckling to the will of a small group of thugs.

“We had to cancel the concert in Indonesia,” the 26-year-old pop diva tweeted to her followers Sunday night after promoters acknowledged concerns about her own safety and that of her “Little Monster” fans if the show went ahead.

“I’m so very sorry to the fans & just as devastated as you if not more,” she wrote. “You are everything to me.”

Indonesia, a secular nation of 240 million, is often held up by the U.S. and others an example of how democracy and Islam and can coexist. But Islamists have become more vocal — and violent — in recent years.

“This is a victory for Indonesian Muslims,” said Salim Alatas, one of the leaders of the Islamic Defenders Front. “Thanks to God for protecting us from a kind of devil.”

The Islamic Defenders Front had said Lady Gaga’s sexy clothes and provocative dance moves would corrupt the youth. They vowed to turn out at the airport by the thousands if Lady Gaga arrived. Others said they bought tickets so they could wreak havoc from inside the 52,000-seat stadium in the capital, Jakarta.

Police responded by denying the necessary permits. Then, after public outcry, they said they’d reconsider — but only if Lady Gaga agreed to tone down her act, which she refused. Michael Rusli, head of Big Daddy, promised “Little Monster” fans full refunds.

Actress Keira Knightley engaged to be married

Keira Knightley, the glamorous star of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” is engaged to be married, her publicist said last week.

Publicist Sara Keene confirmed that Miss Knightley is to marry her boyfriend James Righton, keyboard player for rock group Klaxons.

She said the couple were not releasing any details of the proposal, and did not have any comment on wedding plans.

The couple have been dating since early last year. Previously, Miss Knightley, 27, had dated actor Rupert Friend for several years.

Miss Knightley first won acclaim for her role as a soccer-playing teenager in “Bend It Like Beckham.” She went on to star in the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and was nominated for an Oscar in 2006 for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in an adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

De Niro jokes to Bates graduates about not going to college

As he received an honorary doctorate Sunday, Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro told Bates College graduates that despite his own lack of formal education, he made out O.K.

During a 15-minute address in Lewiston, Maine, that the Associated Press characterized as by turns sincere and irreverent, Mr. De Niro drew a steady stream of laughter from the 463 graduating seniors and more than 5,000 onlookers at the private liberal-arts college’s campus.

Mr. De Niro, who quit high school to pursue an acting career, was one of three high-profile guests who received honorary degrees at the Bates commencement. PBS “Newshour” senior correspondent Gwen Ifill and Princeton University molecular biologist Bonnie Bassler also were honored.

But it was Mr. De Niro who stole the show.

“In many ways, leaving school when I did it was an advantage. I saved nearly $6,000 by not having to pay tuition and expenses for four years of education,” he said. “I feel a little foolish, because if I had waited until now not to go to college, I could have saved around a quarter of a million.”

The honorary doctorate of fine arts was conferred by Nancy Cable, interim president at Bates. Trustee Michael Chu, Mr. De Niro’s friend, presented the degree.

He also offered the graduates some serious advice.

“If you’re an actor, always be true to your character,” he said. “If you’re not an actor, have character and always be true to yourself.”

Photographer says Bieber roughed him up

Justin Bieber is wanted for questioning by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators after a photographer complained of being roughed up by the pop star at a shopping center.

Sheriff’s Lt. Robert Wiard said the photographer called 911 on Sunday and complained of pain to his chest. Lt. Wiard said the scuffle happened when the photographer tried to snap pictures of Mr. Bieber and his girlfriend, teen actress Selena Gomez, after they walked out of a theater at the Commons at Calabasas.

Lt. Wiard said the photographer was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released.

Mr. Bieber and Miss Gomez left before deputies arrived, so investigators want to talk to him to get his side of the story.

A call to Mr. Bieber’s publicist was not immediately returned late Sunday.

Compiled from Web and wire reports

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