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Pope Benedict critiques content of Potter novels



Published: Sat, July 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Pope Benedict critiques content of Potter novels

A German sociologist says two years before he became pope, Benedict XVI complained that J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books threatened to destroy Christian faith among youth. Gabriele Kuby says that in 2003, she had an exchange of letters with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger about her book, "Harry Potter -- Good or Evil," which says the Potter stories blur the line between good and evil and impair young people's ability to discern between the two. "It is good that you are throwing light on Harry Potter, because these are subtle seductions that work imperceptibly, and because of that deeply, and erode Christianity in the soul before it can even grow properly," Ratzinger wrote in a March 7, 2003, letter that Kuby has posted on her Web site: www.gabriele-kuby.de. The Vatican had no comment, noting that the pope is away on vacation.

Cameron Diaz detailsdispute with photographer

Cameron Diaz testified Thursday she was not ashamed of topless pictures taken early in her career by a photographer who threatened to sell them before the release of one of her films. "I wasn't ashamed to be out there like that," said Diaz, testifying in the criminal trial of the man who took the photos and 11 years later tried to sell them back to her for millions of dollars. Diaz said a signature on a model release form giving ownership of the photos to photographer John Rutter was fake. "I have never signed my name like that," Diaz said. Rutter, 42, is charged with attempted grand theft, forgery and perjury. If convicted, he could face up to six years in prison; an extortion charge has been dropped. Diaz, wearing a brown top, gray pants and black high heels, was on the stand for about two hours. She giggled about her early modeling career and described the May 1992 photo shoot in an abandoned warehouse, in which she wore fishnet stockings and leather boots in hopes of appearing in edgy European magazines. She said she was worried her boyfriend wouldn't like her posing topless, but "I felt that it was a safe environment. It was a professional shoot. It wasn't like in a back alley, 'take your shirt off.'" Diaz testified that Rutter approached her in June 2003, just days before the release of "Charlie's Angels: Fully Loaded" and asked for $3.5 million. The 32-year-old actress said she proposed a partnership with Rutter, but he refused. She then realized he was trying to blackmail her, she said. A judge has issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Rutter from distributing the photos.

Cameron Diaz testified Thursday she was not ashamed of topless pictures taken early in her career by a photographer who threatened to sell them before the release of one of her films. "I wasn't ashamed to be out there like that," said Diaz, testifying in the criminal trial of the man who took the photos and 11 years later tried to sell them back to her for millions of dollars. Diaz said a signature on a model release form giving ownership of the photos to photographer John Rutter was fake. "I have never signed my name like that," Diaz said. Rutter, 42, is charged with attempted grand theft, forgery and perjury. If convicted, he could face up to six years in prison; an extortion charge has been dropped. Diaz, wearing a brown top, gray pants and black high heels, was on the stand for about two hours. She giggled about her early modeling career and described the May 1992 photo shoot in an abandoned warehouse, in which she wore fishnet stockings and leather boots in hopes of appearing in edgy European magazines. She said she was worried her boyfriend wouldn't like her posing topless, but "I felt that it was a safe environment. It was a professional shoot. It wasn't like in a back alley, 'take your shirt off.'" Diaz testified that Rutter approached her in June 2003, just days before the release of "Charlie's Angels: Fully Loaded" and asked for $3.5 million. The 32-year-old actress said she proposed a partnership with Rutter, but he refused. She then realized he was trying to blackmail her, she said. A judge has issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Rutter from distributing the photos.

Teen star Hilary Duff's 20-year-old sister, Haylie Duff, who played a minor role in "Napoleon Dynamite," has landed her first major TV role: She's coming aboard "7th Heaven." The elder Duff, who will appear in 13 episodes of the WB's family soap next season, is expected to add some zing to the show, which centers on a family whose patriarch (Stephen Collins) is a minister. Duff will play a pregnant college student who is a friend of son Simon's (David Gallagher) girlfriend.

Songwriter sues Beyonc & eacute;

A Minneapolis singer named Jennifer Armour has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Beyonce over the Destiny's Child diva's hit, "Baby Boy," MTV.com reports. Filed in Houston, the suit claims Beyonce took the lyrics and musical hook from "Got a Little Bit of Love," a song Armour wrote and tried to sell in 2003. A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 28.

Slater refuses plea deal

Christian Slater rejected a plea bargain deal from prosecutors Thursday on a charge of groping a woman. Slater was charged with forcible touching -- a misdemeanor that carries up to one year in jail -- after he allegedly walked up behind a woman and grabbed her buttocks as she was buying a soda in a small grocery store on Manhattan's Upper East Side in the early morning of May 31. "We believe this case warrants dismissal," said lawyer Eric Franz, in turning down a proposal that Slater perform three days of community service. Under the plea bargain offer, Slater would have pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree harassment in return for the community service. The 35-year-old actor said nothing during the brief hearing before Criminal Court Judge Richard Weinberg. Afterward, outside the lower Manhattan courthouse, he complied with a fan's request to autograph the side of her T-shirt, near the hem.

Today's birthdays

TV director Vincent Sherman is 99. Actor Barnard Hughes is 90. Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh is 73. Soul singer William Bell is 66. Actor Corin Redgrave is 66. Former tennis player Margaret Court is 63. Violinist Pinchas Zukerman is 57. Actor-singer Ruben Blades is 57. Rock composer-musician Stewart Copeland is 53. Dancer Michael Flatley is 47. Actress Phoebe Cates is 42. Country singer Craig Morgan is 40. Actor-comedian Will Ferrell is 38. Actress Rain Pryor is 36. Actor Corey Feldman is 34. Rock musician Ed Kowalczyk (Live) is 34.




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