Mon, Oct 15, 2007 - Page 13 News List

Planet Pop

AGENCIES

Bryan Adams will not soft-rock the West Bank.

PHOTO: AFP

Stadiums were booked, the celebrity endorsements lined up, but a week before Canadian rocker Bryan Adams and US actor Brad Pitt were due to launch twin peace concerts in Tel Aviv and Jericho, an extravaganza "against violent extremism, occupation and terror," organized by the group One Voice, has been cancelled amid a welter of recriminations.

Stars including Pitt, Danny DeVito, Edward Norton, Jennifer Aniston and Natalie Portman had agreed to appear, most by addressing the Jericho event through a video link. But 24 hours after One Voice received an endorsement from Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair, the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas put out a statement distancing him from the project.

Ramallah-based activists who call themselves Another Voice claimed the cancellation had been caused by Palestinian artists pulling out of the concert, planned for Wednesday, which they castigated as "celebrating apartheid."

One Voice founder Daniel Lubetzky denied any mass boycott, saying the cancellation was due to threats made against the celebrities.

Both sides accept Palestinian rap act Dam did back out. "There was a lot of pressure and we got caught in the middle," said rapper Tamer Nafar. "We decided not to do it because, politically, One Voice was talking about both sides being equal in the struggle and they're not. They were treating it as a question of war, not occupation."

An unexpected visit to court last week paid off for Britney Spears, who won permission to spend one night a week with her two sons after she made a personal plea to win back custody of her children.

Spears, 25, caused a media frenzy when she arrived at court in jeans, a black satin top and sunglasses on Thursday, hours after the start of a hearing at which her lawyers had asked permission for the pop singer to spend nights with the boys.

It was the first time the fallen pop queen had shown up for proceedings over the future of Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1. She lost custody of the boys to her ex-husband Kevin Federline after failing to comply with court orders for random drug and alcohol testing.

Spears had previously shared custody with K-Fed but is currently only allowed to see the boys during supervised daytime visits.

Dozens of photographers and camera crews swarmed Spears' white Mercedes as she arrived at Los Angeles Superior Court for the closed-door hearing. She left about an hour later without speaking to reporters.

A Los Angeles Superior Court spokesman said the presiding judge gave Spears permission to spend one night a week with the boys under the supervision of a court monitor.

Federline's lawyer said K-Fed had approved the change.

Spears and Federline split a year ago after two years of marriage, and her life has since veered out of control despite a stint in rehab. The US release date of her new album was moved forward to Oct. 30 from a planned Nov. 13 date because some recordings were leaked. The hearing took place the same day that Spears' record label, Zomba, sued the gossip site PerezHilton.com for copyright infringement, alleging it had illegally posted songs from her upcoming new album on the Internet.

In a separate court case, a judge postponed Wesley Snipes' tax evasion trial until early next year after the actor fired his legal team.

Senior District Judge William Terrell Hodges on Wednesday called it a "ploy" for Snipes to delay trial, but said the motion was in the public interest.

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