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People: Elton John calls Pope Francis his hero at AIDS benefit

From wire reports

Elton John called Pope Francis “my hero” for his compassion and push to accept gays in the Catholic church, at his annual AIDS benefit.

John hosted the event, “An Enduring Vision: A Benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation,” Tuesday night in New York City. He said Francis is pushing boundaries in the church and told the crowd: “Make this man a saint now, OK?”

“Ten years ago one of the biggest obstacles in the fight against AIDS was the Catholic Church. Today we have a pope that speaks out about it,” said John, earning cheers from the attendees at Cipriani Wall Street.

Catholic bishops scrapped their landmark welcome to gays earlier this month, showing deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to Catholic families. An earlier draft of the document offered a welcoming tone of acceptance, but that was stripped away after the bishops failed to reach consensus on a watered-down section on ministering to homosexuals.

“He is a compassionate, loving man who wants everybody to be included in the love of God,” John said of the pope. “It is formidable what he is trying to do against many, many people in the church that opposes. He is courageous and he is fearless, and that’s what we need in the world today.”

Knight, Williams face robbery charge

Suge Knight and comedian Katt Williams were arrested and charged with robbery Wednesday after a celebrity photographer reported the men stole her camera last month.

Prosecutors say Williams and Knight, who founded Death Row Records, were arrested Wednesday. Knight has a prior conviction for assault with a deadly weapon and could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

The men are accused of taking a paparazzo’s camera in Beverly Hills, California, on Sept. 5.

Williams, who was arrested at a Los Angeles-area courthouse, faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Knight, 49, was arrested in Las Vegas. Police said he was taken into custody without incident.

Affleck, Adams join effort to save bats

Two of the stars of the upcoming movie “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” have added some Hollywood heft to a Detroit-area group’s efforts to protect bats.

Ben Affleck, who plays Batman in the movie; Amy Adams, who plays Lois Lane; and Zack Snyder, the film’s director, appear in an Organization for Bat Conservation video posted online Monday to coincide with National Bat Week.

The Detroit Free Press reported that the inspiration for the public service announcement was a National Public Radio story that Snyder heard on white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that’s devastating U.S. bat populations.

The birthday bunch

Rock singer Grace Slick is 75. Actor Henry Winkler is 69. Actor Harry Hamlin is 63. Country singer Kassidy Osborn is 38. Actor Matthew Morrison is 36. Ivanka Trump is 33.

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