Her future’s so bright
Carrying not one but two glasses of bubbly, Beth Ditto trotted the catwalk for Jean Paul Gauthier at Paris Fashion Week. Ahead of the show, the U.K.’s size-28 singer discussed her weight with a British TV host: “One of the most tiring parts of being fat and being proud of it is you do a lot of proving yourself.”
Or an old-fashioned prorogue
Former Conservative cabinet minister Michael Fortier has a novel idea to eliminate the constant threat of a referendum in Quebec: make the province hold one every 15 years, with no option to hold another in the intervening years. “As a federalist, I’d prefer that we didn’t hold them anymore,” he said. “But I’m a realist.” Unfortunately for Fortier, novel ideas aren’t necessarily good ones. Federalist politicians across the country were quick to pan the proposal. “I’m sure there are better things to schedule every 15 years,” said PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas, “like a high school reunion.”
Because the camera doesn’t lie
He’s as sharp on TV as he was on the stump, but Eliot Spitzer is still fighting the creep factor in his new role as co-host of the new CNN talk show, Parker Spitzer. “Crossfire meets Moonlighting” is how the New York Times television writer Alessandra Stanley described the show, noting an ill-advised air of flirtatiousness between the former New York governor and fellow host Kathleen Parker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with conservative leanings. Seated cheek to cheek behind a round table strewn with newspapers, the pair traded smiles and interrupted each other like second-marriage newlyweds, as they chewed over political news of the day with guests. Clearly, we’re supposed to forget the call-girl scandal that chased Spitzer from office. But his tight smile and darting eyes make it hard to suspend disbelief.
The wrong Un?
Remember that low-resolution photograph hailed as the ﬁrst up-to-date image of Kim Jong Il’s son? Well, facial experts now question whether the jowly fellow pictured two seats away from the North Korean leader is, in fact, his anointed successor. Long-time watchers of the Hermit Kingdom had been abuzz after Pyongyang released the photo taken during a Workers’ Party meeting, along with video footage also purporting to show Kim Jong Un, whom Kim Sr. recently made a four-star army general. But a German expert who compared the images to several taken during Kim Jong Un’s youth—including one when he was attending a Swiss private school—was unconvinced. There is a “high probability,” he said, “that they are not one and the same person.”
Attack of the bunny killer
The Law Society of B.C. is investigating retired attorney Barbara Smith for reportedly hiring a trapper to kill at least 30 feral rabbits on her Vancouver Island farm. It was overrun with the fuzzy bunnies after the province transferred 1,400 of them to a nearby sanctuary from the University of Victoria campus. The animals are abandoned pets and their offspring—and Smith doesn’t want them either. If the complaints against her are founded, Smith faces reprimands and fines: retired members, not just practising lawyers, are bound by the society’s rules, which means doing in a few dozen bunnies may be deemed conduct unbecoming. Even if it’s almost understandable.
With colleagues like these . . .
Not even Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva himself could secure the presidency for Dilma Rousseff. The former Marxist guerrilla, hand-picked by Lula, was predicted to become the country’s first female president this week, but fell short of a first round victory; religious voters were put off by her ambivalent stance on abortion, forcing the vote into a runoff. In another stunning turn of events, “Tiririca” (or Grumpy) the clown—a.k.a. Francisco Silva—who campaigned on the slogan “It can’t get any worse,” earned more votes than any other congressional candidate. “What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don’t know,” he said in one ad. “But vote for me and you’ll find out.” His runaway win is being seen as a protest against a congress seen as corrupt and scandal-ridden.
Stealing the show
Justin Bieber is many things: teen heartthrob. Hairstyle icon. Musical prodigy. But wedding singer? When his guitarist and musical director Dan Kanter married fashion blogger Yael Latner in a traditional Jewish wedding at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, the 16-year-old launched into an impromptu concert. Accompanied by Kanter and two backup singers, he loosened his tie and threw off his yarmulke. Later, he danced to the Hava Nagila and Get Down Tonight with other guests.
Fine not so dandy
In French law, money is apparently no object. But the magistrates who this week slapped former bank employee Jerome Kerviel with an inane order to repay $6.7 billion only deepened suspicion that the so-called “rogue trader” was a fall guy for executives who were all smiles while his high-risk bets were paying off. The order came along with a three-year prison sentence for Kerviel, whose massive risk-taking led to a $6.9-billion loss for the French bank Société Générale. Based on his current salary of $3,150 a month as a computer consultant, it will take Kerviel 177,536 years to pay the money back (he’s banned, after all, from working in finance). “I have the feeling,” concluded defence lawyer Olivier Metzner, “Jerome Kerviel is paying for an entire system.”
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