By Martin Patriquin, Nicholas Kohler, Emily Senger and Michael Barclay - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 0 Comments
Top stories from the week
Free at last
Long ago given up for dead, three Cleveland women—Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus—escaped from the house where they had allegedly been held captive for 10 years; nine in DeJesus’s case. All had been teenagers when they went missing. Berry’s six-year-old daughter was also discovered in the house, which is owned by one of three brothers now in custody. “If you don’t believe in miracles, think again,” said Sandra Ruiz, DeJesus’s aunt. The hero of the day is neighbour Charles Ramsey, who heard a woman struggling in the house, where he thought a man lived alone. He found Berry trying to push through a door and assumed it was a domestic dispute. When he went to help her break free, she told him to call 911. When one reporter asked if he knew there were women in the home, Ramsey answered: “No, because I woulda pulled this heroic stuff last year!”
Former Philippine ﬁrst lady Imelda Marcos—known for her extravagant lifestyle and thousands of shoes—is campaigning to hold onto her congressional seat in the May 13 elections. Marcos, who represents a district in the family’s home province of Ilocos Norte, fled the Philippines with her husband, Ferdinand, after he was ousted from power, leaving a horrific record of human rights abuses and corruption. The so-called Steel Butterﬂy, who returned from exile in Hawaii after her husband’s death in 1989, first ran for office in 2010, and heads up an unlikely political dynasty: her daughter governs a province and her son is a national senator.
By Ken MacQueen - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
Prince Philip gets the Order of Canada, Bush gets a library and Obama gets a basketball
Sorry, Jeb. Mom says ‘No.’
Four living U.S. presidents paid tribute last week to No. 43 at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. Nary a harsh word was spoken about the Decider, although in a recent interview with the Dallas News, he joked that “some people are surprised I can even read.” The briefest speech came from the frail George H.W. Bush Sr., “41,” as his son called him. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all praised Bush Jr.’s help in fighting AIDS in Africa. Obama credited his resolve after 9/11 and called him comfortable in his own skin. Bush is urging his younger brother, Jeb Bush, to take a run at the presidency in 2016. But Barbara Bush, matriarch of the clan, says dynasties shouldn’t control the White House: “We’ve had enough Bushes.”
Commuters emerging at the 66th Street stop in New York’s subway last Thursday found a better class of busker. On the platform was crooner Michael Bublé and the a capella group Naturally 7, his frequent touring partners, doing a moving version of the Jackson 5 classic Who’s Lovin’ You. He was surrounded in a New York minute by a camera-phone-wielding contingent of female fans. No one threw him loose change, but Bublé, in town to promote To Be Loved, his new album, called subway singing “the most authentic, organic way to make music.” He was certainly more animated than in the photo of him posted by his pregnant wife, Luisana Lopilato, where his face was frozen under a concrete-like cosmetic facial pack. The things one does for love.
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 4:10 PM - 0 Comments
The luckiest man alive keeps running, Witherspoon plays the fame card and Nova Scotia mourns MacNeil
Scouting the royal bump
Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge, isn’t due until mid-July, but the future queen is starting to show. This week she mingled during a review of Scouts at Windsor Castle.
Blessed art thou
Joe Berti may be the world’s luckiest man. Just seconds after crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon last week, bombs began exploding around him. Amy, his wife, who was there to see him race, was hit by shrapnel, but was not badly injured. Two days later, shortly after arriving home in Texas, Joe’s car was rocked as he drove past the fertilizer plant explosion in West, which has left as many as 15 dead. “We need to keep him moving,” says Amy. “Maybe he just needs to stand in an open field.”
Gritty Pittsburgh Penguins winger Matt Cooke has earned his reputation as one of the NHL’s dirtiest players. But it’s fans of the Ottawa Senators who might bear him the most animus. During a mid-February tilt, Cooke stepped on the leg of star Sens defenceman Erik Karlsson, slicing through his Achilles tendon. The incident not only derailed Karlsson’s MVP-type season, it left the team struggling to make the playoffs. And Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk was so enraged he hired a forensic investigator to try and prove that the skate cut was deliberate. Last week, the two teams met again and Sens fans staged a “hate fest” for Cooke, complete with wanted posters and taunting signs. All the noise seemed to have little effect. The Pens won 3-1, and Cooke collected an assist.
Leave them laughing
Rita MacNeil came to fame relatively late—winning a Juno for most promising vocalist at age 42 in 1987. But in her three-decade musical career she touched a lot of hearts. Last week, fans, politicians and her compatriots packed a church in Big Pond, N.S., to bid adieu to the Cape Breton songstress, who died at 68, from complications following surgery. There were tributes to her sweet voice and even sweeter nature. But it was MacNeil’s sense of humour that made the biggest impression. Her daughter Laura Lewis broke up the crowd with the handwritten instructions that her heavy-set mother had left behind. “Upon my death, I would want to be cremated immediately, my ashes to be placed in my tea room teapot. Two, if necessary.”
A lesson in cowardice
An heir to the world’s biggest beermaker resigned his lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association (NRA) this week, calling the U.S. organization a tool of the gun industry. Adolphus Busch IV, one of the NRA’s most prominent members, was outraged with the NRA’s role in blocking federal U.S. legislation that would have limited the size of ammunition magazines and expanded background checks. In a letter to the NRA, Busch wrote that its “distorted values” place “a priority on the needs of gun and ammunition manufacturers.” Gabby Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman shot point-blank in Tucson two years ago, was also disgusted by the bill’s failure, but reserved her ire for cowardly U.S. senators. A minority “gave in to fear” in blocking “common-sense legislation,” she wrote in a scathing New York Times piece.
Reese falling to pieces
It’s never a good idea for celebrities to play the “Don’t you know who I am” card. And even more so when they’re dealing with a cop. It’s a lesson that Reese Witherspoon learned the hard way when she was charged with disorderly conduct by Atlanta police last week, after having taken issue with an officer who was arresting her husband, Jim Toth, on suspicion of driving under the influence. With gossip sites happily splashing the pair’s mug shots, as well as her handcuffed “perp walk” into the station, the Oscar-winning actress issued a contrite apology. “I clearly had one drink too many, and I’m embarrassed about the things I said,” read the statement. “I have nothing but respect for the police, and I’m very sorry for my behaviour.”
Somewhere over the rainbow
A New Zealand MP became an unlikely global star last week, after a speech supporting the country’s legalization of gay marriage went viral. Libertarian MP Maurice Williamson told opponents: “The sun will still rise tomorrow, your teenage daughter will still argue back with you as if she knows everything, your mortgage will not grow, you will not have skin diseases or rashes or toads in your bed. The world will just carry on.” Noting that it was pouring rain in his Pakuranga riding—contrary to claims New Zealand’s drought could be blamed on the marriage equality bill—he cited the appearance of “the most enormous big gay rainbow” as a sign his side was right. After adopting the bill, members of the Kiwi House—and the visitors sitting above them—burst into a spontaneous rendition of the Maori love song Pokarekare Ana, serenading the bill’s sponsor, lesbian MP Louisa Wall.
Hell hath no fury . . .
Mark Sanford’s scorned ex-wife Jenny denied, last week, that she had leaked court filings revealing that the former South Carolina governor had trespassed at her home earlier this year. But the politician’s humiliated ex is no dunce; as a political spouse, Jenny would certainly have known that by filing the papers in the midst of a hotly contested campaign, they would eventually make it into the press, curtailing Sanford’s comeback attempt. Republicans cut Sanford loose last week; just hours after the papers went public, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced it was halting spending on his campaign. Sanford’s career—and his 20-year marriage—were derailed four years ago, when he claimed to be hiking the Appalachian Trail, but was in fact visiting his Argentine mistress. In the May 7 vote, a race that has grabbed the national spotlight, he’ll face the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, Elizabeth Colbert Busch.
Newfoundland and Labrador MHA Gerry Rogers found herself shut out of the provincial legislature last week after refusing to apologize for her Facebook friends. It seems the New Democrat joined a group dedicated to unseating Premier Kathy Dunderdale, in which some members had labelled the Tory leader a “terrorist” and mused about her being shot. Rogers says she’s not responsible for what others write. And Dunderdale is now dealing with her own online scandal after the CBC checked out her Twitter account and found that the premier was following a porn site. They sure do politics differently downhome.
Was it a white Ford Bronco?
Pakistan had its O.J. Simpson moment last week. Pervez Musharraf, the country’s former president and military leader, fled a courtroom after judges ordered his arrest on charges of treason. Musharraf dashed from the Islamabad High Court in a black SUV, leading the media on a slow-speed chase that ended at his fortified villa in an exclusive neighbourhood; there, aides say, he relaxed, smoking cigars. But he appeared ashen-faced the following day when he was arrested by police—marking a new low for the former army chief, who held absolute power for over a decade. Musharraf, who faces charges of failing to provide adequate security to former prime minister Benazir Bhutto before her 2007 assassination, claims the allegations are “politically motivated.” “Truth,” he said, “will eventually prevail.”
Now that’s snail mail
Twenty-eight years ago, a Nova Scotia lad penned a message to a lady friend, carefully rolled it into a bottle, and tossed it into the sea. Last week, the message was finally found—8,000 km from Atlantic Canada, on the banks of a Croatian river. “Mary,” he wrote, “you really are a great person. I hope we can keep in correspondence. I said I would write. Your friend always—Jonathon, Nova Scotia, 1985.” Kite surfer Matea Rezik, who discovered the sentimental note after the bottle washed up on the banks of the Neretva River, posted a photo of it on Facebook, in hopes of reaching either Jonathon or Mary.
By Jonathon Gatehouse, Martin Patriquin and Jaime J. Weinman - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 3:34 PM - 0 Comments
Names in the news
A regime vacation
Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles’s choice of Cuba for a few ﬂashbulb-streaked days off raised hackles in the U.S., which has had an embargo against the island country since 1960. Though the trip was cleared with the U.S. Treasury and therefore legal, critics wondered why one of the most famous couples in the world would visit a country with such an appalling human rights record. “There are a lot of better places they could go where they’re not feeding a monstrous regime,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Florida.
The bloom is off
Prince William may have to brush up on his ability to appeal to children before his wife has a baby. On a trip to Glasgow, Scotland, the prince tried to kiss a four-year-old Scottish girl in a princess costume, and the girl pulled away from him and hugged her mother for support, refusing to allow him near her or to give him the flower she was holding. William laughed it off and the girl handed the flower to Kate. The girl’s mother claimed she didn’t have anything personal against William, but simply “got really shy.”
Today’s special: prejudice
Dave Claringbould says rural Manitoba is not the friendliest place for an openly gay businessman. Claringbould and his partner started the Pots N Hands restaurant in the small town of Morris, near Winnipeg, only to announce four months later that they were closing down: they had received insults, including a customer who asked if he would catch sexually transmitted diseases from their food, and other customers stopped coming after finding out about their relationship. The publicity might save the restaurant, though; the premier of the province, Greg Selinger, has announced that he will eat there as a show of support for tolerance.
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
Beckham takes China, Jennifer Capriati resurfaces, and George W. Bush shows off a new skill
The Internet issued a collective gasp last week at news that the creative force behind its favourite science page, I F***ing Love Science, is a woman. Elise Andrew’s deﬁant, funny and profane manner had apparently led the site’s more than 4.2 million fans to believe it was the product of a male mind. Predictably, her reveal prompted an onslaught of sexist comments, from “Are there kitchens in space?” to endless threads on her looks. “EVERY COMMENT is about how shocking it is that I’m a woman! Is this really 2013?”Andrew tweeted in response—but her case is hardly unique. Legions of female tech writers and bloggers are posting under male pseudonyms; the issue has even forced academic panels on the “perils of blogging as a woman under a real name.” It’s been more than 150 years since Mary Anne Evans wrote as George Eliot to ensure her work was taken seriously. On the web, Evans’s act of desperation is the apparent norm.
Knocking on heaven’s door
Justin Welby’s installation as archbishop of Canterbury last week was traditional, but his rise to lead the world’s 77 million Anglicans was anything but. The Eton-educated former oil executive didn’t become a priest until 36, then used his business moxie to grow a succession of dying congregations. While preaching a strong commitment to Christianity, he also trekked through the world’s hot spots, including Nigeria, promoting conciliation. He’ll need those skills when dealing with a fractious Church, split on issues like gay marriage and female bishops. As pundits have quipped, today’s religious leaders need to be “Jesus Christ with an M.B.A.” The Anglicans may have found just that.
By Emily Senger, Ken MacQueen, and Manisha Krishnan - Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 3:00 PM - 0 Comments
Peter MacKay makes the Forces fitter, Romney reminisces, and will Bieber head to space?
Out with a bang
The now former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is known for being a bit eccentric—a reputation he upheld on his way out. “After 4½ intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding—I was fired today,” Mason wrote in a letter to staff last week. “I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey,” he added. But don’t cry for the Groupon founder. Getting fired made him $34 million richer this week—Mason owns seven per cent of Groupon’s stock, which rose five per cent in the days following his exit.
David Beckham bragged about doing all of his own stunts for his action-packed H&M commercial, but when it came to flashing a close-up of his bottom, he let a body double take over. The soccer star repeatedly denied using a stand-in for the Guy Ritchie-directed underwear ad—which shows him sprinting, swimming and jumping hedges, all in his gitch—but H&M ﬁnally came clean last week: “Due to the tightness of Beckham’s schedule, a body double was used in parts of the video.”
Out of this world
Having conquered Earth, at least in the eyes of his fans, Justin Bieber shared his next ambition with his 30-million-odd Twitter followers last week: “I wanna do a concert in space,” he wrote. The space agency NASA was quick to tweet a reply, referencing one of his hit songs: “Maybe we can help you with that. All Around the World, next off it?” Whether the Bieb gets to be an astronaut or not, he’s clearly training for something. After a concert in Birmingham, England, last week, he bee-lined to his hotel to change for his 19th birthday bash. He just happened to strut into his hotel with his shirt off, displaying an impressive ab six-pack.
By Ken MacQueen and Mika Rekai - Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
Psy and a Jay-Z’s baby topped music charts, while a blogger and Kim Jong Un also earned the world’s attention.
A career in the music Biz
What with the yachts, limos and baby bling, it’s been a sweet first year for Blue Ivy Carter—the most beautiful baby ever, according to her parents, hip hop royalty Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z. Within days of her birth, Jay-Z had mixed her cries and coos into Glory, a song he wrote celebrating her birth, making her the youngest artist to ever appear on the Billboard charts. All Dad wants for her, he says, is to “love herself . . . be respectful and be a moral person.”
Maybe it’s the baby face and his love of theme-park rides, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has yet to earn the level of fear enjoyed by his late dad, Kim Jong Il. He intends to change that by gaining control of the military. Some 14 senior officials have been purged this year and army vice-minister Kim Chol was allegedly blown to bits with a mortar round after Kim ordered his obliteration.
Tied up with a good book
E.L. James has been called the Julia Child of mommy porn, and with her Fifty Shades series she’s found the recipe for riches. The three volumes of her trilogy fought for domination on bestseller lists most of the year. As in most cookbooks, there’s a certain amount of whipping, kneading and heat involved in achieving the desired result, but that’s where the similarity ends. Erika Leonard, her real name, is a British mother of two. She’s coy about her own sexual proclivities but says, “I had a good time researching these books.” Continue…
By macleans.ca - Friday, November 30, 2012 at 3:06 PM - 0 Comments
Managing editor Kim Honey explains
By Ken MacQueen - Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 8:00 PM - 0 Comments
Aug. 30-Sept. 6, 2012: A Paralympic scandal, what Paris Hilton will do to earn $1 million, and Elisha Cuthbert’s act of ultimate fandom
Blade in mouth disease
South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius has issued a half-hearted apology to Brazilian Paralympic runner Alan Fonteles Oliveira, who beat him Sunday in the 200-m final at London’s Olympic Stadium. Pistorius, who had never before lost a Paralympic race, complained that Oliveira’s carbon-ﬁbre prosthetic limbs were too long, giving him an unfair advantage. His comments seemed particularly insensitive because he’d faced criticism that his own carbon-fibre limbs gave him an advantage in racing able-bodied athletes when he competed earlier in the London Olympics. Pistorius said later he still believes he raised a valid issue, “but I accept that raising those concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong.”
This hurts me more than them
Bob Fawcett wore a frozen smile, a mismatched brown suit and did his best to avoid angry protesters as he pleaded guilty in a North Vancouver court to causing unnecessary pain and suffering in the killing of 56 sled dogs. The former manager of a sled-dog touring company based in Whistler, B.C., said little during the court appearance, in a case that made him an international pariah and generated outraged headlines around the world. Judge Steven Merrick ordered a psychological report on Fawcett, who has claimed to suffer post-traumatic stress after killing the dogs with guns and knives and dumping them in a mass grave to cull the pack. He faces up to five years in prison and a $75,000 fine when he is sentenced Nov. 22. Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie wouldn’t say what sentence prosecutors will ask for, but that it will reflect the seriousness of the offence and “the circumstances of the offender.”
By Nicholas Köhler, Patricia Treble, John Geddes, and Aaron Wherry - Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 4:20 PM - 0 Comments
Maclean’s Newsmakers: A Murdoch family feud, Roger Clemens’s comeback and Conrad Black would like to make an appearance
His inimitable voice
The advisory council pondering whether Conrad Black should be stripped of his Order of Canada would prefer to just peruse the former press baron’s written arguments. But Black’s lawyers were in Federal Court last week asking Justice Yves de Montigny to instruct the council to let Black, who’s noted for his grandiloquence, make his case in person. “You need to see the man,” said Black’s lawyer, “to believe him or disbelieve him.” Black was named to the Order in 1990, but was later convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice in the U.S., where he served 42 months in prison before returning to Canada last spring. De Montigny did not say when he’d make a decision on Black’s special request.
Touching off a rush of musical snobbery and Twitter one-liners, Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger and pop star Avril Lavigne announced their engagement last week. The easily mocked new royal couple of Canadian pop have apparently been dating for six months. Kroeger proposed in Los Angeles, where the two are collaborating on Lavigne’s fifth album. According to the precedent established by Bennifer, the new couple has been dubbed Chavril. Guests at the wedding will no doubt include former Seinfeld star Jason Alexander and former Baywatch beauty Brooke Burns who, both apparently eager for work, star as a lovelorn barista and his customer in the new video for Nickelback’s Trying Not to Love You. The video pairing is odd, but perhaps no weirder than the one in real life.
By Nicholas Köhler, Brian Bethune, Michael Friscolanti, Patricia Treble, and Mika Rekai - Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 3:02 PM - 0 Comments
Bill Gates’s strange purchase, Peaches versus Putin: the video, and can a Beastie Boy’s will be done?
It’s Peaches season
Toronto-born electro-pop artist Peaches became the latest voice in the growing chorus of support for Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist punk-band-turned-cause-célèbre that faces up to seven years in prison for performing a song in a Russian Orthodox Church that protested Vladimir Putin’s government. Fellow Canadian Martha Wainwright has also been a vocal supporter, as have Björk and Sting. But Peaches, who is based in Berlin, has chimed in, in her own inimitable way. She is shooting a video featuring more than 400 artists and activists to be released on Facebook ahead of the Aug. 17 verdict. It’s called—what else?—Free Pussy Riot.
To write it, you must live it
Stephen Marche probably didn’t expect to evoke quite the level of contempt he did with “The contempt of women,” his column in September’s Esquire. The 36-year-old Canadian writer surveys a few cultural straws in the wind: some meaningful, like the economic rise of women, some ephemeral, like the “pitiable and grotesque” men of the hit TV show Girls, and concludes, “Feminine contempt [for men] is suddenly everywhere.” Certainly it is for him. “Calamitously awful,” “the worst thing you will read all day,” and an “epically impenetrable panic-flop” are just a few of the online retorts. Marche certainly offers, in the grand masculine tradition of the Charge of the Light Brigade, a suicidally target-rich environment for critics. Declining reports of rape in some (unspecified) parts of the U.S., he asserts, means that sexual equality has been achieved there. His tweeted response to his critics: “Women who show their contempt for my piece on the contempt of women prove my point by virtue of their contempt.”
By Nicholas Köhler, Chris Sorensen, Aaron Wherry, and Kate Lunau - Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
Bieber stumbles, the NFL gets a female ref, and a rare, royal hug for Britain’s biggest cheerleaders
Britain’s lucky charms
Prince William and Kate, in matching team Great Britain T-shirts, took a gold for enthusiasm with this rare PDA while cheering another U.K. gold medal at the Velodrome. The royal couple and Prince Harry, Britain’s biggest ambassadors throughout the Games, have been taking in as many as four events a day.
Farewell, Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg’s new reggae album is entitled Reincarnated, and apparently the legendary rapper has been reborn as something else entirely: the MC born Calvin Broadus, Jr. is now Snoop Lion. While in Jamaica to record his new record, Snoop turned toward Rastafarianism. “I wanted to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion, but I didn’t know that until I went to the temple and received the name Snoop Lion from the Nyabinghi priest,” he explained. “From that moment on, I started to understand why I was there and was able to create something magical in this project.” He is now interested in making music that “kids and grandparents” can listen to. A documentary about his time in the West Indies will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Long may she run
Top U.S. researchers are on the hunt for a 113-year-old Regina woman. If the unnamed woman is indeed still alive—as Saskatchewan government records show—she will be one of the world’s oldest living people. And California researchers want to interview her, looking into her lifestyle and genetic history—for clues to the “secret” of her long life, says Stephen Coles, of the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group. Saskatchewan has an uncommonly high number of centenarians, twice the national average, a rate much closer to Japan’s.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 2:20 PM - 0 Comments
The Vatican’s whistle-blower, Katy Perry’s lingerie hazard and yet another gaffe from Tony Clement
Pray for deliverance
The old saw that “no man is a hero to his valet” would seem to apply to Paolo Gabriele, the butler to Pope Benedict XVI, who appears to have serious doubts about the Vatican’s business dealings, if not about the pontiff himself. Gabriele is locked in a 3.5-by-four-metre police “safe room,” accused of stealing and leaking documents to Italian media that expose dubious dealings by the Vatican bank, rivalries among cardinals, and alleged corruption. A prosecutor refused his request to be moved to house arrest while the investigation continues, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters. “Paolo is serene and finds comfort in prayer,” Gabriele’s lawyer, Paolo Fusco said. He is already charged with aggravated theft. Offences such as revealing state secrets are under consideration.
And 99 per cent rat-free
After a sale fell through on a “lovely little home” on Douglas Avenue in St. John, N.B., real estate agent Jake Palmer faced the challenge of reintroducing it to the market. With the agreement of the owners, he attached a “rider” sign under his ReMax lawn sign reading “indoor plumbing.” That drew attention and chuckles, so Palmer upped the ante with a rider that said: “not haunted.” The stunt went viral online. “The truth will disappoint those of you hoping that the house had recently undergone an exorcism or deliverance,” said the website Extraordinary Intelligence. Sorry, never was haunted, said Palmer, who just hopes the next buyer doesn’t dematerialize.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 3:30 PM - 0 Comments
Steve Nash chooses L.A. over T.O., Putin takes on punk rockers, and Kim Jong Un’s new lady friend
Canada’s crowning weekend
History was made at Wimbledon this week when Eugenie Bouchard and Filip Peliwo became the first Canadians to win the girls’ and boys’ singles titles, respectively. Montreal-raised Bouchard, 18, went on to clinch the girls’ doubles title with her American partner.
Saying ‘no’ to T.O.
The Toronto Raptors tried to present Steve Nash with an offer he couldn’t refuse: something like $36 million over three years to return to his home and native land as a beloved and patriotic hero. They even recruited Wayne Gretzky to help make the pitch. What the Raptors couldn’t offer was Kobe Bryant (and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum) and a chance to win, not to mention an opportunity to remain near his three children who live in Phoenix. And so the Canadian point guard signed with the L.A. Lakers for less than $30 million over three years. Heartbroken Raptors fans were forced to find solace in the acquisition of point guard Kyle Lowry, who, while younger than Nash and talented in his own right, is unlikely to qualify for icon status any time soon.
By Ken MacQueen - Monday, July 9, 2012 at 1:19 PM - 0 Comments
Anderson Cooper comes out, Bev Oda steps down, and Tomkat call it a day
Out in the open
It was more of an unspoken truth than a secret that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is gay. Nor is it a surprise that, when he came out last week, it was with eloquence and grace. “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud,” he wrote in an email to his friend Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast. He justified his past silence by saying he values privacy, and because the information might have put him and others at risk in war zones. The decision to speak out now is because too many are still bullied for their sexual orientation, and to dispel the notion that he is “ashamed” of being gay. “In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted.”
Up in smoke
Bev Oda, the oft-embattled minister of international co-operation who stared down opposition demands for her resignation over fudged documents, announced her departure this week. The 68-year-old MP from the Ontario riding of Durham wrote of “the opportunity to witness the hardships of the world’s most vulnerable peoples.” Yet she’s best-known for booking herself into one of London’s priciest hotels, for hiring a luxury car and driver at $1,000 a day, and for vetoing grants to aid agencies not in line with Tory ideology.
After every big win, the women of Canada’s Olympic soccer team burst into song. Their locker-room anthem is Céline Dion’s version of The Power of Love. “We’re horrible singers. Horrible!” says the ever-ebullient goalie Karina LeBlanc. “It’s a joyful moment, a moment we’re proud of each other.” What the team wants, before facing Japan in its first Olympic match, is a turbo-boost of Dion love. “Our dream is to have Céline send us a note. If she can even say ‘good luck’ to us,” LeBlanc told Maclean’s, offering her email address: email@example.com. She wants the chanteuse to know “her music, for us, is a moment of happiness.”
An epic handshake
One never knows what Queen Elizabeth II thinks, but ex-Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness is right to assume their private talk and public handshake at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre was “a difficult meeting” for the monarch. McGuinness was a senior member of the paramilitary group that assassinated Louis Mountbatten, a cousin of the Queen. The IRA is now disbanded, McGuinness is Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, and the Queen spent two days there—all unthinkable during the Troubles. As the Belfast Telegraph said, the Lyric “has staged many a fine performance, but nothing to compare with the fine choreography and epic resonance” of that meeting.
The occasionally improbable but always fascinating marriage of actors Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise has jumped the couch, so to speak. Holmes ﬁled for divorce last week, and sought sole custody of their child, six year-old Suri. “Tom is very saddened,” attorney Bert Fields told Reuters. There were rumours the marriage, which once had Cruise dancing on Oprah Winfrey’s TV couch, was in trouble. In February 2011, the Daily Mail said Holmes “looked glum-faced and distant as the family stepped out for Thai food in Vancouver.”
Italian mobsters do love their nicknames. So when accused Maﬁa godmother Raffaella D’Alterio was arrested with 65 other suspects, Italian media trumpeted the capture of “a miciona”—“the big female kitten.” The 46-year-old blond has serious claws. She took control of the Pianese-D’Alterio clan, and its drug trafficking, counterfeiting and waste disposal business, after her husband Nicola Pianese (a.k.a. “o mussutto”—“the big-lipped one”) was murdered six years ago. Prosecutors say she’s every bit as ruthless.
Crazy either way
Confessed mass murderer Anders Breivik ended his 10-week trial for the slaughter last June of 77 people with a demand the court find him sane and set him free. He didn’t help his cause with a rambling closing statement that included complaints about the TV shows Sex and the City and the Eurovision Song Contest. If found insane, he’ll spend the rest of his life in a specially built psychiatric ward inside Oslo’s Ila prison, which would include a living room, bedroom, bathroom, gym and, possibly, hired friends to avoid total isolation, the prison warden told the Verdens Gang newspaper. Judgment day is Aug. 24.
Never forgets a face
His colleagues on Birmingham, England’s Safer Travel team call 34-year-old Andy Pope “Memory Man.” The community support officer’s uncanny recall of faces from police wanted lists has helped nab 130 thieves, sex offenders and violent crooks as he patrols the city’s transport network. “I don’t think I’ve got any special gift, just a knack for remembering faces,” he told the Birmingham Mail. He scans police systems before his shift and has another look at lunch. Pope will get the police staff member of the year award on July 11—which may cut him slack on the home front. “My wife and friends will tell you I’m still more than capable of forgetting birthdays or anniversaries.”
Kozying up in Quebec
While police rifled through his Paris residence this week, recently defeated former French president Nicolas Sarkozy vacationed at a Canadian summer home owned by the wealthy and discreet Desmarais family. Sarkozy, who is being investigated for illegal financing of his 2007 campaign, reportedly met Paul Desmarais in ’95, when Sarkozy’s career was slumping. The pair walked the forests and grounds of Sagard, the Desmarais palatial spread in Quebec’s Charlevoix region. “You must get yourself together, you’ll get there, we must build a strategy for you,” Sarkozy remembers Desmarais saying to him. “If today I am president,” Sarkozy said in 2008, “it’s in part due to Paul Desmarais.”
Devilish mystery solved
Rest easy, Angelenos. For weeks, the joy the L.A. Kings felt at winning their first Stanley Cup on June 11 was tempered because the puck that sealed the deal had vanished. They suspected a Devil, New Jersey forward Patrik Elias, who was captured on camera scooping up the sacred rubber after the game. Elias protested his innocence, saying he recalled picking it up, but not what he did with it. But after returning from vacation, he rummaged through his equipment bag and found the disk. It’s on its way home. No big loss, says Elias: “Why would I want to keep a losing Stanley Cup puck?”
The view from the helmet cam of 28-year-old longboarder Mischo Erban’s 129.94-km/h speed record as he flew down a Quebec mountainside on teeny wheels, a few centimetres above the asphalt, is terrifying. The run down Les Éboulements (“the landslide”) earned the Vernon, B.C., boarder a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Erban says he likes the technical challenge. His mother and girlfriend, not so much: “They worry about me a lot and want me to find a ‘real job’ so I can support a family.”
The last hurdle
The busiest Canadian at the London Olympics is likely to be 30-year-old athlete and mom Jessica Zelinka. Not only has she qualiﬁed for the heptathlon—a multi-day event involving seven gruelling track and field sports—she’ll also run the 100-m hurdles. She qualified for the extra event during the Olympic trials in Calgary this week, finishing first against a top field of hurdle specialists one day after setting a Canadian record in the heptathlon. In an upset, two veteran hurdlers didn’t make the team: Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, the only Canadian to win a track medal at the Beijing Olympics, and Perdita Felicien, a former world champion, but one unable to shake an Olympic curse. Felicien fell in Athens. An injury kept her out of Beijing. “I don’t define myself by Olympic medals or Olympic moments,” she said of her remarkable career.
Egypt’s delicate balance
Newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi needs all the allies he can find if he is to turn around the country’s faltering economy, and prove his Muslim Brotherhood party is a source of moderation and stability. He did himself few favours with his call for the release of Egyptian-born terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, jailed in the U.S. in 1995 for plotting to bomb key landmarks in New York City. Morsi called it his “duty” to free Egyptian detainees.
Splendour on the grass
Pippa Middleton, sister of Catherine, duchess of Cambridge, sat in the royal box with brother James last week to watch U.S. star Serena Williams breeze past Hungary’s Melinda Czink at Wimbledon. Pippa is an avid tennis player and member of the exclusive Queen’s Tennis Club.
By Ken Macqueen, Aaron Wherry, Colby Cosh, Richard Warnica and Patricia Treble - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 5:31 PM - 0 Comments
Mark Zuckerberg gets hitched, Jackie Chan puts down his nunchucks and Rick Hansen rides again
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa
Mega-investor Warren Buffett has seen the future, and it’s written on newsprint. The latest gift to a beleaguered industry by the billionaire chair of Berkshire Hathaway is a deal to buy for US$142 million some 63 papers owned by Virginia-based Media General Inc. This includes the flagship Richmond Times-Dispatch, and—no fool, he—all websites, mobile and tablet applications. His investment company already owns stakes in the Washington Post and the Buffalo News, and it recently purchased Buffett’s hometown paper in Omaha. “In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” Buffett said.
Two Facebook executives updated their profiles last week. One day after the social-networking giant went public on NASDAQ, founder Mark Zuckerberg, 28, married his long-time girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, 27, in their modest, Palo Alto, Calif., backyard. The couple, who served the mouse-shaped chocolate truffles they ate on their first date for dessert, kept the nuptials secret by claiming the party was to celebrate Chan’s recent graduation from medical school. Zuckerberg’s updated Facebook status—used, of course, to announce the wedding—received almost one million “likes.” No such luck for Eduardo Saverin, Facebook’s original CFO, who earned nothing but scorn after announcing one day before the IPO that he’d renounced his American citizenship to live in low-tax Singapore. U.S. senators compared Saverin to a terrorist and have proposed an “Ex-Patriot Act” to conﬁscate the earnings of tax exiles. “Our plan is simple,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer. “If you renounce your citizenship to avoid paying taxes, you can’t set foot in America again, and any investments you have in America will be taxed in the future at 30 per cent.”