Newsmakers

Björk versus Canada, Microsoft’s founder sues just about everyone, and Brian Orser exacts sweet revenge

He plays for Queen and country
Taking a page from Vladimir Putin’s playbook, a buff British PM David Cameron went body boarding during holidays in Cornwall. He’d urged Britons to aid tourism by vacationing at home. While en vacances, his wife, Samantha, delivered their fourth child, Florence, another economic boost.

That’s one way to put it
Was it the divorce? Or was it one week with Canadian golf guru Sean Foley that straightened out Tiger Woods’s golf game? Many credited his break with wife Elin Nordegren—made legal in a Florida court and capped with her cathartic interview with People—for his much improved performance at last week’s Barclays tournament in Paramus, N.J. But Woods gave a nod to Foley, who spent a week tinkering with Tiger’s swing. Foley has worked with some of the world’s best golfers, and was profiled in Maclean’s recently as the likely repairman of Woods’s broken game. Perhaps understandably, Woods is gun-shy about a permanent relationship: “I need to wrap my head around having a commitment level going forward.”

Oh, now you tell us
Climate change, it turns out, is rather a big deal. At least that’s the revelation that has struck Bjørn Lomborg, the world- famous global warming downplayer. The author of the bestseller The Skeptical Environmentalist long argued in favour of adapting to the consequences of a man-made temperature rise, rather than trying to fight it with agreements like the Kyoto Protocol. But in a forthcoming book, he calls for a $100-billion-a-year effort to develop clean energy sources and geo-engineering projects. Better still, UN climate change chief Rajendra Pachauri, who once compared the Danish economist to Hitler, has provided a jacket blurb for the new book.

A skater scorned
Off-ice dramatics in the world of figure skating can rival on-ice spectacle, as witnessed by the firing of Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson as co-coaches to 19-year-old Kim Yu-na—a four-year relationship that saw the South Korean skater named 2009 world champion, and win gold at the 2010 Olympics. Orser, a former Canadian world champion, announced the pair had been let go by Yu-na’s mother, Park Mee-hee. Yu-na lashed out at Orser on Facebook, saying she had “consulted” with her mother but “it was my final decision.” In retaliation, Orser revealed his former star pupil’s upcoming skating music without her consent—a faux pas in the figure skating world.

Life can’t imitate art
Julianne Moore has never been one to shrink from a nude scene, but her latest exposures have proven too much for Venetian civic leaders, who this week banned billboards featuring the Boogie Nights star from a busy public square. The ads for Bulgari jewels show a nude Moore tastefully covered by handbags, bling and, weirdly, a pair of molto-cute lion cubs. But Mayor Giorgio Orsoni said St. Mark’s Square simply isn’t the place for steamy portraiture. There are limits to Italian sensuality. British gelato maker Antonio Federici offended Catholics with magazine adverts showing a pregnant nun and gay priests enjoying the firm’s product. Company officials said the ads meant to imply “forbidden Italian temptations.” But sometimes forbidden really means not allowed.

Toques off to her
Michelle Wie, the most hyped female golfer of her generation, vindicated her faithful followers with a Canadian LPGA victory at Winnipeg’s St. Charles Country Club. Dubbed the “female Tiger Woods” when she arrived as a 10-year-old phenom, Wie’s mojo stalled in recent years and the 20-year-old Honolulu native became better known for her luxury-brand endorsements than her putting. After her win, she affected a Canadian accent when asked if she’d been able to get away from the course: “I didn’t really have a chance to go oot and aboot,” she joked.

It’s complicated
One of Afghanistan’s top prosecutors, Fazel Ahmed Faqiryar, was fired after repeatedly refusing to halt corruption investigations targeting high-ranking Afghan officials, including Mohammed Zia Salehi, a suspected CIA mole and one of President Hamid Karzai’s top aides. Faqiryar’s dismissal comes amid growing Western concern over Karzai’s failure to root out corruption. Karzai fired back saying that NATO’s attempts to rout the Taliban “only causes civilian casualties, nothing else.”

Extra, extra: homework shocker
Don’t be surprised if tigers become a U.S. priority. Michelle Obama says their 12-year-old daughter Malia regularly presses President Dad to save her favourite animal. The Obamas have let a few details slip about their children’s life in the White House, AP reports. Sasha, 9, shoots hoops and dances hip hop. They both play piano, can’t watch TV during the week and have limits on computer use. In another shocking revelation, Malia, a statuesque five foot nine, now wears braces. To her father’s relief, she looks more like a kid again. “She’s starting to look too old for me.”

Modestly, he chose not to walk
As part of his 60th birthday celebrations, which began in July, Sir Richard Branson planned to kite surf across the English Channel with a team of people, including his children Holly and Sam. But the daredevil head of the Virgin empire was very nearly blown off the beach on his first attempt last week. The next day he faced the opposite problem. “Despite all the forecasts we were given, the wind just wasn’t there,” he told the Daily Mail. The billionaire with golden locks isn’t ruling out a future attempt, though it’s not as though he needs the attention. He has already set world records for the fastest Atlantic crossing by boat and the first by balloon.

One hand giveth . . .
Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen now has two projects to occupy his comfy retirement. When he isn’t donating his billions to charity, he’ll be directing a scorched-earth legal battle against a dozen giants of the high-tech world. In a move that puzzles industry observers, Allen launched a suit against Apple, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and YouTube among others for violating patents owned by a holding company of his. The suit doesn’t specify how the patents are violated. Facebook has already pledged “to fight it vigorously.” Analysts predict Allen and perhaps Microsoft could be targeted by countersuits in a fight that could burn through hundreds of millions.

Björk vs. Canada
Icelandic singer Björk Guðmundsdóttir, or Björk, declared “I am not a politician” two years ago in response to controversy over her decision to dedicate her song Declare Independence to the people of Tibet during a concert in Shanghai. Try telling that to Vancouver’s Magma Energy Corp., which has run into a Björk-led popular backlash over its efforts to purchase a geothermal power generator in the European island country. Iceland’s government approved the sale, but Björk wants the issue of privatizing the asset to be put to a referendum.

Apparently justice isn’t that blind
When Kimberley Senette went to court to convince her brother to accept a plea, she had no idea she’d be cuffed and jailed herself. Judge Steve Wind­horst charged the 23-year-old New Orleans woman with contempt because her shorts showed too much backside. That she’d had to remove her belt to clear security didn’t fly with the judge, and she spent two days behind bars.

Fortunately, the kid can’t vote
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz faced a razzing after video of him accidentally kicking a child refugee in the face during a charity soccer game went viral. Commentators dubbed the election-year kick his Robert Stanfield moment, after the Tory leader who was famously photographed bobbling a football during a campaign stop. Katz played on after delivering the boot—perhaps unaware he’d connected with the unnamed boy, who’d folded in pain. The gritty child stayed in the game, helping beat the mayor’s side.

Rotten never smelled so sweet
A Sex Pistols-branded fragrance is set to make its stateside debut next week after launching in Europe. The punk progenitors have teamed up with French perfume company État Libre d’Orange to market the scent. It comes in a bottle bearing the same cut-up image of Queen Elizabeth II the band made famous in its late-’70s heyday and sells for 40 euros. There are plans to release a Sex Pistols soap before the end of the year and a second perfume in 2011. Here’s hoping at least one of them lives up to the punk ethos by smelling like a wet dog.

Point not taken
U.S. Army Col. Lawrence Sellin was sent home from Afghanistan over a biting tirade about PowerPoint, bureaucracy and interminable briefings. Of his two months at the coalition’s joint command, Sellin wrote, “I have not done anything productive.” War, for headquarters staff, “consists largely of the endless tinkering with PowerPoint slides to conform with the idiosyncrasies of cognitively challenged generals in order to spoon-feed them information.” His cognitively challenged superiors sent him packing shortly after the missive hit the Net.




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