Newsmakers

Prince Harry returns home, John Galliano returns to design and Laureen Harper turns to Twitter

John Stillwell/Getty Images

Dirty Harry

It seems Prince Harry has finally found his comfort zone—shooting at the Taliban from the cockpit of his Apache attack helicopter. The 28-year-old royal returned to Britain this week following a 20-week tour of duty in Afghanistan, where he battled his share of insurgents. “Take a life to save a life. That’s what we revolve around, I suppose,” he said. Before departing the war zone, the prince gave a series of interviews, speaking frankly about his own shortcomings. Harry admitted that his playboy behaviour has sometimes aggravated his family, but blamed the tabloid media for not allowing him his privacy. And he seemed wistful about trading the anonymity of combat for life in the spotlight. The secret to his success as a gunner? Lots of practice on PlayStation and Xbox, says the prince. “I’m quite useful with my thumbs.”

Return of the disgraced designer

John Galliano’s two-year fashion exile—imposed after his ugly anti-Semitic rant in a Paris café was caught on video—appears to have ended. The theatrical British designer—who was sacked as Christian Dior’s creative director, dumped by his own label, and stripped of his Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur—has been given temporary studio space by respected American design kingpin Oscar de la Renta, who says he is a “great admirer of [Galliano’s] talent.” Galliano, convicted by French courts on two complaints of anti-Semitic behaviour, blamed his outbursts on alcoholism and claims he spent the past two years in recovery. Now his real rehab begins.

Mega PR

A year after his New Zealand estate was raided by police and his file-sharing website, Megaupload, was shut down, Internet icon Kim Dotcom was again targeted by helicopters and agents—but this time at his behest. Surrounded by leggy women in military uniforms, Dotcom launched his new site, simply titled Mega, with pizzazz. American authorities are still looking to have Dotcom extradited to face charges of copyright infringement, but the German-born former hacker seems undaunted. “I’m not evil, you know?” he told Britain’s Guardian. “I’m going to fight this thing. And there’s no way in hell that they have any chance to win. We have right on our side.”

Only in Russia

It seems doctors can save the eyesight of Sergei Filin, artistic director of Russia’s famed Bolshoi ballet, after acid was tossed in his face in Moscow last week, leaving him with third-degree burns. The late-night attack by a masked assailant reportedly came after more than a month of threatening phone calls and attempts to hack his email and Facebook accounts. Police are investigating whether it could be an inside job—some dancers have reportedly been grousing about Filin’s style. His predecessor, Gennady Yanin, resigned from the job in 2011 after someone leaked naughty photos of him to media.

She can’t win

Jodie Foster’s confusing coming-out speech at the Golden Globe Awards has apparently breathed new life into another Hollywood parlour game—speculating about who is the father of her two sons. The New York Post is suggesting it might be friend and former co-star Mel Gibson, who sat beside her and the boys at the ceremony. Foster has stuck by the aging heartthrob through his troubles with alcohol, anger and authority. The other name being tossed around is Randy Stone, an openly gay casting director who died in 2007. Saturday Night Live, meanwhile, poked fun at Foster’s odd speech this weekend, with Kate McKinnon playing Foster, admitting she is “Gaaaa . . . me for anything, officially a Les . . . lie Nielsen fan and obsessed with Girls,” the hit TV show.

Flaherty’s flub

The Prime Minister’s guide for ministers explains that “ministers must not intervene, or appear to intervene, with tribunals on any matter requiring a decision in their quasi-judicial capacity.” As such, it was problematic when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty wrote to the CRTC to express “support” for Durham Radio Inc.’s proposal to launch a new easy-listening station. Flaherty claimed innocence, arguing he was merely acting as an MP to represent a constituent. But the ethics commissioner disagreed, calling it improper. Flaherty’s punishment: he has to refrain from doing anything like it again without first asking the commissioner for approval. The NDP, unimpressed, wants the Prime Minister to hold Flaherty to account.

The price of P.K.

No player did a better job boosting his profile during the NHL lockout than P.K. Subban, who seized every chance to get his photogenic mug before the cameras as the work stoppage dragged on. So Subban’s absence from the Montreal Canadiens’ lineup was conspicuous this weekend when the Habs faced off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in their season opener. The 23-year-old defenceman—Montreal’s best, in some eyes—is locked in a contract dispute with the Canadiens, who appear unready to commit to the young star with a long-term deal. The fans are less conflicted. At a public scrimmage held by the Habs last week, the crowd chanted: “We want P.K.! We want P.K.!”

@PMswife

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife, @Laureen_Harper_, has joined the twittersphere. While Harper’s Twitter account is grip-and-grin snapshots and policy talking points, his wife’s account already has a bit more personality. “From Turner Valley. Wife of PM Harper and mother to Ben and Rachel. Lover of animals. Must-have items: hiking boots, snowshoes and tents,” her bio reads. Harper was welcomed to the site by Treasury Board president Tony Clement. His advice? “Be yourself. And don’t call anyone a jackass.” Wise advice—Clement was forced to publicly apologize last year after swearing at a 15-year-old on Twitter.

Bieber’s mom gets political

Pattie Mallette, a.k.a. Justin Bieber’s mom, has produced an anti-abortion documentary to raise awareness of—and millions of dollars for—U.S. “crisis centres” that try to deter women from having abortions. Crescendo, out Feb. 28, is intended to let young women “know that there is a place to go, people who will take care of you and a safe home to live in if you are pregnant and think you have nowhere else to turn,” Mallette said. The thorny topic has been broached by the mother-son duo before: in her memoir, Mallette recounts defying pressure to have an abortion when pregnant with Justin; in 2011, he told Rolling Stone he didn’t “believe in” abortion. The influence on his young, female Beliebers remains to be seen.

Pulitzer’s in the bag

Actor Megan Fox made a surreal return to the public stage this week, telling Esquire that she believes in leprechauns and aliens. Her interviewer, Toronto writer Stephen Marche, appears to play along as she careens from crackpot theory to apocalyptic prediction: “When war breaks out in the Holy Land, like it is right now, if that is a sign of the immediate end times, then where are the other signs?” he quotes her as saying. “Is it possible that it’s the Internet or fame itself or celebrity?” Critics on Twitter derided the story as possibly the worst ever written, but Marche laughed them off. “See,” he tweeted back, “that just makes me happy.”

The real Lennay Kekua

The real woman unwittingly co-opted to be the face of Notre Dame football star Manti T’eo’s fictitious girlfriend, “Lennay Kekua,” is understandably furious about being dragged into the hoax. Diane O’Meara, a 23-year-old Los Angeles-based marketing executive, was shocked to learn her Facebook photo had been lifted, then posted online as the faux “Kekua,” a tragic creation who allegedly survived a car crash, then died of cancer as T’eo led the Fighting Irish to an undefeated regular season. O’Meara went to high school with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a friend of Te’o who admitted to masterminding the bogus romance. If only Tuiasosopo had just introduced Te’o to O’Meara in the first place.

CHARLIE GILLIS, JONATHON GATEHOUSE, ANNE KINGSTON, AARON WHERRY AND EMILY SENGER




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Newsmakers

  1. Ray Novak: Steve
    Harper’s Closet Confidant

    He used to live above Steve Harper’s garage. Now he may be the second most powerful man in
    Ottawa.

    “Ray is effectively the Prime Minister’s closest confidant,”
    enthuses one government official. “Not only as a member of his staff, but as a
    personal and intimate member of the Prime Minister’s life.”

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/07/20/who-knows-what-harper-is-really-thinking-ray-novak/

    For nearly four years while Harper was opposition leader,
    Novak, then with the title of executive assistant, lived in a small loft above
    the detached garage at Stornoway—the opposition leader’s official
    residence—eating meals with the family and growing close to Harper’s two young
    children.

    This is the detail that has come to define an aide who, by
    some tellings, knows Harper better than all but the Prime Minister’s wife and
    mother. “Ray was with him more than anybody else for years and years and
    years,” says Brodie, who served as Harper’s chief of staff for three years.
    “They were literally hardly ever apart.”

    In addition to living with the Harper family at Stornoway,
    he oversaw Harper’s tour operations, coordinated with his security detail and
    served as the Prime Minister’s envoy to the families of the Air India bombing. “Ray will get it done,” says a former member
    of the PMO. “And he will do so with
    total discretion.”

    When Harper returned to federal politics in 2001 to pursue
    the Alliance leadership, he tabbed Novak as his assistant.

    As principal secretary, Novak travels with the Prime
    Minister abroad…

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