The Sisters of the Precious Blood founded their monastery in Charlottetown in 1929. More than 80 years later, Sister Ilene Mary Walsh, who joined the order half a century ago—the last P.E.I. woman to do so—has returned as the order’s general superior in Canada to close it down. The sisters have now just five nuns. “Like everybody else, Precious Blood sisters get old,” Sister Ilene told the CBC. “Our main ministry is prayer, but we still have to pay the bills and put food on the table. It takes a certain amount of energy and maybe a little bit of youth.”
The trip from hell
Mitt Romney’s first official overseas visit as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee proved to be one gaffe after another. First, the former Massachusetts governor outraged Londoners when he suggested the city was not prepared for the Summer Games. Then, in Israel, he referred to Jerusalem as the capital and attributed Israelis’ economic superiority over Palestinians to their culture. One unnamed Republican insider reportedly summed the trip up as “borderline lunacy.” U.S. Olympic legend Carl Lewis also weighed in: “Seriously, some Americans just shouldn’t leave the country,” the nine-time gold winner told The Independent.
For export only
Bollywood starlet and reality TV star Sherlyn Chopra, 28, will become the first Indian woman to appear on the cover of Playboy in November, despite the fact the publication is banned in her squeamish homeland. Chopra, whose acting roles have largely been limited to bit parts, petitioned the magazine herself, writing a letter to Hugh Hefner’s staff outlining her bodacious qualifications. Many in India disapprove, and the curious among her compatriots will have to satisfy themselves viewing photos online.
A Dearer Leader
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un continues his carefully choreographed campaign to present a friendlier image than that of his secretive, despotic dad, Kim Jong Il. Last week, the new leader, believed to be 28 or 29, staged a photo op with elderly war veterans celebrating the 59th anniversary of the armistice agreement with South Korea. Last month, he announced his marriage to Ri Sol Ju, a former singer with whom he’s often pictured, smiling, interacting with children, and even taking in a concert with Western themes (unauthorized use of Walt Disney characters and all). Up next, reportedly, is a trip to China where the leader of the world’s last totalitarian state is expected to try to build alliances—and request food aid.
The new bride of Defence Minister Peter MacKay bristled over being identified as “MacKay’s wife” in an article in P.E.I.’s Guardian newspaper that quoted her calling for the repatriation of Omar Khadr from Guantánamo Bay prison. Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay took her grievance to Facebook: “I have a name you know,” she wrote, adding she’d been sucked into a political discussion with reporter Jim Day on the pretext of discussing her new book. Day shot back, noting her marriage is her major claim to fame—and that she was on the Island to speak at a local Progressive Conservative Association dinner: “I doubt this came about as a result of her title as former Miss World Canada or due to her admirable activism work,” he told the National Post.
Simba Makoni, a former minister in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe and now an opposition leader, doesn’t believe years of sanctions imposed by the West have had much impact. He contends they’ve just hurt a few VIPs. “What sanctions?” he asked one reporter. “The travel ban on President Mugabe?” Makoni might ask career thief Lovemore Manyika, 22, who recently pleaded that the magistrate presiding over his break-and-enter case put him in jail—forever. “Life in prison is better than life in the streets,” he wrote in a note read out in court. Zimbabwe’s jails are notoriously squalid. Sanctions or no, Manyika, sadly, got only three years.
The pop star next door
It’s been a trying week for Justin Bieber. First, the pop sensation from Stratford, Ont., was reportedly accosted by an irate mother for swearing loudly on a flight from the U.S. to Australia. Then his Hollywood neighbours Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell took to The View to complain about his loud music, partying and the paparazzi hanging around his house. Living next to the Biebs was “like living in Lebanon,” Shepard said, perhaps overstating the point. The 18-year-old ended the week with a bit of vindication after prosecutors in L.A. announced they would charge a photographer who allegedly led Bieber on a high-speed chase last month. Paul Raef faces several charges under a new law aimed at curbing paparazzi, including reckless driving with intent to take pictures for commercial gain.
Dark day in Twilight-land
Photographs of 22-year-old actress Kristen Stewart in a romantic clinch with 41-year-old director Rupert Sanders has unleashed the biggest Hollywood adultery scandal since Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini ditched their spouses in the ’50s. The sullen superstar was cheating on live-in boyfriend Robert Pattinson, her Twilight co-star, but the drama was ramped up by the fact Sanders, who directed Stewart in Snow White and the Huntsman, is married to model Liberty Ross, who played Stewart’s mother in the movie. Stewart’s swift public apology, begging for forgiveness from Pattinson, “the person I love and respect the most,” didn’t save the relationship. The question now is who gets the dog, a mutt named Bear.
Where a tree fell
The PBS TV program History Detectives says experts in the science of tree rings at Mount Allison University, in Sackville, N.B., have solved an enduring mystery: whether a picture frame carved out of the wooden stair rail of a famous sunken ship came from the Titanic, or the Lusitania. The frame’s origins, lost in the mists of family lore, go back to an ancestor of the clan that owns the frame, who rushed by boat to the scene of a major sinking and salvaged the flotsam. Whether it was in 1912, when the Titanic went down, or 1915, when a German sub blasted the Lusitania, is the question. Colin Laroque and his colleagues say they know—but you must watch the show Aug. 7 to find out.
A little less creativity, please
Journalists are lucky to get a quote from Bob Dylan at all, let alone one that can launch a bestselling book. But that’s what Jonah Lehrer, the 31-year-old New Yorker writer and author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, seemed to do. He quoted Dylan as saying, of the creative process: “It’s a hard thing to describe. It’s just this sense that you got something to say.” This week, Lehrer admitted he made up the quote. He was outed by fellow journalist and Bob Dylan buff Michael C. Moynihan in Tablet magazine. “The lies are over now,” Lehrer wrote in his resignation letter to the New Yorker. The news came on the heels of a scandal in June, when journalist Jim Romenesko discovered Lehrer had recycled passages from his own published work. Lehrer’s publisher will stop shipping copies of Imagine. In an interview with the New York Observer, Moynihan said he was surprised anyone would fake a quote about Dylan. “This is Dylan,” he said. “Everything [about him] is reported, every sneeze is analyzed.”
It wasn’t us
The BBC apologized after tweeting a message about Rihanna that appeared to condone a violent attack by the singer’s ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown, nearly three years ago. The broadcaster sent a message last week to its 5,000 followers that read: “The weirder Rihanna’s tattoos get, the less I blame Chris Brown.” The BBC blamed hackers who had infiltrated its official Twitter feed. It said the “offensive tweet” was quickly removed, but not before it was retweeted hundreds of times by irate Rihanna fans.
Short way to the top
In the wake of reporting $6 billion in trading losses, JPMorgan Chase promoted Matt Zames, 41, a little-known trader, to co-chief operating officer, sparking rumours that he is in line to replace CEO Jamie Dimon. Zames is hardly a stranger to crisis. His first job was with Long-Term Capital management, the hedge fund that failed spectacularly in the 1990s. He was reportedly dispatched in early 2008 to help rescue Bear Stearns, whose collapse and sale to JPMorgan Chase touched off the U.S. subprime lending crisis. Zames was promoted to JPMorgan Chase’s chief investment officer in May. His quick ascension had analysts buzzing that he’s on his way to the CEO’s office. That would be news to Diamon, who told Bloomberg he expects to lead the firm for “many, many more years.”
Thursday, August 2, 2012