Newsmakers of the week

Hillary Clinton’s war on elites, Richard III rises again and the unluckiest lotto winner ever

Newsmakers

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Ours is bigger than yours

Trent Guy nearly broke a record and made the heads of his American fans explode in the process. The North Carolina-born wide receiver, who plays for the Montreal Alouettes, returned a shanked field-goal attempt for 129 yards—or nine yards longer than an NFL field, including end zones. It wasn’t the longest botched field-goal return (that was 131 yards, set in 1958—before the Super Bowl even existed), but it was enough for some of Guy’s Twitter followers to ask, “How does that even happen?” Guy patiently explained what most Canadians know: the CFL field is a total of 30 yards longer than its American cousin.

That’s how they stay rich

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told diplomats at the UN this week that she is “out of American politics”—to laughter from the room—but supports more taxes on the wealthy, a show of support for Barack Obama’s position. “It is a fact that around the world the elites of every country are making money,” she said. Why should they not pay more? On a previous occasion, she suggested that while there are wealthy people in every country, they rarely voluntarily contribute to their nation’s development.

Careful what you wish for

Lotto 6/49 doesn’t change you, except . . . well, it might ruin your life completely. Such seems to be the case for Lucien Nault, who in 2009 won $16.9 million after playing the popular lottery. Since then, the 77-year-old former Montreal cab driver’s life has spiralled downward. First, he and his wife split in the months following his windfall. Last week, his son Daniel was hit and killed by a car after giving chase to his fleeing dog—mere days after Daniel’s wife, Therese Rehel, drowned in the couple’s brand-new swimming pool. It was a tragic end to a sad enough tale: at the time of his death, Daniel was embroiled in lawsuits against several of Lucien’s neighbours, who Daniel said were taking advantage of his father’s largesse and failing mind.

I’m the founder, but I’m also a fan

Steve Wozniak left Apple in 1987, but he’s still a big fan of the company he co-created with Steve Jobs. On a visit to Australia, the computer genius decided to spend the night waiting in line outside the Apple store to be one of the first to buy the iPhone 5. Wozniak, who provoked chants of “Woz! Woz! Woz!” from Australian tech fans at the store, later confessed to some disappointment with the phone’s map system, telling ZDNet Australia that “I tried to navigate somewhere, and I couldn’t get to where I wanted to by voice.”

Who does she think she is, a man?

It may have only made its primetime debut on Tuesday, but Mindy Kaling’s new show, The Mindy Project, has already seen its fair share of controversy. Kaling, a former writer, actor and producer on The Office, has been promoting her new show, making the late-night television rounds and landing a cover story in New York magazine. Exposure has its drawbacks, and Kaling has since been descibed in various magazines and blogs as “smug,” “arrogant,” “over-reaching,” and a shameless self-promoter. But the first episode of The Mindy Project has been critically well-received, and Kaling seems unfazed by the backlash. Considering she started writing on The Office when she was 24 and has since become an executive producer of the show, not to mention a bestselling author and creator of her own television series, Kaling’s “arrogance” may just be well-founded confidence.

Soon, he may not run it either

It isn’t a good idea to curse at law enforcement in public, but it’s even worse if you’re a senior politician with a reputation for occasional bouts of snobbery. British MP and Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell found this out after a verbal tirade against police officers who dared block his path when he was exiting Downing Street on his bicycle. According to a police officer on the scene, Mitchell told the cops to “learn your f–king place . . . You don’t run this f–king government . . . You’re f–king plebs.” There have been calls for Mitchell’s resignation, and London’s easily amused mayor, Boris Johnson, was anything but, saying Mitchell should have been arrested for such an outburst. The timing was particularly bad for Mitchell’s government, as PM David Cameron went to Manchester shortly after Mitchell’s comments to pay tribute to two police officers slain in the line of duty.

With a little help from his rivals

Canadian Olympic gold medallist Olivier Jean is the victim in an alleged sabotage involving the U.S. speed-skating team at the short-track world championships in Warsaw. Simon Cho, an American speed skater, says that his coach, Jae Su Chun (who was once a coach for Canada and actually worked with Jean) ordered the skater to tamper with the blades of Jean’s skates to take the Canadian out of the 5,000-m relay. Thirteen American skaters have sought arbitration to try to have Chun fired for “unchecked abuse.” Jean, a gold medallist in Vancouver, said he and his coach had suspicions that his skate had been tampered with, but had no proof.

The pen may be mighty, but it apparently can’t pay the rent

He’s known as a prolific tweeter, but novelist Tao Lin recently turned to Twitter for some more basic needs, turning the service into a virtual pawnshop. The author of Richard Yates tweeted he was willing to sell all his stuff in exchange for a PayPal payment and replied to queries from the New York Observer saying he’d sell “a used but good juicer for $50 + $5 shipping.” Lin, who later deleted his tweet, noted he needs some extra cash while waiting for cheques from his publisher and a teaching gig. It’s not the first time he’s used the Internet to scrape up some dough: last year his eBay account announced the auctioning of “items from Tao Lin’s room,” including government paperwork regarding his “two to four incarcerations.”

That lovable old rogue state

You might call it sushi diplomacy. Kenji Fujimoto was North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il’s personal sushi chef before he fled to Japan in 2001 in fear for his life. He has spent the past decade writing books about the Korean leader’s decidedly un-proletarian taste for shark-fin soup, Hennessy cognac and disco music. So it was a bit of a surprise that Kim’s son Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father in 2011, invited Fujimoto back for a visit. Whether it was the warm reception—“I jumped up to hug him . . . and he hugged me back,” Fujimoto said last week—or the fact that the former chef’s family is marooned in Pyongyang, it’s clear Fujimoto is back in love with the regime. “I went window shopping,” he was quoted as saying. “There are plenty of goods in the shops.” Fujimoto is returning to Japan, presumably to spread the good word about North Korea.

A king reconsidered

In what may be the most unlikely comeback of 2012, Richard III may finally get a proper burial. Archaeologists had been hunting for the deformed king (and murderer of the princes in the Tower) when they discovered a body in the ruins of a friary under a car park in Leicester, England. “When I saw the gash in the skull, and the twisted spine, the hair stood up on the back of my neck,” expert Jo Appleby said. DNA analysis will prove whether it’s Richard III, hastily buried after being killed by the forces of Henry Tudor in 1485. The Richard III Society hopes the reputation of the last Plantagenet king of England, heavily vilified by the Tudors and their family apologist William Shakespeare, will also be raised from the grave. The cover-up continues

This week in Iran, a woman in Semnan province allegedly assaulted an Iranian cleric after he reprimanded her for being “badly covered,” according to a state-run news agency. After he issued the warning, the cleric, Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti, says the woman responded with “you, cover your eyes.” He repeated his warning. Then, he says, he felt her push him from behind and kick him repeatedly. Beheshti said he was hospitalized for three days, and that he does not regret his actions as it was his religious duty. It is not known whether the woman, who has not been identified, has suffered reprisals.

The most profane PSA ever

The voting-rights movement now has its celebrity: Sarah Silverman, who went viral with a video against the voter-ID laws that have been passed in U.S. states. Republican legislatures passed them claiming that requiring people to show photo ID would prevent voter fraud, but in the segment, Silverman lends her self-deprecating, curse-laden comedy to the argument that voter fraud isn’t a problem, and that the real intent of these laws is to keep people from voting. The video’s snarky style is familiar from other web comedy, but has a more serious purpose. In one scene, she tells an old man “no photo, no vote-o.” The video is full of Silverman’s anger over what she sees as unfairness to voters, but does include a solution: “If you want fair, move to Canada, hippie!”

Justin Bieber would heartily agree

Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong checked into rehab this week after he suddenly erupted into a rage during a Las Vegas performance. The 40-year-old is said to have smashed his guitar and shouted that he wasn’t Justin Bieber, after being told that his set time was ending.




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Newsmakers of the week

  1. I refer to the article about Richard III. I must strongly object to the use of the phrase ‘murderer of the Princes in the tower’. There is absolutely no concrete proof to support this statement. The evidence, such as it exists, is totally circumstantial. Not to mention written by those who one the Battle of Bosworth. Even guides at the Tower of London do not make this accusation, they know that it isn’t proven.

    • If the skeletons actually belonged to the princes, and if they were even murdered (child mortality being what it was in those days) Henry VII is just as likely to have been the murderer as Richard III. Richard had achieved the throne through political maneuvering, arguing that Edward’s children were the product of an illegitimate marriage. He had no need to murder them. Henry, on the other hand, would have wanted to eradicate the York line as much as possible.

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