Names in the news

Sept. 6-13, 2012: Blake and Ryan get hitched, Philip Roth takes on Wikipedia, and pro football tackles gay marriage

Newsmakers: Sept. 6-13, 2012

Farooq Naeem/AFP/Getty Images

Moving on up

Famous dress wearer Pippa Middleton may—or may not—be moving to New York City. But either way, the tabloids and gossip sites are all atwitter. Paparazzi shots of the 29-year-old entering an expensive Manhattan apartment building last week, in the company of a woman “rumoured to be a realtor,” set off the frenzy. Middleton has been enjoying some R&R in the Big Apple, taking in tennis at the U.S. Open and New York Fashion Week. If only she’d find a nice boy and settle down like her sister.

Wedding bells

Hunky Canuck Ryan Reynolds married Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively in a South Carolina plantation this week. The hush-hush nuptials, which came after a year-long courtship, involved just 70 guests—all of whom checked their cellphones at the door. Lively, 25, walked down the aisle in a gown by Chanel, while the 35-year-old Reynolds—who was previously married to Scarlett Johansson—wore a tuxedo by Hugo Boss. Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine, a close friend of Lively’s, performed three songs for the newlyweds, who co-starred in last summer’s Green Lantern film.

So that’s what they’re good for

It’s not often that Hummer owners get hailed as heroes—or people who deliberately cause accidents for that matter—but Darrell Krushelnicki is the real deal, say Edmonton police. The 46-year-old oil worker was pulling out of a mall parking lot when he noticed another vehicle speeding toward a group of children at a crosswalk. Noting that the other driver wasn’t slowing, and seemed to be obliviously chatting away on his cellphone, Krushelnicki put his huge 2006 H3 into the man’s path. Neither driver was seriously injured, although their cars were mangled. Police called the action “valiant” but are cautioning copycats. The manoeuvre doesn’t work so well if you drive a Prius.

So it begins

France’s richest man has taken Belgian citizenship, it was revealed this week; news broke one day before France’s socialist prime minister gave details of a new budget that will impose a 75 per cent tax on top earners, the highest of any rich country. Bernard Arnault, the CEO of the French luxury giant LVMH—which owns fashion houses like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Hermès and Bulgari—is the face of that country’s fashion industry. His move to Belgium sparked outrage in France: “Get lost, you rich idiot!” Libération hissed on its front page. (Arnault promptly announced his intent to sue the left-leaning paper for insulting him, calling the headline vulgar and violent.) One country’s loss, however, seems another’s gain: “Bienvenue, M. Arnault,” Belgium’s La Libre exclaimed in a headline this week.

Sole survivor

Sometimes you have to stand up for your beliefs—even in stiletto heels. Celebrity shoemaker Christian Louboutin has won a victory in a New York court that will allow him to trademark his trademark red soles. Rival French design house Yves Saint Laurent had won an earlier round in a suit brought over the scarlet undersides of some of its expensive pumps. Other manufacturers may still use red soles, but only if the entire shoe is that colour, ruled the judge. Cosmos all around, ladies.

Intolerance is not a religion

Pakistan’s already contentious blasphemy laws are again coming under scrutiny after the case against a mentally challenged Christian girl has begun to unravel. The 14-year-old was arrested in August after a local imam reported that she had burned pages from the holy Quran. But now it appears that the cleric, Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti, planted the evidence in order to drive Christians out of his neighbourhood. And now he himself has been arrested, while the girl has been granted bail. Human rights organizations say such false accusations are all too common in the country. It’s time for the truly faithful to speak up and end the persecution.

Punk driving

It wasn’t hard for Thai police to find the culprit of a hit-and-drag that left a motorcycle cop dead last week—they simply followed the trail of oil and debris. But it may prove a lot more difficult to bring the driver to justice. Vorayuth Yoovidhya is the 27-year-old grandson of the late founder of the Red Bull empire, and the heir to a fortune worth billions. After being confronted with the evidence, which included several eyewitness accounts and his damaged $1-million Ferrari, Yoovidhya has admitted to the early morning accident, but claims it was the dead policeman’s fault. Prosecutors in Bangkok are promising to pursue the matter aggressively, but the public is skeptical. Authorities in Thailand are deferential to power. And his nickname is “Boss.”

The author vs. the encyclopedia

Philip Roth has won pretty much every major literary award, including a Pulitzer. Yet that pedigree wasn’t enough for Wikipedia. It rejected Roth’s attempt to correct an error in the online encyclopedia’s entry for his 2000 book The Human Stain. “I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work but we require secondary sources,” it stated. Undaunted, Roth went public with a sarcastic New Yorker essay eviscerating Wikipedia for accepting information that came “not from the world of truthfulness but the babble of literary gossip.” The point of contention? A claim the novel was inspired by the life of writer Anatole Broyard. The book, which chronicles the life of a professor who hides his black heritage (and is branded a racist for a comment made in class) is actually based on the real-life story of Roth’s friend, Princeton professor Melvin Tumin. In the end, Wikipedia gave up and quietly changed its entry to Roth’s version. Though it did footnote his essay—in case anyone doubts the fact.

Life amid death

A baby girl who was discovered alive in a hospital morgue hours after being declared stillborn has been deemed fit enough to head home to her grateful parents. Luz Milagros, which translates to “miracle light,” weighed only 1.7 lb. at the time of her birth on April 3 in the Argentinean city of Resistencia, and showed no signs of life. But when her mourning mother went to view the tiny body almost 12 hours later, she found the child trembling and crying in a refrigerated drawer. “I fell to my knees,” Analia Bouter told the media. “I laughed and cried.” Doctors warn that little Luz’s health remains fragile, even after five months of intensive medical care, but they are hopeful for her future.

Pro football takes a stand

Anti-gay-marriage politician Emmett C. Burns got the tongue-lashing of his life this week after attempting to muzzle a football player for supporting gay rights. After Baltimore linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo spoke in support of gay marriage, Burns, a Maryland state delegate, wrote the Ravens owner, asking him to “inhibit such expressions from your employee.” That drew a scathing rebuke from Chris Kluwe. The Minnesota punter, reminding Burns of the Constitution’s First Amendment right guaranteeing freedom of speech, said his “vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level.” The magnificent op-ed went viral and Burns, in the end, backed down: “Upon reflection,” he said, Ayanbadejo “has his First Amendment rights.”

Serena’s stellar summer

After clinching the U.S. Open in dramatic form, Serena Williams celebrated by singing I Will Survive at the top of her lungs at a karaoke bar. “I really felt the words,” she said. “I really, really felt those words.” And no wonder. Williams rallied to a come-from-behind win, overcoming a 5-3 deficit in the final set of her gripping final against top-ranked Victoria Azarenka, capping a stellar summer; Williams also won Wimbledon and took double golds at the Olympics, in both singles and doubles. She shows no sign of slowing down: “I still feel motivated, like I should go out tomorrow and go running or something.”

Goodwill erodes

Poor Queen Zola Mafu. The sixth, and youngest, wife of South Africa’s Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has to share a palace with the king’s first wife. But he wants to end that indignity and has asked South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial government for $700,000 to build her a home suitable for a queen. That’s on top of the $2.1 million the government has already spent annually on the wives, educating the king’s children—he has at least 27—and running the royal palaces. That request and the opulent lifestyle of the royal family has sparked outrage in a country increasingly troubled by growing wealth disparity. Attitudes are hardening. South Africa’s Citizen newspaper was firm: “We are all battling with price increases for petrol, electricity and a lot more. This is not the time for extra palaces.”

I can see for miles and miles

Next season’s nerd must-haves—the Google glasses—were paraded down runways at New York Fashion Week; models at Diane von Furstenberg’s show donned the $1,500 eyewear, as did both Google co-founder Sergey Brin and von Furstenberg, who sat side by side in the front row.




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