Newsmakers: Apr. 5-12, 2012 -

Newsmakers: Apr. 5-12, 2012

Ashely Judd fights back, Kanye meets a Kardashian and Leonard Cohen confronts his stalker


Facial war

Ashley Judd went on the offensive this week after being ridiculed for going “from pretty to puffy,” as lamented earlier this spring. In a furious article for the Daily Beast, she slammed the critical attention as a “misogynistic assault on women.” Media speculated that her “chubbier than usual cheeks” were the result of face fillers and weight gain. It was steroids, it turns out, used to treat a serious illness. She gave Us Magazine and Perez Hilton readers a taste of what it’s like to be scrutinized and endlessly belittled: “We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart.” The Double Jeopardy actor also called out the double bind facing women in Hollywood over 35: have surgery or be consigned to mom roles forever.

Santorum suspends campaign

Rick Santorum suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, having lasted in the race far longer than many observers initially expected. He reached the decision after spending the weekend with his ill three-year-old daughter, Bella, who was born with a rare genetic condition called Trisomy 18. Although she was released from hospital, the experience became “a time for prayer and thought,” and caused him and his wife to think about “the role we have as parents in her life,” Santorum told supporters in Gettysburg, Penn. The move paves the way for front-runner Mitt Romney to effectively clinch the nomination. But Santorum vowed we haven’t seen the last of him. He will continue to raise funds that will go toward unseating President Barack Obama in November.

Love in the time of reality TV

Fame-craving rapper Kanye West and fame-craving reality star Kim Kardashian have realized the ultimate in attention-getting: a relationship together. The two were spotted on an apparent movie date (they saw The Hunger Games) and Kardashian was photographed leaving West’s apartment the next morning (wearing the same outfit from the night before). TMZ is pursuing reports of a hickey on Kardashian’s neck and West has already released a new track in which he professes his love for Kardashian; it suggests he could have gotten Jay-Z, a part owner of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, to cut Kris Humphries, Kardashian’s husband of 72 days, from the team.

Fighting back

Testifying in an L.A. courtroom, Leonard Cohen confessed to a fear of his ex-business manager. “It makes me feel very conscious about my surroundings,” he said. “Every time I see a car slow down, I get worried.” The music icon was the first witness in the case against Kelley Lynch, who is accused of harassing Cohen with threatening phone calls and emails, in violation of restraining orders. Lynch was Cohen’s personal manager for nearly 17 years, but the two parted ways in 2004 with Cohen’s finances in tatters. Cohen filed suit against Lynch in 2005 and was awarded $9 million in damages.

A man of many festivals

Few men get to create two film festivals in one lifetime. But 36 years after co-founding the Toronto International Film Festival, Henk van der Kolk is trying to recreate the magic in Panama. Van der Kolk, 71, convinced the country to contribute $1.2 million to the first International Film Festival of Panama, beginning April 26. He hopes it will eventually usurp Havana’s festival as the hub of Latin American cinema, and “birth a film industry” in a country best known for its canal. Panama City is abuzz, he says, noting the press was easier to seduce than in Toronto. The hype includes a poster of an iceberg floating offshore with the slogan: “When the movies come to town, the incredible happens.” The festival better live up to expectations, jokes van der Kolk, “or they’ll put me in jail.”

Hollywood hero

Ryan Gosling is an actor, a heartthrob and an inspiration for the “Hey girl” Internet meme, but is he also something of a superhero? Last year he broke up a street fight in New York City and now he has apparently saved a woman from being hit by a car. Laurie Penny, the British journalist whose absent-mindedness nearly led her to step off the curb into the path of oncoming cars on 6th Avenue, says it was Gosling’s cry of “hey, watch out” that saved her. But she cautions against making too much of it. “As a feminist, a writer, and a gentlewoman of fortune, I refuse to be cast in any sort of boring supporting female role, even though I have occasional trouble crossing the road, and even though I did swoon the teeniest tiniest bit when I realized it was him,” she wrote afterwards.

Castro’s delusions

Fidel Castro has nice things to say about Pierre Trudeau (“a brilliant and courageous politician”) but in a rambling missive entitled “Stephen Harper’s illusions,” the Cuban dictator takes issue with the oil sands and Canada’s ties to the monarchy. He is also curious about the choice of shirt—a “guayabera,” apparently—to be worn by Barack Obama at an upcoming meeting of the Organization of American States. Citing a news agency report, Castro notes that this type of shirt was first made in Cuba. “The curious thing about this, dear readers, is that Cuba has been forbidden to attend that meeting, but not the guayaberas. Who could hold back from laughing?” he asks. “We must hurry up and tell Harper.”

My 1,000 siblings

Bertold Wiesner set up a fertility clinic in London, England, in the 1940s with the promise of providing sperm from highly intelligent donors. Donors like Wiesner himself, apparently. According to an investigation carried out by two men conceived at the clinic, one of them Canadian filmmaker Barry Stevens, Wiesner may have fathered 600 of the 1,500 babies conceived with the clinic’s help. Wiesner’s wife apparently destroyed all medical records from the clinic. Current laws limit the number of families that can use a single donor.

A lung story

After turning her own situation into an international awareness campaign for organ donation, Hélène Campbell received a new set of lungs in Toronto last week. The 20-year-old from Ottawa took to Twitter in January after she was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and sought the attention of pop star Justin Bieber and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Both expressed support for her cause, and Campbell appeared on an episode of DeGeneres’s show. Her efforts are credited with registering thousands of new donors. After a successful surgery, she was said to be recovering and communicative.

The mess in Mali

Seventeen days after a military coup sent him into hiding, President Amadou Toumani Touré of Mali has officially resigned. “I am doing this without any pressure, and I am doing this in good faith, and I am doing it especially out of love for my country,” he explained. The military officers responsible for the coup have agreed to adhere to the country’s constitution, meaning the president of Mali’s national assembly will now take over in the interim. The coup comes as separatist rebels and Islamists continue to wreak havoc in the country’s northern regions.

Scarier than a T. Rex

Scientists working in China, including Canadian palaeontologist Corwin Sullivan, have discovered the fossils of the largest known feathered dinosaur. Yutyrannus huali, “beautiful feathered tyrant,” was similar in size to the tyrannosaurus rex and thus too large to fly. The largest of the three specimens is estimated to have weighed 1.4 tonnes. If not for flying, the feathers might have served two purposes: insulation against cold temperatures or attracting a mate.


Those hip and arty cellphone pictures you’ve been taking and posting to the Internet don’t just make you look cool, they are also, apparently, quite lucrative. Facebook agreed this week to pay $1 billion in cash and stock for Instagram, an app that allows mobile device users to share photos online. In two years, Instagram has accumulated nearly 30 million users. “Providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained, “and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.” At the time of its purchase, Instagram had a total of 13 employees.

Chávez’s pleas

Ahead of an October election and battling cancer, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez asked Jesus Christ to give him more time during a church service. “Give me your crown, Jesus. Give me your cross, your thorns so that I may bleed. But give me life, because I have more to do for this country and these people. Do not take me yet,” he said. The exact nature of Chávez’s cancer is unknown, but the socialist leader has been travelling to Cuba for treatment and he remains hopeful that he will be able to stand for re-election.

Great, blubbering Bubba

Chin shaking, eyes squeezed shut, clinging to his mother, Bubba Watson showed a new way to win the Masters. The self-taught Florida golfer let it all out this week in Augusta, Ga., after he beat South African Louis Oosthuizen, unable to grasp the enormity of what he’d just done.

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