NEWSMAKERS

‘WHEN I’M 105, I DON’T WANT TO BE TH IKING, “I WISH I’D MOVED TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD WHEN I WAS 102” ’—BRITAIN’S OLDEST EMIGRANT, ERIC KING-TURNER, WANTS NO REGRETS

January 21 2008
NEWSMAKERS

‘WHEN I’M 105, I DON’T WANT TO BE TH IKING, “I WISH I’D MOVED TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD WHEN I WAS 102” ’—BRITAIN’S OLDEST EMIGRANT, ERIC KING-TURNER, WANTS NO REGRETS

January 21 2008

‘WHEN I’M 105, I DON’T WANT TO BE TH IKING, “I WISH I’D MOVED TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD WHEN I WAS 102” ’—BRITAIN’S OLDEST EMIGRANT, ERIC KING-TURNER, WANTS NO REGRETS

NEWSMAKERS

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI ACCEPTING VICTORY

It doesn’t get him all the way back into the West’s good books, but Mikheil Saakashvili’s first-round victory in Georgia’s presidential election last Saturday at least saves him from ignominy. The country’s young president swept to power after a 2003 democratic revolution against the corrupt old guard, winning more than 90 per cent of the vote.

But his own autocratic style led to mass protests in November, and a snap election. European Union observers said he won the election fairly, with 52 per cent of the vote. The opposition had hoped he’d blatantly steal a victory, but discovered that they were the ones under international pressure to accept his win. Whether Georgia’s democracy emerges strengthened is a hard question to answer. It depends on whether Saakashvili’s opponents will accept the result.

BILAWAL BHUTTO ZARDARI

LOSING FACEBOOK

Just weeks ago, 19-year-old Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was a

relative unknown. Following the Dec. 27 assassination of his mother—Pakistan People’s Party leader Benazir Bhutto—and his appointment as her successor, he was thrust into the spotlight. Seeking information on the Oxford University student, media turned to social networking site Facebook. A series of giddy news reports followed—on Bilawal’s love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and “free alcohol,” and an acquaintance known only as “Boozie Suzie,” as well as a photo reportedly showing him dressed as a devil on Halloween. Facebook this week announced the pages were bogus, and removed them. A prankster alleged online that he made one of the pages for his own personal ends: to meet “a ridiculous number of hot Pakistani girls.” Bilawal, meanwhile, is beginning his second school term. Beyond his private nature —and a political future in Pakistan—to the outside world Bilawal remains relatively unknown.

NAOMI CAMPBELL AND HUGO CHÁVEZ A MODEL INTERVIEW

As a fashion supermodel-turned GQ magazine’s contributing editor, Naomi Campbell has scored a wide-ranging interview with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. In a feature appearing this week in the magazine’s British edition, Campbell describes the leader as “fearless, but not threatening or unreasonable.” If it weren’t for her habit of violent tantrums and throwing phones at employees, such words might describe Campbell herself. She asks him who the world’s most stylish leader is, and Chávez fingers Fidel Castro.

“His uniform is impeccable. His beard is elegant,” he says. And would Chávez ever pose shirtless, as Russia’s Vladimir Putin did during a summer holiday? “Why not? Touch my muscles! ” the Venezuelan strongman offers. GQ editor Dylanjones is pleased with Campbell’s first interview (she’s keen on talking to French President Nicolas Sarkozy or Fidel Castro himself next). Says Jones: “Who wouldn’t want to meet Naomi? Even socialist dictators have interest in

gorgeous supermodels.”

SAM SULLIVAN AND LYNN ZANATTA

AT LONG LAST LOVE

Christmas for Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan involved taking his girlfriend, Lynn Zanatta, away for a romantic holiday in Venice. Their lifelong affair has been epically intermittent: the first time Sam laid eyes on Lynn was when they were kids and Lynn’s family moved onto the same Vancouver street that he lived on. He didn’t connect with her again until Grade 12 but they drifted apart. He tried again when he was 19; but then came a disastrous skiing accident that left the daredevil athlete a quadriplegic. Lynn took off on a long trip to Asia, and her absence aggravated deep depressions that Sam has fought since the accident. While apart from one another, they married other people, but those relationships didn’t last. Years later, Sam tried Lynn yet again and this time they fell permanently in love. While he was campaigning for mayor she drove his van. So this past Christmas, in Ven«ygj ice, Sam finally put the question to her: would Lynn marry him? The lifelong love of his life said yes.

FANG LI

BANNED IN BEIJING:

A HOT FILM DISAPPEARS

It’s one of China’s most controversial films ever, but the steamy Lost in Beijing is banned from theatres and DVD release. Authorities have prohibited its producer, Fang Li, and director, Li Yu, from making films in China for two years.

The trouble started last February when the filmmakers screened a version at the Berlin film festival without approval from Beijing authorities. The film depicts the travails of a Beijing masseuse, played by Fan Bingbing (pictured) and her boss. It contains scenes of explicit sex. More recently, after graphic clips that Chinese officials had snipped from the film were leaked on the Internet, censors banned the film. The effort—possibly part of an effort to make a squeaky clean image of the national capital in advance of the Olympicsshocked Li for its sheer laggardness: “I’m surprised. The movie has been in theatres for weeks.”

JOHN PART 'DARTH MAPLE* HITS THE BULLSEYE

Canadian athletes rarely wear the black mantle of the villain. It can be dull, sometimes, rooting for aw-shucks winners and likeable losers. So three cheers for the self-styled Darth Maple—Oshawa, Ont.’s John Part—who swaggered into Alexandra Palace in London New Year’s Day and won his third world darts championship in front of2,500 spectators. The 41-year-old Part ended the fairy-tale story of his 21-yearold opponent, an English sheetmetal worker named Kirk Shepherd, who had been a 500-1 long shot to win it all when the competition began. Part played up his nickname, entering the room with an entourage dressed as characters from Star Wars while the Darth Vader theme played. During the match he endured a torrent of heckling from the highly partisan English crowd, moving Shepherd to place his arm around Part’s shoulders in solidarity.

But the jeers couldn’t throw Part off his game; Darth Maple crushed the upstart by a score of 7-2, securing $200,000 in prize money, and the emperor’s favour.

ACHILLE KARULETWA BICYCLES FOR RWANDA

After growing up in exile in Uganda and never living in his family’s native Rwanda, Achille Karuletwa found stability when he and his wife settled down in peaceful (but chilly) Edmonton. This week, the immigrant businessman is going to live in Rwanda for the first time, as country director of a non-profit group that provides metal “cargo bicycles” to the nation’s economically crucial network of coffee producers. The industry was devastated in the genocide of the 1990s. There are half a million small-holdings farmers, each with a few hundred coffee trees that produce a rare and high-quality arabica bean that fetches a healthy premium above commodity prices. The farmers have walked their crops to central washing stations, or else relied on eccentric-looking, rugged but cumbersome wooden scooters. However, the coffee is even more valuable if it arrives sooner because it’s fresher. So Karuletwa, who says his first bicycle was a BMX, will lead Project Rwanda, which distributes easier-to-use, special “coffee delivery bikes” to the farms through microfinancing. Rwanda’s farmers are seeing the future, and it’s got spokes.

ERIC KING-TURNER

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BEGIN A NEW LIFE

“I like wandering around a bit,” said Eric King-Turner, who is 102. He spoke just before sailing to New Zealand—making him Britain’s oldest-ever emigrant. The retired dentist and grandfather of nine is now en route with wife Doris, 87, a New Zealander. Both widowed, they met in the 1990s when Doris and her first husband came to England to research her ancestry (her name is also KingTurner, although the two aren’t related). They became friends, and after each lost their spouse, they married. Twelve years later, King-Turner—who served on HMS Invincible in the Second World War—says he’ll miss England, but finds it crowded and longs for a simpler life. He intends to have no regrets: “What’s important is that when I’m 105,1 don’t want to be thinking, T wish I had moved to the other side of the world when I was 102.’ ”