NEWSMAKERS

'SEVEN TABLES WERE BROKEN. IT WAS A -IRAQI STUDENT LATIF AHMED ORGANIZES JLL METAL NIGHT-THE DAY I’VE DREAMED ABOUT.’ AGHDAD’S FIRST HEAVY METAL CONCERT IN MEMORY

December 1 2008
NEWSMAKERS

'SEVEN TABLES WERE BROKEN. IT WAS A -IRAQI STUDENT LATIF AHMED ORGANIZES JLL METAL NIGHT-THE DAY I’VE DREAMED ABOUT.’ AGHDAD’S FIRST HEAVY METAL CONCERT IN MEMORY

December 1 2008

'SEVEN TABLES WERE BROKEN. IT WAS A -IRAQI STUDENT LATIF AHMED ORGANIZES JLL METAL NIGHT-THE DAY I’VE DREAMED ABOUT.’ AGHDAD’S FIRST HEAVY METAL CONCERT IN MEMORY

NEWSMAKERS

JOHN KEY

A SELF-MADE KIWI COMES TO POWER

If there’s one quality that political neophyte John Key brings to his new job as New Zealand’s incoming prime minister, it’s a belief in perseverance. The 47-year-old leader of the centre-right National Party grew up in a single-parent home under the guidance of a Jewish mother who fled her native Austria in the perilous 1930s. Whenjohn’s British-born father died in 1969, the Keys fell into poverty and lived in public housing.

Yet Key had a dream. He attended university, graduated with an accounting degree landed his first job in 1982 as an auditor, and then moved overseas and worked his way up to be a senior foreign exchange trader for Merrill Lynch. In the process he accumulated a personal fortune worth $34 million. Not bad for a kid whose mother had to accept welfare. As for his impending stint as leader of New Zealand, critics say he’s untested and prone to making gaffes on TV. That, however, resonated with Kiwi voters who are looking for change from nine years of Labour Party rule. Change is some-

JON FAVREAU A YOUNG WORDSMITHS METEORIC RISE

When he joined the 2004 John Kerry presidential campaign, Jon Favreau was just 23 years old. The graduate of an obscure New England college had the joe job of putting together audio clips to help campaign strategists stay on top of issues. But as Kerry’s campaign fizzled, his staff thinned out, and Kerry needed a speech writer. Favreau was chosen “even though I had no previous experience.” Impressed by what he did, Barack Obama’s staff hired Favreau to write speeches for the Illinois senator, and then the boy in the buzzed haircut became Obama’s presidential campaign speech writer. Favreau (not the same guy as the Jon Favreau who appeared in the movie Iron Man) crafted Obama’s Nov. 4 victory speech, calling on knowledge of speeches by Abraham Lincoln to set the victor’s call for bipartisan co-operation. For his youthful way with words, Favreau, known to colleagues as “Favs,” is widely seen as having a place in Obama’s administration. He’s come a long way fast.

LATIF AHMED THE METALHEADS OF BAGHDAD

For his passion in music, Latif Ahmed was once dragged from his engineering classes in Baghdad and threatened with death by Muslim fundamentalists. But Ahmed, 22, defied them and recently saw a dream come true: the revival of heavy metal music in the violent Iraqi capital. It was a modest start: a concert by Ahmed’s band, Dog Faced Corpse, in the Pharmacists’ Club, a private hall on the banks of the Tigris River. Ahmed, who plays the drums, says he admires Black Sabbath and Metallica, and his band practises with the same energy: “It’s very, very loud and our rehearsals made my neighbours very angry.” Despite the danger of a metalhead show in a country torn by religious disagreements, 250 headbangers converged on the hall to listen to Ahmed’s earsplitting music, mosh and bust furniture, just as their Western counterparts do. “It was great,” Ahmed recalls. “Seven tables were broken. It was a full metal night— the day I’ve always dreamed about.”

Last week, as world leaders prepared to gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss the global economic crisis, a meeting of a very different sort was taking place: in Paris, experts in the human posterior gathered in their quest for the world’s most beautiful bum. More than 11,200 wellreared individuals submitted photos for consideration in the competition, sponsored by an underwear manufacturer. The gruelling selection process saw 45 finalists strut their stuff for a “VIP jury” including a supermodel, an astronaut and a “bum-painting artist.” Of all the hindquarters on display, it was that of Melanie Nunes Fronckowiak, 20, of Brazil, which won for women. Scoring for the men was 27-year-old SaibaBombote of France, whose back bumper most impressed the jury. Both will receive a modelling contract, prize money, and the much-admired title,

MELANIE NUNES FRONCKOWIAK PERFECT ENDINGS

“Most Beautiful Bottom in the World.”

The manufacturer, meanwhile, gets to A put its name on their beautiful derrières.

SÉGOLÈNE ROYAL IT’S A PARTY, BUT NOT MUCH FUN

The city of Reims may be the world capital of champagne, but members of France’s Socialist Party who gathered there over the weekend probably didn’t feel like uncorking the bubbly. Delegates were expected to unite the fractured party behind a new leader, predicted to be the char ismatic Ségolène Royal, run ner-up in last year’s election that saw Nicolas Sarkozy elected. Bogged down by endless negotiations and infighting, the meeting ended in disarray. Royal now faces her main rival, Martine Aubry, who’s popular with the party’s old guard. Royal’s cause would have been helped if she had the backing of her former partner, François FTollande, who’s the current party leader, but he split with her, and more than just romantically. Uniting France’s left before the next election will be crucial in the face of Sarkozy’s resurgent popularity. Unfortunately for Royal, her enemies are already banding together under one common banner: “Tout sauf Ségolène” or “Anys one but ^Ségolène

LARRY TAYLOR SMALL RECEIVER DELIVERS A BIG WIN

He may be the smallest guy on the team, but Montreal Alouettes wide receiver Larry Taylor came through in a big way last weekend in the Als’ 36-26 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL’s eastern championship game at Olympic Stadium. The five-foot-six Florida native set a playoff record by returning two punts for touchdowns. His performance helped Montreal advance to the Grey Cup, where they’ll play the Calgary Stampeders Sunday at the Big O. Taylor’s first touchdown came late in the first half when he took a Noel Prefontaine punt and darted 64 yards through the entire Eskies defence to give the Als their first lead of the game. His second score came early in the fourth quarter when he collected another Prefontaine kick deep in his own zone and ran virtually untouched for 97 yards to help seal the win. ^ He later revealed that the ^ only other time he’d returned two punts for touchdowns in the same game was while playing for Glades Day High School in Belle Glade, Fla.

NIGEL LOCKYER USING A LIGHT SABRE TO SPLIT ATOMS

Scientists are heralding “a uniquely Canadian solution” to secure the world’s medical isotope supply. Nigel Lockyer, the director of TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics in Vancouver, says making isotopes through photo-fission is a promising alternative to the medicines made with weapons-grade uranium at the aging nuclear reactor in Chalk River, Ont., where half of the world’s supply of isotopes is produced. Isotopes make it possible to “see” inside the to diagnose heart disease, locate tumours and treat cancer. Lockyer’s proposal would produce high-energy photons to split atoms. The main advantage of the “photo-fission accelerator” is that it could use natural or depleted uranium rather than the highly enriched uranium needed by existing reactors. A safety-related shutdown at the 51-year-old Chalk River reactor a year ago meant thousands of medical tests had to be cancelled due to the resulting isotope shortage. If it works, photofission will be a lifesaving replacement to an old reactor.

BEATRICE MULLER HER ENDLESS CRUISE PULLS IN TO DOCK

When the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2 docks for the last time this month after four decades in service, the crew on board will lose their jobs, but one woman will lose her home. Beatrice Muller has lived in a $7,000-a-month cabin on board the Cunard liner for the last nine years. The 89year-old first fell in love with the luxury liner—which has played host to royalty, Nelson Mandela, George Harrison and Elizabeth Taylor—when she and her husband, Bob, started taking yearly cruises on it in the 1990s. She became a full-time resident after her husband died on board the ship in 1999. Muller says living there is better than a retirement home. She sold her New Jersey house after her husband’s death to live on the ship because she has no grandchildren and all her friends have either died or had moved from her old neighbourhood. The ship will soon be converted into a hotel in Dubai, but the prospect of homelessness doesn’t faze her. “I’ll keep on staying at sea,” says Muller, m who is looking

for another ship. “I don’t want to go back to housekeeping.”