OPENING NOTES

Southam recycles David Suzuki, Brigitte Bardot angers a neighbor, and the Vatican installs dial-a-Pope lines

August 7 1989

OPENING NOTES

Southam recycles David Suzuki, Brigitte Bardot angers a neighbor, and the Vatican installs dial-a-Pope lines

August 7 1989

OPENING NOTES

Southam recycles David Suzuki, Brigitte Bardot angers a neighbor, and the Vatican installs dial-a-Pope lines

MYSTERY IN MOSCOW

In the U.S.S.R., once-concealed tragedies are undergoing scrutiny—including a 1975 incident in which hockey fans were crushed to death near a Moscow hockey arena. Now, Soviet authorities say that at least 20 people died when crowds surged toward a bus from which teenage Canadian hockey players were throwing chewing gum. But the members of that Barrie, Ont., Co-ops team reject the Soviet explanation of an incident that has puzzled them for 14 years. Don Mills, Ont.based William Wrigley Jr. Co. Ltd. did in fact sponsor the championship-winning midget team on a six-game tour of the Soviet Union. The former players say that the free gum supplies that the company gave them went in barter for Soviet hockey pins. Said Mike Gartner, 29, who is now a forward with the NHL'S Minnesota North Stars: "I sure do not remember anyone throwing chewing gum. The bus was stuck there for quite a while after the game, and I did not see anything like that." Even glasnost has its limits.

Recycling on the environment heat

The Globe and Mail of Toronto dropped David Suzuki last June—on the grounds that the crusading geneticist was devoting too much attention to environmental issues in his weekly science column. According to Globe associate editor Christopher Waddell, the newspaper had unsuccessfully asked Suzuki to widen the scope of the column and write about other scientific topics. Responded Suzuki, 53: "It came as a bit of a shock, as it is the first time that I have been fired. For me, the environment is now subsuming everything else. But I was absolutely devastated because it is the only paper that is sold right across the country.” But The Southam Syndicate swiftly replaced that national newspaper audience by selling Suzuki’s weekly science column to 19 newspapers across the country—including the Globe's

archrival The Toronto Star. According to Suzuki, who stressed that he has complete freedom to choose the subjects that he will write about, environmental concerns will be frequent themes of his columns. Recycling does work for some newspapers.

FRESH LOSSES ON THE BORDER

A plastic toy ñgure that is only 3V2 inches tall is a giantsized money earner for Hasbro Inc. At a retail pnce of about $3.50, G. I. Joe accounted for 14 per cent of the Rhode Island-based toy maker’s 1988 revenues of $1.6 billion. But last month, G. I. Joe—which is now manufactured in Hong Kong—received a stunning setback in Washington, D.C., where U.S. Appeals Court Judge Paul Michel upheld an earlier Customs decision classifying the macho toy soldier as a doll—and therefore subject toa 12 per cent import duty. Call it a border war wound.

SERVING AN INDEFINITE SENTENCE

Last Feb. 14, Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the execution of British author Salman Rushdie. Since the nowdeceased religious leader imposed that death sentence—because Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses had supposedly blasphemed Islam—the novelist and his wife, Marianne Wiggins, have remained in hiding. According to officials within London’s Scotland Yard, Rushdie and his U.S.-born wife lead an intensely isolated life, cut off from ordinary

pursuits and family and friends as they move between so-called safe houses that are operated by British intelligence units. The ayatollah died last June 4. And, despite reports from the London-based International Committee for the Defence of Salman Rushdie and his Publishers that Rushdie believes the gap between him and his opponents is bridgeable, the novelist and his wife are still enduring a prisoner’s existence—with no signs of release.

An appeal for plain speech

California ’s state bar has embarked on a supremely difficult task: to persuade its 117,900 members—the world’s largest group of lawyers—to speak simple English at every opportunity. The bar’s board of governors recently released a study paper that illustrated the gulf between legal language and plain speech. According to the document, such lawyerly questions as, “Is this a fair and accurate depiction of the premises alleged to be located within the confines of Modoc County?” could be phrased, “Is this what the house looks like?” Case closed.

BETS BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN

A Vancouver-based company is about to export some Las Vegasstyle glamor behind the swiftly crumbling Iron Curtain—by opening a gambling casino in Czechoslovakia later this month. Sun-Gold Developments International Corp. had to defeat six European rivals for the right to install the Communist Bloc's first casino in Prague's new Hotel Forum. That joint venture with Cedok, the state travel agency, is intended to attract the hard-currency patronage of foreign tourists—Czech citizens will gain entry only as the guests of such foreigners. Still, Sun-Gold president Dallas Stanley predicted that the company will easily recoup its $3.5-million investment during the casino's first year of operation. A large gamble on Marxism.

Curbing animal passions

In her fierce defence of animal rights, Brigitte Bardot has campaigned around the world—including a 1977 trip to an ice floe 130 miles north of Newfoundland. There, the French actress joined a protest against the annual hunt of seal pups. But, last month, in the French resort town of St-Tropez, the onetime screen sexpot blurred her animal-loving reputation when she ordered that a neighbor’s donkey be castrated on the advice of a veterinarian. According to Bardot, the animal—which Jean-Pierre Manivet had temporarily left in her care— had become stridently amorous, threatening to impregnate Bardot’s female donkey, Mimosa. And, despite Manivet’s anger, Bardot maintained that she had ordered the operation on the basis of her own extended experience with animal husbandry. Indeed, in a recent interview with the French magazine Marie-Claire, Bardot said that she owned 40 cats, 10 dogs, a mare and several goats. Despite that abundance of animal life, she acknowledged that there are times when residency in a country villa can be lonely. Said Bardot, who made her last feature film in 1973: “I go crazy when night comes. It is not easy to be a woman alone.” Fame and tranquillity do not always travel in tandem.

HOT LINE TO HIS HOLINESS

Since his 1978 election, Pope John Paul n has travelled widely in an effort to visit large numbers of his 926 million Roman Catholic followers around the world.

Now, the peripatetic pontiff is reaching out to touch that farflung flock by means of a 24-hour phone-in link to the Vatican. Sponsored by Vatican Radio, the Pope’s tape-

recorded message of inspiration and moral guidance lasts for about two minutes, is available in Spanish, English and Italian and changes daily. And because the Pope’s phone-in lines are capable of handling 265 calls simultaneously, getting access to His Holiness's daily Í message—on such I topics as global interdependence—-is rarely a problem. Still, with long-distance charges to the Vatican costing approximately $2.67 per minute from most Canadian cities, frugal parishioners may choose to stick to private prayers.