THE BACK PAGES

NEWSMAKERS

January 23 2006
THE BACK PAGES

NEWSMAKERS

January 23 2006

NEWSMAKERS

THE BACK PAGES

‘WHEN I FIRST STARTED, I’D HAVE SETTLED FOR AI I MIGHT END UP WITH A REAL HOUSE.’—KYLE MA

1. BIG SALE ON THE DOUBLE DOUBLE

Under pressure from billionaire shareholder NELSON PELTZ, executives at Wendy’s are considering selling off their highly profitable Tim Hortons chain— which is worth about US$4 billion. Peltz owns 5.5 per cent and sent an “ultimatum” to Wendy’s arguing that unless it cuts costs and sells assets, he may increase his ownership and campaign for more changes at the struggling burger chain. Wendy’s already planned to sell between 15 and 18 per cent of Tim Hortons this spring. Now the rest of the doughnut empire could be available to the public as early as this year —well ahead of schedule.

2. MAKING ALL THE RIGHT MOVES

German chancellor ANGELA MERKEL sent a clear signal that relations with the U.S. were on

the mend during her visit to the White House last week—her first since taking office on Nov. 22. After being warmly received by George W. Bush—who had clashed with former chancellor Gerhard Schröder over Iraq—Merkel challenged the president on U.S. treatment of terror suspects but lent strong support in dealing with Iran and terrorism. Bush, clearly impressed, said she was “plenty capable” and “loves freedom.”

3. THE MODERN-DAY MONTY HALL

KYLE MACDONALD had a paper clip and a plan—trade up until he had acquired a house. Six months and eight trades later, the 26-year-old from Montreal already has a cube van. “When I first started, I’d have settled for an outhouse,” laughs MacDonald, whose website— oneredpaperclip.com—received 150,000 hits one day. “But the way things are going, I might end up with a real house.”

He recently traded a snowmobile for a ski and snowboard trip to Cranbrook, B.C., which he swapped for the van. “It’s easy to trade pens and doorknobs, but it’s getting a bit tougher now,” says MacDonald, who hasn’t spent or made any money on the project. “The ads on the site pay the rent.” He plans to eventually write a book about his adventure, but still needs to find a publisher. Maybe he can trade for one.

4. CELEBS GET A BIT OF NORTHERN ICE

The likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Renée Zellweger will soon be wearing a piece of the Canadian Arctic. In this year’s Golden Globe Award loot bag is a $17,500 “Northwest Territories diamond experience”—including a trip to Yellowknife, diamond-cutting and polishing lessons, and a V2carat rock hung from a platinum wire necklace. “The Hollywood crowd is wearing Uggs, jeans and

T-shirts,” says jewellery designer PAUL HARDY, 32. “This is a great piece to wear all the time.” The Calgarian recendy joined a campaign promoting government-certified diamonds from the North. What better way to sell N.W.T. diamonds than to have their sparkle captured by the paparazzi?

5. AT LEAST SHE HAS HER LOOKS

Former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model AUDREY QUOCK’S plans to sell a line of panties called “Sexy Little Things” were dashed when a U.S. judge ruled that Victoria’s Secret could sue her for copyright infringement. The lingerie company has used the phrase since July 2004, around the time that Quock claims she had the idea. The judge concluded that Victoria’s Secret came up with the term first. He wrote that the phrase “calls to mind ‘sexy little thing,’ popularly used to refer to attractive lithe young women.”

3UTH0USE. BUT THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING, IONALD, WHO RUNS ONEREDPAPERCLIP.COM

6. MAYOR WANTS AN OLYMPIC EFFORT

For Vancouver Mayor SAM SULLIVAN, winning the city’s top political office is easier than using it. Sullivan, 45, was rendered a quadriplegic in a skiing accident at 19. He uses a wheelchair and has limited arm and hand mobility. Retrofitting the 19 3 Os-era city hall is proving to be an education for all concerned. His office washroom is being enlarged, a higher desk is on order and office doors will be electronically opened from his wheelchair. He’ll also receive a specially-equipped van and a part-time driver to help keep up with civic duties. None is more high-profile than the closing ceremonies of the Winter Games in Turin, where he’ll receive the Olympic flag that will fly in Vancouver in 2010. He’s asked engineers from two local disability organizations to design a mechanism for his chair that will allow him to fly the flag. The prepara-

tion, like much of his life, is a challenge turned into opportunity.

7. JUST BEND IT LIKE SINCLAIR

Burnaby, B.C.’s CHRISTINE SINCLAIR is one of the most decorated soccer players in U.S. college history. The 22-year-old matched American soccer goddess Mia Hamm as a two-time winner of the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy (college soccer’s highest honour) and made FIFA’s shortlist for World Player of the Year. With 39 goals, Sinclair beat Hamm’s NCAA single-season record and led the Portland Pilots to a near-perfect 39-0-2. The lanky senior also capped her collegiate career with the MVP award, scoring twice in the final, pushing her career playoff goals to 25—another record. Portland has asked Sinclair to stay as an assistant coach, which she’s weighing against offers from two pro teams in Sweden. She scores either way.

8. THE PERSONAL TOUCH PAYS OFF

Filmmaker HUBERT DAVIS’S success has nothing to do with beginner’s luck. The Toronto native’s deeply personal debut, Hardwood, about his father, earned him an Oscar nomination last year, and this week, Aruba, his new dramatic short, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. In it, Davis, who directs commercials full time, focuses on an llyear-old boy dealing with bullying at school and abuse at home. “A lot came from my experience working with at-risk kids in Vancouver,” says Davis, 30. “It’s not autobiographical but there are pieces of my memory in there.”

9. A HAND IN BOOKBUYERS' POCKETS

ALANIS MORISSETTE ÍS close to signing a deal to write a self-help book. She told a British daily that the untitled work will “share dif-

ferent tools that have worked for me.” Morissette has said her “lyrics sometimes read like self-help books.” Let’s just hope she includes gems like this from her hit song, Hand in my Pocket: “What it all comes down to is that everything’s gonna be fine fine fine.”

10. THE PRICE OF A LIFE THESE DAYS

MAC HANG LALUNG, the impoverished Indian farmer who spent 54 years detained without trial, was awarded a measly 300,000 rupees ($7,800) and 1,000 rupees ($26) a month by the Supreme Court. He was arrested in 1951, but police, lacking evidence, sent him to a psychiatric hospital for mental illness. The doctors said he was fit for society in 1967 but Lalung was sent to another jail. India’s National Human Rights Commission finally secured his release in July. Sadly, he was gone so long, his family had forgotten about him. M