NEWSMAKERS

‘CHANCES ARE YOU HAVE A HABIT OR TWO YOU’D LIKE TO ELIMINATE’—JOHN DEMARTINI, ADVICE GURU AND THE AUTHOR OF A SELF-IMPROVEMENT BOOK PARIS HILTON READ BEFORE HEADING TO JAIL

June 18 2007
NEWSMAKERS

‘CHANCES ARE YOU HAVE A HABIT OR TWO YOU’D LIKE TO ELIMINATE’—JOHN DEMARTINI, ADVICE GURU AND THE AUTHOR OF A SELF-IMPROVEMENT BOOK PARIS HILTON READ BEFORE HEADING TO JAIL

June 18 2007

‘CHANCES ARE YOU HAVE A HABIT OR TWO YOU’D LIKE TO ELIMINATE’—JOHN DEMARTINI, ADVICE GURU AND THE AUTHOR OF A SELF-IMPROVEMENT BOOK PARIS HILTON READ BEFORE HEADING TO JAIL

NEWSMAKERS

BENAZIR BHUTTO

RESCUING THE MAN WHO OUSTED HER

Ousted by Pakistan’s current military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto may be about to return to government, ironically to rescue the increasingly bedevilled Musharraf. Bhutto,

53, has spent eight years in exile. Now Musharraf

has pledged to call elections amid increasing anarchy. His removal of the nation’s chief justice earlier this year, for instance, sparked riots. Although the strongman says he will have nothing to do with Bhutto, diplomats say he’s been negotiating with her on the proviso he holds onto the office of president. Bhutto has a number of requirements before returning, chief among them that she will not be arrested

on corruption charges that sparked her flight, accusations she claims were politically engineered. With opposition to his rule spreading, Musharraf may have little choice but to

share power with his rival.

SIR BENJAMIN SLADE

A RELATIVE STRANGER MAY GET THE ESTATE

In 2005, after realizing he could no longer afford the upkeep of Maunsel House, his $14.7-million, 13th-century English estate, Sir Benjamin Slade started seeking an heir. Childless and famously eccentric—he’s offered up Jasper, his black Lab-Doberman cross, to act as best man at same-sex weddings that rented his estate— Slade received thousands of queries from Slades the world over. The prize includes the house, three lakes and several hundred head of cattle. Now he may have found his closest living relative—a development worthy of a Victorian novel. Isaac Slade, lead singer of the U.S. Christian rock group the Fray—its CD, How to Save a Life, has outsold everything else being sold on iTunes— is considering accepting the house and estate. “I’ve gained a crazy new relative all of a sudden,” said the younger Slade. “I never know if he’s about to jump on a table and sing or run off

into the distance."

ROSIE STANCER WOMAN OF THE ICE CALLS IT QUITS

British trekker Rosie Stancer faced a sad truth last week: even if she made her goal of being the first woman to walk to the North Pole, she’d be lucky to find a stretch of ice long enough for a Twin Otter to land and take her home. Stancer battled -55o C weather (she may lose three toes to frostbite) and endless ice “rubble” for 84 days. Several times she had to swim across open water. Then, last week, her dream died when the pilot bringing her extra supplies told her she had to come home with him— there was no way anyone would be able to land safely at the pole to pick her up because of deteriorating ice conditions. Stancer, who is five foot four, 47, and has a five-year-old son, noted in her blog that the pole she had to view only from the air is a “nondescript piece of ice, much like any other save that it represented the northernmost point on earth.” And a point she’s been denied.

GERALD BLANCHARD

THE BEST JEWELLERY IS IN WINNIPEG

Heading up a real-life Ocean's Eleven, Gerald Daniel Blanchard also seems to possess chutzpah to rival that of TV gangster Tony Soprano. Blanchard, 35, was charged last week in connection with the theft of a 19th-century Austrian hairpin, pinched in broad daylight 10 years ago from a Vienna museum. Police found the diamond-studded piece, worn by Empress “Sisi” Elisabeth for portrait sittings, in the Winnipeg suburb of St. James, where Blanchard’s grandmother lives. (Police have not said whether the modest house in which the jewel turned up is the same one granny lives in.) Blanchard faces a total of 41 charges; he is alleged to have masterminded a $500,000 bank robbery in 2004, which a Winnipeg police superintendent described as the most sophisticated he’d ever seen. Seven members of his crew, known as the “Blanchard gang” and ranging in age from 21 to 83, also face various theft and fraud charges. “They’re very flamboyant,” said one of the investigating officers. “They’re actually quite open about their offences.”

PARIS HILTON MAGNIFICENCE AND BEAUTY BEHIND BARS

Shortly before heading off to prison this week, Paris Hilton appeared with a book: Count Your Blessings by chiropractor-turnedadvice guru John Demartini. A quick look at some of the wisdom offered Hilton finds Demartini urging readers to repeat the affirmation, “I am a being of magnificence and beauty.” He also writes: “Chances are you have a habit or two you’d like to eliminate,” and cites the example of “Joe,” an alcoholic who’s learned that “moderation is one of life’s most potent healers.” In an exercise to help one get in touch with “inspirations,” Demartini instructs readers to view their lives as movies. “Sit back and enjoy the moments of your life. Laugh and cry with joy. Now, before opening your eyes, thank yourself, thank the people in your life, and be thankful for all that you are, do and have.”

TUL BAHADUR PUN A BRAVE GURKHA PLEDGES HIS LOYALTY

The 84-year-old Nepalese wanted to move to Britain to receive medical treatment he couldn’t get at home. But when Tul Bahadur Pun applied for a visa, London initially turned him down, saying he had insufficient ties to the U.K. His supporters, 12,000 of them, including actress Joanna Lumley (famous for playing Patsy on TV’s Absolutely Fabulous) differed. They reminded the Home Office that Pun had served Britain in the Second World War as a rifleman with the legendary Brigade of Gurkhas. In one fierce battle, after his entire section had been slain, Pun single-handedly attacked a Japanese machine gun position, earning a Victoria Cross. Lumley became involved because she credited Pun with saving her father’s life. When he learned of the Home Office’s decision to admit him, Pun said last week, “I could not sleep last night, as I was so happy with the news that Great Britain would be allowing me to come. In life it is the greatest honour to be a Gurkha, because it is the greatest honour to serve the British people and our brigade.” Pun promises that he will be a “credit” to Britain when he arrives. As if anything more were necessary.

BRUCE GREENWOOD

SURFER DUDE WON'T RIDE HIS OWN BOARD

HBO executives are hoping that Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood is up to the challenge of filling Tony Soprano’s very large shoes. Greenwood, who is familiar to Canadian audiences for appearing in feature films such as The Republic of Love, plays Mitch Yost, patriarch of the dysfunctional royal family of surfing in John From Cincinnati. Masterminded by Deadwood creator David Milch with help from “surf-noir” novelist Kem Nunn, the quirky and profane new series is getting a high-profile launch following The Sopranos series finale. Though an accomplished athlete, Green wood had no desire to do his own surfing scenes for the show. “You know in an instant, as an athlete, if somebody is faking your specialty,” he says. “So I’ve no interest in being an object of ridicule to people who really know what surfing is about.”

CHARLES TAYLOR

A REIGN OF TERROR AND TRIAL OF ERRORS

The former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor has no intention of making things easy for the court hearing his war crimes trial in The Hague. Proceedings were barely underway this week when Taylor’s court-appointed defender, Karim Khan, announced he had been fired by his client, packed up his files and walked out, defying the tribunal’s order that he at least finish the day. Taylor didn’t even bother to show up, choosing to stay in his cell. In a letter, the 59year-old denounced the trial as a farce, and complained he has been given neither the resources nor the representation he needs to defend himself. “I choose not to be a fig leaf of legitimacy for this court.” Taylor, who faces 11 charges of crimes against humanity, now intends to act as his own lawyer. A similar strategy of delay and disruption won a pyrrhic victory for another accused war criminal, ex-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. He died in March 2006, before the court could convict him, after he spent years in the same Dutch jail where Taylor^ now resides.