January 23, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 63  

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Black, birds, Belinda and burglary

By Dan Perry
Gazette Staff

Ah, The Gazette. We’ve got news and we’ve sure got dummies; so here’s what happened this week.

Amid allegations he was “editing” the content of not only his newspapers but his ledger books too, Conrad Black said this week that he was misled when he followed advice to step down as head of his Chicago-based media empire, Hollinger Inc. He also claims the lawsuit against him was filed without the consent of the whole board. Funny: approval never stopped him from all those “business” trips to hobnob Westminster Abbey.

The provincial government finally smelled the coffee this week, admitting the Ontario Student Assistance Program was in dire need of reform; while universities’ strategies remain unchanged, London’s Gap stores have pre-ordered three times the usual number of sweaters for next spring.

Former Magna CEO Belinda Stronach announced this week that she will indeed be running for the leadership of the new Conservative Party of Canada, joining former Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper, former Ontario health minister Tony Clement and former Heavyweight Champion of the World — oh wait, this isn’t California...

In Asia, birds are dropping like flies (or, some experts say, like sick birds), due to an outbreak of the avian flu in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and now, World Health Organization officials fear, China. Five people have died from the disease in Vietnam, all from eating infected chickens. Leading ornithologist Col. Sanders could not be reached for comment, but his secretaries fear the worst.

French carvings worth $1.5 million were discovered stolen from the Art Gallery of Ontario over the weekend. The 18th century artworks are the property of billionaire Kenneth Thompson, and word on the street is that he won’t let his teenage son borrow the car anymore either...

Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart was in court this week, pleading not guilty to charges of lying, obstruction of justice and fraud. She began cooking up an excuse, but word is the judge got a little suspicious when she reached into the fridge and pulled out one she had made the night before.

And finally, London city council unveiled its new budget Wednesday, but refused to call The Gazette back and comment on the new 10 per cent tax increase, which could very likely put students’ rents up. Students, however, can rest assured: those communists don’t want us to vote next time anyway.



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