Names and faces

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

■ It was a wind­ing, wonk­ish and oc­ca­sion­ally ob­scure con­ver­sa­tion about for­eign coal ex­plo­ration, nat­u­ral-gas pipe­lines and pig ma­nure as a power source. But only one of the men on the line — U.S. En­ergy Sec­re­tary Rick Perry — held sway over his na­tion’s en­ergy pol­icy. On the other end of the con­ver­sa­tion were Vladimir “Vo­van” Kuznetsov and Alexei “Lexus” Stol­yarov, who had just added Perry to their list of high-pro­file hoax vic­tims. “Sec­re­tary Perry is the lat­est tar­get of two Rus­sian pranksters,” En­ergy De­part­ment spokesman Shay­lyn Hynes said in an email. “These in­di­vid­u­als are known for prank­ing high-level of­fi­cials and celebri­ties, par­tic­u­larly those who are sup­port­ive of an agenda that is not in line with their gov­ern­ments. In this case, the en­ergy se­cu­rity of Ukraine.” Perry, the man the pranksters hood­winked in a 22-minute con­ver­sa­tion, is in charge of the gov­ern­ment agency that main­tains the na­tion’s stock­pile of nu­clear war­heads and cleans up nu­clear waste. The en­tire phone call was posted on­line by Rus­sian news site Vesti. The pair ar­ranged the call with Perry last week, just a few weeks af­ter he met with Ukraine Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko and his del­e­ga­tion. The two men pitched Perry on a new fuel they said was made from al­co­hol and ma­nure and dis­cussed Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to with­draw from the Paris cli­mate ac­cord, as well as pos­si­ble cy­ber­at­tacks and the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­sire to ex­port nat­u­ral gas to Ukraine. Other vic­tims of past pranks by the pair in­clude singer El­ton John, U.S. Rep. Max­ine Waters, D-Calif., and U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. ■ Rolling Stone mag­a­zine has put lib­eral Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau on the cover of its lat­est is­sue and asks: “Why Can’t He Be Our Pres­i­dent?” Per­haps rec­og­niz­ing that only Amer­i­can-born cit­i­zens can be­come pres­i­dent, the mag­a­zine takes a dif­fer­ent tack on its web­site. Its head­line for the ar­ti­cle posted Wed­nes­day is: “Justin Trudeau: Is the Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter the Free World’s Best Hope?” Trudeau is pic­tured with his shirt sleeves rolled up and perched on the edge of a desk. In the pro­file, writer Stephen Ro­drick out­lines stark con­trasts be­tween Trudeau’s lib­eral views on health care, mar­i­juana le­gal­iza­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies and those voiced by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. Trudeau is quoted as say­ing he dis­agrees with Trump “on a whole bunch” of is­sues, but he also stresses that the two lead­ers have “a con­struc­tive work­ing re­la­tion­ship.” Trudeau also says in the ar­ti­cle that seek­ing to in­sult Trump “or over­re­act or jump at ev­ery­thing he says” on mat­ters where they dif­fer would not re­sult in a con­struc­tive re­la­tion­ship.


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