Names and faces
■ 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.