Wednesday's intriguing people
December 29th, 2010
11:32 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Laurent Gbagbo

The president of Ivory Coast is refusing to give up the office despite a ruling by his own country's Independent Electoral Commission that he lost his bid for re-election November 28.

The international community, including the United States, the United Nations and the African Union, has recognized challenger Alassane Ouattara as the winner and urged Gbagbo, pictured above, to cede power.

Ouattara has started making appointments to the Cabinet and to diplomatic positions, but Gbagbo has threatened to expel the ambassadors of countries that recognize them.

Gbagbo said last week he would expel U.N. peacekeepers, but U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the troops would stay, and they have.

The presidents of three neighboring countries met Tuesday with each candidate, but no details emerged. They said Wednesday they would return Monday to continue working on the crisis.

Gbagbo was first elected in October 2000, after Ouattara was banned from running for the office. Ouattara, a former prime minister, refused to recognize Gbagbo's government.

A failed 2002 coup attempt led to a civil war that left the country divided into the south, ruled by the government, and the north, controlled by rebels, until a 2007 accord resolved the conflict.


Tuesday's intriguing people/pachyderms
December 28th, 2010
02:04 PM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people/pachyderms


Youth triumphed again Monday as 28-year-old Chanchalkali outpolled two older finalists in Nepal's inaugural Elephant Beauty Pageant, part of the three-day Chitwan Elephant Festival.

Five judges rated a total of six elephants on a variety of criteria, including posture, appearance, hygiene, complexion and responsiveness to commands. And, of course, their makeup. The elephants' mahouts, or handlers, carefully decorated each animal with colorful designs and painted their toenails.

"I think she won because I worked hard on her," said Chanchalkali's mahout, Prabhu Chaudhary. "The fact that she was younger than her competitors also helped."

Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John

Here's a baby who is likely to have an interesting life.

Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John is the new son of pop music legend Sir Elton John and longtime partner David Furnish.

Just like the baby in John's song "Levon," Zachary was born on Christmas Day (although The New York Times did not say "God is dead," as the song announced). The couple engaged a surrogate mother to bear the child for them.

He will grow up in the care of wealthy celebrity gay parents with homes in London, Los Angeles and Atlanta, Georgia.

Sir Elton is an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the owner of five Grammy awards, an Oscar and a Tony. Furnish is a Hollywood film producer.

"I don't think our lives are suited to raising children," Furnish told People magazine in April 2009. "We're busy flying places all the time.

"Elton is not really going to come off the road," he said. "We don't want to put the raising of children into the hands of nannies and housekeepers.  We want to be active parents. We have godchildren [and] kids that we support in Africa, so we're fine (without children)."

It seems they've had a change of heart.

Alvin Greene

The failed candidate for the U.S. Senate from South Carolina is back in the game. Greene, an unemployed Army veteran, is running for office again, last week paying the $165 filing fee to run in a special election for the state House seat opened by the death of Democratic Rep. Cathy B. Harvin.

Despite his status as a virtual unknown, pending criminal charges and his sometimes odd behavior - he suggested making action figures of himself to boost the economy - Greene made major headlines this summer when he became South Carolina's Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate.

Suspicions arose concerning how Greene could accomplish such a fantastic political feat. In November Greene was easily defeated by the Republican incumbent, Sen. Jim DeMint.