A good week for ...

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 March, 2012, 12:00am


Olivier David Och and Daniela Widmer

The Swiss couple held captive by the Pakistani Taliban for over eight months regained their freedom, claiming they escaped their captors in the lawless tribal belt. Och, 31, and Widmer, 28, were abducted at gunpoint while apparently on holiday on July 1 in the southwestern Baluchistan province. The Pakistani Taliban claimed the abduction in July, demanding they be swapped for Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist sentenced in 2010 in New York for the attempted murder of US agents in Afghanistan. Two Pakistani Taliban commanders said the couple had been freed after a ransom was paid and Taliban prisoners released from Pakistani custody. The Swiss embassy refused to comment.

Greg Smith

The South African-born banker became an instant international celebrity after publishing his grievances with former employer of 12 years Goldman Sachs on the op-ed pages of The New York Times. London-based Smith, 33, said it traded against its clients and harboured a 'toxic and destructive' attitude. He is the first serving insider to openly criticise the firm - 15 minutes after he quit. Smith - an executive director and head of the firm's US equity derivatives business in Europe - blamed chief executive Lloyd Blankfein and president Gary Cohn for losing hold of the firm's culture. Goldman replied 'we will only be successful if our clients are successful'.

Shin Kyung-sook

The South Korean author is the first female winner of the US$30,000 Man Asian Literary Prize for her novel, Please Look After Mom. The intimate family tale beat a field including works by Amitav Ghosh, Banana Yoshimoto and Yan Lianke in the annual competition for novels by Asians written in or translated into English.