Features

Gunned down

Human Race | Christian bookstore owner found dead

Issue: "A mighty fortress is our sect," Oct. 20, 2007

The body of a prominent Palestinian Christian was found stabbed and shot on a Gaza City street Oct. 7. Rami Khader Ayyad, the 32-year-old director of Gaza's only Christian bookstore, was abducted by unknown assailants near his home on Oct. 6 and his body was found the next morning with a visible gunshot wound to the head and numerous stab wounds. Ayyad ran the store, the Teacher's Bookshop, and was director of the Protestant Holy Bible Society.

He regularly received anonymous death threats from people angry about his work, his family told the Christian Post. In April, the bookstore was firebombed during a wave of attacks by a Muslim "vice squad," and his murder raised fears among Gaza's Christian community, which numbers 3,000 Christians among 1.5 million Muslims in the Gaza Strip, where terrorist faction Hamas successfully took control from the ruling Fatah party earlier this year.

Coming clean

Track star Marion Jones repents and retires

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Marion Jones issued a tearful statement after she pleaded guilty in federal court Oct. 5, a Friday, to lying to federal investigators when she denied using performance-enhancing drugs. By Monday, Oct. 8, she had returned five medals won in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and agreed to forfeit other awards and prize money dating back to the time when she now admits she was using "the clear," a performance-enhancing steroid. Besides two gold and three bronze medals, the forfeiture is likely to be in the millions of dollars.

"Making these false statements to federal agents was an incredibly stupid thing for me to do, and I am responsible fully for my actions," a tearful Jones, 31, said outside U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y. "I have no one to blame but myself for what I've done." To fans, fellow athletes, friends, and family, she said, "I want you to know that I have been dishonest, and you have the right to be angry with me. . . . I have let them down. I have let my country down. And I have let myself down. I recognize that by saying that I'm deeply sorry, it might not be enough and sufficient to address the pain and the hurt that I have caused you. Therefore, I want to ask for your forgiveness for my actions, and I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me." She concluded: "I have asked Almighty God for my forgiveness. Having said this and because of my actions, I am retiring from the sport of track and field, a sport that I deeply love."

Close-ups

POLITICS: Former national security adviser Sandy Berger has been hired to advise Hillary Clinton despite having his security clearance suspended until 2008. The suspension stems from a 2004 scandal in which Berger spirited away in his trousers and socks classified documents from the National Archives. Berger destroyed the stolen documents-then sought by the 9/11 Commission-and lied about them, though he admitted earlier this year to columnist Michael Barone that he made "a very stupid decision" in covering up his action. For his misdeeds Berger was fired from John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004-but that's apparently no matter to the current Democratic front-runner.

TERRORISM: Ayaan Hirsi Ali ("'A piece of sheep fat in the sun,'" March 3, 2007) is receiving private security back in the United States after the Dutch government decided to stop funding security guards that made it possible for the Somali to live in her adopted Holland after threats from the same Islamic militants who murdered film director Theo van Gogh. The former member of parliament and outspoken critic of Islam has received an outpouring of support in the United States. On Oct. 9 the Dutch parliament formally revoked her protection-making her officially a refugee from Europe.

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