FREED: A South Carolina pastor, convicted in April of bringing ammunition into Russia, was released June 24 after spending nearly five months in a Russian prison. The release of Christ Community Church pastor Phillip H. Miles came a day after the Moscow City Court reduced his sentence. The 58-year-old had been held since Feb. 3 when authorities detained him after Miles didn't declare ammunition to customs officials ("Crime and punishment," May 3/10, 2008). Miles, who has led mission trips to Siberia every January for 13 years, said despite his ordeal he hopes to continue ministering to the country: "The Lord willing, I'll be back."
RETIRED: After 33 years at the helm of the world's largest software company, Bill Gates bid adieu to Microsoft on June 27. His retirement marks the culmination of a carefully charted course that began four years ago when Gates began contemplating a greater role at his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-the world's richest philanthropic institution with a $37.3 billion endowment. Although Gates, 52, will remain chairman of Microsoft's board of directors, in September he will turn his attention to full-time philanthropy.
RETIRING: Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie announced June 23 his retirement from the same newsroom where he began 44 years ago, as an intern in 1964. Downie supervised much of the Post's Watergate coverage, and during his tenure as executive editor the paper won 25 Pulitzer Prizes. He was one of few people to know the identity of Deep Throat before FBI agent Mark Felt disclosed himself in 2005. Downie told colleagues his exit will make way for a new editor who can lead the newspaper into the digital age.
ARRESTED: Iranian police arrested and tortured a newly converted Christian couple last month because they were holding Bible studies and attending a house church. Makan Arya, 31, and his 28-year-old wife, Tina Rad, were seized from their Tehran home June 3 and forced to leave their ill, 4-year-old daughter unattended. The couple was held for four days before being released on bail. Authorities warned the couple that if they return to their house church or have contact with other Christians, they will lose custody of their daughter and "be punished by the law of Islam."
DIED: Stand-up comedian George Carlin, whose 50 years in show business were characterized by edgy and often profane humor, died June 22. The 71-year-old was perhaps best known for his "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine, which sparked a Supreme Court ruling that shaped decency policies for television and radio.