DIED: Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who won Western praise for tackling corruption and pushing pro-growth economic policies in Africa, died Aug. 19 of complications from a stroke. Mwanawasa, 59, said his conversion to Christianity in 2003 guided his years in office. Friend and mentor Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, called Mwanawasa "a man more determined to right wrongs, root out corruption and injustice, and produce a noble nation."
DIED: Democratic Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, died Aug. 20. The 58-year-old, who backed Sen. Hillary Clinton during the primaries, planned to vote as a superdelegate at the Democratic convention.
APPOINTED: The Truett-McConnell College board of trustees elected former Sunni Muslim Emir Caner as the Georgia school's eighth president, marking the first time that a former Muslim will serve as president of a Southern Baptist college or university. Caner's brother and fellow convert, Ergun Caner, is president and dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Va., and was the first Muslim convert to serve as president of a seminary.
FALLEN: Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley, who claimed to have healed hundreds during Pentecostal tent revivals ("Same old scam?" June 28/July 5, 2008), resigned last month from the Fresh Fire Ministries board after it was discovered he had "entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff." Prior to Bentley's admission, the board announced that Bentley, 32, and his wife Shonnah had separated due to "significant friction" in their marriage. According to the statement, Bentley agreed to "refrain from all public ministry for a season to receive counsel in his personal life."
NO SHOW: After emailing friends to encourage them to attend an Aug. 18 fundraiser for John McCain, former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed failed to show for the Atlanta event. In the days leading up to the fundraiser, the Democratic National Committee had criticized McCain for Reed's involvement, citing his connections with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. McCain aides deny, however, that Reed was ever involved in organizing the event and declined to comment on whether they barred him from attending.
(Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that Todd Bentley is 32 years old.)