HIRED: Time magazine Washington bureau chief Jay Carney is ending his 20-year career with the newsweekly to serve as Vice President-elect Joe Biden's director of communications.
ELECTED: Louisiana voters on Dec. 6 ousted Democrat William Jefferson, 61, and sent Republican Anh "Joseph" Cao, 41, to the House of Representatives. Cao, the first Vietnamese-American to serve in Congress, surged to a surprise victory in the predominantly black, heavily Democratic district and ended Jefferson's nine-term congressional career. Low voter turnout during the election, which Hurricane Gustav had delayed, likely hurt Jefferson, who was projected to win despite battling scandals and a federal indictment.
APPOINTED: The Russian Orthodox Church's Holy Synod chose Metropolitan Kirill, 62, to serve as the church's interim leader following the Dec. 5 death of Patriarch Alexy II. Kirill, who leads the Smolensk and Kaliningrad provinces, is also a front-runner to become the church's permanent head following elections in late January.
BORN: Arkansas mother Michelle Duggar gave birth Dec. 18 to her 18th child, Jordyn-Grace Makiya. The Duggar family stars in the TLC reality show 17 Kids and Counting.
HONORED: President George Bush awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal Dec. 10 to Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson, 77, in recognition of his work over 35 years helping inmates and their families. Other recipients of the prestigious award included: Robert P. George, a Princeton University professor and natural law pro-ponent who serves on the President's Council on Bioethics; Robert Woodson Sr., 71, who founded the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise to help low-income neighborhoods revitalize and fight crime; and Father John Foley, 72, founder of the Cristo Rey Network, an association of Catholic high schools that assists urban youth through a work-study program.
DETAINED: Israeli Interior Ministry officials held a U.S. couple for eight hours Dec. 14 at Ben-Gurion Airport amid allegations they participated in illegal Christian missionary activity during a previous visit. Authorities released Jamie Cowen, a director of the U.S. Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, and his wife, Stacy, after they signed a statement saying they would not engage in missionary activities during their stay.