BACKPEDALED: President Obama, who drew criticism in July after saying police officers "acted stupidly" by arresting Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. for disorderly conduct while investigating a reported break-in at his home, invited Gates and arresting officer Sgt. James Crowley to meet at the White House for a beer. Although Obama has stopped short of apologizing for the inflammatory comments, he now admits that he could have "calibrated" his words differently.
ACCUSED: Uyghur Christian Alimujiang Yimiti, whom Chinese authorities have detained since January 2008 on charges of "revealing state secrets or intelligence to overseas organizations," was scheduled to stand trial July 28. According to ChinaAid, however, Alimujiang's imprisonment and trial is due to his Christian faith and witness to the Uyghur people. Supporters fear Alimujiang may face a similar fate as Wusiman Yiming, another Uyghur Christian who was sentenced in September 2007 to two years of re-education through labor on charges of "revealing state secrets" and "illegal proselytizing."
QUIT: Just weeks after South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford publicly revealed he had an extramarital affair, his communications director, Joel Sawyer, announced he will step down Aug. 5 to pursue "other opportunities in the private sector." When Sanford mysteriously disappeared in June, Sawyer fielded relentless questions about his whereabouts-at one point stating that Sanford was hiking the Appalachian Trail-and later acted as Sanford's spokesperson during the height of the scandal.
BOOTED: A British council removed Christian pediatrician Sheila Matthews from an adoption panel after she requested to abstain from voting on cases involving same-sex couples. Although Matthews was permitted previously to abstain from such voting during her five years on the panel, the North-amp-tonshire County Council reportedly dismissed her because her view on gay adoption did not comply with England's new Equality Law. Matthews has appealed the decision.
HOMECOMING: An ailing Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., returned to the Senate July 21 after being hospitalized since May for a staph infection. The 91-year-old, who is the longest-serving senator in history, is expected to ease back into his senatorial duties and plans to be on hand for key votes.
DIED: Harry Patch, the last surviving British veteran of World War I, died July 25 at the age of 111. Fellow British WWI veteran Henry Allingham, who was also the world's oldest man, died a week earlier at the age of 113.
DIED: Long-time CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite, whom some called the "most trusted man in America," died July 17 at the age of 92.