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Human Race

Human Race

Issue: "2009 Daniel of the Year," Dec. 19, 2009

DIED: Hudson Armerding, 91, Presbyterian minister and president of Wheaton College, 1965-1982, died Dec. 1. He oversaw the construction of a new library, science building, and the college's Billy Graham Center, and served stints as president of both the National Association of Evangelicals and World Evangelical Fellowship.

DENIED: A court has denied the appeal of Hannah Overton, the Corpus Christi mother of five who was sentenced in 2007 to life in prison without parole for the alleged salt poisoning death of 4-year-old Andrew Burd, whom Overton and her husband, Larry, were in the process of adopting ("Unknown ingredient," Feb. 23, 2008).

RETIRING: A tearful Oprah Winfrey announced that she will bid adieu to her daytime talk show when her contract expires in September 2011. The 55-year-old media mogul is moving on to launch her cable-based Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). While the decision is a blow to broadcast television, it will be a boon for the cable network, which is counting on her popularity to persuade devoted fans to follow her.

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JAILED: A Chinese human rights activist who was investigating why schools collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake has been sentenced to three years in prison on charges of "possessing state secrets." Huang Qi, 46, was arrested last year after he posted articles on his website questioning whether shoddy school construction was responsible for claiming the lives of more than 5,000 children during the massive earthquake. Huang has already spent five years in prison for writing about other politically sensitive topics.

PARALYZED: Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest arrested by Vietnamese authorities in 2007 for advocating for democracy and religious freedom, suffered a second stroke in jail that has left him partially paralyzed. Earlier this year, 37 U.S. senators signed a letter calling for the release of Ly, 63, who has been imprisoned a total of 17 years since 1970.

TRIED: The trial of John Demjanjuk, the former U.S. autoworker accused of serving as a guard at the infamous Sobibor death camp during World War II, began Nov. 30 in Munich. The wheelchair-bound 89-year-old Ukraine native, who is listed as the Simon Wiesenthal Center's most wanted Nazi war criminal, faces charges of being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews.

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