RELAUNCHED: After James Dobson departs next month from Focus on the Family, he plans to launch a new radio ministry in March. The program, to be called James Dobson on the Family, will be a joint venture with Dobson's son, Ryan, and will resemble content Dobson oversaw at Focus on the Family. "The Lord gave me a message and a mission in 1977 and then blessed our efforts beyond my wildest imagination," Dobson said in a statement. "He has not lifted that responsibility from my shoulders."
RETIRING: Feminist powerhouse Ellen Malcolm, 62, founder and president of the liberal advocacy group EMILY's List, will retire this month after 25 years at the helm of the organization to elect pro-abortion Democratic women to political offices. Malcolm will remain as chairwoman of the board of directors while Stephanie Schriock, chief of staff for Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., will take over as president.
PARENT: A New Jersey judge has declared a gestational surrogate the legal mother of twin girls she gave birth to, even though she is not genetically related to them. The ruling gives Angelia Robinson the right to seek primary custody of the children at a trial this spring. Robinson had agreed in 2006 to carry the babies for her brother and his male partner, who is the girls' biological father, but she now alleges she was coerced into the arrangement.
APPOINTED: The Obama administration has picked Amanda Simpson, formerly called Mitch, to serve as a senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department. She is believed to be the first openly transgendered U.S. presidential appointee.
DIVORCED: After nearly 24 years of marriage and with one son, former top Bush aide Karl Rove and his wife, Darby, have divorced. Family spokeswoman Dana Perino said they "came to the decision mutually and amicably, and they maintain a close relationship and a strong friendship." Rove is due to release his memoir in March.
DIED: Tsutomu Yamaguchi, 93, the only official survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, died Jan. 4. On Aug. 6, 1945, Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima for a business trip when the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city; two days later he returned home to Nagasaki where the second atomic bomb dropped on Aug. 9.
DIED: James von Brunn, the elderly white supremacist who stormed the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum last June and killed a security guard in a subsequent firefight, died Jan. 6.
DIED: Miep Gies, the office secretary who hid Anne Frank and her family for two years in defiance of Nazi occupation, died Jan. 11 at age 100. The Austrian Christian came to Amsterdam to escape food shortages and went to work for Frank's father. After Nazis captured the family, Gies collected and saved the papers that later became The Diary of Ann Frank.