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Human Race

Human Race

Issue: "The Haiti quake," Feb. 13, 2010

EXECUTED: Saddam Hussein's notorious cousin and henchman "Chemical Ali" was executed on Jan. 25, eight days after he was sentenced to death for the 1988 gassing of 5,600 Kurds-the largest use of chemical weapons on civilians in history. Ali Hassan al-Majid was better known by his nickname and as the King of Spades in the pack of cards of "most wanted" Iraqis issued by the U.S. military in 2003. It was his fourth death sentence received in Iraqi courts for crimes against humanity stemming from pogroms under Saddam that killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shiites.

RELEASED: Mehmet Ali Agca, 52, the Turkish man who shot and severely wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, is a free man after completing another prison sentence for murdering a journalist in 1979. Agca's reasons for targeting the pope have remained cloudy over the years, but he is reportedly seeking millions of dollars in exchange for interviews and book deals.

RAMPAGE: Authorities have charged a Virginia man who allegedly shot to death eight people, including his sister, brother-in-law, three teenagers, and a 4-year-old child. Christopher Speight, 39, fired at a police helicopter and led authorities on an 18-hour manhunt before turning himself in Jan. 20.

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BARRED: Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega lost perhaps his last opportunity to go free when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal Jan. 25. The decision likely means Noriega, 75, will be handed over to authorities in France, where he faces money laundering charges and, if convicted, could spend another 10 years behind bars. Justices Scalia and Thomas voted to hear the appeal, arguing it was a chance to clarify the high court's 2008 decision that gave detainees at Guantanamo Bay the right to challenge their detentions in U.S. courts.

CONFESSED: Former Sen. John Edwards admitted Jan. 21 that he fathered a child with his former mistress, 2008 campaign videographer Rielle Hunter. Although Edwards, 56, long denied that nearly 2-year-old Frances Quinn was his daughter, he confessed less than two weeks before former campaign aide Andrew Young, who originally claimed he was Quinn's father, was due to release his tell-all book, The Politician, on Feb. 2.

DIED: Chicago Bears defensive lineman Gaines Adams died Jan. 17 of cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart. Adams, 26, had recently joined the Bears after he was traded by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

DIED: Taco Bell founder Glen Bell, whose first fast-food Mexican restaurant opened in 1962 and grew to more than 5,600 U.S. locations, died Jan. 17. He was 86.

DIED: Crime novelist Robert Parker, best-known for his popular Spenser series, died Jan. 18 at the age of 77. The day before, Love Story author Erich Segal died at the age of 72.

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