An Iraqi court sentenced Saddam Hussein's former foreign minister and deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, 74, to death on Oct. 26 for his role in the past persecution of religious dissidents. Considered the public face of Saddam's regime, he is a member of Iraq's Christian minority and was the only Christian in Saddam's predominately Sunni inner circle. The court also handed death sentences to Saddam's former Interior Minister Sadoun Shakir and former secretary Abed Hammoud.
Last month a federal appeals court heard arguments in the case of California pastor Walter Hoye ("Straight time," May 9, 2009), who is challenging Oakland's "Mother May I" law that restricts sidewalk counseling outside abortion centers. In 2009, Hoye served 19 days in jail after city attorneys used the ordinance to convict him. The court is expected to rule in the next few months.
She has been called the bravest woman in Mexico, but some think Marisol Valles is just plain crazy for signing on as the new police chief of Práxedis Guadalupe Guerrero, one of Mexico's most dangerous border towns. The 20-year-old criminology student and mother of an infant will lead a force of 13 agents (mostly female) with only one functioning patrol car, three automatic rifles, and a pistol to combat the powerful drug cartels that recently murdered a local mayor and his son. Valles says rather than fighting the cartels, she plans to focus on crime prevention and community policing.
Mildred Jefferson, the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School and the pro-life trailblazer who helped found the National Right to Life Committee and served for three years as its president, died Oct. 15 at age 84. Jefferson's tireless fight against abortion began in 1970 after the American Medical Association decided its members could perform abortions if the procedure was legal in their states-a stance Jefferson said violated the Hippocratic Oath: "I am at once a physician, a citizen, and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow the concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged, and the planned have the right to live."
Tom Bosley, who played the fatherly Howard Cunningham on the hit sitcom Happy Days and won a Tony Award for his role in the musical Fiorello!, died on Oct. 19 of cancer. He was 83.
Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, 60, died suddenly Oct. 27 from a heart attack. Kirchner, who continued to wield extensive influence after his wife Cristina Fernandez succeeded him as president in 2007, was expected to run again during next year's presidential election.