Dispatches > Human Race

Human Race

Issue: "Daniel of the Year," Dec. 18, 2010

Awarded

Early next year President Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 15 individuals, including former President George H.W. Bush, author Maya Angelou, and philanthropist Warren Buffett. One award will go posthumously to optometrist Tom Little, who died in August along with nine other humanitarian aid workers after the Taliban gunned them down in Afghanistan.

Judged

A Texas jury has convicted former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, 63, of illegally funneling corporate money to candidates during the 2002 state elections. DeLay, who resigned from Congress amid scandal in 2006, told reporters the conviction is "a miscarriage of justice and I still maintain that I am innocent." His sentencing is tentatively set for mid-December.

Challenged

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Rahm Emanuel faces an uphill battle in his bid for Chicago mayor as questions about whether he meets residency requirements continue to dog him. Opponents argue that Emanuel should be disqualified from running because he didn't live in the city for a full year prior to February's election as required by municipal code. Meanwhile, Rob Halpin, who is renting Emanuel's Chicago home and refused to break the lease, has made things a little more interesting by throwing his hat into the mayoral race, too.

Released

Egypt has released a blogger who served four years in prison on charges of insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak. Abdel Kareem Nabil, 26, who writes under the name Kareem Amer and was Egypt's first blogger to face trial for online writings, said his imprisonment was a "cruel experience" that included beatings at the hands of security officers.

Convicted

Nearly 10 years after Washington intern Chandra Levy disappeared, a jury has convicted an illegal immigrant from El Salvador of murdering her. Although authorities initially pegged former Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., as a prime suspect because he was having an affair with Levy, the 2002 discovery of her remains in a D.C. park refocused the case on Ingmar Guandique, who served jail time for assaulting two women in the same park.

Indisposed

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, 86, arrived in the United States on Nov. 22 to seek treatment for complications stemming from a herniated disc. The news was followed by assurances that there would be no power vacuum in the world's largest oil exporter: The monarch's half-brother, Crown Prince Sultan, returned from Morocco to govern in the king's absence.

Died

Actor Leslie Nielsen first gained fame for dramatic roles in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. But a hit role in the 1980 spoof Airplane! turned him into a comedy star. After Airplane!, the native of Canada gave life to several slapstick and spoof characters, including Lt. Frank Drebin in the cop show parody Police Squad! and in three Naked Gun films. He died of pneumonia on Nov. 28 at age 84.

Died

Samuel Kunz, one of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's most wanted Nazi war crimes suspects, died Nov. 18 just months before he was to face trial on charges related to the murders of 430,000 Jews at Belzec death camp in Poland. The 89-year-old had admitted to working at the camp and authorities had called him to testify in the trial of John Demjanjuk, the former U.S. autoworker accused of serving as a guard at Sobibor death camp.

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