Dispatches > Human Race

Human Race

Issue: "Clutching two, dropping four," April 23, 2011


Gordon College chose Rice University sociologist Michael Lindsay, author of Faith in the Halls of Power, to be its new president. Ave Maria University chose Jim Towey, who headed the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in George W. Bush's administration, to be its new president. Plans are for both to take office on July 1.


A California judge ruled March 25 that Abbie Dorn, who suffered severe brain damage from complications during childbirth, has the right to see the 4-year-old triplets she nearly died having. The tentative ruling grants Dorn, 34, an annual five-day visit and monthly Skype visits. Although Dorn's former husband Dan has argued such visits would be traumatic for the children, Judge Frederick Shaller wrote in his ruling, "There is no compelling evidence that visitation with Abbie will be detrimental to the children." A full trial is still pending.


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Former President Jimmy Carter returned home March 30 after failing to negotiatie the release of an American contractor whom Cuban authorities have detained since December 2009. In March a Cuban court sentenced Alan Gross, 61, to 15 years in prison for allegedly bringing communications equipment illegally into Cuba while he was working on a USAID-backed democracy-building project.


A Chinese court sentenced Christian democracy activist Liu Xianbin, 43, to 10 years in prison on charges of "inciting subversion" against the government after he posted internet articles calling for political reform. Human-rights groups say it is an unusually harsh sentence that indicates Chinese authorities are cracking down harder on dissidents. In February police forces quashed a wave of protests and detained nearly two dozen writers, lawyers, and human-rights advocates. Another 11 individuals have since vanished in police custody.


A Jerusalem bus bombing claimed the life of a British Wycliffe Bible translator last month. Mary Gardner, 55, was in Jerusalem taking a six-month course studying Hebrew at the Hebrew University so she could return to Togo, West Africa-where she had lived and taught for 20 years-and begin work on an Old Testament translation.


Former U.S. Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, a staunch abortion supporter and the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket, died March 26 at age 75. In 1984, Ferraro campaigned alongside Democratic presidential can­didate Walter Mondale but was dogged by controversy and later lost to incumbents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.


Public outcry has spurred authorities in Bangladesh to open an investigation into the January death of a 14-year-old girl, who died from blood loss after an imam sentenced her to 100 lashes on allegations she had an affair with a married man. The parents of Hena Akhter say the much older man-a cousin-had attacked, beaten, and raped the innocent girl. Although doctors initially labeled her death a suicide, a second autopsy revealed the cover-up. Seven people-including four doctors and the accused rapist-are now facing prosecution. The girl's family, fearing reprisal, is under police protection.


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