Dispatches > Human Race
Jim Abdnor (The Daily Republic/AP)

Human Race

Issue: "Effective Compassion," June 16, 2012


Sen. Jim Abdnor, R-S.D., the farmer-turned-politician who booted liberal Democrat George McGovern from office in 1980 on the coattails of a Reagan win, died May 16 at age 89. The plain-spoken but personable Abdnor, whose resumé included stints as a state senator, lieutenant governor, and a four-term U.S. congressman-served on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and used his position to support farmers and water development.


The Bee Gees' Robin Gibb died of cancer May 20 at age 62. Gibb and his brothers Maurice and Barry rocketed into history during the 1970s with disco hits including "Stayin' Alive" from their best-selling Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.


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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 28, married his long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan, 27, May 19 in a ceremony that caught even the guests by surprise. The couple, who met while attending Harvard, had planned the wedding under the ruse of a graduation party to celebrate Chan's recent graduation from medical school. The wedding came just days after Zuckerberg led the social-networking company to the third-largest public offering in history.


New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn married her long-time partner Kim Catullo May 19 during a well-publicized ceremony. Quinn, a mayoral hopeful, had joined the lobbying effort last year that eventually led to the legalization of same-sex marriages in the state. Wedding guests included Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Democratic New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer.


Bethlehem Baptist Church, the church led by author John Piper, voted overwhelmingly May 20 to approve Jason Meyer as Piper's successor. Beginning Aug. 1, Piper-who said he is in "joyful support" of Meyer, the assistant professor of New Testament at Bethlehem College and Seminary-will mentor Meyer, 36, for an unspecified length of time. After the mentorship period is complete, Piper, 66, said he plans to "leave town for a year or so and find a place for writing and reflection" while spending time with his family.


A Pakistani court sentenced a doctor to 33 years in prison after convicting him of high treason for assisting U.S. forces in tracking down Osama bin Laden. Dr. Shakil Afridi, 48, helped the CIA by running a vaccination drive through which he unsuccessfully tried to gather DNA samples from relatives living in bin Laden's compound. At the time, Afridi did not know who was the target of the program. U.S. officials, calling Afridi a patriot who was never asked to spy on Pakistan, warn that the country's ruling could lead to aid cuts.


Nearly 3,000 volunteers set a state record on April 28 by building 328 wheelchair ramps in North Carolina on one day. Kids participated-a 6-year-old picked up wood scraps and teens pre-built ramp sections-but so did the elderly, with one team of builders having an average age of 79. Operation Inasmuch, NC Baptist Men, and the North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry coordinated the day of service.


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