Actor Christian Bale tried last December to visit Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, then under house arrest, and was roughed up by thugs who prevented him from entering Chen’s village. But on Oct. 25 the Oscar winner finally met the blind opponent of forced abortions—who made a dramatic escape from China and arrived in the United States last May. Bale presented him with an award at the annual gala of Human Rights First: “[Chen] had exposed a program of forced abortion and sterilization in Shandong. A program of forced abortion means that women are being dragged from their homes against their will. They are being forced to have abortions, sometimes late-term—imagine that—with some women reportedly dying in the process. Now this is true horror.”
A Milan court sentenced former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to four years in prison for tax fraud over a scam involving the purchase of U.S. film rights. The scandal-ridden former head of state, 76, still has two appeal levels remaining and may not go to jail.
Care Net appointed Roland C. Warren to succeed Melinda Delahoyde as president and CEO. Warren served more than a decade as president of the National Fatherhood Initiative.
Three former Democratic contenders for the White House—Sens. Walter Mondale, John Kerry, and Gary Hart—joined South Dakotans to pay respect to Sen. George McGovern, whose 1972 presidential campaign energized the liberal vanguard of the Democratic Party. McGovern, whose office was targeted by President Richard Nixon in a Washington burglary that spiraled into the Watergate scandal, died Oct. 21 at age 90. A decorated World War II bomber pilot, he opposed the Vietnam War and promoted social liberalism.
Students at West Feliciana High School in Louisiana on Oct. 20 crowned Mary Margaret Burns, a classmate with Down syndrome, as this year’s homecoming queen. Her selection was no prank, a fellow classmate on the homecoming court told American Conservative blogger Rod Dreher: “All of us on court wanted Mary Margaret to be crowned queen. … She was not chosen because of her disability, she was chosen because of the huge heart she has and the ability to make anyone smile.”
Authorities accuse Floyd Palmer, 51, a former church maintenance man, of shooting and killing Greg McDowell, 39, on Oct. 24 as he led a morning prayer service for a group of 25 at Creflo Dollar’s World Changers Church International in Atlanta. Palmer wounded a man at a Baltimore mosque shooting in 2001, according to police reports, and was committed to a psychiatric hospital for a year.
Harvard biblical scholar Frank Moore Cross, who helped to supervise findings in Qumran that became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, died Oct. 16 at 91. Moore was among a small group of scholars given access to the scrolls and he published his findings in 1958. He went on to trace the evolution of ancient script: “That we know that a particular scroll comes from 100 B.C. and not 50 A.D. is almost entirely due to the study of the scripts and their development that he worked out,” Harvard professor Peter Machinist told The New York Times.