Birgitta Almby, 70-year-old Bible school teacher and director of a Christian-run technical training institute in Pakistan, died Dec. 12 in her native Sweden from wounds sustained in a Dec. 3 shooting in Lahore by suspected Islamic extremists. The unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle opened fire on Almby—who for 38 years worked as a teacher in Pakistan and served as director of the FGA Technical Training Institute—as she stopped her car outside her home in Lahore. The Swedish government transported her by air ambulance to Sweden after she failed to respond to treatment in Pakistan.
Conservative judge Robert Bork, known for his originalist philosophy of interpreting the Constitution, died on Dec. 19 at age 85. The left attempted to trash Bork’s reputation during the confirmation battle over President Reagan’s 1987 nomination of Bork to the Supreme Court and succeeded in defeating the nomination. Bork later became the author of several well-regarded conservative books, including Slouching Toward Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline.
Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera, 43, was killed Dec. 9 in a plane crash outside Monterrey, Mexico, after the small jet in which she was traveling nose-dived from 28,000 feet. Rivera, known as “Diva de la Banda,” had sold more than 15 million records and was at the peak of her career. She leaves behind five children and two grandchildren.
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who presided over Democratic politics in Hawaii and served in the U.S. Congress since Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959, died Dec. 17 at age 88. He was the first lawmaker of Japanese heritage to serve in the U.S. House and won a Senate seat in 1962—and for eight subsequent terms.
British nurse Jacintha Saldanha, 46, died of suspected suicide three days after being tricked by two Australian disc jockeys, who impersonated the queen and Prince Charles in a phone call. Saldanha transferred the call to another nurse who revealed information about the pregnant Kate Middleton’s hospitalization for morning sickness. Saldanha, an Indian immigrant, is survived by a husband and two children.
Authorities in Kazakhstan released on Dec. 4 Makset Djabbarbergenov, the Uzbek pastor wanted on trumped-up charges of terrorism in his home country. Djabbarbergenov was held for three months pending an extradition request. Officials took Djabbarbergenov to the airport, where he was reunited with his wife and four children then flown to Germany for asylum. The Kazakh government, working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, circumvented his extradition to Uzbekistan, where he faced a 15-year sentence.
Embattled U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Rice characterized as “unfair and misleading” the charges that she made inaccurate statements in the aftermath of the 9/11 anniversary terrorist attack in Libya that left four Americans dead. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is expected to be nominated for the post.