President Barack Obama signed a bill May 24 to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to four African-American girls killed in a 1963 bombing in Birmingham, Ala. September will mark 50 years since a white supremacist planted dynamite under the front steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church—a hub for the civil-rights movement—murdering the four while they attended Sunday school.
Zach Sobiech, the inspirational singer who survived four years with rare bone cancer, died May 20 at the age of 18. Sobiech underwent 10 surgeries and 20 rounds of chemotherapy after being diagnosed at age 14. He released the song “Clouds” in December, which topped 5 million views on YouTube and reached No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart in the days after his death. At Sobiech’s funeral, more than 1,200 mourners sang “Clouds” by memory while releasing balloons.
Anthony Weiner, 48, who resigned from Congress two years ago after sending women sexually provocative messages and photographs, announced he is running for mayor of New York. Weiner’s wife was pregnant with their first child when the “sexting” became public. Weiner described himself as a “family man” and said he “let a lot of people down.”
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, 57, announced May 28 that she will not run for office in 2014. The Tea Party favorite and one-time GOP presidential contender said she is “even more concerned about our country’s future than I have ever been in the past,” but hopes to serve outside politics. Bachmann faced a stolid opponent in 2014 and allegations of financial impropriety from her 2012 campaign, but said those were not factors in her decision.
A rebel sniper shot and killed Syrian journalist Yara Abbas while she was covering clashes near the Lebanon border on May 27. Abbas was a prominent reporter for the pro-government Al-Ikhbariyah TV and became the 30th journalist killed in 26 months of fighting, according to Reporters without Borders. Another seven journalists are missing and about 60 citizen journalists have been killed in the civil war.
Imprisoned Chinese pastor Gong Shengliang’s life is in “serious danger” after authorities refused him medical treatment following a stroke late last year. Shengliang’s daughter made the announcement in an open letter to China’s new president, Xi Jinping, in which she said her father can no longer walk or talk. Shengliang, 57, was sentenced to death with 16 other house-church leaders in 2001 for allegedly “using a cult to undermine the enforcement of the law.”