Dispatches > Human Race
Associated Press/Photo by Mary Altaffer

Human Race


Issue: "Blind exiled brave," Aug. 10, 2013


A Pakistani teen shot in the head for advocating for girls’ education delivered an articulate speech to the UN Youth Assembly on July 12—her 16th birthday. The Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai last October, but the bullet failed to kill—or silence—the young woman. She defiantly told the assembly, “Nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Strength, power, and courage was born.”


A Bangladeshi tribunal on July 15 convicted a 91-year-old Pakistan man of war crimes committed in 1971. Ghulam Azam, now spiritual leader of Pakistan’s largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, was found guilty on 61 counts of crimes committed during Bangladesh’s war for independence from Pakistan. The tribunal compared Azam to Adolph Hitler but suggested he be spared the death penalty due to his age, and sentenced to 90 years in prison. The government prosecution team is considering a recommendation that he be hanged.


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President Barack Obama honored former President George H.W. Bush, 89, for his charity work in a July 15 ceremony at the White House. The event recognized the success of the Points of Light volunteer program, which Bush, the nation’s oldest living president, established in 1989. During the ceremony Obama and Bush awarded the 5,000th Daily Point of Light award to a retired Iowa couple whose nonprofit group delivers free meals to needy children in more than 15 countries.


Journalist Helen Thomas, known as the “dean of the White House press corps,” died July 20 at age 92. Thomas served as a White House correspondent for UPI and later Hearst Newspapers, covering every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. She was the first female member of the corps and known for ending each news conference with: “Thank you, Mr. President.” Thomas, who wrote six books, retired suddenly in 2010 after saying Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine.”


Canadian actor Cory Monteith, 31, star of the Fox hit show Glee, died July 13 in his Vancouver hotel room from a toxic mixture of heroin and alcohol. Monteith was public about his struggle with addiction since age 13. He first entered rehab at 19, and his latest rehab stint came in April. Ryan Murphy, executive producer of Glee—which was set to resume production in late July—announced the season’s third episode will be a tribute to Monteith, after which the show will take a break to reassess its direction.


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and a team of explorers found and authenticated major parts of the engines for Apollo 11—the 1969 space flight that sent the first Americans to the moon. The announcement, which NASA confirmed, came on July 19, one day before the 44th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s famous landing and pronouncement: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Bezos, a long-time space enthusiast, led the March expedition that netted most of two engines. The billionaire entrepreneur acknowledged NASA still owns the engines, which are likely headed to museums in Seattle and Washington, D.C.


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