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Eden Prairie, Minn.

Evangelicals oust spokesman: After publicly declaring that he “believed in” civil unions for gay people, a top official of a prominent Christian evangelical group resigned under pressure last week. The Rev. Richard Cizik, chief spokesman and lobbyist for the 30 million–member National Association of Evangelicals, resigned after meeting with the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the Minnesota-based association. Days before, Cizik told NPR host Terry Gross that civil unions for gays posed no threat to heterosexual marriage. Cizik had earlier angered some evangelicals when he called global warming “an offense against God.” Anderson said Cizik had “lost the leadership’s confidence.”

Woodburn, Ore.

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Blast kills two: A bomb that officers thought was a dummy exploded in an Oregon bank last week, killing two police officers and critically injuring their chief. Authorities had first been called to a bank where employees had found a suspicious package; it was determined to be harmless. Officers then got a call that a similar package had turned up at another bank nearby. Believing it, too, was a dud, they were handling it when it detonated. Police this week arrested a 57-year-old farmer and his 32-year-old son in the case, but released few other details. Bomb disposal specialist Bill Hakim and Police Capt. Tom Tennant, both 51, were killed in the explosion, and Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell, 46, lost a leg.


Face transplant: Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic this week announced that they had performed the nation’s first face transplant. Dr. Maria Siemionow, who led the eight-surgeon team, said doctors had replaced all but the forehead and chin of an unnamed female trauma victim. The procedure is controversial because of the risks involved and because patients face a lifetime of intensive drug treatments to keep their bodies from rejecting the new face. The first facial transplant in the world was performed in 2005 on a 41-year-old woman in France, after she was mauled by her pet Labrador. A man in China underwent the complex surgery after a bear attack. “Those people are not coming in because they want to be beautiful,” Siemionow said. “They want to be normal.”

Hollywood, Fla.

Walsh case closed: Twenty-seven years after 6-year-old Adam Walsh disappeared from a Florida shopping mall, heightening national awareness about missing children, authorities said they know who killed him. Police this week said they are convinced that Adam was killed by a drifter named Ottis Toole, who died in 1996 while imprisoned on unrelated charges. Toole had long been suspected in the case, but after his niece told police that he’d made a deathbed confession, the case was reopened. Adam’s father, John Walsh, who turned his search for Adam into a crusade and hosted TV’s America’s Most Wanted, said he believed justice has been served. “For all the other victims who haven’t gotten justice I say one thing,” Walsh said. “Don’t give up hope.”


The big freeze: A massive early-season ice storm paralyzed much of the Northeast this week, snapping off tree branches and leaving nearly a million people in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine shivering without power for days. In the town of Harvard, 30 miles northwest of Boston, crews from as far away as Ohio worked to restore power to houses buried under splintered trees and tangled power lines, while residents sheltered in a school gymnasium. “It’s a pull-together kind of thing,” said Emily Guyett, 82. “Everyone is pitching in to help out.” In New Hampshire, 26 people were hospitalized for carbon-monoxide poisoning as residents tried to heat homes with generators or with outdoor grills. At least two deaths were reported.


Death penalty flap: A jury last week spared the life of a man who was convicted of killing four people, including a judge, in a 2005 rampage that began in an Atlanta courthouse. Brian Nichols, a former computer technician, stole a deputy’s gun during a March 2005 court appearance and killed Judge Rowland Barnes and two others. Afterward, he murdered a customs agent and took a woman hostage. Nichols admitted his guilt but entered an insanity plea, which the jury rejected. But three jurors refused to impose the death penalty, provoking widespread outrage. Several state legislators have already introduced bills lifting the requirement in Georgia that juries vote unanimously for a death sentence.

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