Dorothy Abernathy, The Associated Press bureau chief for West Virginia and Virginia, shares the 10 things to take away from the past week. Look for in-depth stories in West Virginia newspapers:
1. NELSON MANDELA DIES AT AGE 95
South Africa’s first black president was a global symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation in a world often jarred by conflict and division. His death Thursday set the stage for days of mourning and reflection about a colossus of the 20th century who projected astonishing grace, resolve and good humor.
2. US UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FALLS TO 5-YEAR LOW OF 7 PERCENT
November’s gain of 203,000 jobs, announced Friday, suggested that the economy may have begun to accelerate. As more employers step up hiring, more people have money to spend to drive the economy.
3. ENGINEER A FOCUS IN PROBE OF DEADLY COMMUTER TRAIN CRASH IN NEW YORK
Four people were killed and more than 60 injured when the Metro-North train derailed Sunday after hitting a curve at 82 mph — far faster than the 30 mph speed limit. The engineer told investigators he nodded or fell into a daze at the controls.
4. JUDGE RULES DETROIT CAN USE BANKRUPTCY TO CUT PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PENSIONS
The ruling Tuesday set the stage for officials to confront $18 billion in debt with a plan that might pay creditors just pennies on the dollar and is sure to include touchy negotiations over the pensions of about 23,000 retirees and 9,000 workers.
5. SENIOR HEZBOLLAH COMMANDER SLAIN IN LEBANON
The killing Wednesday of Hassan al-Laqis was the latest in a series of attacks against the Iranian-backed group that has no shortage of enemies because of its support of the Syrian regime in that country’s civil war.
6. US, CHINA TRADE STRONG ARGUMENTS OVER BEIJING’S AIR DEFENSE ZONE
There was little indication of progress at talks Wednesday between Vice President Biden and President Xi Jinping toward defusing a situation that is raising anxieties. China has declared new rules concerning a strip of airspace more than 600 miles long above disputed islands in the East China Sea.
7. THOUSANDS FLEE TO AIRPORT IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Violence left more than 280 people dead Thursday and a flood of people sought protection from French troops at the airport in the capital of Bangui. Muslim rebels have run rampant since toppling President Francois Bozize in March, fighting Christian militias.
8. CYBER MONDAY DREW $1.74 BILLION IN SALES, RISING 18 PERCENT FROM LAST YEAR
Consumer electronics and video game consoles and accessories were among the biggest sellers. Home and garden products, clothing and accessories, as well as sports and fitness products also performed well.
9. WORLD CUP DRAW GIVES HOST BRAZIL A RELATIVELY EASY PATH TO KNOCKOUT STAGE
The draw, conducted Friday, also has defending champion Spain playing its opening game against the Netherlands, a repeat of the ill-tempered 2010 final. The United States will face Germany, Portugal and Ghana in a tough first-round group.
10. BOB DYLAN’S ELECTRIC GUITAR FROM 1965 SELLS FOR RECORD $965,000
The Fender Stratocaster, auctioned Friday, was used in the Newport Folk Festival performance that cemented Dylan’s move from acoustic folk to electric rock ‘n’ roll. It is now viewed as a moment that irrevocably changed American music.