Dorothy Abernathy, The Associated Press bureau chief for West Virginia and Virginia, shares 10 things to take away from the past week. Look for full stories on these late-breaking news items, upcoming events and stories in West Virginia newspapers:
1. AMERICAN MISSING IN IRAN SINCE 2007 WAS ON UNAPPROVED CIA MISSION
An AP investigation revealed Thursday that retired FBI agent Robert Levinson vanished while investigating the Iranian government for the U.S. In the aftermath, 10 CIA employees were disciplined, including three veteran analysts who were forced out, and the agency paid Levinson’s family $2.5 million to pre-empt a revealing lawsuit.
2. UNCLE OF NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG UN PURGED AND EXECUTED
Jang Song Thaek, put to death Thursday, was long considered the country’s second- most-powerful figure. Experts who study the authoritarian country were divided on whether the sudden turn of events reflected turmoil within the highest levels of power or signaled that Kim was consolidating his power in a decisive show of strength.
3. HOUSE GOP CONSERVATIVES HELP DEMOCRATS MOVE BUDGET TO LIKELY FINAL PASSAGE
The modest package passed Thursday by the House would ease the harshest effects of another round of automatic spending cuts set to hit the Pentagon and domestic agencies next month. The Democratic-led Senate appears set to send the measure next week to President Obama.
4. SOUTH AFRICA’S LONG FAREWELL TO NELSON MANDELA
In the week since the Dec. 5 death of the revered anti-apartheid leader and former president, tens of thousands of South Africans viewed his body lying in state before burial Sunday in his remote childhood home of Qunu in the southeast of the country.
5. THE STRANGE TALE OF THE FAKE SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER AT MANDELA SERVICE
Thamsanqa Jantjie, who stood next to President Obama and other world leaders at Mandela’s service Tuesday, outraged deaf people by making signs they said amounted to gibberish. Jantjie said he has been violent in the past and hallucinated during the service. South African officials apologized but still faced questions about how they could have allowed such an apparent security breach.
6. GENERAL MOTORS EXECUTIVE TO BE FIRST WOMAN TO HEAD A MAJOR AUTO COMPANY
Mary Barra, a 33-year company veteran, was tapped by the board Tuesday to be GM’s CEO, replacing Dan Akerson. Barra earned a reputation as a manager who made tough decisions, yet is able to get people to follow her lead and work as a team, according to current and former GM executives.
7. AUSTRALIA’S HIGH COURT OVERTURNS LAW ALLOWING NATION’S FIRST GAY MARRIAGES
The ruling Thursday shattered the dreams of more than two dozen same-sex newlyweds whose marriages will now be annulled less than a week after their weddings. The federal government had challenged the validity of the law that had allowed gay marriages in the nation’s capital and its surrounding area starting Dec. 7.
8. POPE FRANCIS IS TIME MAGAZINE’S `PERSON OF THE YEAR’
The announcement Wednesday said the pontiff has changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old Roman Catholic Church in an extraordinary way in a short time. Francis finished ahead of NSA leaker Edward Snowden for the distinction, which the newsmagazine has been giving each year since 1927.
9. BANGLADESH EXECUTES OPPOSITION LEADER CONVICTED OF WAR CRIMES
Abdul Quader Mollah was hanged Thursday after being found guilty of atrocities during the country’s war of independence from Pakistan in 1971. The move raised fears of new violence before next month’s elections.
10. MANAGERS JOE TORRE, TONY LA RUSSA, BOBBY COX GOING TO BASEBALL’S HALL OF FAME
Torre, elected with the others Monday, led the New York Yankees to titles in 1996 and from 1998-00. La Russa won World Series titles with Oakland in 1989 and with St. Louis in 2006 and `11. Cox had one of the most successful regular-season runs, leading Atlanta to 14 straight division titles and a World Series championship in 1995.