WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday revealed a series of portraits of world leaders he painted in a new pursuit that he said has “opened my mind,” even though it left him exposed to joking criticism from his mother.
An exhibit titled “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy” opens Saturday at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas. It will feature Bush’s paintings of some two dozen world figures he worked with during his 2001-2009 presidency, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Dalai Lama.
By Bill Trott
(Reuters) – Fred Phelps, the pastor who led a small Kansas church’s vitriolic “God Hates Fags” anti-gay campaign at public events across the United States, including military funerals, has died, the church said Thursday.
Phelps, whose Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, won a 2011 freedom-of-speech U.S. Supreme Court decision related to their anti-gay picketing, died late Wednesday in a Kansas hospice. He was 84.
By Bill Trott and Victoria Cavaliere
(Reuters) – Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, the aristocratic philanthropist and a close friend of Jacqueline Kennedy who provided money used to conceal 2008 U.S. presidential candidate John Edwards’ extramarital affair, has died at the age of 103, her attorney’s office confirmed on Tuesday.
Mellon, an avid, self-taught horticulturist who redesigned the White House Rose Garden during the Kennedy administration, died on Monday at her Virginia estate of natural causes related to her age, according to a statement from Alex Forger, Mellon’s personal attorney.
COLUMBIA, Maryland (Reuters) – A gunman opened fire with a shotgun in a skate shop at a crowded shopping mall near Baltimore on Saturday, killing two store employees and wounding another person before apparently killing himself, police said.
Howard County police said they did not know the motive for the shooting at the large mall in Columbia, Maryland, about 20 miles west of Baltimore.
COLUMBIA, Maryland (Reuters) – Three people died in a shooting at a large shopping mall outside Baltimore on Saturday, police said, adding that the suspected gunman apparently killed himself.
Howard County Police said they believed the mall in Columbia, Maryland, was secure and they were contacting shoppers to help them leave the complex.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dan Akerson, General Motors Co’s (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) outgoing chief executive, on Monday defended his tenure leading the No. 1 U.S. automaker and said his successor will have to build on the turnaround that he guided.
GM said last week that Akerson would step down in January and be succeeded by product development chief Mary Barra, the industry’s first woman CEO. Akerson assumed control of the Detroit company shortly before its autumn 2010 reintroduction as a public company and steered its return to profits after the 2009 bankruptcy and $49.5 billion federal bailout.
(Reuters) – Astronaut Scott Carpenter, who in 1962 became the fourth American in space and the second to orbit the Earth, died on Thursday in Colorado at age 88 of complications from a stroke, his wife Patty Carpenter said.
Carpenter, who lost radio contact with NASA controllers during his pioneering space flight and was found in the ocean 250 miles from the targeted splashdown site, went on to explore the ocean floor in later years. His wife said he died in a Denver hospice.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jack Germond, the gruff and rumpled “fat man” of American political journalism best known for his coverage of presidential campaigns, died on Wednesday at the age of 85.
He died “peacefully and quickly” early in the morning at his home in West Virginia after recently finishing a novel, his wife, Alice, said in an email sent to friends and journalists.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas, a trailblazing journalist who reported on every U.S. president from John Kennedy to Barack Obama, died on Saturday at the age of 92, the Gridiron Club and Foundation said.
Thomas, who broke many barriers for female journalists during her 49 years on the White House beat for United Press International and Hearst newspapers and died after a long illness, the Washington journalists’ organization said in a statement.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – George Jones, a classic country singer with a voice full of raw honky-tonk emotion and a life full of honky-tonk turmoil, died on Friday at the age of 81, his spokesman said.
Jones, whose career spanned more than six decades and included hits such as “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “Window Up Above,” died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.