Nelson Mandela Dies at 95: BBC: “South Africa's first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died, South Africa's president says. Mr Mandela, 95, led South Africa's transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison. He had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital. In a statement on South African national TV, Mr Zuma said Mr Mandela had "departed" and was at peace. "Our nation has lost its greatest son," Mr Zuma said.”
Why Mandela’s Flaws Made Him Great: Slate Obituary: “Be in no doubt that Nelson Mandela, the world’s most famous political prisoner, campaigner against racist rule, and magnanimous leader, was a great man. When spending time with him, one felt awed, weak at the knees. Madiba, the tribal name by which he was fondly known by many, had charm and warmth. He was also responsible, more than any other individual, for the remarkably peaceful transition in South Africa.”
Slate Photo Gallery: Nelson Mandela: A Life in Photographs.
Fast Food Strike: Reuters: “Fast-food workers in hundreds of cities across the United States kicked off a day of strikes and rallies on Thursday to demand a higher minimum wage. The largest job actions were expected in New York and Washington, organizers said. Workers want the federal minimum wage raised to $15 from $7.25, saying the current rate is not enough to live on. Critics counter that doubling the minimum wage would cost jobs, forcing employers to cut back on the number of workers.”
NYT Getting Kicked Out of China?: Global Post: “The English-speaking world’s newspaper of record may be on the verge of getting kicked out of China, in an unprecedented crackdown by Communist Party authorities against foreign news organizations. According to Ian Denis Johnson, a New York Times contributor in China, some 24 correspondents for the paper face ejection from the People’s Republic starting Dec. 17 — less than two weeks from today — unless Beijing stands down from its apparent clandestine intent to ban the New York Times and Bloomberg News reporters from operating in the country.”
China Bans Bitcoin: Associated Press: "Bitcoins suffered a new setback after China's central bank said Thursday its banks and payment systems are barred from handling the virtual currency. The central bank said bitcoins did not qualify as a currency but private individuals still are allowed to trade them at their own risk… Just over 2 million bitcoins were traded over the past month on China's biggest exchange, BTC China, according to bitcoincharts.com, which follows trading in the cybercurrency."
Pope Tackles Sex Abuse: BBC: "Pope Francis is to set up a Vatican committee to fight sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church and offer help to victims. The announcement, by the archbishop of Boston, follows a meeting between the Pope and his eight cardinal advisers. It comes days after the Vatican refused a UN request for information on alleged abuse by priests, nuns or monks… Pope Francis has said dealing with sex abuse is vital for the Church's credibility."
Dutch Paying Alcoholics in Beer: New York Times: “[In Amsterdam] an unusual government-funded program to lure alcoholics off the streets by paying them in beer to pick up trash. In addition to beer — the brand varies depending on which brewery offers the best price — each member of the cleaning team gets half a packet of rolling tobacco, free lunch and 10 euros a day, or about $13.55. The program, started last year by the Rainbow Foundation, a private but mostly government-funded organization that helps the homeless, drug addicts and alcoholics get back on their feet, is so popular that there is a long waiting list of chronic alcoholics eager to join the beer-fueled cleaning teams."
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