Across South Africa and around the world today, people are mourning the death of Nelson Mandela. The anti-apartheid leader spent 27 years in prison before becoming South Africa’s first black and democratically elected president in 1994. Mandela was 95 years old when he died Thursday evening after struggling with a recurring lung infection. South African President Jacob Zuma delivered the news to the nation in a televised address, saying Mandela died peacefully, surrounded by his family.
South African President Jacob Zuma: “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound, enduring loss.”
Click here to watch our special show looking at the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, after headlines.
French troops have entered the Central African Republic a day after sectarian violence killed at least 100 people in the capital Bangui. The country has faced a spiraling crisis after the ouster of President François Bozizé by Muslim rebels in March. Christian militant groups have mobilized against the rebels, attacking Muslim areas. The United Nations Security Council has unanimously backed the deployment of French and African troops. French President François Hollande spoke on Thursday.
French President François Hollande: “Ladies and gentlemen, the situation in the Central African Republic has become alarming and even frightening. Massacres are taking place at this very moment, including in hospitals. Every day there is violence against women and children, and thousands of displaced are seeking refuge. Given the urgency, I have decided to act immediately — in order words, this evening — in coordination with the Africans and with the support of our European partners. Six hundred soldiers are already on site. This number will be doubled in the next few days or even the next few hours.”
In Yemen, an al-Qaeda-linked group has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack on the Defense Ministry that killed 52 people. The assault by gunmen and a suicide car bomber targeted a hospital inside the ministry compound. More than 160 people were wounded.
Former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton has been chosen to lead the city’s police department for a second time. Bratton led the NYPD under Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the mid-1990s, embracing a controversial strategy of cracking down on low-level offenses. He also led both the Boston and Los Angeles police departments. New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio campaigned on a promise to curb the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, but his new appointee actually expanded the program in Los Angeles. A 2009 report from Harvard University shows the number of stops conducted by L.A. police doubled while Bratton was commissioner. On Thursday, de Blasio praised Bratton’s views on the policy.
Bill de Blasio: “Bill Bratton knows that when it comes to stop-and-frisk, it has to be used with respect, and it has to be used properly. You know, one of the things that inspired me in my thinking was a quote from Bill from some years ago. I’ll paraphrase it. He said stop-and-frisk is like chemotherapy: Used in the right dose, it can save lives; used in the wrong dose, too heavy a dose, it can create its own dangers and problems, it can backfire.”
Florida prosecutors say they will not charge a star college football player who was accused of raping a fellow student last year. The case of Jameis Winston gained national attention as he is seen as the top contender for the prestigious Heisman Trophy. The alleged victim’s family accused police of delaying and mishandling the case, which was first reported nearly a year ago. A detective reportedly told her lawyer “the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding … because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable.” In a statement, the woman’s family said she fears the public handling of the case will discourage other victims from coming forward.
A new report reveals how federal prosecutors routinely coerce people accused of drug offenses into pleading guilty by threatening them with harsh mandatory prison sentences. According to Human Rights Watch, 97 percent of federal drug defendants plead guilty. In cases where they refuse to plead and are convicted of offenses that carry mandatory minimums, they serve an average of 11 years longer just by going to trial. In one case, a man who rejected a 10-year plea deal for heroin charges was sentenced to life in prison at trial.
Fast-food workers went on strike in more than 100 cities across the country Thursday to demand a living wage, union rights and fair scheduling. The fast-food workers were joined by low-wage workers across other industries, from retail to airlines. A Delta security guard spoke at an action in New York’s Foley Square.
Rose: “Delta makes billions of dollars every single day, but yet cannot afford to pay us more than $8. I am a single mother. I have a four-year-old son I have to pay daycare for. I have rent to pay, food to pay — everything, clothes, you name it, rent, everything. But $8 is not enough. Some of us have to work seven days a week. Some of us have to work sometimes two jobs, three jobs, just to be able to make it. We have no medical benefits. We have no sick days. We have absolutely nothing.”
As they were protesting in New York Thursday evening, workers and their supporters learned of the death of Nelson Mandela.
Speaker 1: “I think in the profound spirit of struggle and beauty that was Nelson Mandela’s life and that is all of your struggle together, we can say, 'Nelson Mandela, presente!'”
Speaker 2: “We thank you Lord for that man that stood for justice in this world, o God, liberating a nation of people that were oppressed, o Father, and you were with him, and you are with him now. We thank you for him.”