- 17 Of The Most Unforgettable Moments From Nelson Mandela's Life
(Politics - December 07 2013 - 12:03 AM:)
Nelson Mandela, who died this week at the age of 95, was one of the most influential people of the 20th century.
In a century that saw both institutionalized racism at its worst and unprecedented progress through the civil rights movement, the man who led South Africa out of apartheid was a central figure.
Below are some of his most memorable moments:
- Leaked Doodles Show What Clinton Was Really Thinking About During Serbia Meeting
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 10:58 PM:)
The legendary hacker that goes by the name of Guccifer has hacked into the email accounts and private information of a number of high profile politicians and celebrities, including George W. Bush and Colin Powell. He just added one more to the list: former President Bill Clinton.
After hacking into the Clinton Library's files, Guccifer found five pages of Bill Clinton's doodles on official documents, including a series of doodles that appear to have occurred during a meeting in the Situation Room on Serbia and Slobodan Milosevic, published at Gawker.
Check out what Clinton was really thinking about during the meeting:
- In 21 Charts, Here's How The American Job Market Crushed It In November
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 10:29 PM:)
The U.S. added 203,000 nonfarm payrolls in November, besting economist expectations, with the unemployment rate dropping to 7%.
Over the past 12 months, job growth has averaged 195,000 per month, according to the BLS.
In November, we saw the strongest job gains in the transportation, health care, and manufacturing sectors.
In the report, the BLS breaks down the job growth sector by sector. As always, the charts tell the story.
Here's a breakdown of the November report
Here's the total snapshot, with 203,000 jobs added in November
Wholesale trade has added 351,000 jobs since its May 2010 low
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
- Here's How To Be The Hero Of Your Office Party [Sweepstakes]
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 10:11 PM:)
- This Map Shows The Dominant Religious Group In Every US County
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 9:38 PM:)
We recently came across this map, based on the 2010 census data, of the largest religious groups in each country of the U.S.
A few observations for from the perspective of 2013:
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka the Mormon Church, seems to have heeded Mark Twain's advice: "Buy land, they're not making it anymore." In November the Mormon Church bought 2% of Florida.
- The Bible Belt, comprised mostly of Southern Baptists, is on full display and informs the strong social conservative strain that runs through American politics.
- Catholics barely beat out the Southern Baptists for the highest number of counties with the most adherents. Catholicism's nationwide reach is reminiscent of widespread support of the Notre Dame football team:
"Millions of Catholics—whether Irish, Italian, German or Pole —lived vicariously through the wins and losses of Notre Dame’s football teams. For that vastly immigrant population Notre Dame football symbolized the triumphs of an ostracized people. It also reflected the ascendancy of U.S. Catholics into the nation’s mainstream."
- Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, and West Virgina appear to have the most diversity when it comes to dominant religious groups. On the other side is Vermont and New Hampshire, which are considered the Godless states.
- Report: US Considered Spending $4 Billion To Get Afghan Men Married
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 7:42 PM:)
We've all heard a fair share of terrible ideas coming out of the Afghan war, but the extent of failed Information Operations (IO) — targeted military propaganda — is mind-boggling.
Tom Vanderbrooks of USA Today laid a few out in his recent report, titled plainly "Propaganda fails in Afghanistan," based on a report he saw from the U.S. Army War College.
"Examples of failed efforts, according to the paper," writes Vanderbrooks, "include a proposal to pay $6,000 dowries to Afghan men to keep them off the battlefield — a scheme that could have cost $4 billion."
So the contractor who pitched this idea was hoping to play an expensive game of matchmaker with Afghanistan's military-age males, erroneously concluding that their wives would keep them too busy to fight.
According to USA Today, the report concludes:
[These proposals] "represent merely the tip of the iceberg: over the years, huge amounts of money have been spent on IO programs that are largely anchored in advertising and marketing style communication with little concurrent investment, it would appear, in detailed understanding of audiences and environments."
Ideas like these show the fundamental disconnect between Afghan tribal culture and Western culture when it comes to military planning. Afghanistan's rural population, comprised of close-knit family and village units, are not likely to respond to "advertising and marketing style communication."
Further, bribes shouldn't be relied upon to sway extremist militant ideologues. (At least in Iraq, the USG was paying the "Sons of Iraq" to fight Al Qaeda on the battlefield, rather than to abstain from fighting altogether.)
Nowhere was that disconnect more present than when Gen. Stanley McChrystal's "Government in a Box" idea flopped.
The premise was to sweep out the Taliban and show up with a western style government — governor, police, military — comprised of native Afghans ready to go in place.
"Honestly, I don't even know what the (Afghan National Police) do in some of these areas," one Marine embedded police trainer told me. "These people have never seen anything like a uniformed cop. They're tribal, they rely on their elders to govern."
- One Of The Longest Serving Republican Senators Just Set Up A Huge Challenge With The Tea Party Next Year
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 6:25 PM:)
In something of a surprise, Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, one of the longest-serving Republican senators, announced Friday that he will run for re-election next year.
The senator first shared the news in an interview with Gannet.
The move sets up a contentious re-election fight between Cochran and conservative groups that have made him a prime target in the Republican primary. Cochran, who turns 76 this weekend, will face 41-year-old rising conservative star and state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who has already snagged endorsements from the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund.
"Republicans in Mississippi have a real choice for the United States Senate this year. They can vote for Senator Cochran, or they can vote for a more fiscally conservative alternative who is dedicated to limited government and passing policies that will increase economic growth," Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a statement.
"The Club for Growth PAC believes that State Senator Chris McDaniel is a constitutional conservative who will fight to repeal ObamaCare, cut spending, and stop President Obama’s reckless agenda. The Club for Growth PAC looks forward to strongly supporting his candidacy for the United States Senate."
According to the latest campaign filings, Cochran has raised less than $1 million for his re-election campaign, prompting speculation that he was leaning toward retirement.
Now, he becomes a huge target for conservatives, and joins Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and at least five other GOP incumbents facing a primary challenge.
Before the practice was banned in 2010, Cochran was known in the Senate as someone who steered a lot of federal money to Mississippi through earmarks. Part of McDaniel's campaign will be to emphasize the anti-spending attitude that has prevailed in the Tea Party since its inception.
Right after news broke of Cochran's announcement, McDaniel's official account tweeted this:
Now is the time. Please join us!— Sen. Chris McDaniel (@senatormcdaniel) December 6, 2013
- Here's Why We Still Need To Extend Emergency Unemployment Benefits
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 5:39 PM:)
The November jobs report was solid today with the economy adding 203,000 jobs, the unemployment rate falling to 7.0% and the labor-force participation rate rising. But an underlying issue lurks within the report: the long-term unemployed.
There are currently 4.066 million Americans who have been out of work for 27 or more weeks. This was an increase of three thousand from October.
Starting on January 1st, nearly a third of them will lose their unemployment benefits immediately. This is when the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program expires. The program, enacted in 2008 and extended with the fiscal cliff deal last year, allows unemployed people to receive benefits for up to 99 weeks. Congressional Democrats have made more noise in recent days about extending the benefits for an additional year, but Republicans have shown little interest in doing so.
The EUC program is not meant to last forever. It's a temporary plan to help Americans who lost jobs during the recession and have had trouble finding a new one. But it also is not meant to end when the recovery is slow and the long-term unemployment rate is still elevated.
In addition, to receive benefits, unemployed Americans must prove they are continuing to search for a job. When the EUC program expires, many may give up, feeling they have no reason to continue searching. This could knock 0.25-0.50 percentage points off the unemployment rate, but for the wrong reasons. We want people finding jobs in the labor force, not exiting it altogether.
The November jobs report should be a sign to lawmakers to extend these emergency benefits for another year.
- PAUL KRUGMAN: Obamacare Has Won
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 5:02 PM:)
Economist Paul Krugman gives his take on the health care reform mess, and explains why Obamacare is "past the hump," despite vocal criticism by Republicans. Watch above.
Produced by Justin Gmoser
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- Madiba's Wisdom: 20 Timeless Quotes From Nelson Mandela
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 3:52 PM:)
In part, the power of an idea comes from the eloquence with which it expressed. Few managed it with the class of Nelson Mandela, from pithy observations such as “Where you stand depends on where you sit”, and “It always seems impossible until it’s done”, to the uplifting “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”.
Here are 20 things he said that are a guide to ensuring a life well lived.
From his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom (1995):
- “A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
- “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion."
- “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
- “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
- “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. … The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
- “Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail to live up to the ideals of humanism which the Nobel Peace Prize encapsulates.” - Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, 1993.
- “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” -Speech from the dock following his 1964 trial.
- “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.” - Cape Town speech, 1990.
- “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” - Letter to Makhaya Ntini on his 100th cricket test, 2009.
- “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” - Address at Walter Sisulu’s 90th birthday celebrations, 2002.
- “If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man.” - Speech in mitigation after being convicted of inciting strikes and leaving the country illegally, 1962.
- “Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end." - Letter to Winnie Mandela, 1975.
- “I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.” - From his unpublished autobiographical manuscript, 1975.
- “Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.” - British Red Cross Humanity Lecture, 2003.
- “When the history of our times is written, will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing?” - Speaking about AIDS, 46664 concert, Norway, 2005.
- “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of." - Soweto address, 2008.
- “The values of human solidarity that once drove our quest for a humane society seem to have been replaced, or are being threatened, by a crass materialism and pursuit of social goals of instant gratification. One of the challenges of our time, without being pietistic or moralistic, is to re-instil in the consciousness of our people that sense of human solidarity, of being in the world for one another and because of and through others.” - 5th Steve Biko lecture, 2004.
- “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.” - Address Make Poverty History campaign, 2005.
- “You sharpen your ideas by reducing yourself to the level of the people you are with, and a sense of humour and a complete relaxation, even when you’re discussing serious things, does help to mobilise friends around you. And I love that.” - Interview for Mandela: The Authorised Portrait, 2006.
- “Mr Fraser, is Donald Bradman still alive?” - To former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, when visited by him in Pollsmoor jail, 1986. (Later, Mr Fraser presented him with a signed bat from The Don, inscribed: “To Nelson Mandela, in recognition of a great unfinished innings.”)
- “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.” - Mandela documentary interview, 1994
- A Timeline Of Nelson Mandela's Prolific Life And Leadership
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 3:34 PM:)
"My Fellow South Africans,
Our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding President of our democratic nation has departed.
He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20h50 (8:50 p.m.) on the 5th of December 2013.
He is now resting. He is now at peace.
Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father."
Here's a timeline of key events in the life of "Madiba," including charts of South Africa's key economic indicators by presidential term:
- Here Is Scott Brown Momentarily Forgetting What State He's In
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 3:16 PM:)
It's not exactly a secret that former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is flirting with the possibility of a Senate run in another New England state — New Hampshire.
On Thursday night, he spoke to reporters outside an event in Londonderry, N.H. When he was asked about the possibility of challenging New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) in the 2014 election and the timetable for his decision, he conflated the two states.
"What I've heard from the Republicans up here is they're thankful that I've been around for a year, helping them raise money, helping them raise awareness as to the issues that are affecting not only people here in Massachuset— uh, in New Hampshire, but also in Massachusetts, obviously, in Maine," Brown said.
"I've been to Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut. I've been all over the New England area, certainly, talking and helping people raise money."
The liberal opposition-slinging group American Bridge spotted the comments and blasted out video of Brown's gaffe late Thursday night.
After losing his re-election battle to Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts last year and declining a run for governor, Brown has been exploring the possibility of a Senate run in New Hampshire for the past few months.
He recently sold his Massachusetts home and eliminated the "MA" from the end of his Twitter handle, which is now just @SenScottBrown. He also has been more of a presence at state events and has given money to the state Republican Party.
- Powerful Photo Of Elderly Woman Perfectly Sums Up The Defiance And Intensity In Ukraine
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 2:58 PM:)
Vasily Fedosenko of Reuters took this photo of a woman holding religious items and pointing her finger at a seemingly smug Interior Ministry official during a rally to support EU integration in Kiev, Ukraine on Thursday.
Several of the major themes of the standoff are imbued in the photo: The protests remain defiant as they commandeered City Hall as opposition leaders call for the resignation of the government while Ukrainian authorities cooly threaten another crackdown as Yanukovich visits Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia.
The most fascinating part is that the woman likely remembers life ling before the country became independent in 1991 (following the collapse of the Soviet Union). Some say that the country's Orange revolution in 2004 were hampered because the protesters were conditioned to authoritarian rule to some extent, but this old lady seems to have broken those constraints.
SEE ALSO: Why 1 Million Ukrainians Are Protesting
- One Tweet That Shows Why You Shouldn't Complain About Obamacare 'Rate Shock'
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 2:50 PM:)
Hillary Rosner, a Colorado-based freelance journalist, tweets about her search for a post-Affordable Care Act health insurance plan:
Applied for new non-ACA health plan (ACA plans way too $ in CO). Insurer charging me 20% above quote bc I had a c-section. So fucked up.— Hillary Rosner (@hillaryrosner) December 5, 2013
Here's the thing. You can have it one way on "rate shock" but you can't have it both ways.
There are, broadly, two ways that individual market health insurance could work. One is the situation we have now in most states, where it works more or less like homeowners' insurance: The insurer evaluates how many claims you're likely to make and sets your premium at expected claims plus a profit margin. If you have diabetes, you'll pay more, just like you'd pay more for homeowner's insurance if you lived on the beach.
Rosner is seeing a mild form of that problem. She's pricing out a policy that would start in 2013, meaning it's not subject to ACA rate-setting rules. The insurer thinks her prior Caesarian section makes her likely to make somewhat more claims so it's adding 20% to her premium. Rosner thinks that's "so f---ed up," and a lot of people agree.
Which brings us to the other way you can price health insurance: mandate that insurers charge the same price to everyone, regardless of health risk. The ACA does this, with the caveat that insurers are allowed a limited degree of age-based premium variation. Under ACA rules, the insurer wouldn't be allowed to raise Rosner's premium over a c-section.
But because insurers know they'll have to write a lot of policies to sick people at a loss, they're going to raise premiums across the board to make up the difference.
That's why ACA-compliant health plans are "way too $" in Colorado, as Rosner puts it. The pricing structure doesn't just protect people with modest claim-increasing conditions like a prior c-section, but people with very expensive pre-existing conditions like diabetes or cancer or HIV/AIDS.
That protection costs money. What Rosner is getting in exchange for a higher premium on an ACA-compliant plan is reassurance that insurance will be available to her, regardless of her future health condition.
That said, it's likely that Rosner has been personally made worse off by health plan switches induced by the ACA. Even before the ACA, federal law barred insurers from dropping their existing members for developing a new health condition, or raising their premiums as a result of that condition. This is a policy called "guaranteed renewal."
If Rosner had been able to stay on her old plan, she wouldn't face either a 20% c-section-related premium hike or the need to pay to cross-subsidize people with more costly medical conditions. But that narrow protection for pre-existing conditions, often cited by conservatives as a reason to think the existing individual market is working, hasn't been working very well for very many people.
First, the value of the protection is limited. You can't change plans or insurers without subjecting yourself to a large premium increase or a coverage exclusion. The insurer can't raise your premium because of your personal health condition, but it can raise premiums based on the average claims filed by all the participants in your plan. To this end, the insurer can close your plan to new participants; over time, the healthier participants will tend to leave, driving up premiums for those who remain. And you're out of luck if you move to another state.
Second, this protection only works if you maintain continuous coverage in the individual market from the same insurer, and very few people are doing that. Over 80% of people who lack coverage from an employer or the government go uninsured rather than buying coverage through the individual market. Those who do carry individual coverage often do so for only a short time, such as during a gap between jobs that provide coverage.
Michael Cannon has noted that guaranteed renewal was a common feature of individual health insurance plans even before it was mandated by federal law, and it doesn't raise premiums nearly as much as the ACA's rules do. But that's actually a demonstration of how guaranteed renewal doesn't work: It's not very expensive for health insurers to offer because few insureds actually figure out how to turn it into effective coverage for expensive health conditions they develop.
This is a key difference in how liberals and conservatives view the health insurance market. Conservatives see a market that is working so long as you're responsible enough to keep yourself covered at all times so guaranteed renewal protects you from pre-existing condition exclusions. Liberals see a market that is stacked against people's efforts to access such protections.
Given how few people are making the protections of the existing system work, liberals have the better of this argument. They've found a way to make insurance available to the chronically sick that will actually work for most of the public. But they haven't been upfront about the fact that their fix will be paid for with higher premiums for lots of healthy people, including Rosner.
- THE SCARIEST JOBS CHART EVER
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 1:47 PM:)
The U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs in November, which was much stronger than the the 185,000 expected. The October number was revised modestly downward to 200,000 from an earlier estimate of 204,000.
Adding to optimism this morning, the unemployment rate plunged to 7.0% from 7.3% last month. This improvement came as the labor force participation rate rose to 63.0% from 62.8%.
Despite the improvements in the numbers, the U.S. labor market remains anemic.
Calculated Risk runs a chart every month that puts the current jobs recovery into perspective.
"This graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms, compared to previous post WWII recessions," writes Bill McBride of Calculated Risk. "The dotted line is ex-Census hiring. This shows the depth of the recent employment recession — worse than any other post-war recession — and the relatively slow recovery due to the lingering effects of the housing bust and financial crisis."
- JOBS NUMBER BEATS — UNEMPLOYMENT RATE PLUNGES TO 7%
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 1:30 PM:)
The November jobs report is out.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says 203,000 workers were added to nonfarm payrolls in November, above the 185,000 consensus Wall Street estimate.
The unemployment rate fell to 7.0% from 7.3% in October. Economists predicted a smaller decline to 7.2%.
October's nonfarm payrolls number was revised down slightly to 200,000 from 204,000, but net revisions over the last two months totaled +8,000.
The change in private payrolls in November was 196,000, above the 180,000 consensus estimate, while October's private payroll change was revised up to 214,000 from 212,000.
S&P 500 futures are unchanged in the wake of the release, while gold and Treasuries are taking a bigger hit and the U.S. dollar is surging as traders re-calibrate positions toward a Federal Reserve tapering of quantitative easing perhaps sooner rather than later.
A few other numbers from the report:
- Change in manufacturing payrolls: 27,000, above expectations for 10,000
- Average hourly earnings growth: 0.2%, in line with expectations
- Average weekly hours worked: 34.5, in line with expectations
- Underemployment rate: 13.2%, down from 13.8% in October
- Labor force participation rate: 63.0%, up from 62.8% in October
- Republicans Now Getting Their Ideas From 30 Rock
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 1:10 PM:)
After reading my piece about the National Republican Campaign Committee's "Happy Holidays is what liberals say" shirt, a friend texted me: "You didn't call out that shirt for being a less funny ripoff of 30 Rock??!"
In "Christmas Attack Zone," Episode 10 of Season 5 of 30 Rock, Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks) and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) have this exchange:
Jack: What Christmas card did we end up sending out?
Avery: Happy Holidays... [opens card] is what terrorists say. Merry Christmas, Avery and Jack.
There you have today's Republican Party: like a parody of itself, only less funny.
Speaking of which, the NRCC is now selling "Happy Holidays is what liberals say" as a mug. It's still printed in comic sans.
- Public Opinion On Obamacare Hasn't Changed
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 12:35 PM:)
Gallup is out with a new poll this morning on what respondents would like Congress to do with Obamacare. Despite the horrible launch of the federal exchange website, opinion over what to do with the site has barely budged in two years.
Take a look:
The percentage of people who want to keep the law or expand is the same as it was in January 2011. Support for repeal has grown slightly since the beginning of October, but is the same as in January 2011 as well.
The biggest threat to Obamacare the past few months has not been public opinion. It's been the website.
As long as the website worked, millions of Americans would have the opportunity to browse new insurance plans. Many of those who had their plans cancelled would find cheaper policies. Some would not. But the success or failure of the law would be based on its policy outcomes.
People are not going to care about a two month delay in the site if they can find less expensive, better health insurance. They also are not going to care about the website's launch if their premiums rise and they lose their doctor. They will care about how Obamacare affects their lives.
The only serious threat to the law was if the website proved entirely unworkable. This was a legitimate concern inside the White House. Even if they scrapped the website and using paper applications, officials would still have had to use the system to input information. There was no magic cure to the website's ailments.
Fortunately for the administration, that has proven not to be the case. Consumers seem to be having a much easier time navigating the site and signing up for plans. There are still serious concerns over the back-end errors, but it's unclear how significant those are since the Center for Medicare and Medicaid has been reluctant to comment on those issues.
None of this is to say that the website's problems have not hurt the president. The public no longer trusts him and his approval rating has plummeted. This makes sense. Obama's "if you like your plan, you can keep it" promise and the website's horrible launch were not failures of Obamacare. They were failures of the president.
For that reason, Americans have lost faith in the Obama administration. But their opinions on health reform have not changed since the law has not truly been tested yet.
- South Africans Mourn Mandela With Equal Parts Song And Sadness
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 11:40 AM:)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africans united in mourning for Nelson Mandela on Friday, but while some celebrated his remarkable life with dance and song, others fretted that the anti-apartheid hero's death would make the nation vulnerable again to racial and social tensions.
As the country's 52 million people absorbed the news that their beloved former president had departed forever, many expressed shock at the passing of a man who was a global symbol of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence.
South Africans heard from President Jacob Zuma late on Thursday that the statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate died peacefully at his Johannesburg home in the company of his family after a long illness.
Despite reassurances from public figures that Mandela's passing, while sorrowful, would not halt South Africa's advance away from its bitter apartheid past, some still expressed unease about the absence of a man famed as a peacemaker.
"It's not going to be good, hey! I think it's going to become a more racist country. People will turn on each other and chase foreigners away," said Sharon Qubeka, 28, a secretary from Tembisa township as she headed to work in Johannesburg.
"Mandela was the only one who kept things together," she said.
Flags flew at half mast as South Africa entered a period of mourning leading up to a planned state funeral for its first black president next week.
Trade was halted for five minutes on the Johannesburg stock exchange, Africa's largest bourse, out of respect.
But the mood was not all somber. Hundreds filled the streets around Mandela's home in the upmarket Johannesburg suburb of Houghton, many singing songs of tribute and dancing.
The crowd included toddlers carrying flowers, domestic workers still in uniform and businessmen in suits.
Many attended church services, including another veteran anti-apartheid campaigner, former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu. He said that like all South Africans he was "devastated" by Mandela's death.
"Let us give him the gift of a South Africa united, one," Tutu said, holding a mass in Cape Town's St George's Cathedral.
An avalanche of tributes continued to pour in for Mandela, who had been ailing for nearly a year with a recurring lung illness dating back to the 27 years he spent in apartheid jails, including the notorious Robben Island penal colony.
U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron were among world leaders who paid tributes to him as a moral giant and exemplary beacon.
The loss was also keenly felt across the African continent. "We are in trouble now, Africa. No one will fit Mandela's shoes," said Kenyan teacher Catherine Ochieng, 32.
POLITICIANS NOW "NOTHING LIKE MANDELA"
For South Africa, the death of its most beloved leader comes at a time when the nation, which basked in global goodwill after apartheid ended, has been experiencing labor unrest, growing protests against poor services, poverty, crime and unemployment and corruption scandals tainting Zuma's rule.
Many saw today's South Africa - the African continent's biggest economy but also one of the world's most unequal - still distant from being the "Rainbow Nation" ideal of social peace and shared prosperity that Mandela had proclaimed on his triumphant release from prison in 1990.
"I feel like I lost my father, someone who would look out for me," said Joseph Nkosi, 36, a security guard from Alexandra township in Johannesburg.
Referring to Mandela by his clan name, he added: "Now without Madiba I feel like I don't have a chance. The rich will get richer and simply forget about us. The poor don't matter to them. Look at our politicians, they are nothing like Madiba."
The crowd around Mandela's home in Houghton preferred to celebrate his achievement in bringing South Africans together.
For 16-year-old Michael Lowry, who has no memory of the apartheid system that ended in 1994, Mandela's legacy means he can have non-white friends. He attended two schools where Mandela's grandchildren were also students.
"I hear stories that my parents tell me and I'm just shocked that such a country could exist. I couldn't imagine just going to school with just white friends," Lowry said.
Shortly after the news of Mandela's death, Tutu had tried to calm fears that the absence of the man who steeredSouth Africa to democracy might revive some of the ghosts of apartheid.
"To suggest that South Africa might go up in flames - as some have predicted - is to discredit South Africans and Madiba's legacy," Tutu said in a statement on Thursday.
"The sun will rise tomorrow, and the next day and the next ... It may not appear as bright as yesterday, but life will carry on," Tutu said.
MAY HURT ANC IN LONG TERM
Zuma and his ruling African National Congress face presidential and legislative elections next year which are expected to reveal discontent among voters about pervasive poverty and unemployment 20 years after the end of apartheid.
But the former liberation movement is expected to maintain its predominance in South African politics.
Mark Rosenberg, Senior Africa Analyst at the Eurasia Group, said that while Mandela's death might even give the ANC a sympathy-driven boost for elections due next year, it would hurt the party in the long term.
He saw Mandela's absence "sapping the party's historical legitimacy and encouraging rejection by voters who believe the ANC has failed to deliver on its economic promises and become mired in corruption."
Mandela rose from rural obscurity to challenge the might of white minority rule - a struggle that gave the 20th century one of its most respected and loved figures.
He was among the first to advocate armed resistance to apartheid in 1960 but was quick to preach reconciliation and forgiveness when the white minority began easing its grip on power 30 years later.
He was elected president in landmark all-race elections in 1994 after helping to steer the racially divided country towards reconciliation and away from civil war.
Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, an honor he shared with F.W. de Klerk, the white Afrikaner president who released him in 1990. Reacting to his death, the Nobel Committee said Mandela would remain one of the greatest ever prizewinners.
In 1999, Mandela handed over power to younger leaders better equipped to manage a modern economy - a rare voluntary departure from power cited as an example to African leaders.
This made him an exception on a continent with a bloody history of long-serving autocrats and violent coups.
(Additional reporting by Ed Cropley, Dave Dolan, Tiisetso Motsoeneng, Xola Potelwa and Stella Mapenzauswa inJohannesburg, and Wendell Roelf in Cape Town, and Michelle Nichols in New York; Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and David Stamp)
- An Aide Of Kim Jong-un's Uncle Could Be North Korea's Most Serious Defection In 15 Years
(Politics - December 06 2013 - 11:10 AM:)
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea could be facing its most serious defection in 15 years as South Korean media said on Friday that a man who managed funds for the ousted uncle of leader Kim Jong Un had fled the isolated country and sought asylum in South Korea.
The aide, who was not named, was being protected by South Korean officials in a secret location in China, cable news network YTN and Kyunghyang Shinmun newspaper said, citing sources familiar with the matter.
South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) had no knowledge of the defection, lawmakers said in Seoul after they were briefed by the head of the spy agency.
YTN said the man managed funds for Jang Song Thaek, whose marriage to Kim's aunt and proximity to the young leader made him one of the most powerful men in North Korea.
Jang was relieved of his posts last month, according to the NIS, and the television network said the sacking could have followed the aide's defection.
YTN said the aide also had knowledge of funds belonging to Kim and his father, former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. If true, the defection would likely be the first time in 15 years a significant insider from the Pyongyangregime has switched sides.
Impoverished but nuclear-capable North Korea and the rich, democratic South are still technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
A spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry, Kim Eui-do, and officials at the Foreign Ministry said the defection report could not be confirmed.
Jung Chung-rae, a member of the South Korean parliament's Intelligence Committee, told reporters the intelligence service had said it did not know about the defection, but that two of Jang's relatives who were serving in embassies overseas had been recalled.
"It is true that Jang's brother-in-law and nephew have been called back to North Korea," Jung cited the NIS as saying.
Jang himself is alive and appears to be safe, South Korean officials have said.
Jang has survived previous purges and official displeasure, thanks largely to his sometimes tempestuous marriage to Kim Kyong Hui, the daughter of North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung.
"WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION," CHINA SAYS
North Korea's ruling Kim family is deeply venerated and feared. It is ruthless about protecting its security and privacy and little is known about the inner workings of the regime.
The aide requested asylum about two months ago and was currently in China, YTN said. In Beijing, there were no signs of any additional security around the South Korean embassy.
Asked about the South Korean media reports, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: "We have noted the reports, but do not understand the situation."
South Korea's intelligence service has also said two of Jang's close associates were executed last month for corruption.
These reports have not been confirmed either.
YTN said Jang's aide fled to China some time in late September or early October and that Jang could have been sacked because of this.
"A source familiar with the matter said the aide immediately requested asylum from the South Korean governmentand South Korean officials are currently protecting him at a secret place in China," it said.
China, Pyongyang's only major ally, usually resists allowing defectors from North Korea to seek asylum elsewhere.
YTN said the aide tried to escape to Laos, a route favored by other defectors, but Chinese authorities prevented him from leaving.
U.S. officials have also sought custody of the aide, the television station said.
About 25,000 North Koreans have defected to the South but few of them were highly placed in Pyongyang.
The major defectors include Hwang Jang Yop, a high-level Worker's Party ideologue who was the architect of the Juche (self-reliance) ideology of North Korea, who sought asylum in the South in 1997.
Kim Jong Un's aunt, his mother's sister, fled to the United States in 1998, media reports have said.
In 2002, a North Korean nuclear scientist named Kyong Won Ha escaped the country, although few details are known.
(Reporting by Ju-min Park and Jack Kim; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Nick Macfie)