South Africans are paying their respects at a hilltop amphitheater in Pretoria, the spot where Mandela was sworn in as the country's first black president nearly 20 years ago. Hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions, are expected to come over the next three days.
The bipartisan plan would head off any more budget battles for two years. But it also doesn't cut spending as much as some Republicans want or restore some of the funding that Democrats favor. Both sides being disappointed may be the key to the plan's success, though.
Once the Cold War ended, much of Russia's surplus uranium from thousands of decommissioned weapons wound up in crumbling military facilities. In 1993, the U.S. Department of Energy made a deal to have the material converted to fuel for U.S. power plants. The last shipment arrives today.
When it comes to awards in theater or television or dance or literature, Frank Deford observes, candidates don't worry about losing out because of a personal flaw. Only sports applies that off-the-field standard.
Veterans with "other than honorable" discharges lose benefits like the GI Bill for school or a VA home loan. But they also can't get VA health care and disability compensation, even for the PTSD that may have caused the bad discharge. Such veterans have a few avenues of appeal, but none are simple.
In a new poll, parents of girls were more likely to say no when asked if schools were sufficiently preparing students for the world of work. And with many well-paying trades still dominated by men, girls may have a harder time succeeding in the workplace without some kind of higher education.
The Affordable Care Act has produced a surge in the number of people signing up for Medicaid. The ACA offers billions of federal dollars to states to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor. But only 25 states have accepted the federal government's offer, and those that haven't could face economic and budget losses.
The ongoing anti-government protests in Kiev, Ukraine, seem to be cresting toward new confrontations between police and demonstrators as the numbers of both are increasing.
The iconic Volkswagen van goes out of production this month in Brazil because of new government-imposed safety requirements. Some of the last of the hippy buses are now rolling off the line.
Mary Barra has broken through the glass ceiling of the auto industry to become the first female CEO of General Motors. She'll take the helm of GM in January. But Barra is actually a return to tradition in other ways: GM will be led by an insider, and an engineer, for the first time in many years.
Renee Montagne talks with Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about South Africa's 10-day goodbye to Nelson Mandela. His body will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the scene of his presidential inauguration in 1994.
Nationwide elections in Venezuela have provided some breathing room for President Nicolas Maduro, who has been struggling with skyrocketing inflation and shortages of basic goods. Opposition parties had hoped to deal a stinging blow to Maduro, but instead he proclaimed victory and pledged to deepen the socialist revolution, including more government measures to control the economy.
The country's President Jose Mujica says the prohibition of cannabis hasn't worked. The new law would allow the growing, selling and using of the drug.
Riot police in the capital dislodged protesters in Independence Square. Since last month, anti-government demonstrators have come out in force to oppose the president's move to back away from closer ties with the EU.
A recent op-ed from a centrist Democratic think tank reignited an intraparty fight over the political pluses and perils of economic populism. But there are good reasons why we're unlikely to see a repeat of the battles of the mid-1980s.
When asked for an example of philanthropy at its most effective, Tom Tierney, author of “Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results,” likes to talk about a (largely-forgotten) metallurgist named John Dorr, who changed the way we drive.
In the early 1950s, highways only had one set of lines, that ran down the middle of the road. At night, or in bad weather, drivers clung to the center line, dangerously close to each other. Dorr’s wife suggested to him that painting lines on the outside of the road, effectively creating driving lanes, might reduce accidents.
Dorr pitched the idea to highway commissioners in New York and Connecticut, and initial tests showed that the lanes did indeed reduce accidents. However, the process of the painting lines was expensive, and state authorities needed to be convinced. Dorr, who was wealthy, used money from his own philanthropic foundation to conduct more tests, and to advocate for adoption of the lines, and, in time he made his case, leading to the near-universal presence of driving lanes.
“There’s a kind of philanthropy we’re all familiar with, and most Americans participate in, and that’s charity,” said Tierney, who is co-founder of the non-profit Bridgespan Group, which helps philanthropists get better results for their money. “There’s another kind of philanthropy, however, that’s not addressing the consequences of problems, but working to solve those problems.”
The notion of philanthropy as a force for solving problems dates back at least a century, as titans of industry John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie were struggling to define what modern philanthropy should be.
“We found many, many letters in our archives between the two of them,” said Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, “wrestling with this question: is what we are trying to accomplish something different than charity? And Rockefeller wrote ‘We don’t want to put bandages on weeping wounds. Philanthropy is about trying to solve problems at their root causes.’”
One of the biggest challenges currently facing society, that of mass urbanization, would likely have been unimaginable in John D. Rockefeller’s time. The negative knock-on effects of human beings migrating to urban areas are almost too numerous to count. If a city is struck by an earthquake, a violent storm, flooding or a fire, millions of people, rather than thousands, are affected. Overcrowding has strained public health systems to the brink and worsened age-old sectarian rivalries. In response, the Rockefeller Foundation has begun an initiative called 100 Resilient Cities, aimed at helping city officials respond more quickly to shocks and stresses.
As part of the initiative, 100 cities spanning the globe were chosen from a pool of around 400 applicants. The first 33 cities were announced earlier this month. Each of the chosen cities will receive what 100 Resilient Cities Managing Director Michael Berkowitz refers to as a “platform of resources and services.” The initiative will work with each city to create a brand new job: Chief Resilience Officer.
“Chief Resilience Officer is a senior person in city government,” said Berkowitz. “You can think of him as mayor minus one, with the breadth and scope to coordinate across sectors and connect the dots of different efforts. What we’re going to do is help the cities hire them. And we’re going to pay their salaries for two years.”
Berkowitz can envision a world where a Chief Resilience Officer becomes an integral part of city government, rather than an idea which is currently chiefly experimental.
“In twenty years, we would hope that a city wouldn’t run its operations without a Chief Resilience Officer any more than they would without a chief of police,” Berkowitz said.
For any large urban area, working with a timeline of twenty years is a challenge. Many cities change their mayoral administrations every few years. Here, too, philanthropy has an advantage. Foundations, unlike mayors, cannot be voted out of office, theoretically freeing Berkowitz and his colleagues to check up on their progress even two decades from now.
“[Foundations] are set up purposely to exist in perpetuity,” said Rob Reich, co-director of Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. “So they have an eternal time horizon. They have endowments which are meant to exist for a long time, so you can think over the ten year haul or the twenty year haul.”
Some of the first American philanthropic initiatives are still in existence, including the 1,700 public libraries built by Andrew Carnegie all across the country. Reich says a few years ago, when California was having trouble funding its public libraries, there was a suggestion that perhaps foundations or philanthropists should step in. He views that as a step backward.
"Successful operation of a foundation, in the model I have in mind, is where foundations stimulate the creation of some new social policy," said Reich. "So the idea that when California zeroed out the budget for public libraries, it should go back to private funding, is a step backward, not a step forward."
The deal hammered out by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray would restore $65 billion in sequestration cuts in exchange for cuts elsewhere and additional fees.
Without a farm bill, dairy policy will revert to 1949 law, and wholesale milk prices could double. But the Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman says she expects a bill to pass in January, in time to avert a spike in milk prices.
Ex-actress Shannon Guess Richardson, who had minor roles on The Walking Dead and The Blind Side, says that she tried to frame her estranged husband for the tainted letters.
All medications come with risks, and one of the risks with popular heartburn medicines seems to be that they interfere with the absorption of vitamin B-12. That can cause troubling symptoms, from anemia and depression to dementia.