NEWS BRIEFS: On Campus, Across the Nation & Around the World

Nelson Mandela dies at 95
Former South African President Nelson Mandela died on Dec. 5 at age 95. According to CNN, Mandela had battled health issues with a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations in recent years. Mandela was a civil rights activist who emerged after 27 years in prison and led South Africa out of apartheid. Not only was he respected for his speeches of reconciliation even after his imprisonment, but he was also a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. According to NY Daily News, there will be a 10 day mourning period for Mandela. He will be buried during a state funeral on Dec. 15 at his childhood village, Qunu.


States increase mental healthcare
The one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will take place on Dec. 14. Maintaining mental health has become a larger priority since the event. As the anniversary approaches, a report shows 37 states have increased spending on mental health programs, according to Fox News. Texas alone increased their two-year budget by $259 million, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. The increases are to comply with mental health provisions in Obamacare to provide coverage for uninsured Americans who are affected by mental illness. Now, mental health patients can receive emergency room care without needing pre-approval from their insurance company.


Fast and Furious actor dies
Actor Paul Walker died in a car accident in Santa Clarita, Calif. on Nov. 30. Walker was in the passenger seat of friend, Roger Rodas’, 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. The car contains a V-10, 610-hp engine, and officers claim that speed was a factor in the accident. After attending a toy drive for Walker’s charity, Reach Out Worldwide, the pair went for a drive. According to Associated Press, they crashed into a light pole and burst into flames in an office park. Walker is popular for his roles in the “Fast and Furious “films.


Waitress fired after hoax
Dayna Morales, waitress at Gallop Asian Bistro, N.J., was fired after she made national headlines and $3,000 in donations after claiming a family had left her a homophobic note. A gay advocacy website, Have A Gay Day, publicized the story. However, an unidentified couple came forward days later with a customer receipt and bank statement proving they had left her an $18 tip. According to ABC News, shortly after former friends of Morales came forward claiming she was a compulsive liar, she was fired. Founder of the website confirmed that refunds were being issued via PayPal.


Reports show economic growth
According to CNN, the unemployment rate is at 7 percent, which is the lowest level it has been in the past five years. The housing market is bouncing back with rising prices, and permits for new home construction are at the same levels from 2007. Auto sales have had their strongest growth since 2006, gas prices have fallen and stocks are up 26 percent. However, only 24  percent of Americans believe that economic conditions are improving. The slow growth rate has been a factor that pushes citizens away from believing that 2014 will be a better year.



Savannah Robinson
Staff Writer
Published December 11, 2013