The legendary Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and a man who peacefully fought against racial oppression, passed away today at the age of 95.
Mandela was an iconic figure to the world, symbolizing hope, peace, and forgiveness. Convicted of treason by the white minority government in 1963, Mandela spent 27 years in prison until his subsequent release in 1990. After, he led the African National Congress to a victory in the run for the presidency in 1994, the first fully democratic election in South Africa’s history.
He served from 1994-1999, working to break racial barriers that had long been in place in South African history, struggling to peacefully dissolve the prejudices left behind by Apartheid. Though his work was not in vain, South Africa still remains a place of violence and uncertainty, with accusations of corruption and misspending from government officials now permeating those in office.
In his early retirement, Mandela spoke for many charitable causes for children and speaking out on AIDS, which took the life of his son Makgatho. Mandela left the spotlight and remained secluded in his homes in Houghton and Eastern Cape at the age of 85, only appearing in the public eye for the World Cup hosted in South Africa in 2010.
We remember today a hero for equal rights and a pillar for hope and peace, who paved the way for so many others to do the same.
In tragic news from this weekend, 40-year-old actor Paul Walker passed away in a car accident in Santa Clarita, just 30 miles north of Hollywood on Saturday afternoon after a charity event for typhoon relief in the Philippines, held by one of Walker’s charities Reach Out Worldwide.
He leaves behind his 15-year-old daughter.
Walker is most famous for his roles in the Fast and Furious franchise and the irony of his passing from a car crash has not been lost on the world. Authorities say that speed was a factor in the crash, but have not determined whether Walker or the other person in the car, Roger Rodas, was the driver. Autopsy reports and dental records are the only remaining factors that can determine whose body is whose from the wreckage.
Walker’s 2005 Porsche Carrera GT was reportedly driving along a stretch on Hercules Street, a wide business park road that often attracts speedsters and drag racers. At this time, authorities are looking into whether drag racing played a part in the wreck, though experts so far believe that the markings on the road show that another vehicle may have cut them off. Officials have yet to determine how fast the vehicle was going, but it skidded and slammed into a tree, where it burst into flames.
We wish our condolences to his family and friends. If the only thing you know of Walker’s film career are the Fast and Furious movies, I recommend you check out Running Scared. One of his best movies that truly showed the range he had as an actor.
Ahead of protests surrounding Brazil hosting the World Cup in 2014, the Corinthians Arena, located in São Paulo, has reportedly partially collapsed. The accident has killed 3 people while 19 others are missing after a 114-foot crane toppled into the arena, causing widespread damage.
Earlier this year, protests across over 100 cities in Brazil and involving over 100 million people have highlighted the cost and corruption of the event. Many Brazilians are angry that so much public money is being used for the month long event. Earlier in October, public prosecutors have filed lawsuits to keep public funds out of the picture. Amongst the controversy, Brazil is looking at spending over $3.5 billion to refurbish their 12 stadiums. However, this fatal accident is one of many mishaps for cities struggling to meet Fifa’s end-of-year deadline to host the World Cup. Other cities are struggling as they don’t even have enough hotels to house the incoming fans. eNCA cites that over 8000 families have been displaced, showing the adverse affect these constructions have had on poorer ones in Brazil.
However, activists throughout the country are remaining steadfast and say that their protests will continue even through the event. In an interview with Mariana Freitas, Rio de Janeiro correspondent for BBC News, Wyre Davis, gives some insight into how Brazilian citizens actually feel:
“I think people are angry because of this huge investment [in the stadium] that won’t really be useful after the World Cup,” she says…”They could have done better things with the money, like investing in health and education which are bigger problems here now.”
From the Christian Science Monitor, it seems that these struggles aren’t new to the country:
Officials are pointing to potentially shoddy work as a cause, highlighting what has been an ongoing concern about construction and infrastructure in South America‘s biggest nation – and the world’s sixth-biggest economy. [...] Even at the highest levels, Brazil’s infrastructure projects are routinely late, poorly built or over budget, or all three. Stadiums for the World Cup were late to get started and public transport, particularly airports, are frequently chaotic.
Our hearts go out to those affected by this accident and we hope that Brazil gets its shit together and doesn’t put a soccer event over the safety of its people.
And the family has their credit card statement to prove it.
If you remember the incident, the server and ex-marine, Dayna Morales (above), claims that the family stiffed her out of a tip, leaving the following note on the receipt:
After sharing the photo on Have a Gay Day’s Facebook page, Dayna received a surge in media attention and public out-pouring. She began accepting donations, which she claims will be going directly to the Wounded Warrior foundation.
However, the family has stepped forward with proof that the receipt was not written by them and that they did, in fact, leave an $18 dollar tip on the bill, a healthy 20% tip. Although they’ve chosen to remain anonymous, the couple did provide evidence that they were charged $111.55, meaning that Dayna must have closed out the receipt and accepted the tip.
Despite the allegations that this was a hoax, Dayna denied that she forged the note. When confronted by WNBC, she commented: “That’s not my handwriting. I don’t know. Again, I don’t know.” According to Eater, the couple claimed:
…they “have both worked in restaurants and believe in the value of tipping” plus they “didn’t vote for Gov. Chris Christie because the governor doesn’t support gay marriage.”
Although nothing has been proven yet, the family has provided pretty irrefutable evidence that this was a hoax. Honestly, this is pretty sad and disgusting that they have to through all of these hoops simply to prove that they actually tipped on their meal.
As news of the hoax made its rounds on the internet, one commenter made a pretty profound observation:
I’m gay. This is unfortunately becoming a disturbing trend I’m seeing in our community …..this notion that in order to achieve equality we need to continue being victims. This is a pretty large scale example of it, but I see it coming down to little things, like throwing fits over improper use of terminology in an obviously non-malicious setting (I very recently heard someone lose it after being asked about their sexual preference when orientation was the intended meaning).
We don’t have to keep being victims. I’ve unsubscribed from every LGBT subreddit because the mentality that I see over and over makes me sick. Bad things happen to gay people and we scream injustice. Bad things happen to straight people? Life isn’t fair. It’s ridiculous.
Edit: This is not to say that there aren’t still REAL injustices and problems happening worldwide for the LGBT community. This is not to say that there aren’t still major strides that need to be made towards equality. This is to say that I see a lot of members of the community going about achieving that in a way I find extremely distasteful and frankly dishonest. Portraying ourselves constantly as false victims is an insult and hindrance to real victims everywhere. There are enough problems in the world to solve without going out and looking for problems to ascribe to ourselves.
What do you think? If this was a hoax, should Dayna Morales face some sort of punishment for openly lying?
A group of children in Jobar were recently being interviewed by an amateur videographer when a bomb went off right where they were standing. The blast knocked a few of them over as they ran for cover with the interviewer. None of the children appeared to be hurt and as they stayed in the building for cover, the looks on their faces seemed to read that this sort of occurrence had just become a natural part of life for them.
We tend to forget in our small little bubbles that things like this have become the norm for many people living outside of the developed world who are trapped in the political turmoil that remains in the Middle East.
Sometimes there are stories that you encounter throughout your day that just completely shuts down your brain. How is this even possible? How did this happen for so long? Who are the people that allowed this to happen?
Ian Watkins, lead singer of the once popular UK pop/punk group Lostprophets, pleaded guilty today to a string of sexual offenses involving children, including the attempted rape of an infant. Watkins pleaded guilty to “three counts of sexual assault involving children and six involving taking, making or possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving a sex act on an animal.” Shudder.
“The court heard that he filmed and kept the episodes of abuse – which took place in various hotels in London and south Wales – which were recovered by police. Some of the evidence was too extreme and distressing to report,” according to authorities.
The prosecution also brought charges to two female defendants, who “abused their own children and made them available to Watkins for him to abuse.” Double shudder. Watkins allegedly sent multiple text messages to the women, with one of them eerily stating, “If you belong to me, so does your baby.”
Watkins had, until this point, denied the allegations brought against him last year, which caused the band to end their career together after Watkins’ arrest. He had claimed that he was a victim of a malicious campaign by a crazed fan.
Lostprophets guitarist Lee Gaze tweeted his relief after the verdict that simply said, “That was over quick. Thank fuck.”
I mean, is anyone really that surprised that a politician from Florida is making it blizzard on his face?
Representative Trey Radel is taking a leave of absence from his position and checking himself into rehab after being busted by an undercover police officer for purchasing 3.5 grams of cocaine for $250. As a sidenote, that guy got ripped off. But I digress. Radel has been adamant about not stepping down from office, ala Rob Ford of Toronto. Because if politicians have learned anything, it’s that they can do copious amounts of drugs and not really face any repercussions for it.
Radel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug-possession charge in D.C. Superior Court and will face one year of probation and substance abuse treatment. Which is total crap, considering that most misdemeanor drug charges end up with jail time. It must be nice to be a privileged lawmaker in a developed country. Prosecutors are insistent, however, that Radel received no preferential treatment. Riiiiight.
Radel has only been in office for ten months. Previous to his foray into politics, Radel was a TV anchorman and conservative radio host.
“I’m sorry. I have no excuse for what I’ve done. . . . I’ve let down our constituents, I’ve let down my family,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday night. “I’ve let down my wife, and although he doesn’t know it, I’ve let down our 2-year-old son.”
If politicians could stop using illicit drugs or at least make them legal so that nobody has to get in trouble over them, I would be so happy.