Civil rights icon Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95. The former South African president passed away on Thursday (05Dec13).
Born in 1918, Rolihlahla Mandela grew up in the tiny village of Mvezo, where his father ruled as chief. Following his father's death, he became the first person in his family to be sent to school, where he was named Nelson by a teacher.
He attended Fort Hare University, but was thrown out for opposing the institution's policies, and moved to Johannesburg, where he became interested in politics. Following the 1948 election victory of the Afrikaner-dominated National Party, who supported the apartheid policy of racial segregation, Mandela became a leader of the African National Congress (ANC), which led a sabotage campaign against the government in a bid to bring an end to apartheid rule.
He was arrested in 1961 and sentenced to 27 years in prison for his for his anti-authority stance.
He served 18 years behind bars, the majority of which he spent on Robben Island, where he studied law and earned his degree. He was supported by a growing movement calling for his release and in 1998, the likes of Sting and Peter Gabriel performed at a 70th Birthday Tribute concert in London in support of the cause.
He was finally freed from Victor Verster Prison on 11 February, 1990 and upon his release he promised to bring the country together through peace and democracy in a speech which was broadcast around the world.
Taking up overall leadership of the ANC in 1991, he successfully led the party through negotiations to allow South Africa's first multi-racial elections, which earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Both black and white South Africans went to the polls in 1994, and Mandela was elected the country's first black president, as well as the oldest, aged 75.
He is celebrated for helping heal racial tension in the country, as well as tackling child poverty, overhauling healthcare, improving education and introducing a raft of social reforms.
Following his retirement from office in 1999, he became a global human rights activist, establishing the Nelson Mandela Foundation and continuing a battle against the AIDS epidemic and child poverty in developing countries.
Mandela's later years were blighted by ill health, and he retired from public life in 2004.
Married three times, he wed his third wife, Graca Machel, at the age of 80. He fathered six children and has 20 grandchildren.
Mandela's birthday, 18 July, is designated as Mandela Day, a yearly international celebration of his legacy.
Jackson peeved over new Eminem video
Michael Jackson isn't laughing over rapper Eminem's mocking him in his recently release video "Just Lose It" and is asking cable music stations to remove it, The Associated Press reports. In the video, Eminem is dressed up as Jackson and is seen with a group of boys jumping on a bed behind him as he sings about Jackson's child molestation allegations. In other scenes his hair is burning a la Jackson's 1984 Pepsi commercial shoot incident and his nose is shown falling on the floor. "I am very angry at Eminem's depiction of me in his video," Jackson said Tuesday in an interview with comedian Steve Harvey on a Los Angeles radio station. "I feel that it is outrageous and disrespectful. It is one thing to spoof, but it is another to be demeaning and insensitive." Black Entertainment Television has been the only cabler to agree to pull the video. The network's president and founder, Robert Johnson, said he felt it was inappropriate to disparage a celebrity, AP reports.
Friends, family gather for Reeve memorial
Actor/activist Christopher Reeve, who died Sunday of heart failure, was remembered Tuesday in a private ceremony at his family's home in Pound Ridge, New York, Reuters reports. About 100 close friends and family members gathered for the memorial. "The Reeve family is deeply grateful for the outpouring of support shown to them," said spokesman Wesley Combs. "It is clear that Christopher Reeve has touched the hearts of millions of people around the world and that is the legacy he leaves behind." The Superman actor became an ardent campaigner for spinal cord research after being paralyzed in a horse riding accident nine years ago.
Pop princess Britney Spears admitted she wouldn't mind changing her last name after marring 26-year-old dancer Kevin Federline last month, Reuters reports. "I probably will, Britney Federline, I like that," Spears told Germany's Bunte magazine. "Society probably won't allow me but I would like to change it." The star also told Bunte she hopes to start having children soon. "There are a few things I want to take care of this year before I have my baby," she said. "I'd love to have a baby already. But I've got to take care of some things first…I want to become a mother. I'm crazy about children…next year, when I'm 23 I'll be ready."
CSI Tops Ratings
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was at the top of the heap in the Nielsen ratings for the week of Oct. 4-10, AP reports. CBS won the week, averaging 13.8 million viewers followed by NBC (9.9 million); ABC (9.7 million); Fox (7.8 million); the WB (4 million); and UPN (3.7 million). The top 10 shows were: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS; Without a Trace, CBS, 21.3 million; CSI: Miami, CBS; Desperate Housewives, ABC; Survivor: Vanuatu, CBS; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; ER, NBC; CSI: NY, CBS; Lost, ABC; Two and a Half Men, CBS.
Fox has 30 days to appeal hefty FCC fine
Fox isn't saying whether it will appeal a fine of more than $1 million levied against it by the Federal Communications Commission over an episode of Married by America, an unscripted series that allowed viewers to match up a cast of single men and women by popular vote. The agency said the April 7, 2003 episode, which featured Las Vegas strippers performing at cast member's bachelor and bachelorette parties, was indecent and patently offensive. "The episode includes scenes in which partygoers lick whipped cream from strippers' bodies in a sexually suggestive manner," the FCC said. "Although the episode electronically obscures any nudity, the sexual nature of the scenes is inescapable." The agency voted unanimously to fine each of the 169 Fox TV stations that aired the program $7,000. Fox has 30 days to appeal the fines, which total $1,183,000, AP reports.
Mel Gibson donates $10 million to hospitals
Mel Gibson donated $10 million to Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA and the Cedars-Sinal Medical Center to help care for children from foreign countries, AP reports. "Through this remarkable contribution, the generosity of Mr. Gibson will transform the lives of children throughout the world," Dr. Edward McCabe, physician-in-chief of the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA, said. The donation will help children with serious medical conditions who are unable to be treated in their own countries. The children who will benefit from Gibson's donation will be recommended by Healing the Children.
Cruise, Winfrey to emcee Nobel concert
Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey will host December's traditional Nobel Peace Prize Concert on in Oslo, Norway, honoring the 2004 laureate, the AP reports. Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, 64, became the first African woman to win the coveted peace prize. Entertainers booked to play the December 11 show include British teen soul singer Joss Stone, jazz singer Diana Krall, pop singer Cyndi Lauper and Patti Labelle.
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.