SOUTH AFRICA BEGINS LIFE WITHOUT MANDELA
JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- What next for South Africa?
This racially charged country that, on Nelson Mandela's watch, inspired the world by embracing reconciliation in all-race elections in 1994 is again in the global spotlight after the loss of such a towering historical figure. It is a time not just for grief and gratitude, but also a clear-eyed assessment of national strengths and shortcomings in a future without a man who was a guide and comfort to so many.
"It's a new beginning," said Kyle Redford, one of many outside the home of the anti-apartheid leader who became the nation's first black president. "The loss of a legend is going to force us to come together once again."
He acknowledged that there is a "sense of what next: Where do we go? What do we do? And how do we do it?"
Mandela's resolve rubbed off on many of his compatriots, though such conviction is tempered by the reality that his vision of a "rainbow nation" failed, almost inevitably, to meet the heady expectations propelling the country two decades ago. Peaceful elections and relatively harmonious race relations define today's South Africa; so do crime, corruption and economic inequality.
Mandela remained a powerful symbol in the hopeful, uncharted period after apartheid, even when he left the presidency, retired from public life and shuttled in and out of hospitals as a protracted illness eroded his once-robust frame. He became a moral anchor, so entwined with the national identity that some jittery South Africans wondered whether the country would slide into chaos after his death.
"Does it spell doomsday and disaster for us?" retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu asked rhetorically Friday before declaring that no, the country will not disintegrate.
"The sun will rise tomorrow and the next day and the next," said Tutu, who like Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting apartheid and promoting reconciliation. "It may not appear as bright as yesterday, but life will carry on."
EXPERTS URGE FEDS TO MEASURE, PURSUE OUR HAPPINESS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Happy or sad? Content or bored? And how many times did you smile yesterday? A panel of experts thinks Uncle Sam should be more in touch with our feelings.
By gauging happiness, there'd be more to consider than cold hard cash when deciding matters that affect daily lives, according to a report this week from the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the government.
The panel of economists, psychologists and other experts assembled by the academy recommended that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness.
"You want to know how people are doing?" said panel chairman Arthur Stone, a professor of psychology at New York's Stony Brook University. "One of things you may want to do is ask them."
Asking how people feel can be as important as how much they are spending, Stone said.
For example, economists have something they call the "misery index" which adds the unemployment and inflation rates, but doesn't include how people feel. If you want to know misery, the question to ask is "how much suffering is going on," he said.
The panel suggests a series of questions to measure daily happiness and general well-being, asking how often you smiled, were stressed, laughed or were in pain. Example questions ranged from a simple yes-no "Yesterday, did you spend time with friends or family?" to a more complex 1-10 rating for "Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?"
Over the past decade, these types of questions have shown to be valid scientifically, said Carol Graham, a Brookings Institution economist who was on the panel.
The report said the answers can help governments shape policy on basic benefits, such as retirement age and pensions, care for the chronic and terminally ill, unemployment and working conditions. It cited a study by one of the Nobel Prize-winning panelists that showed people's feelings about commuting problems helped officials decided whether or not to create commuter toll lanes on highways.
TECH TIPS: ARE THE NEW AT&T PLANS BETTER FOR YOU?
NEW YORK (AP) -- AT&T is joining T-Mobile in reducing monthly fees for people who pay for their own devices.
It's the latest break from a longstanding practice of offering subsidies on devices to lock customers into two-year service agreements. Many customers have been forgoing those subsidies anyway as they choose plans that allow frequent phone upgrades. But until now, AT&T and Verizon have still factored in the costs of those subsidies in the monthly service fees for voice, text and data, whether the customer uses the subsidies or not.
Beginning Sunday, customers will be able to switch to the cheaper plans if they buy or bring their own phone. That includes paying for the device in installments through the frequent-upgrade Next plan. Those whose contracts have run out also qualify.
Most customers will save at least $15 a month under the new AT&T plans.
Click for a more detailed look at the plans and why it makes sense for most people to switch.