6:47 AM, Feb 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Documents recently released by the government show that the value of hotels and local transportation contracts for the U.S. delegation to Nelson Mandela's funeral in December were considerably higher than previous estimates. On December 19, we first reported the cost at about $11 million. However, rather than two hotels and one vehicle contractor, additional contracts have been disclosed bringing the total to five hotels and two vehicle contractors.
The transportation contracts include passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, buses, pickup trucks, box trucks, and "larger capacity vehicles," but do not include the cost of travelling from the U.S. to South Africa and back. The combined total estimated cost of the two contracts is $12,521,851.
The five hotel contracts estimated a total of 10,275 "lodging room nights" spanning December 6, 2013 to January 20, 2014. The Johannesburg-area hotels include the Radison Blu Sandton, Radison Gautrain, Holiday Inn, Park Inn, and the Michaelangelo. A sixth contract for the DaVinci hotel was subsequently canceled. The total estimated cost of the remaining contracts is $6,489,627. Adding the $12.5 million in transportation contracts brings the grand total for lodging and local transportation to $19,011,478.
When asked for an explanation of the 6-week date range of December 6 to January 20 for the hotels, a State Department official replied via email:
Due to high demand during that time period, all hotels in the area had a requirement to book for a minimum of 15 nights. The date span was written into the contract to give flexibility, but we did not pay for 45 days.
When asked to explain why 45 days was written into the estimates when only a 15 day minimum was required, the official did not respond, nor was there any response to a follow up inquiry about how accurate the cost estimates turned out to be.
7:16 AM, Dec 19, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
State Department contract awards were posted this week for "Transportation services in support of Mandela Funeral" and "Accommodation in support of the Nelson Mandela funeral in South Africa." The accompanying Justification and Approval documents estimated the cost of transportation at a maximum of $8,286,194.74. The transportation contract covers only ground transportation in South Africa. Costs for Air Force One and other air travel are not included. Two contracts were listed for the cost of lodging: one for $2,042,850 for an estimated "3,240 lodging room nights" and another for $1,190,573 for an estimated "2,490 lodging room nights" stretching from December 6, 2013 to January 20, 2014.
9:26 AM, Dec 15, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
NBC's long-running sketch show Saturday Night Live put the "series of unfortunate events" at last week's memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela in their comedic crosshairs. Cast member Jay Pharoah, portraying American president Barack Obama, lampooned the cell-phone photo Obama took with Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, while fellow cast member Kenan Thompson played the fake sign language interpreter.
Watch the video below:
Hosted by Michael Graham.1:15 PM, Dec 13, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on the Ryan-Murray Budget deal, Obamacare Delays, and Obama's Nelson Mandela speech.
Dec 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 15 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Neson Mandela, a man of some considerable personal dignity, might have been distressed by the series of mishaps at his public memorial service: the disorganization which left thousands unable to get to the event, rendering the stadium half-empty; the embarrassing “selfie” taken by Barack Obama during the proceedings (see left); the cheering of Robert Mugabe and booing of George W. Bush; the burglary at the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town while he prayed in Johannesburg.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:15 PM, Dec 11, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on the Ryan-Murray budget deal and "selfies" as a sign of perception over reality.
1:02 PM, Dec 10, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Arnold Steinberg writes:
With the death of Nelson Mandela, the mythology continues that, under Ronald Reagan, the 1980s was the lost decade in dealing with South Africa. It’s the same old line — Reagan was insensitive to AIDS because he wasn’t gay. He was insensitive to racism because he wasn’t black. And he was not involved in policy, because he wasn’t very deep. All of that is just not true.
7:02 AM, Dec 10, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama's speech at the Nelson Mandela memorial today in South Africa:
6:39 AM, Dec 10, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
At Nelson Mandela's memorial service today in Johannesburg, South Africa, President Obama shook hands with Raúl Castro:
"Castro, he's shaking hands with Raúl Castro," said an excited Christiane Amanpour.
"As Christiane points out, President Obama just shook hands with Raúl Castro from Cuba," Chris Cuomo explained.
Hosted by Michael Graham.2:03 PM, Dec 6, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on Nelson Mandela, young voters, and more.
6:00 PM, Dec 5, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama, on the passing of Nelson Mandela:
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE DEATH OF NELSON MANDELA
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
5:25 P.M. EST
5:17 PM, Dec 5, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Nelson Mandela, the revered statesman who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid, has died, South African President Jacob Zuma announced late Thursday.
9:12 AM, Jun 28, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama went to the press cabin on Air Force One to say he doesn't need a "photo-op" with the ailing Nelson Mandela, who's currently in a Johannesburg hospital. President Obama himself will land in South Africa shortly and says he doesn't want to be "obtrusive" to the Mandela family.
Via the Twitter account of Hans Nichols, Bloomberg White House reporter:
10:21 AM, Dec 24, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
According to a statement from the South African government, Nelson Mandela will "spend Christmas Day in [a] hospital."
"Former President Nelson Mandela will spend Christmas Day in hospital, his doctors have confirmed today, on 24 December 2012," the statement reads, according to BNO News. "President Mandela has been in a Pretoria hospital since the 8th of December and doctors say he continues to respond to treatment.
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