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The Afro-American, May 7, 2011 - May 13, 2011

AFRO National Briefs
Your History • Your Community • Your News

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The Afro-American Newspapers

Gas-Saving Tips for Cash-Strapped Drivers The Department of Energy (DOE) and Federal Trade Commission have released several tips for consumers to save money at the pump. According to the two agencies, consumers should drive more efficiently. Drivers should avoid aggressive driving and excessive idling, observe the speed limit, remove excess weight from their vehicle, and use cruise control and overdrive gears. “Weaving in and out of traffic, not using the highest gear, jumping on and off the throttle, and generally not keeping a steady-state speed are also shortcuts to the nearest gas station,” MotorWeek’s John Davis said. Drivers should also keep their vehicles in shape. Engines should be properly tuned, tires should be properly inflated and the recommended grade of motor oil should be applied. According to the DOE, fixing a serious maintenance problem can improve gas mileage by up to 40 percent, properly inflating a vehicle’s tires can improve mileage by up to 3.3 percent and using the proper motor oil can improve mileage by up to 2 percent. Drivers should also plan their trips carefully. Carpooling or altering work hours to avoid peak rush hours can prevent more frequent trips to the pump due to gas wasted in rush hour traffic. Multiple errands should also be combined into a single trip. Proposed Merger of Southern University with White Institution Faces Stiff Opposition Debate is heating up in New Orleans, as Louisiana’s governor seeks to merge the city’s sole historically Black state-funded university with a mostly White, nearby institution in an effort he said will improve both schools’ educational conditions. According to The Associated Press, Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, is pushing a bill that would merge predominatelyBlack Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) with the University of New Orleans. Campuses of both higher education facilities, which are in close proximity to each other, were severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In the storm’s aftermath, enrollment and graduation rates at both schools plummeted, particularly at Southern University, whose graduation rate has significantly dropped. According to 2011 U.S. Department of Education figures, SUNO’s rate of graduation for students attending over a six-year period, rose to eight percent from the post-Katrina low of five percent, the lowest in the state and among the lowest for a public historically Black college or university (HBCU) in the country. The six-year graduation rate at the University of New Orleans (UNO) is 21 percent. “It makes no sense to have colleges blocks apart, neither one of them with graduation rates we can accept,” Jindal said at a weekly legislative news conference in Baton Rouge, La., according to the AP. Meanwhile, more than 200 Southern University supporters gathered to protest the proposal, which they believe would cause the school to lose its legacy as an HBCU. “It will be the death of SUNO,” student government vice president Ellis Brent Jr. told the AP.

Nation on Watch After bin Laden’s Death Nearly 10 years after former President George Bush vowed to capture Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, the terrorist was ambushed and killed under President Barack Obama’s watch. In an unexpected, late night speech on April 30, Obama shared news of bin Laden’s death with the world. “Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties,” Obama said. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.” In the days following bin Laden’s capture, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint statement warning law enforcement groups that his death may spark extremist attacks in the U.S. and worldwide. Meanwhile, transportation hubs like Boston’s Logan Airport tightened security for fear of a retaliatory attack from al Qaeda and bin Laden supporters. “The death of Osama bin Laden is an important success not only for the United States, but the entire world. Our efforts to combat terrorism, however, do not fixate on one individual, and we remain completely focused on protecting our nation against violent extremism of all kinds,” said Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in a statement. Comcast Pledges Funds to Benefit Minorites As Comcast moves forward with its merger with NBC Universal, the media giant has pledged $20 million towards building minority owned digital businesses. In a letter last July to Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Comcast said it would, at the helm of the merged company, provide training, internships and mentoring to minority students as well as distribution and funding to business owners. The company is now in the verge of making good on that promise, company officials said recently. Comcast will also provide free video and high-speed internet service to schools and libraries in underserved and low-income areas, as well as low-cost internet service to 2.5 million lowincome households. “Comcast is committed to providing opportunities for diverse businesses to expand and grow,” David Jensen, vice president of Content Acquisition for Comcast, said in a statement. “We look forward to considering a number of fresh and viable programming proposals from Hispanic and African American programmers to create new channels that will complement the robust lineup of programming choices we already offer our customers.” Leaders of several civil rights organizations praised Comcast’s initiatives, saying they will provide more diversity on and off the air. “This agreement represents a positive step in the right direction for the principle of diversity, inclusion and economic opportunity,” Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said in a statement. “We applaud Comcast and NBC Universal for its willingness to enter into written commitments toward the goal of building a first-class communications concern. We thank them for their insight and commitment.” Comcast plans on starting eight new networks that will be independently owned by Hispanic or African Americans. Two African-American owned networks are expected to launch by Jan. 28, 2013.

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