In brief: South Africa’s Mandela leaves hospital
Johannesburg – South Africa’s former president, Nelson Mandela, was discharged from a hospital Saturday after 10 days of undergoing treatment for pneumonia, officials said Saturday. The anti-apartheid hero was hospitalized with breathing difficulties late last month, and his discharge was a huge relief for the country.
His late-night admission alarmed South Africans, who revere Mandela for his role in fighting apartheid and ushering in a period of reconciliation after the first democratic vote in 1994. Government spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mandela’s condition had improved but didn’t say he had completely recovered. He will continue to receive medical care at home.
Kerry lands in Turkey for diplomacy tour
Istanbul – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Turkey early today on the first leg of a 10-day trip to Europe and Asia that would also seek to unlock long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Kerry was expected to encourage Turkish leaders to continue improving ties with Israel. The two countries were once allies, but relations spiraled downward after Israel’s 2010 raid on a Turkish flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip. Eight Turks and one Turkish-American died.
Hopes for rapprochement improved after Obama brokered a telephone conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while President Barack Obama was in Israel last month.
Kerry planned to fly from Turkey to Jerusalem for meetings with the presidents and prime ministers of both Israel and the Palestinians. He had accompanied Obama there and made a solo trip to Israel shortly after.
Though expectations are low for any breakthrough on Kerry’s trip, his diplomacy represents some of the Obama administration’s most sustained efforts for ending more than six decades of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.