December 7, 2013 in Nation/World

In brief: South Africans mourn, celebrate Mandela’s life

 

JOHANNESBURG – South Africans erupted in song, dance and tears on Friday in public and emotional celebrations of the life of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who bridged the country’s black-white divide and helped avert a race war.

People of all colors hugged and shared emotional moments as anti-apartheid leaders like retired archbishop Desmond Tutu called for the 51 million South Africans to adhere to the values of unity and democracy that Mandela embodied. The tributes to Mandela that came from people across the spectrum showed that he had affected people deeply.

At least three American presidents will travel to South Africa to attend memorial services Tuesday for anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95.

The White House said Friday that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama would travel to South Africa next week to pay their respects. They will be joined on Air Force One by former President George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush.

Former President Bill Clinton said he also planned to travel to South Africa, along with his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was unclear whether the Clintons would also fly on Air Force One.

France increases presence as violence kills at least 280

BANGUI, Central African Republic – Thousands of Christian civilians sought refuge at an airport guarded by French soldiers Friday, fleeing from the mostly Muslim ex-rebels with machetes and guns who rule the country a day after the worst violence to hit the chaotic capital in nine months.

Outside the barbed wire fences of the airport, bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital too dangerous for many to collect the corpses. Thursday’s clashes left at least 280 dead, according to national radio, and have raised fears that waves of retaliatory attacks could soon follow.

France signaled its amped up presence in its former colony on Friday by sending out armored vehicles to patrol the streets. A French fighter jet made several flyovers, roaring through the sky over an otherwise lifeless capital as civilians cowered at home. Britain also flew in a C-17 plane Friday loaded with equipment to help with France’s intervention.

Elderly U.S. tourist released from North Korean custody

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea on Saturday deported an elderly U.S. tourist, apparently ending the saga of Merrill Newman’s return to the North six decades after he advised South Korean guerrillas still loathed by Pyongyang.

North Korea made the decision because the 85-year-old Newman, who was detained since late October, apologized for his alleged crimes during the Korean War and because of his age and medical condition, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Newman was an officer in what was called the Mount Kuwol unit, which conducted guerrilla raids on communist military and civilian targets in the latter part of the Korean War and in the immediate aftermath.

Report: Saudi militants responsible for Yemen attack

ADEN, Yemen – Saudi militants were behind the massive car bombing and assault on Yemen’s military headquarters that killed more than 50 people, including foreigners, investigators said in a preliminary report released Friday.

Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retaliation for U.S. drone strikes that have killed dozens of the terror network’s leaders.

The attack – the deadliest in Sanaa since May 2012 – marked an escalation in the terror network’s battle to undermine the U.S.-allied government and destabilize the impoverished Arab nation despite the drone strikes and a series of U.S.-backed military offensive against it.

Six people arrested, tested for radiation exposure

MEXICO CITY – Six people being tested for possible radiation exposure in a hospital in central Mexico are suspects in the theft of highly radioactive cobalt-60, a government official said Friday.

The official said the six were arrested Thursday and taken to the general hospital in Pachuca for observation and testing for radiation exposure. Once they are cleared, they will be turned over to federal authorities in connection with the case of a cargo truck stolen Monday at gunpoint that was carrying the extremely dangerous material.

Hidalgo state Health Minister Pedro Luis Noble said Friday that none of the six are in grave condition and may be released soon. Only one was vomiting, a sign of radiation poisoning.


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