Today 13 December
JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli startup is trying to combat a common fear for international travelers: getting socked with hundreds or thousands of dollars in unexpected roaming charges for using cellphones away from home.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Friday arrived in the Central African Republic for talks with the interim leaders of the strife-torn nation, where Paris deployed troops last week, according to an aide. The visit comes on the heels of that by President Francois Hollande, who stopped in the country on Tuesday after attending Nelson Mandela's memorial in South Africa. Hollande admitted his country was facing a "dangerous" but vital operation to restore security in its former colony, terrorised by sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians since a coup in March. Two elite French soldiers were killed Monday, just days after Paris finished deploying 1,600 troops in the resource-rich but impoverished country.
Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher's controversial opposition to tougher sanctions against apartheid-era South Africa prevented a "race war" from breaking out, South African ex-president FW de Klerk claimed on Friday. Writing in the Times, de Klerk argued that the handing over of power to the African National Congress (ANC) in the 1980s would have resulted in fighting and "the imposition of a communist regime" by the party's left wing. "Margaret Thatcher understood this," he wrote. Thatcher, who died in April aged 87, has come under fire for her resistance to tougher penalties on the South Africa regime during the 1980s, and faced accusations it was a selfish move to protect Britain's business interests.
Nelson Mandela was reclaimed by ordinary South Africans who queued in huge numbers under the hot sun Thursday to file past his open casket on a day reserved for the public. As Mandela lay in state for a second day, a row deepened over a sign language interpreter at his memorial service, who responded to charges he was a fraud by insisting that a schizophrenic episode had caused him to gesticulate nonsensically. The long lines were reminiscent of the snaking queues of voters who waited to cast their first ballots in a democratic South Africa in 1994.
The South African government admitted it made a "mistake" in choosing a sign language interpreter for Nelson Mandela's memorial who was later exposed as a fake by experts, and who claimed to be schizophrenic. Experts said Thamsanqa Jantjie's signing in front of US President Barack Obama and other world leaders amounted to little more than "flapping his arms around," prompting an apology from the government. Admitting Jantjie was "not a professional sign language interpreter," junior minister for disabilities Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said that "we can only apologise to the deaf community". Jantjie insists he is qualified and a "champion of sign language," but said his behaviour was down to a sudden attack of schizophrenia, for which he takes medication.