Today 12 December
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — For a second day, droves of mourners from around the globe filed past the body of Nelson Mandela on Thursday as it lay in state in South Africa's capital, Pretoria.
Nelson Mandela was given back to ordinary South Africans, who queued in their thousands from early morning Thursday to file past his open casket on a day of viewing reserved for the public. "My heart is so broken," said Anita Bodiba, 35, who arrived at the seat of government, the Union Buildings, hours before dawn to join the long queue that had already formed. He is the one who united us here in South Africa -- white people, black people, Indian people," she said -- using the clan name by which the democracy icon is fondly known. On Wednesday, Mandela's distraught widow Graca Machel and other family members were followed by presidents, royalty and other international figures in paying their last respects in the amphitheatre of the Union Buildings where the Nobel laureate is laying in state.
By Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African sign language interpreter accused of miming nonsense as world leaders paid tribute to Nelson Mandela defended himself as a "champion" signer on Thursday, but said he suffered a schizophrenic episode during the event. The interpreter, 34-year-old Thamsanqa Jantjie, told Johannesburg's Star newspaper he started hearing voices and hallucinating while on stage, resulting in gestures that made no sense to outraged deaf people around the world. Millions of TV viewers saw Jantjie interpreting for leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, at Tuesday's Mandela memorial. Afterwards South Africa's leading deaf association denounced Jantjie as a fake who was making up gestures as he stood yards away from world leaders.
By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis attacked mega-salaries and big bonuses on Thursday, saying in the first peace message of his pontificate that they are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality. In his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace, marked by the Church around the world on January 1, he also called for more sharing of wealth among people and nations to narrow the gap between the rich and poor. "The succession of economic crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles," he said.
Qunu (South Africa) (AFP) - South African troops and mounted police patrolled Nelson Mandela's boyhood home of Qunu on Thursday, with the village under virtual security lockdown ahead of the peace icon's burial there at the weekend. Thousands of high profile mourners, including numerous heads of state are expected to descend on the remote location in Eastern Cape province where Mandela will finally be laid to rest on Sunday.
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