Today 09 December
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Dozens of young men stood waiting for storm clouds to pass, as wind stirred up swirls of red dust on the largely deserted street in Central African Republic's capital. Through the drizzle, they spotted a man in a flowing white robe traditionally worn by Muslims, hand-in-hand with his adolescent son.
The presidents of the United States and Cuba will share a rare joint stage Tuesday as world leaders shed historic rivalries to pay tribute at the funeral of South African freedom icon Nelson Mandela. Barack Obama and Raul Castro will both offer eulogies for Mandela at a sweeping memorial service to be held at the Soweto stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup final. They are among more than 90 heads of state and government scheduled to attend an extended state funeral that will culminate in Mandela's burial on Sunday in the rural village of Qunu where he spent his early childhood. "The world literally is coming to South Africa," said the government's head of public diplomacy, Clayson Monyela.
Nelson Mandela was like a "magician" who conjured a united nation out of a country teetering on the brink of war, South African Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu said Monday. "Everybody was saying we would go up in flames," the archbishop emeritus told a memorial service for Mandela in Johannesburg. "He really was like a magician with a magic wand, turning us into this glorious, multi-coloured rainbow people. "This repulsive caterpillar, South Africa, that used to be the world's pariah, he turned into a beautiful, beautiful butterfly.
South African security forces had only days to implement a rough plan for Nelson Mandela's grand funeral, based partly on blueprints of past major events like the 2010 World Cup final. South Africa's first black president had been seriously ill for some time, but his death still posed a major organisational challenge as a small army of world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities asked to attend the state send-off. Security preparations which would normally take months for the likes of US President Barack Obama had to be compressed into a few days. After that, Mandela's body will lie in state for three days in Pretoria before being taken for burial Sunday in his rural boyhood home of Qunu.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday that the group of world leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela will continue its work.