Today 08 December
South Africans crowded into churches, mosques, temples and synagogues on Sunday to remember Nelson Mandela, encouraged by their president to celebrate a life that transcended race and religion. The nationwide day of prayer marked the formal start of a week-long state funeral for the man who forged a new multi-racial South Africa from the discredited remnants of the apartheid era he helped to dismantle. In the Regina Mundi Catholic church in the once blacks-only township of Soweto, parish priest Sebastian Rossouw called Mandela "a light in the darkness" and praised his capacity for "humility and forgiveness". "He fought for us then, now he needs to rest," said Olga Mbeke, 60, who was born in Soweto.
Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - French troops deployed in the strife-torn Central African Republic on Saturday, while the African Union said it would nearly double its force to try to stamp out deadly sectarian violence. Cheering residents honked horns, danced and banged on saucepans as some 200 French troops rolled into the mainly Christian town of Bouar in the west of the country. The communal violence, which has terrorised rural towns for months, flared in the capital Bangui on Thursday, leaving at least 300 dead in a wave of attacks, the Red Cross said. Central African Republic President Michel Djotodia declared a three-day period of mourning from Sunday for the victims.
The passing of Nelson Mandela leaves a waning number of global figures representing freedom and resilience against oppression — and a changing world that makes it harder for anyone to approach Mandela's iconic power.
By Daniel Wallis CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelans vote in municipal elections on Sunday that are the biggest political test yet for President Nicolas Maduro as he tries to halt an economic slide and preserve the radical socialist legacy of his late mentor Hugo Chavez. The outcome of the ballots to choose 337 mayors and 2,523 councilors will be seen as a sign of Maduro's strength, nine months after Chavez died from cancer and he narrowly beat opposition leader Henrique Capriles to win the presidency.
For US President Barack Obama and millions of people around the world, Nelson Mandela was a hero. But what are heroes? And will there be another Mandela, or is he the last of a breed? In more modern times, the term came to describe mere mortals credited with exceptional qualities, such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill or Martin Luther King.