Mandela: icon, hero and flawed human CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) - Force of nature. Father of all nations. A messiah of our times. Yet Nelson Mandela, described so often as a gift, an icon, a legend and even a saint, was flawed like any other human. Mandela was aware of his failings, and he struggled to be recognized as a man rather than a representative of an immaculate ideal.
US vet Merrill Newman, 85, home from North Korea SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Merrill Newman was tired and looking forward to reuniting with his family, but he was all smiles Saturday after arriving at the San Francisco airport after being detained for several weeks in North Korea. The 85-year-old U.S. veteran of the Korean War held the hand of his wife and was accompanied by his adult son when he briefly addressed the assembled media after disembarking from a direct flight from Beijing.
Few heirs apparent to Mandela's symbol of freedom 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. There are a few whose trials have made them symbols of freedom, including the former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, the Dalai Lama and, more recently, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl turned women's rights activist .
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Hagel given assurances on Afghan security deal KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said Saturday he received assurances from Afghanistan's defense minister that a stalled security agreement with the United States would be signed in "a very timely manner." But in a highly unusual move, Hagel chose not to meet with President Hamid Karzai, who is holding up a pact that Washington and NATO officials say is needed to plan for a post-2014 training and counterterrorism mission expected to involve thousands of troops.
AU: More troops for Central African Republic PARIS (AP) - France's presidential palace says the African Union has agreed to increase its deployment of troops in violence-wracked Central African Republic to 6,000 troops. Saturday's statement from President Francois Hollande's office follows a summit on African security and a follow-up meeting of regional leaders devoted to recent bloodshed in impoverished Central African Republic.
Snow, sleet, ice hit large swath of US MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Millions hunkered down for icy conditions expected to last through the weekend from Texas to Ohio to Tennessee as a cold snap covered much of the nation, knocking out power and making roads treacherous Saturday. Face-stinging sleet, thick snow and blustery winds led to slick road conditions, school closures and event cancellations as the wintry blast dropped temperatures to freezing and below overnight Saturday.
Hagel outlines new weapons sale plan for Gulf MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel opened the door for the U.S. to sell missile defense and other weapons systems to U.S.-friendly Gulf nations, with an eye toward boosting their abilities to counter Iran's ballistic missiles, even as global powers ink a nuclear deal with Tehran. In a speech Saturday to Gulf leaders, Hagel made it clear that the emerging global agreement that would limit Iran's nuclear program doesn't mean the security threat from Iran is over.
AP WAS THERE: Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor EDITOR'S NOTE - On Dec. 7, 1941, Eugene Burns, AP's chief of bureau in Honolulu, couldn't get out the urgent news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which drew the U.S. into World War II, because the military had already taken control of all communication lines. In Washington, AP editor William Peacock and staff got word of the attack from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's press secretary. In the language and style used by journalists of his era, including the use of a disparaging word to describe the Japanese that was in common use, Peacock dictated the details of the announcement. Seventy-two years after their original publication, the AP is making the dispatches available to its subscribers. ---
Police: Pa. newlyweds killed man for thrills SUNBURY, Pa. (AP) - A couple married for just three weeks lured a man to his death with a Craigslist ad because they wanted to kill someone together, police said. Elytte Barbour told officers before his arrest Friday night that he and his wife, Miranda, had planned to kill before, but their plans never worked out until last month when Troy LaFerrara responded to an online posting that promised companionship in return for money, authorities said.
Gene therapy scores big wins against blood cancers In one of the biggest advances against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years, doctors are reporting unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients' blood cells into soldiers that seek and destroy cancer. A few patients with one type of leukemia were given this one-time, experimental therapy several years ago and some remain cancer-free today. Now, at least six research groups have treated more than 120 patients with many types of blood and bone marrow cancers, with stunning results.