Obama thrills crowd as he honors Mandela JOHANNESBURG (AP) - U.S. President Barack Obama exhorted the world Tuesday to embrace Nelson Mandela's universal message of peace and justice, electrifying tens of thousands of rain-lashed spectators and prompting a standing ovation by scores of heads of state in a South African stadium. In a speech that received thunderous applause, Obama urged people to apply the lessons of Mandela, who emerged from 27 years in prison under a racist regime, embraced his enemies when he finally walked to freedom and promoted forgiveness and reconciliation in South Africa.
AP PHOTOS: Thousands gather to remember Mandela They gathered by the tens of thousands in a Soweto soccer stadium, braving a cold rain to pay respects to Nelson Mandela: world leaders, family members and South Africans whose lives he helped change in his decades-long fight against apartheid. The list of dignitaries was long, ranging from President Barack Obama to Cuban President Raul Castro. And a handshake between those two men epitomized the spirit of reconciliation Mandela came to represent. Here are some images from the service:
Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro JOHANNESBURG (AP) - President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro Tuesday at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, a simple gesture that signaled possible thawing between the leaders of two Cold War foes. The brief encounter between the U.S. and Cuban president came during a ceremony that celebrated the former South African president's legacy of reconciliation. Obama was greeting a line of world leaders attending the memorial in Johannesburg before delivering his own eulogy in which he urged a new generation to embrace Mandela's life work as their own.
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DC area, northeast seeing another round of snow SPRINGFIELD, Va. (AP) - Residents along the East Coast and in the Appalachians woke up to snow Tuesday, leading to widespread closures of schools and government offices and a near-disappearance of the traffic that usually strangles the Washington region. By mid-morning, the National Weather Service had downgraded its outlook for the storm, calling for snowfall totals of 1 to 3 inches on the Eastern Seaboard. Tuesday's storm followed a stronger-than-expected burst of winter weather on Sunday that left several inches in Philadelphia and northern Delaware and Maryland.
Yanukovych says he will seek protesters' release KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine's embattled President Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday promised that some demonstrators arrested in the massive protests sweeping the capital will be released, part of a bid to defuse a political stand-off that is threatening his leadership. Yanukovych also vowed to renew talks with the European Union on concluding a much-awaited trade and political agreement, after his refusal to sign the deal last month prompted the biggest protests since 2004's pro-democracy Orange Revolution, some drawing hundreds of thousands of people to Kiev's streets.
Thai democracy enters dangerous new crossroads BANGKOK (AP) - The leader of protesters vying to topple Thailand's prime minister says his movement will establish what amounts to a parallel government - complete with "volunteer peacekeepers" to replace the police, a "people's council" to rule and a foreign policy to go with it. Leading academics have slammed the brazen scheme as undemocratic and unconstitutional. But ex-lawmaker Suthep Thaugsuban's bid to seize power could become reality if the military or the judiciary intervenes, as they have in the past. Analysts say this Southeast Asian nation is at a dangerous new crossroads that could drag on, and end with more bloodshed.
Newtown's year: Horror, grief and tough choices NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - A year later, inside the big house on Berkshire Road, dolls fill the shelves of a living room and flowers and rainbows decorate a kitchen window, next to a little girl's name: Avielle. Outside, all around town, Christmas lights shimmer again. But so, too, do the 26 bronze stars that sit atop the local firehouse, one for each adult and child gunned down at a school one unimaginable day.
AP Interview: Egypt's Moussa defends draft charter CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's best known diplomat said Tuesday that a constitution drafted by a 50-member panel he chaired offered unprecedented guarantees for democracy, individual freedoms and gender equality. Amr Moussa, longtime Arab League chief and foreign minister, told The Associated Press in an interview that he hoped the charter will pass by a comfortable majority in a referendum expected to be held in mid-January.
Tech firms vie to protect personal data, profits SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Even as Silicon Valley speaks out against the U.S. government's surveillance methods, technology companies are turning a handsome profit by mining personal data and peering into people's online habits. The industry's profit machine has become tarnished by revelations that the National Security Agency trolls deep into the everyday lives of Web surfers. As a result, companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are becoming more aggressive in their attempts to counter any perception that they voluntarily give the government access to users' email and other sensitive information.
GM names Mary Barra CEO, 1st woman to head car co. DETROIT (AP) - General Motors picked Mary Barra, its product development chief and a 33-year company veteran, as its next CEO. Barra will become the first female head of a major U.S. car company. GM said Tuesday that Barra, 51, will replace Dan Akerson on Jan. 15. Akerson, 65, chairman and CEO, moved up his retirement plans by several months because his wife, Karin, is battling advanced cancer, the company said in a statement.