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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Eastern snowstorm brings closures, delays PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A snowstorm pushed into New England on Tuesday, with the potential to snarl the evening commute, after causing widespread school and government closures in the nation's capital and elsewhere along the Eastern seaboard. Hundreds of transportation crews were out treating and plowing highways in New England, where up to 4 inches of snow was expected. State police in Connecticut said there had been 83 crashes by late morning, with eight minor injuries.
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.
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.
Ukraine leader to seek some protesters' release KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Some demonstrators arrested in the massive protests sweeping Ukraine's capital will be released, embattled President Viktor Yanukovych promised Tuesday, trying to defuse a political standoff that is threatening his leadership. Yanukovych also vowed to renew talks with the European Union on concluding a much-awaited trade and political agreement. His refusal to sign the deal last month prompted a wave of large protests, some drawing hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Kiev, the capital.
Thai protesters claim authority over government BANGKOK (AP) - The head of Thailand's protest movement on Tuesday extended his extraordinary claims to holding power over government activities, issuing orders to officials over whom he has no legal or actual authority. The brazen orders from protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban gave no clue as to how the deadlock over Thailand's political crisis may be resolved.
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.
Economic experiment shows limits of NKorean change RAJIN, North Korea (AP) - Many of the ways in which this dusty, windswept area differs from most of North Korea are easiest to see at night. Although there are traffic lights in other cities, the ones here in the Rason Special Economic Zone actually light up. The avenues are broad and paved, and along the main street, colorful, decorative lights outline the edges of buildings. Foreign-owned or funded industries and businesses including a casino - one of only two in the whole country - have helped create an oasis of light in an otherwise inky black and largely empty countryside.