World leaders, South Africans honor 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 in a South African stadium. In a speech that received thunderous applause and a standing ovation from scores of heads of state, 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:
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.
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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.
Ukrainian president to seek protesters' release KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine's president says he will ask the country's general prosecutor to find a way to release some of the demonstrators who were arrested in recent protests, in a bid to defuse the country's tensions. Ukraine's capital has been gripped by more than three weeks of demonstrations - some attracting hundreds of thousands - which began as protests against President Viktor Yanukovych's backing away from a pact to deepen ties with the European Union. The protests grew larger and more vehement after police twice violently dispersed demonstrators.
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. Some leading academics have slammed the 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.
18 LA sheriff's officials charged in jail probe LOS ANGELES (AP) - Roughly three years ago, a man referred to in a federal indictment as "Visitor LF" went to Men's Central Jail to discuss his inability to visit his brother there. Instead, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy allegedly handcuffed him, took him to a break room with no windows or public access, and threw him against a refrigerator. His arm was fractured in the encounter and he received cuts to his nose and face, according to indictments unsealed Monday. Afterward, four deputies tried to have him falsely charged with resisting an executive officer. The man was detained for about five days and ultimately released without being charged.
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 and government workers and students in the DC area were told to stay home as the region saw a round of snow that came just a few days after some parts already got several inches. Snow and ice prompted officials at the Philadelphia International Airport to temporarily ground departing flights and slowed motorists across New Jersey.
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.
AP Newsbreak: Winfrey announces new book club pick NEW YORK (AP) - Here's something to pre-order for the holidays: Oprah Winfrey's new book club pick. Winfrey has chosen Sue Monk Kidd's "The Invention of Wings," coming out Jan. 7. An interview with Kidd will appear in the upcoming edition of "O: The Oprah Magazine," which arrives Dec. 17. A conversation with Kidd will air next year at a date to be determined on the talk-show host's Super Soul Sunday, on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network).