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South Africa's archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu made an emotional tribute to his late friend Nelson Mandela Friday, describing him an a "incredible gift" to the nation, who transcended race and class. Speaking slowly and often on the verge of tears, Tutu said the late 95-year-old was "a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison," after 27 years behind bars. Often talking with eyes closed and visibly moved, the fellow Nobel Peace Laureate described Mandela as an "incredible gift that God gave us". He dismissed fears of "doomsday and disaster" for South Africa on the passing of the man who was behind the country's emancipation from white minority rule.
US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take inspiration from Nelson Mandela in peace talks, as he wrapped up another visit to the region Friday. Kerry said Israel and the Palestinians were closer to peace than they have been in years, even though the direct negotiations he brokered have made little visible headway since they began in late July. "The example of Nelson Mandela is an example we all need to take to heart as we face the challenges of trying to reach a two-state solution," said Kerry. Kerry made the remarks after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the third time in 24 hours, for discussions on potential security arrangements in the context of a peace deal.
Soweto (South Africa) (AFP) - Singing old struggle songs and marching to the slogans that catapulted Soweto to the frontline of South Africa's liberation fight, mourners on Friday paid a lively tribute to their beloved leader Nelson Mandela outside his former home. "Wherever he is, I can assure you he is listening and is smiling," said Kabelo Noe, 39, who joined some 200 people dancing in front of Mandela's old house, now a museum and a popular tourist attraction. "There will never be another man like Mandela in South Africa," he said, stamping his feet in a move known as toyi-toyi, a protest dance harking back to the marches against apartheid. After learning of Mandela's death at the age of 95 late on Thursday, locals in Soweto, the bedrock of black resistance against white minority rule, rushed to the residence on the outskirts of Johannesburg to celebrate the revered statesman's life.
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Hundreds of people crowded into a field Friday outside Central African Republic's main airport, hoping that French soldiers would protect them after a spasm of bloodshed in the lawless capital left more than 100 people dead.