Today 11 December
By Rosa-Tania Valdes HAVANA (Reuters) - For sure it's just what Nelson Mandela would have wanted, but does it amount to more than that? The historic handshake between U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuba's Raul Castro at a memorial for Mandela on Tuesday in Johannesburg was greeted on the streets of Cuba with surprise and hopes of improved relations. Reaction was more muted in Miami, where Cuban exiles have had a hard time accepting Mandela's respect for Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Castro's smile as Obama moved to shake his hand on the way to speak at the ceremony was seen by many Cubans as a signal of reconciliation, after more than a half-century of bitter ideological and political differences between the two countries whose shores are separated by only 90 miles.
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — More than 500 people have been killed over the past week in sectarian fighting in Central African Republic, aid officials said Tuesday, as France reported that gunmen killed two of its soldiers who were part of the intervention to disarm thousands of rebels accused of attacking civilians.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Amid cheers and song for the prisoner who became peacemaker, President Barack Obama energized tens of thousands of spectators and nearly 100 visiting heads of state Tuesday with a plea for the world to emulate Nelson Mandela, "the last great liberator of the 20th century."
Soweto (South Africa) (AFP) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday shook hands with Raul Castro, leader of America's Cold War foe Cuba, in a rare gesture at the memorial service in South Africa for Nelson Mandela. Obama offered the handshake before taking the stage to eulogise Mandela, but minutes later, made a clear swipe at states like Cuba, saying those who proclaim Mandela's legacy must honour its meaning by easing curbs on freedom. The handshake between Obama and the brother who took over the duties of longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was seen by millions around the world on live television.
By Marc Frank HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban dissidents and government employees mounted rival gatherings across the Communist-run Caribbean island on Tuesday, marking the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. While a handshake between U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuba's Raul Castro during ceremonies in South Africa honoring Nelson Mandela provided a moment of cordiality between the long-time foes, 15 Cuban dissidents held a seminar on human rights in the upscale Havana district of Miramar. Around 20 members of the dissident group Ladies in White were pounced upon and quickly shoved into waiting vehicles by security personnel and government supporters when they arrived at a busy intersection in the capital. The organization charged many other members were stopped by state security agents from attending what was billed as a rally and march for human rights.
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