'Born frees': Don't care about South Africa election


CAPE TOWN, South Africa - South Africans headed to the polls Wednesday in the country's first general elections since the death of Nelson Mandela last year, and the first in which voters born after the fall of apartheid are old enough to take part.

Many of these young voters say they won't participate in the ballot.

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Terrorist attacks: Somalis living in Kenya face violence


NAIROBI, Kenya - Crowds weave their way through street stands selling fruit, DVDs and textbooks. Shop owners raise rusty shutters and hip-hop music blares from motorcycles zigzagging through the pothole-ridden roads.

Six people died in this neighborhood last Monday, when three explosions tore through two restaurants and a clinic at rush hour. More than 600 people were arrested the following day. But that's business as usual in Eastleigh, a Somali-dominated suburb of the Kenyan capital.

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Sobbing Pistorius: Describes shooting his girlfriend

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_SA140306aa001.jpegJOHANNESBURG - An emotional Oscar Pistorius broke down in court Tuesday as he struggled to recount his side of what led him to kill girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Pistorius told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria how he had felt vulnerable without his prosthetic legs after hearing a noise coming from the bathroom.

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Ebola outbreak: Spreads in West Africa


DAKAR, Senegal - The rising death toll in West Africa's Ebola outbreak has sparked fear across the region with at least 80 already having died from the nearly always fatal virus.

"Every day we're reading about it in the newspaper, hearing about it on the radio, and wondering when it's going to come here," said 32-year-old Mossa Bau, who lives in Dakar, Senegal. "Everyone is very scared because, really, it's a dangerous disease and no one has the means to stop it."

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Pistorius shooting: Witness recalls bloodcurdling screams


JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – A witness at Oscar Pistorius' murder trial testified Monday she heard "bloodcurdling screams" from a woman and then shots, the first testimony in the trial of the Olympic runner.

"I heard her voice during the shots," said neighbor Michele Burger, a University of Pretoria economics professor.

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Oscar Pistorius: Trial for death of girlfriend begins


CAPE TOWN - Legless Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius arrived Monday for his trial in Pretoria for the shooting death of his model girlfriend, with South Africans closely following a case that could send him to prison for 25 years or more.

South African press coverage of the slaying of Reeva Steenkamp in a bathroom in Pistorius' Pretoria home a year ago has been intense, with the feel of a tragic soap opera.

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South Sudanese: Remain in limbo weeks after ceasefire


JUBA - Three weeks after an agreement between the South Sudan government and rebels halted deadly clashes here, hundreds of thousands of refugees remain in limbo.

Since civil war broke out in South Sudan in mid-December, Paul Nyuol, 18, has been living in a United Nations compound in Juba, the capital. He's one of nearly 900,000 people whom aid officials say were displaced by the fighting in the East African country, which became independent less than three years ago.

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South Sudan: Life for refugees harsh, uncertain


JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN - Emmanuel Taban has been a refugee before.  When he was only five years old, Taban and his mother fled South Sudan to avoid their fledgling nation's war of independence against their more powerful neighbor, Sudan.

For 15 years, and most of his childhood, they stayed in a refugee camp in Uganda, returning only after they believed it was safe, after South Sudan became the world's newest country in 2011.

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Malian Christians: Christmas a time of worry


BAMAKO, Mali - Noel Somboro is a man known for his quick smile and frequent jokes, but when he's asked about Christmas, a worried, sad look spreads across his face.

That's because in Mali, where Muslims represent about 80% of the population, Somboro, 45, a Christian, is worried about attacks on his community.

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African leaders: Pushing peace talks in South Sudan


JUBA, South Sudan - Fighting continued Thursday as African leaders met in an attempt to bring an end to the hostilities that are threatening to erupt into civil war.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn met with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Thursday to push peace talks between the president and the rebels after violence broke out this month following an alleged coup attempt led by former vice president Riek Machar.

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Mandela memorial: Interpreter debacle


JOHANNESBURG - The South African sign language interpreter accused of using fake signs at Nelson Mandela's memorial service this week said he suffered a schizophrenic episode at the event, but another interpreter says it was not the first time Thamsanqa Jantjie has done bogus interpretations.

Jantjie, who has been called an imposter by sign experts, told Johannesburg's Star newspaper Thursday that he hallucinated and heard voices during the memorial service.

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Presidential residence: Revisiting Mandela's Genadendal


GENADENDAL - When slavery formally ended in the Cape Colony in 1838, more than 1,000 slaves fled to Genadendal seeking refuge.

More than 150 years later, President Nelson Mandela honored the hamlet set among lush mountains by renaming the official presidential residence in Cape Town after the small town about two hours east of the city.

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Freedom's spirit: Prison did not crush Mandela


CAPE TOWN – When James Ellis who worked in catering on Robben Island finally met Nelson Mandela, the feeling was indescribable, he recalled.

"He brought more calmness over me as a person," said Ellis, who met the prisoner after he was released. "I was in tears after meeting him — I was coming from the apartheid era. You never had the opportunity of meeting people like that."

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Cape Town: Leaders pay tribute to Mandela


CAPE TOWN - Some remembered his kindnesses; others reminisced about his charity.

And at a special session of Parliament today, dedicated to paying tribute to the country's first democratically elected president, all praised Nelson Mandela for his sacrifice, wisdom and humility.

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Nelson Mandela: Lack of bitterness set him apart


JOHANNESBURG - For all his years of struggle, imprisonment and political leadership, it was Nelson Mandela's capacity to embrace his former oppressors without bitterness in order to achieve a multiracial national reconciliation that stands out as his most enduring legacy.

"A lot of us regard him almost like a second Jesus,'' said Zanele Zikalala, a young black woman raised in the black township of Soweto but who now lives in middle-class suburbia. "I think he taught a lot of people and the world what true reconciliation is – and what forgiveness is.''

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Media money: Altering lives in Soweto, South Africa

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_SA131208aa003.jpegSOWETO, South Africa — The massive influx of Western media has brought life-changing revenue to some people in Soweto, money used for house renovations, small businesses and even college educations.

The death of former South African president Nelson Mandela has drawn hundreds of news organizations and thousands of journalists to South Africa. Some news organizations have been paying rent for years on small patches of private property in this historic township to ensure access upon Mandela's death.

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Cape Town: Pays homage to hero Mandela


CAPE TOWN - On Sunday evening, a mellow crowd gathered in the cooling sun after a hot summer's day to listen to prayers, songs and inspirational speakers.

Chester Williams is one of the area's beloved sports heroes. As the first post-apartheid black player to integrate the formerly all-white Springbok rugby team, Williams was on the team that won the 1995 World Cup, with the support of Mandela, as immortalized in the film Invictus.

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Tough road: African National Congress looks ahead without Mandela

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ZAF130225AA002.jpegJOHANNESBURG — Vilikazi Street in Soweto was quiet after the announcement of the death of Nelson Mandela — until a parade of African National Congress (ANC) members dressed colorfully in yellow, green and black marched past their former leader's home singing old struggle songs and praising his life's work.

It's been a common sight since Mandela fell ill late last year. The ANC has made sure its delegates are anywhere there is a gathering in tribute of the former president, busing in members wearing the party colors and singing songs harking back to tougher times.

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South Africans: Contemplate life without Mandela


JOHANNESBURG - On a gray, cloudy morning, millions of South Africans learned that native son and national hero Nelson Mandela had died the night before.

And as many continued on the routines of their day, South Africans across the country often paused Friday to mourn their beloved Madiba and to celebrate his remarkable life.

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South Africans: Mandela leaves 'an unfinished legacy'


JOHANNESBURG - At Nelson Mandela's old house in the Soweto district here, a crowd swelled to hundreds Friday to pay their respects – singing schoolchildren, men of all races in South Africa's green rugby uniform with their wives and the elderly that lived through apartheid.

They all praised the man that left a better South Africa than the one he was born into 95 years ago, even as thoughts turned to the future.

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Nelson Mandela: South Africa mourns his loss


JOHANNESBURG - The nation was in mourning Thursday for Nelson Mandela, a towering figure here for his fight to end apartheid and reconcile his country to democratic rule.

Mandela, 95, died Thursday at his home in Johannesburg. He had been hospitalized four times since last December, most recently earlier this summer when he was readmitted for a lung infection.

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39 die: Kenya mall siege, hostages held


KENYA - At least 39 people were killed during a Saturday afternoon shooting rampage at a shopping mall in an upscale district of Nairobi. The attack is believed to be orchestrated by extremists against non-Muslim Kenyans and Westerners in the area.

At least 150 were also injured, says Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who also reported the current death toll. He said he lost some family members in the attack.

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Birthday Celebrations: Mandela turns 95


JOHANNESBURG — People from across South Africa celebrated Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday with children singing to him in townships across the country and residents taking part in charity events.

"The mood is good today," said math teacher Khelbeni Mudau, 34, and other staff members at Thuto-Lesedi Secondary School, which handed out soap and perfumes to students from disadvantaged homes.

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Mandela Birthday: South Africa celebrates as health improves


JOHANNESBURG - South Africans prepared for celebrations and charity work as a way to commemorate the birthday of former president Nelson Mandela, who turns 95 on Thursday in a hospital where he has been for weeks for a lung infection.

"It is obviously more significant now because of his medical condition," said Noor Nieftagodien, an associate professor from the University of Witwatersrand. "Previously, his birthday embodied our democracy, but it's profoundly more important now."

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South Africa: Mandela not in vegetative state


JOHANNESBURG — As former South African president Nelson Mandela remains on life support in a Pretoria hospital, family members continue to fight over burial details.

Mandela, who was hospitalized on June 8, remains in critical but stable condition, according to the office of President Jacob Zuma, who visited the anti-apartheid leader Thursday. The president's office also said doctors denied reports that Mandela, 94, is in a ''vegetative state.''

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