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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mandela Honoured by World Leaders at Memorial Service

More than 100 current or former heads of state attended the national memorial service for Nelson Mandela at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg on Monday. South African President Jacob Zuma was repeatedly booed during his address, with the crowds asked to “behave”. He said Mandela had been “one of a kind, a fearless freedom fighter who refused to allow the brutality of the apartheid state to stand in way of the struggle for the liberation of his people”. US President Barack Obama, who shook hands with Cuban President Raúl Castro on his way to the podium, said he would be remembered by his gestures, large and small. “Introducing his jailors as honored guests at his inauguration; taking the pitch in a Springbok uniform; turning his family’s heartbreak into a call to confront HIV/AIDS – that revealed the depth of his empathy and understanding”, said Obama. The ceremony was closed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who reprimanded the crowd for the earlier booing. “I want to show the world we can come out here and celebrate the life of an icon. You must show the world that we are disciplined. I want to hear a pin drop”, he said.

Looting Spreads Across Argentina, At Least Four Dead

After last week’s widespread rioting in Córdoba left two dead, Argentina suffered another day of rioting and looting on Monday as police forces in 17 out of the country’s 23 provinces went on strike or refused to go on active patrol in a bid for pay rises. Two died in Tucumán province while sacking shops, a 15-year-old was killed in Jujuy province, and in Entre Ríos a man attempting to loot a store was electrocuted after touching an exposed electrical wire. The federal government said the lootings were orchestrated by oppositionists, with President Kirchner’s Chief of Staff Jorge Capitanich saying that the situation amounted to “treason” aimed at spreading fear and chaos on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the end of the dictatorship in 1983.

Joblessness Puts Future Growth in Peril, Says IMF

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Tuesday that any prospects of growth for the eurozone were bleak unless governments in the currency region began to tackle the problem of youth unemployment. “Can a crisis really be over when 12 percent of the labour force is without a job? When unemployment among the youth is in very high double digits, reaching more than 50 percent in Greece and Spain? And when there is no sign that it is becoming easier for people to pay down their debts?”, she asked during a talk at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels. “Unemployment at a young age means a lack of on-the-job training, depreciating skills, and possible withdrawal from the labour market. Experience tells us that long spells of unemployment lead to a less productive workforce down the road”, she added.

Canada to Claim the North Pole

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said on Monday that Canada would make a claim to the extended continental shelf in the Arctic, including the North Pole, in an attempt to stamp its sovereignty in a potentially resource-rich region. “We have asked our officials and scientists to do additional work and necessary work to ensure that a submission for the full extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic includes Canada’s claim to the North Pole”, said the foreign minister during a press conference in Ottawa. “Fundamentally, we are drawing the last lines of Canada. We are defending our sovereignty”, said Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq at the same event. Scientific experts later explained that the claim was still incomplete, despite decades of work, because the government is unsure if there is much more work to be done before the Canadian government makes its submission to the UN.

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