South Africa to expand Mandela memorial service

South Africa will expand Nelson Mandela’s memorial service to cater for at least 200,000 people, more than first planned, as ordinary citizens to heads of state clamor to pay tribute to the former president.

Three additional sports facilities will screen the Dec. 10 service taking place at the city’s FNB Stadium, the government said. Representatives from countries including the U.S. will attend the service, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said Sunday.

South Africa is three days into a 10-day mourning period after Mandela, who brought an end to white-minority rule by becoming the first black president in 1994, died at his home in Johannesburg on Dec. 5. He was 95. President Jacob Zuma asked the nation to come together in prayer, with services held nationwide attended by thousands.

The body of Mandela, who was jailed for 27 years for fighting apartheid, will lie in state in Pretoria from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13 before a funeral in his home town of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province on Dec. 15.

KIEV, Ukraine

Hundreds of thousands protest in Ukraine capital

Hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Ukraine’s capital on Sunday, toppling a statue of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and blockading key government buildings in an escalating standoff with the president over the future of the country.

The biggest demonstration in the former Soviet republic since Ukraine’s pro-democracy Orange Revolution in 2004 led the government to fire back. It announced an investigation of opposition leaders for an alleged attempt to seize power and warned the demonstrators they could face criminal charges.

The West pressed for a peaceful settlement.

Protesters are demanding President Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster after he ditched ties with the European Union in favor of Russia and sent police to break up an earlier protest in the nearly three-week standoff.

SEOUL, South Korea

North Korea acknowledges purge of powerful official

North Korea on Monday acknowledged the purge of leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle for alleged corruption, drug use, gambling and a long list of other “anti-state” acts, apparently ending the career of the country’s second most powerful official.

The young North Korean leader will now rule without a relative long considered his mentor as he consolidated power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, two years ago. Jang Song Thaek’s fall from the leadership, detailed in a lengthy dispatch by state media, is the latest and most significant in a series of personnel reshuffles that Kim has conducted in an apparent effort to bolster his power.

Some analysts see the purge as a sign of Kim Jong Un’s growing confidence, but there has also been fear in Seoul that the removal of such an important part of the North’s government could create dangerous instability or lead to a major miscalculation or attack on the South.


Suspect in three slayings kills self in front of police

A man suspected of killing three women in an apartment complex shot himself to death in front of police officers after letting a 13-month-old child go free, authorities said Sunday.

Police in the Hartford suburb of Manchester responded to the Dye House Apartments at about 9:40 p.m. Saturday, minutes after getting 911 calls reporting gunshots. An armed man was leaving the apartment building carrying the child as officers arrived at the scene, according to a statement by Manchester police Capt. Christopher Davis. The man put down the child and fatally shot himself, Davis said.

– From news service reports

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