Mandela honored. World leaders and joyous, singing South Africans honored Nelson Mandela today at a rainy soccer stadium where President Barack Obama praised the former South African president as a “giant of history” and the last great liberator of the 20th century. Attendees braving heavy rain gave roars of approval to Obama’s speech at FNB Stadium in Soweto, the Johannesburg township that was a stronghold of support for the anti-apartheid struggle. But the weather and public transportation problems kept many people away. The 95,000-capacity stadium was only two-thirds full.
Jailers jailed. Federal officials said 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies saw themselves as being “above the law” when they engaged in crimes that included beating inmates and jail visitors, falsifying reports, and trying to obstruct an FBI probe of the nation’s largest jail system. Among the allegations are claims that deputies detained and mistreated the Austrian consul general and worked to obstruct the FBI investigation into their actions. Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca told reporters Monday he was troubled by the charges and that the department would continue to cooperate with the FBI investigation.
Set free. An 85-year-old Korean War veteran who was detained for weeks by North Korea gave details Monday of his captivity. Merrill Newman, who was deported from North Korea Friday and returned home to California on Saturday, was detained in late October at the end of a 10-day trip to communist country. His visit came six decades after he oversaw a group of South Korean wartime guerrillas during the 1950-53 war while serving in a Special Forces unit of the U.S. Army. He was scheduled to visit South Korea following his North Korea trip to meet some of the former fighters he had helped train. While in North Korea, Newman was forced to read on video a confession to war crimes. In a written statement issued Monday, Newman said he tried to show that the words he read on the recording were not his own by emphasizing the apology’s awkward phrasing and poor English grammar.
Helping hand. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the U.S. military to help quell the latest upsurge in violence in the Central African Republic. U.S. transport planes will help move foreign troops into the country. Hagel approved the order after speaking with French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian, who asked the United States to help get African troops quickly into the country to prevent the violence there from spreading, said Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog. There are more than 1,000 French troops in the Central African Republic, where more than 400 people were killed in two days of violence last week between Christians and Muslims. Christian armed fighters oppose the Muslim ex-rebels now in charge of the former French colony. Woog said the United States believes immediate action is needed to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. He added that the Pentagon would be evaluating what other U.S. resources might be available if additional requests for assistance come in.