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South African parliament honors Nelson Mandela

Dec 9th, 2013 - International News

— South Africa's parliament has begun a special session honoring Nelson Mandela.

The session began Monday afternoon in Cape Town, with an announcement that members of Mandela's family were sitting in the gallery.

Kgalema Motlanthe, South Africa's deputy president, began the proceedings with a speech. He described how Mandela's influence in South Africa and around the globe caused a "sweeping feeling of sorrow" worldwide following his death.

Motlanthe said: "He belongs to all humanity. ... Mandela's ideals saturate the face of the Earth."

Mandela died Thursday at age 95.

— President Barack Obama will pay tribute this week to Nelson Mandela, making the long trip from Washington to South Africa Monday to attend a national memorial service for the anti-apartheid icon.

Tuesday's memorial service will also serve as a rare reunion of nearly all of the living American presidents. George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, will accompany Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Air Force One. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will travel separately to South Africa.

George H.W. Bush is the only living president who will not attend. His spokesman said the 89-year-old is no longer able to travel long distances.

The American leaders will join dozens of other dignitaries and tens of thousands of mourners at the memorial service at a Johannesburg stadium.

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