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Parallels
10:36 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Africa Wanders From Mandela's Path To Democracy

Nelson Mandela casts his vote during South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994. Mandela's example led to more democracy across Africa, although overall political freedom has declined on the continent in the last five years.
John Parkin AP

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 3:27 pm

When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, Africa's record on democracy was abysmal. One stark fact summed it up: Not a single African leader had ever lost his job at the ballot box in the three decades since African countries began receiving independence around 1960.

But with Mandela leading the way, South Africa became the most prominent example of the emerging democracies and open elections that spread across the continent in the 1990s.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Rape Accusation Still Shadows Heisman Finalist

Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston faced an accusation of rape, but the state of Florida decided not to press charges following an investigation.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 3:22 pm

On Saturday night, there's a very good chance Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will win the Heisman Trophy, awarded each year to the best college football player in the country.

For Winston, family, friends, teammates and Seminole fans, undoubtedly it'll be a shining moment, but a discordant note continues to run through this tale of football glory.

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The Two-Way
9:44 am
Sat December 14, 2013

IN PICTURES: Mandela's Journey Home

A military aircraft carrying the body of former South African President Nelson Mandela departs from Waterkloof military airbase for the Eastern Cape on Saturday in Pretoria, South Africa.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 10:47 pm

On the final leg of 10 days of mourning, Nelson Mandela's body was flown from the seat of government in Pretoria to his ancestral hometown of Quno on Saturday.

"A guard of honor carried his casket from the hearse onto the transport plane that flew the late South African statesman home to the Eastern Cape for burial on Sunday," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast unit from Johannesburg. "The two-hour flight was preceded by a moving memorial, organized by his governing ANC Party."

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The Two-Way
8:46 am
Sat December 14, 2013

State TV: Chinese Spacecraft Makes Soft Landing On The Moon

Staff members make preparations for Chang'e-3's soft-landing on the moon at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, on Saturday.
Li Xin Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 9:01 am

A Chinese spacecraft made a soft landing on the surface of the moon on Saturday, China's state television is reporting.

Televised images showed the control room at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing erupted into applause at about 8:10 a.m. ET. Almost immediately, the lander started to deploy its solar panels and began running a systems check.

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Politics
7:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

White House Hires A Crisis Manager, Easing Democratic Worries

John Podesta was Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff from 1998 to 2001, helping the president survive impeachment.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

It's not big enough to be called a shakeup, but the new hire announced this week at the White House is important: John Podesta will come on board in January as a counselor to the president.

Podesta is a Democratic wise man, the founder of the Center for American Progress, a policy and personnel incubator for Democratic administrations, and he just started a new think tank on income inequality — the problem President Obama says will animate his second term.

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