WASHINGTON (AP) — The Asiana Airlines captain who crashed a Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport in July told investigators he was "very concerned" about attempting a visual approach because the runway's automatic landing aids were out of service due to construction, according to an investigative report released Wednesday.
Nelson Mandela's tearful widow was among scores of mourners who paid their last respects before his open casket Wednesday, as the much-loved leader lay in state. The procession passed the central prison where he was jailed in 1962 for incitement and leaving the country illegally.
South Africa's deaf community on Wednesday accused the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial of being a fake who had merely flapped his arms around during speeches. "He's a complete fraud," Cara Loening, director of Sign Language Education and Development in Cape Town. The interpreter, who translated US President Barack Obama's speech, looked as if he was "trying to swat a few flies away from his face and his head". "The deaf community in South Africa are completely outraged and nobody knows who he is," said Loening.
By Richard Cowan and David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bipartisan budget deal announced in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, though modest in its spending cuts, would end three years of impasse and fiscal instability in Washington that culminated in October with a partial government shutdown. While praised by the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the agreement faces a challenge from some House conservatives and will require support of the minority Democrats to pass. The backing of President Barack Obama, who also hailed the agreement as "a good first step," should help round up votes of his fellow Democrats. He urged Congress to quickly pass it.
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta won a confidence vote in the lower house as expected on Wednesday, clearing the first hurdle to confirming his parliamentary majority ahead of a vote in the Senate later in the day. Letta, head of a coalition between the center-left Democratic Party and smaller centrist and center-right parties, asked parliament to back a broad program of reforms which he said would lift Italy's stagnant economy after two years of recession. He called the confidence vote to confirm his majority after Silvio Berlusconi, now banned from parliament, ended seven months of cooperation with the center-left by pulling his Forza Italia party out of the coalition.
By James Mackenzie ROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister Enrico Letta called on parliament on Wednesday to back his government or risk chaos as he sought to push through long-avoided reforms intended to revive Italy's economy after two years of recession. Opening a debate in the lower house before his third confidence vote since October, Letta said Italy had avoided reforms for 20 years and could no longer afford to delay, with protests across the country this week underlining the bitter public mood after years of painful attempts to squeeze costs and boost revenues. I won't give in to those who say the chaos is too much and we can't do anything," he said, pledging to combat a growing tide of political disillusion and hostility to the European Union. The economy is now smaller than it was more than a decade ago and obstacles range from rampant corruption and a discredited political system to a level of tax evasion which the head of Italy's tax authority said this week was incompatible with a democratic state.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is taking new action to help phase out the use of antibiotics in meat.
New York (AFP) - US stocks Wednesday opened mostly higher after congressional lawmakers announced a bipartisan budget deal that could avert another US government shutdown.
By Peroshni Govender JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The booing of South African President Jacob Zuma at Nelson Mandela's memorial laid bare popular anger against him, but the thick-skinned ANC leader can call on a powerful political base to carry him and the party through elections next year. Zuma, who was popular when he took over the presidency of Africa's largest economy in 2009, suffered public humiliation on Tuesday in front of world leaders when thousands attending the rain-soaked Mandela commemoration booed and jeered him. But it must have hurt him to hear those who booed, some wearing African National Congress (ANC) T-shirts, then cheering U.S. President Barack Obama and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. Even more painful would have been the audible cheers for apartheid's last white leader, former President F.W. de Klerk, and even for former President Thabo Mbeki, the man Zuma replaced as ANC leader in 2007 in a tumultuous party takeover.
NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is little changed in early trading as investors weigh a budget deal out of Washington and a batch of corporate news.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Steve McQueen's historic saga "12 Years a Slave," Jon Wells' dysfunctional family adaptation "August: Osage County," Jean-Marc Vallee's AIDS drama "Dallas Buyers Club," the White House servant tale "Lee Daniel's The Butler" top the list of outstanding performances for the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards with three nominations each.
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday defended his behavior at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in South Africa after he was criticized at home for posing with U.S. President Barack Obama for what some said was a disrespectful photograph. The self-portrait - known as a "selfie" in online social media - was taken on Tuesday in Soweto at the memorial event for Mandela, who died last Thursday aged 95. It captured Cameron and Obama - who suffered a similar ticking off in the U.S. media - smiling broadly either side of Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. All three appeared to be in high spirits and sharing a joke as a stern-faced Michelle Obama looked away.
By Tiisetso Motsoeneng PRETORIA (Reuters) - Thousands of people queued on Wednesday to say goodbye to Nelson Mandela, whose body was lying in state in Pretoria in the building where the anti-apartheid hero was inaugurated in 1994 as South Africa's first black president. Several people fainted in the stifling heat as South Africans waited their turn to file past Mandela's casket after family members, foreign dignitaries and celebrities paid their respects at the imposing Union Buildings, perched on a hill overlooking the city. By afternoon the summer heat and lack of access to water and toilets caused several people to pass out and tempers to fray as people waited in line for their last chance to see the man regarded as the father of democratic South Africa.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A man who appeared to provide sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Tuesday.
By Drazen Jorgic NAIROBI (Reuters) - The European Union has offered to increase counter-terrorism support to Kenya after the Westgate mall attack in which gunmen from a Somali Islamist group killed at least 67 people in Nairobi, a senior E.U. official said on Wednesday. Kenya, an ally for Western powers trying to curb the spread of radical Islam out of east Africa and in particular Somalia, has in the past suffered major attacks on its soil by al Qaeda and its Somali affiliate al Shabaab. Analysts and diplomats say the five-day Westgate siege showed large holes in Kenya's security apparatus despite Israel, the United States and Britain training many Kenyan intelligence, military and police officers over the years. Human rights groups have also accused Kenya's Anti Terror Police Unit of brutality and extra-judicial killings of mainly Muslim men suspected to have linked to al Shabaab.
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