South Africa is readying itself for the influx of world leaders who plan to attend Nelson Mandela’s state funeral. Thousands of mourners, black and white, are still gathered at sites significant to the anti-apartheid president, including his house in the Johannesburg neighbourhood of Houghton. U.S. president Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, among others, have indicated they will attend.
Meanwhile, a week of mourning has been declared in South Africa. Sunday will be a national day of prayer and reflection and a special memorial service will be held at Johannesburg stadium on Dec. 10. Mandela’s body will then lie in state in Pretoria from Dec. 11 until his burial on Dec. 15 at his rural home in Qunu, President Jacob Zuma said.
In the Central African Republic, Christians are fleeing en masse from Muslim ex-rebels who control the lawless African country. A recent uptick in violence has resulted in hundreds of deaths. France, the country’s former colonizer, has deployed 1,000 troops to the region in an attempt to stabilize the violence, which French foreign minister has warned is “on the verge of genocide.”
Canadian rapper Drake has picked up four Grammy nominations ahead of this year’s awards. The versatile rapper-singer is up for best rap album for ”Nothing Was the Same,” best rap performance and best rap song for ”Started From the Bottom,” and his guest appearance on A$AP Rocky’s “F***in’ Problems.” Jay Z took the most nominations with nine.
A suspected drunk driver hit a newspaper carrier during a police chase early Friday morning. The driver allegedly sped through a road check and was pursued by officers when the car hit Steve Kania, who was delivering the Kelowna Capital News. Kania, who is in his 30s, was taken was taken to hospital with serious head injuries.
Mounties are stepping up security around Parliament Hill this festive season, adding a 134 new security cameras around public entrances to the parliament buildings. The RCMP bowed to the wishes of the privacy commissioner, however, and labeled each of the CCTV devices.
Virtuoso violinist Susanne Hao has travelled to London, England to say goodbye to a delicate and valuable companion – a $6 million violin. Hao, raised in Mississauga, Ont., played and traveled with the rare nineteenth century violin for four years thanks to a loan from the Stradivari Society of Chicago. “It’s scary when I have a moment to think about it or when somebody bumps into me in the Paris metro,” she said about carrying the 278-year-old instrument she recently returned.
Finally, Most twins are born minutes apart but these brothers born in Halifax have more than a week between their birthdays. Edonna Bean, who lives in Bermuda with her husband Ryan, was airlifted to IWK Health Centre in Halifax where she gave birth to her first son, Emyr, prematurely in November. It would take his brother, Esai, 8 days to follow. It’s incredibly rare for twins to be born so far apart, doctors say.