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Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 9
A handshake between United
States President Barack Obama
and Cuba's Raul Castro stole the
show at South Africa's memorial
for Nelson Mandela overnight
a resonant tribute to a man who
brought old enemies together and
straddled ideological divides and
e gesture will not exorcise
the Cold War ghosts haunting
the Florida Straits, but it would
have delighted Mandela, who
was nothing if not loyal to old
revolutionary allies like Raul's
retired elder brother Fidel, who
at 87 was too old to attend the
Had they been alive, Libya's
Muammar Gadda and Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat would also have
been at the Johannesburg stadium
where world dignitaries joined tens
of thousands of South Africans
paying emotional homage.
During his long career and even
in the nal years before his death
on ursday aged 95, Mandela
maintained unswerving loyalty to
veteran revolutionaries shunned by
the West such Fidel Castro, Gadda
and Arafat, who had supported his
lifelong ght to overturn apartheid
in South Africa.
After he became South Africa's
rst black president in 1994,
Mandela defended these political
and personal allegiances, testily
rejecting pressure to cut o ties
with gures and regimes viewed as
pariahs by many in the West.
" e enemies of the West are not
my enemies and I'm not prepared
to be dictated to at all by anybody,"
Mandela said in 1996, defending
invitations to Castro and Gadda to
"I'm not going to take advice as
to who my friends should be," he
added, saying he was under pressure
from at least one global power to
break o ties with these anti-US
e tsunami of tributes pouring
in since his death has elevated the
former African National Congress
freedom ghter to the level of a
modern-day saint, obscuring a
historical truth some may nd
"We mustn't forget he was really,
and remained, a leftist militant
radical cast in the mould of 1950s
and 60s ird World liberation,"
said Stephen Ellis, an Africa
expert and professor at the African
Studies Centre in Leiden, the
He said Mandela and South
Africa's ANC imbibed deeply of
the pro-Soviet and pro-Cuban
ideological in uences that drove
liberation and independence
movements in Africa in the late 50s
and early 60s.
Re ections of this pan-African
ird Worldism show up in South
Africa's foreign policy to this day
" e ANC, in its foreign policy,
still sees itself as ghting for the
liberation of the ird World," Ellis
At the time when Fidel Castro's
revolution was inspiring radicals
and liberation groups in Africa and
Latin America, Mandela's arrest in
1962 and his jailing for sabotage
and treason in 1964 locked him
away from the world.
"He was in a deep freeze for 27
years," said Ellis.
When Mandela walked free from
prison in 1990, the Berlin Wall had
fallen and the Soviet Union was on
the way to disintegration. But his
world-view, formed in an earlier
time, still saw Castro, Gadda and
Arafat as fellow freedom ghters
struggling to forge a di erent world.
So while Western leaders like US
President Bill Clinton and Britain's
Tony Blair embraced Mandela as
an uplifting icon of the post-Cold
War planet --- setting up the fuzzy
modern celebrity cult that envelops
his image --- the South African
made a point of honouring his and
the ANC's older allegiances.
He had signaled this clearly in
1991 when he paid a three-day visit
to Cuba to thank Castro and the
Caribbean island for its support
in the ght against apartheid --- a
con ict which included Cuban
troops who fought and died in
"Cuba is our friend," he said
emphatically, drawing applause in
Havana but howls of outrage from
anti-Castro Cuban-Americans in
Miami who continue to view him
"We are now being advised
about Cuba by people who have
supported the apartheid regime
for the last 40 years," Mandela said
sarcastically then about the United
States. Fidel Castro sent Mandela
rum and cigars on his birthdays,
even though the ageing statesman
did not smoke or drink hard liquor.
For Gadda , too, who was seen
by many in the west as a crackpot
dictator, Mandela maintained an
un inching loyalty to a man he
called "brother leader" before he
was killed during a western-backed
revolt two years ago.
Mandela played a crucial role in
persuading Gadda to surrender
two Libyan suspects in the
bombing of PanAm ight 103 over
Lockerbie, Scotland in December
1988, which killed 270 people and
led to United Nations sanctions
He visited Libya in the face
of stern US criticism and even
decorated Gadda with South
Africa's Order of Good Hope.
"Madiba had friends who were
frowned upon, but you have to
honour their relationship," said
Zelda la Grange, Mandela's former
personal assistant, calling him by
his clan name.
"It was important to him even in
later years to remain loyal to the
people who supported him and the
ANC," she added.
at loyalty also extended initially
to Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe --- Zimbabwe was one of
the states that Mandela rst visited
after his release from prison in
1990 to o er thanks for its support
for the ANC's liberation war.
But relations between two of the
grand old men of Africa's freedom
struggle went sour once Mandela
stepped down in 1999 after a
single term in o ce while Mugabe,
bu eted by falling support,
economic crisis and popular anger
over a costly intervention in a
Congo war, hung on term after
Finally, even Mandela joined the
criticism of Mugabe, lamenting
"the tragic failure of leadership" in
Mugabe, present at the memorial,
did not inch from swiping at the
halo of the global icon when he
criticised Mandela in an interview
in June for being "too saintly, too
good" in the way he reached out to
South Africa's whites.
For many though, Obama's hand
to Castro will validate Mandela's
gift for "speaking with the enemy".
"He shook hands with the
apartheid enemy when everyone
advised him not to," said former
aide la Grange.
" e way you approach a person
determines how that person treats
you," she added. "If we just adopt
that in our lives, it makes the world
a better place." --- Reuters
Handshake stirs old revolution
United States President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro.
North Korea is engaged in a purge
amounting to a "reign of terror" that has
claimed the scalp of the country's second
most powerful man and risks further
damaging relations with the South,
President Park Geun-hye said overnight.
Park took o ce in Seoul earlier this year
as North Korea conducted its third nuclear
test, enraging world public opinion, and
threatened to engulf its southern neighbour
and its ally, the United States, in a war. e
isolated state shelled a South Korean island
in 2010 and is widely believed to have sunk
a South Korean naval vessel in the same
"North Korea is currently carrying out
a reign of terror, undertaking a large-scale
purge in order to strengthen Kim Jong Un's
power," Park told a cabinent meeting, part of
which was broadcast on television.
"From now on, South-North Korea
relations may become more unstable."
In her usual carefully scripted manner, the
president called for vigilance to safeguard the
wealthy South's achievements.
"In times like these, I think it is a nation's
duty and politicians' job to keep people safe
and free democracy strong," she told the
State media said Jang Song aek, the
uncle of North Korean ruler Kim Jong
Un, had been dismissed from his posts for
"criminal acts" ranging from mismangement,
corruption and leading a "dissolute and
Television in the tightly controlled and
impoverished state showed him being
frogmarched by uniformed personnel out of a
meeting of the ruling Workers' Party.
Associates of Jang are believed to have been
executed in the purge of a man once viewed
as a regent for Kim Jong Un, aged about 30
and the third of his family dynasty to run the
South Korean o cials discounted media
reports that a close associate of Jang who
managed his funds had requested asylum and
was under the protection of South Korean
o cials in China.
No request for asylum, they said, had been
"I understand there was no request" Foreign
Ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young told a
brie ng. e South's uni cation minister also
told lawmakers no such application had been
South Korea's intelligence service last
week said two of Jang's close entourage
were executed for corruption and two of his
relatives serving in embassies overseas had
Although experts expect further reprisals
against Jang's allies, no rm evidence has
emerged of mass punishments. And they
say China, North Korea's only ally, generally
resists allowing defectors from the North to
seek asylum elsewhere.
Members of the South's parliament,
however, said last week that Kim Jong Un
was resorting to fear to cement his leadership.
"Kim Jong Un is strengthening the reign
of terror ... Last year 17 people were publicly
executed but this year there were about 40,"
Cho Won-jin told journalists after a brie ng
by the NIS intelligence agency. It was the
NIS that rst broke news last week that Jang
had been dismissed.
Cho also said authorities were enforcing
harsher rules on videos being imported
illegally into North Korea.
Tension rose sharply on the Korean
peninsula earlier this year after the United
Nations imposed tough, new sanctions on
Pyongyang in response to its latest nuclear
It eased as South and North Korea reopened
the joint Kaesong factory park in September
just north of the heavily militarised border,
ve months after the North abruptly shut it.
But despite the gesture to reopen the only
remaining co-operation endeavour between
North and South, Pyongyang again warned
it would turn Seoul into a "sea of re".
e North has repeatedly attacked Park,
the daughter of Park Chung-hee, South
Korea's long-ser ving dictator, who laid the
foundations for the country's growth and
prosperity. --- Reuters
Reign of terror
seeks to bolster
North Korea's leader
A father's diet in uences the
health of his o spring, according
to a study that suggests men, like
women, should plan to eat and
live healthily in the run-up to
Researchers led by Sarah
Kimmins at McGill University
in Montreal, Canada, looked at
what happened when male lab
mice had a diet that was poor in
B9, also called folate, is present
in green leafy vegetables, cereals,
fruit and meat.
Women often take folic acid
supplements, before and during
pregnancy, to reduce the risk of
miscarriage and birth defects in
their o spring.
But Kimmins' team were
startled to nd that male mice
that had a B9-de cient diet also
fathered mice with a higher rate
of birth defects, compared to
counterparts which had eaten
su cient folate.
"We were very surprised to see
that there was an almost 30%
increase in birth defects in the
litters sired by fathers whose
levels of folates were insu cient,"
said one of the team, Romain
"We saw some pretty severe
skeletal abnormalities that
included both cranio-facial and
e problem, according to the
investigators, lies in the sperm's
epigenome, or the "switches" that
turn genes --- the protein-making
codes for life --- on and o .
is switchgear, in uenced by
diet or other life experiences,
deregulates key genes during the
embryo's development, according
to their theory.
If the ndings in rodents also
turn out to hold true for humans,
there are important implications
for men's diet, said Kimmins.
"Despite the fact that folic
acid is now added to a variety
of foods, fathers who are eating
high-fat, fast-food diets or who
are obese may not be able to use
or metabolise folate in the same
way as those with adequate levels
of the vitamin," she said.
"Our research suggests that
fathers need to think about what
they put in their mouths, what
they smoke and what they drink
and remember they are caretakers
of generations to come."
More than 500 authors, including J M
Coetzee and Gunter Grass, have signed a
petition to the United Nations that claims
mass state surveillance is violating basic
e signatories called for a new
international bill of digital rights to
curb what they claimed was the abuse of
democracy through widespread internet
snooping, following the recent revelations of
on-line eavesdropping from fugitive United
States intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
e Writers Against Mass Sur veillance
petition, signed by 562 authors from more
than 80 countries, was published in about 30
e signatories were led by ve winners
of the Nobel Prize in literature: South
African writer Coetzee, German novelist
Grass, Austrian playwright Elfriede Jelinek,
Swedish poet Tomas Transtroemer and
Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk.
It was also signed by Booker Prize winners
Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, John
Berger, Roddy Doyle, Kazuo Ishiguro,
omas Keneally, Yann Martel, Ian
McEwan, Michael Ondaatje and Arundhati
Others included Peter Hoeg, Colm Toibin,
Martin Amis, Lionel Shriver, Louis de
Bernieres and Irvine Welsh.
"With a few clicks of the mouse the
state can access your mobile device, your
e-mail, your social networking and internet
searches," it says.
"It can follow your political leanings and
activities and, in partnership with internet
corporations, it collects and stores your data.
" e basic pillar of democracy is the
inviolable integrity of the individual ... all
humans have the right to remain unobserved
" is fundamental human right has been
rendered null and void through abuse of
technological developments by states and
corporations for mass sur veillance purposes.
"A person under surveillance is no longer
free; a society under surveillance is no longer
a democracy. To maintain any validity, our
democratic rights must apply in virtual as in
e writers demanded the right for people
to determine how their data can be collected
and stored, to know how it is being used and
demand its deletion if illegally har vested.
Stop on-line surveillance
say world writers
You are what daddy ate --- study
Israel hailed a historic
agreement yesterday that it
claimed would save the sinking
Dead Sea by linking it with
the Red Sea through a 180km
e Red-Dead Conduit deal
was due to be signed by Israel,
Jordan and the Palestinian
Authority at the World Bank
headquarters in Washington
after years of deliberation and
e project is expected to
see 200 million cubic metres
of water a year pumped
northwards from a desalination
plant to be built at the Gulf
of Aqaba in Jordan, near the
mouth to the Red Sea.
Some will be distributed to
Israel, Jordan and the occupied
West Bank while four pipes will
pump the rest to the Dead Sea.
Water levels in the Dead Sea,
whose banks are in Israel and
Jordan, have dropped by more
than 25m in the past 50 years
--- with experts forecasting that
it could be dried up by 2050.
Silvan Shalom, the Israeli
Energy and Regional
Development Minister, said the
deal was a result of "strategic
co-operation of diplomatic
signi cance" between Israel,
Jordan and the Palestinian
" is is a breakthrough after
many years of e orts. It is
nothing less than a historic
move," he told Israel Radio.
criticised the agreement, with
Friends of the Earth accusing
Shalom of misleading the
Israeli public by packaging it as
an initiative to save the Dead
"What is being devised here
is nothing to do with the Red-
Dead Canal project but is a
water exchange programme,"
said Gidon Bromberg, the
Israeli director of Eco Peace-
Friends of the Earth Middle
"It will bring foreign water
into the Dead Sea that would
upset its ecosystem, creating
gypsum and quite probably
--- New Zealand Herald
Israel hails pipeline plan to save Dead Sea
e Dead Sea
ree United States judges have
rejected lawsuits demanding that
chimpanzees be recognised as
people with fundamental rights.
e Nonhuman Rights Project
petitioned three courts in New
York State in a bid to have the
four chimpanzees moved to a
sanctuary where they could live
out the reminder of their days in
It based its petitions on
behalf of chimpanzees Tommy,
Kiko, Hercules and Leo on the
principle of habeas corpus, which
in New York allowed slaves to
establish their right to freedom.
But all three judges threw out
the applications on the grounds
that habeas corpus does not
apply to an animal. e charity
says it will appeal.
" e struggle to attain
the personhood of such an
complex nonhuman animal as a
chimpanzee has barely begun,"
charity president Steven Wise
e organisation says Tommy
is held in a cage at a used trailer
lot while 26-year-old Kiko is
deaf and living in a private home.
Hercules and Leo are owned
by a research centre and used
in locomotion experiments on
Judge Joseph Sise of Fulton
County Court said he would
entertain a separate lawsuit
seeking to right any wrongs to
Tommy but could not consider
him a person.
Two other judges threw out the
petition on the same grounds.
e Nonhuman Rights
Project website has published
biographies of the four chimps.
e group says the day it visited
Tommy, the temperature in his
shed was about 40 degrees below
what it would be in his native
" e only company he had was
the other side of the shed," the
As for Kiko, the group said
he was partially or totally deaf
because of abuse su ered on the
set of a Tarzan movie, before
he was acquired by his present
owners. --- AFP
Chimp lawsuit falters in US courts
Former world heavyweight
champion boxer and convicted
rapist Mike Tyson says he
is "greatly disappointed" to
discover he is banned from
entering the United Kingdom.
Tyson, 47, was due in
London this week as part of a
promotional tour for his new
His publishers said recent changes to
UK immigration laws meant he was
unable to travel to the country and has
been re-routed to Paris instead.
Tyson is currently booked in for a
British tour for his one-man Broadway
show, directed by Spike Lee, which
is booked for eight nights in March
next year in London, Glasgow and
In a statement to the Press Association,
Mr Tyson said he was "greatly
disappointed" when he learned of the
immigration law changes that came into
e ect last December.
"I have been coming to the UK
consistently in the past decade so this
change is disheartening since
it a ects my current entry
standing," he said.
"I apologise to my fans that
were inconvenienced, however,
please know I am currently
working diligently with the
proper authorities to regain
access next year for my UK
Tyson said he had a great
deal of respect for the UK's
laws and would continue taking the
proper steps for re-entry.
A spokesman for HarperCollins said
the publishers had been unaware of the
law change, which had forced the late
change of location to Paris.
Tyson was convicted in 1992 for
the rape of a teenage beauty queen,
and served three years of a six-year
He also has convictions for assault,
cocaine possession and driving under
the in uence.
Under the new immigration rules, any
person who has been sentenced to more
than four years in prison is barred from
entering the country. --- PA
Tyson disappointed by UK ban
United States President Barack Obama
may have moved the masses attending
Nelson Mandela's memorial service with
his stirring eulogy, but it was his grinning
"sel e" with the Danish and British prime
ministers that set social networks abuzz.
In a candid moment captured by
AFP photographer Roberto Schmidt,
Denmark's Helle orning-Schmidt can
be seen holding up her smartphone, with
Obama lending a helping hand, as they
pose for a picture with David Cameron,
all three of them smiling broadly in their
seats at Soweto's World Cup stadium.
First Lady Michelle Obama, sitting to
the left of her husband, does not join in
with the lighthearted moment, keeping
her eyes rmly trained on the podium
where world leaders were paying tribute
to South Africa's anti-apartheid hero
Mandela, who died on ursday aged 95.
e so-called sel e --- short for self-
portrait --- was quickly picked up by
major international news outlets and
went viral on social media sites, with
many questioning whether the moment
of mirth was appropriate for the occasion.
" ere should be a moratorium on
'sel es' during memorials and funerals,
no?" tweeted @Je ryHalverson.
"Is is e Most Important Sel e Of
2013?" headlined the US-based social
news website Buzzfeed, noting that
Michelle Obama seemed "not amused"
by the impromptu photoshoot.
e act of taking sel es has become
increasingly popular in recent years. e
word itself was named this year's word of
the year by Oxford Dictionaries.
A sel e is de ned as "a photograph that
one has taken of oneself, typically one
taken with a smartphone or webcam and
uploaded to a social media website".
It originated in Australia with a young
drunk rst using the word to describe a
self-portrait photograph more than a
decade ago. --- AFP
Obama, Cameron take
'selfie' at memorial
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