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Soweto: From bullets to BMWs

Sunday afternoon is showtime in Soweto, a time when it seems everyone in South Africa's iconic township is out on the streets strutting their stuff. An armada of sleek German sedans -- the must-have ride for South Africa's black nouveau riche -- slithers along the well-paved roads, lapping slow-moving buses packed with camera-wielding tourists. "Nothing beats the experience of being among the people here," said Sandile Mashiyane, an accountant who moved out of the township five years ago. "Weekends are the best."

UN's deputy Syria mediator steps down

The deputy to the United Nations' Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will leave his post this week, the UN said on Monday. The UN did not specify the reason for Nasser al-Kidwa's prompt departure, but said that he had indicated "his willingness to serve the United Nations in other capacities." UN chief Ban Ki-moon thanked Kidwa for his efforts "in trying to end the bloodshed in Syria and move toward a Syrian-led transition," according to a statement by Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky.

UN's deputy Syria mediator steps down

The deputy to the United Nations' Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will leave his post this week, the UN said on Monday. The UN did not specify the reason for Nasser al-Kidwa's prompt departure, but said that he had indicated "his willingness to serve the United Nations in other capacities." UN chief Ban Ki-moon thanked Kidwa for his efforts "in trying to end the bloodshed in Syria and move toward a Syrian-led transition," according to a statement by Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky.

Mandela's estate worth at least $4.1mn

Nelson Mandela left his roughly $4.1-million estate to his wife Graca Machel, family members, staff, schools and the ANC, according to a summary of his will released Monday. Two months after the death of the 95-year-old South African statesman, lawyers said wife Graca was likely to waive her right to half the estate, opting instead to receive four properties in Mozambique and other assets. Royalties from his books and other projects, as well as his homes in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Qunu and Mthatha were left to a family trust.

Mandela's estate worth at least $4.1mn

Nelson Mandela left his roughly $4.1-million estate to his wife Graca Machel, family members, staff, schools and the ANC, according to a summary of his will released Monday. Two months after the death of the 95-year-old South African statesman, lawyers said wife Graca was likely to waive her right to half the estate, opting instead to receive four properties in Mozambique and other assets. Royalties from his books and other projects, as well as his homes in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Qunu and Mthatha were left to a family trust.

Mandela's estate worth estimated $4.1mn

Nelson Mandela left portions of his roughly $4.1-million estate to his wife Graca Machel, family members, staff, schools and the ANC, according to a summary of his will released Monday. Two months after the death of the 95-year-old South African statesman, lawyers said wife Graca was entitled to half the estate, but may opt to receive only specified assets, including four properties in Mozambique. Royalties from his books and other projects, as well as his homes in Johannesburg, Qunu and Mthatha were left to a family trust.

UN Syria mediator Brahimi is master of patience

Despite the slim pickings from a week of UN-brokered peace talks between Syria's warring sides, getting them to the table at all was a huge feat in itself. But for international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, that was all in a day's work in a job that requires patience, persistence, strong will and fine-tuned diplomacy. The 80-year-old Algerian has long been one of the most respected envoys in the world, called in when the mission seems impossible.

Elders to visit Iran to promote dialogue with West

A group of former global leaders known as the Elders, tasked with encouraging dialogue between Iran and the international community, is due to arrive in Tehran Sunday, their website said. The group, formed in 2007, is made up of twelve global leaders who try "to promote peace, justice and human rights," according to their website. The group sees "recent positive developments as a historic and strategic opportunity to end decades of animosity between Iran and the international community," the statement published on Saturday said.

Jimmy Carter calls for elections, peacekeepers in Syria

Former US president Jimmy Carter on Monday proposed three principles as a basis for Syria peace talks in Geneva: free elections, respect for their results and the deployment of peacekeepers. Syria peace talks are set to begin in Switzerland on January 22, though the full list of participants is still unclear. The talks have gone nowhere up to now because each belligerent "has been allowed to define the preconditions for negotiations," Carter, who won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.

Tutu going to Mandela's funeral after spat over invitation

By Wendell Roelf CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa's retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu will attend the funeral on Sunday of his friend and fellow anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, his spokesman said on Saturday, signaling a change of heart after a dispute over his invitation. Tutu, like Mandela a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, had earlier said he would not be going to the burial service in Qunu in Eastern Cape province because he had not received a formal invitation or any indication that he was on the guest list.
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