Government and politics
WASHINGTON - Congressional negotiators, in a rare show of bipartisanship, reached a modest U.S. budget agreement Tuesday to restore about $63 billion in automatic spending cuts from programs ranging from parks to the Defence Department and eliminate the threat of another partial government shutdown early next year.
KIEV, Ukraine - Security forces clashed with protesters as they began tearing down opposition barricades and tents set up in the centre of the Ukrainian capital early Wednesday, in an escalation of the weeks-long standoff threatening the leadership of President Viktor Yanukovych.
BANGKOK - Protesters waging a surreal political fight to oust Thailand's elected prime minister are trying to establish what amounts to a parallel government — one complete with "security volunteers" to replace the police, a foreign policy of their own and a central committee that has already begun issuing audacious orders.
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - Uruguay's Senate gave final congressional approval Tuesday to create the world's first national marketplace for legal marijuana, an audacious experiment that will have the government oversee production, sales and consumption of a drug illegal almost everywhere else.
The vote was 16 to 13, with the governing Broad Front majority united in favour. The plan now awaits the signature of President Jose Mujica, who wants the market to begin operating next year.
HAVANA - It was the briefest of moments, just seconds, two presidents shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries amid a gaggle of world leaders together to honour the late Nelson Mandela.
It would hardly have been noteworthy, except the men locking hands in Johannesburg were Barack Obama and Raul Castro, whose nations have been mired in Cold War antagonism for more than five decades.
JOHANNESBURG - Amid cheers and song for the prisoner who became peacemaker, President Barack Obama energized tens of thousands of spectators and nearly 100 visiting heads of state Tuesday with a plea for the world to emulate Nelson Mandela, "the last great liberator of the 20th century."
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - An Alaska community's sale on eBay of a vehicle used by former Mayor Sarah Palin has caused a stir in small-town politics.
The city of Wasilla, just north of Anchorage, auctioned off the 1999 Expedition used by Palin during her second term as mayor on the website. A Fairbanks woman bought it for $10,300, about $8,000 over its value.
JOHANNESBURG - President Barack Obama's eulogy was for Nelson Mandela, but it laid out for a global audience the work that Obama himself would like to be remembered for: an unending fight against injustice and inequality. Obama acknowledged he sometimes wonders whether he is doing enough to live up to Mandela's historic legacy.
BANGUI, Central African Republic - Two French soldiers have been killed in combat in Central African Republic's capital, President Francois Hollande's office announced Tuesday, underscoring the challenges of a new French military intervention in the nearly lawless former colony.
Hollande plans to visit the Central African Republic later Tuesday, heading into the tricky conflict zone after attending a memorial in South Africa for Nelson Mandela.
BANGKOK - The head of Thailand's protest movement on Tuesday extended his extraordinary claims to holding power over government activities, issuing orders to officials over whom he has no legal or actual authority.