From NPR News in Washington, I'm Korva Coleman.
The President and First Lady will not visit South African leader Nelson Mandela in the hospital during their current visit to Johannesburg. But as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, the Obamas are meeting with the Mandela family to offer support.
White House aids say the president decided not to see Nelson Mandela out of deference to his peace and comfort and to respect the family's wishes. On this trip President Obama's been talking a lot about Mandela's influence on him personally and on the entire world.
"The outpouring of love that we've seen in recent days shows that the triumph of Nelson Mandela and this nation speaks to something very deep in the human spirit."
At a news conference with South African President Jacob Zuma, Obama said Mandela's teachings are especially relevant today, when so many regions are divided by sectarian disputes and religious or ethnic wars. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Johannesburg.
Secretary of State John Kerry met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas today. It's their second meeting in as many days. Kerry's doing shuttle diplomacy between Palestinian and Israeli officials, hoping to jump-start peace talks between both sides.
Thousands of supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi clashed today in Egypt before national protests scheduled for the rest of the weekend. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Cairo at least two people were killed, one of them American, and 85 were wounded in the fighting.
Kenyon College in Ohio identified the American victim as one of its students, Andrew Pochter. The college says on its website that Pochter was entering in an American non-profit organization involved in education and development in the Middle East. Egyptian security officials say the 21-year-old from Chevy Chase, Maryland was stabbed to death in Alexandria during a battle between pro and anti-Muslim Brotherhood supporters. The State Department, meanwhile, warned Americans against all but essential travel to Egypt in the coming days given the uncertain security situation. The State Department also said it authorized non-essential staff and the families of personnel at the US embassy in Cairo to leave until conditions improve. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Cairo.
Two California couples whose case came to an end this week with a pivotal Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage will wed on Friday. Opponents of same-sex marriage were dismayed at the news. They say the US appellate court acted too quickly in allowing such weddings to go forward and should have waited for a 25-day reconsideration period. That's when the Supreme Court may revisit its decision on California's Proposition 8.
The National Weather Service says an intense heat wave will grip the West for several days. One of the hottest areas, Death Valley, California, it's said the area's hottest temperature record a century ago at 134 degrees. Presently it is 114 degrees. It won't be that much cooler today in Las Vegas or Phoenix.
You’re listening to NPR News from Washington.
Are you thinking of traveling to Spain this summer? Well, that glass of sanguine will cost you more. Lauren Frayer reports the Spanish government is hiking taxes on alcohol and tobacco.
Tax on tobacco and liquor are going up by 10% effective immediately just as summer tourism gets underway. But the hike won't affect beer and wine. Europe bailed out Spain's banking system last year, and it's been pressuring Madrid to make such reforms. Ruling conservatives have already raised sales tax on things like movie tickets and new cars to 21%. The government is also scrapping some corporate tax deductions. It's been five years since Spain's huge property bubble burst. New taxes are part of austerity measures designed to avoid a full-blown bailout from Europe. For NPR News, I'm Lauren Frayer.
The first leg of the Tour de France bicycle race began on the French island of Corsica today. German rider Marcel Kittel won the first stage of this 100th tour. There were several crashes, and there was one tense moment when a team's bus got stuck under the finish line. It was moved out of the way before the winner crossed the finish line ahead of a speeding cluster of riders.
Thousands of Civil War reenactors are gathered in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. They are clustered on a private farm near the actual battlefield. Events have been planned by both the US Park Service and many volunteers and organizers, some who say up to 10,000 people will participate. The Battle of Gettysburg between July 1st and 3rd, 1863 was decisive and bloody. There were 50,000 American casualties as union troops turned back advancing Confederates.
I'm Korva Coleman, NPR News.
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