JOHANNESBURG – Nelson Mandela’s health has deteriorated and he is now in critical condition, the South African government said Sunday.
The office of President Jacob Zuma said in a statement that he had visited the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader at a hospital Sunday evening and was informed by the medical team that Mandela’s condition had become critical in the past 24 hours.
Mandela was jailed for 27 years under white racist rule and released in 1990. He then played a leading role in steering the divided country from the apartheid era to democracy, becoming South Africa’s first black president in all-race elections in 1994. He was hospitalized on June 8 for what the government said was a recurring lung infection.
Compounds in Damascus targeted
Suicide bombers targeted security compounds in Damascus and a car bomb exploded in a pro-regime district there Sunday, killing at least eight people, the latest in a surge of civil war violence in the capital of Syria.
In northern Syria, a car bomb killed 12 soldiers in Aleppo, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on activists in Syria for information.
Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the Damascus explosions, but they bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida-linked groups that have joined forces with rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad.
In neighboring Lebanon, fierce clashes erupted between the Lebanese military and supporters of a hard-line Sunni Muslim cleric, in the latest spillover from Syria. Six Lebanese soldiers were killed, according to the army.
Calgary residents return to homes
About 65,000 residents of Calgary were being allowed to return to their homes Sunday to assess the damage from flooding that has left Alberta’s largest city awash in debris and dirty water.
About 75,000 people had to leave at the height of the crisis as the Elbow and Bow rivers surged over their banks Thursday night. Three bodies have been recovered since the flooding began in southern Alberta and a fourth person was still missing.
Myanmar troops, rebels clashing
Myanmar troops have clashed with ethnic Kachin rebels more than 20 times since signing an agreement last month to de-escalate fighting, a spokesman for the Kachin armed forces said Sunday.
We cannot build trust just by holding talks, La Nan of the Kachin Independence Army said in an email to The Associated Press. It is necessary to have a firm commitment to resolve this through a political dialogue.
There was no immediate response from the government.