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A writer who has studied Nelson Mandela's life as a young man says the leader known for his grace and forgiveness, and for helping South Africa end apartheid while avoiding civil war, was once seen in a much different light. At one point, he even trained in guerrilla warfare.

South Africa's official period of mourning for former President Nelson Mandela will culminate in his funeral a week from Sunday. Mandela's death left South Africans with "a sense of profound and enduring loss," says the nation"s president, Jacob Zuma. His compatriots, as well as foreign visitors, are flocking in homage to the Mandela homes in Soweto and Johannesburg.

U.S. civil rights leaders were among the first Americans to shine an international light on apartheid in South Africa. But calls for economic sanctions eventually led to wider actions, from college campuses to Wall Street. Richard Knight, project director of the African Activist Archive, remembers the role the U.S. indirectly played in South Africa's struggle.

When Nelson Mandela died this week at age 95, he left a legacy as one of the most important leaders in modern history. Mandela rose from humble beginnings to lead South Africa out of its apartheid past, and helped to keep the nation from tumbling into civil war. But before becoming South Africa's first black president, he endured decades behind bars.

Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, almost 100 volunteer decorators show up at the White House. They spend the next five days stringing garlands and hanging ornaments, making the White House sparkle for the holidays. NPR has a related tradition, and it's about to end.

After several years of declining shrimp stocks, regulators have imposed a moratorium on shrimping in New England waters. The closure could hurt commercial fisherman and future demand for the Gulf of Maine shrimp, but scientists say the move may be the only way to prevent the population from collapsing.

Duke University is known for its basketball team. But this year, Duke's fans have something else to cheer about: their football team has had a standout season.

Fissures in the Republican Party have drawn a great deal of attention over the last year. But this week, it's the Democrats who are divided over their economic worldview.

Many Syrians fled their country and took refuge just across the border, planning to wait out the war. But now, a growing number are working with smugglers to get to northern Europe. The Syrians say they see no end in sight to the civil war and want to start a new life.

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving, and six others forbid it for new drivers — but that doesn't stop people from doing it. So New York State Police are using unmarked SUVs to try to spot drivers in the act.




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