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South Africans crowded into churches, mosques, temples and synagogues on Sunday to remember Nelson Mandela, encouraged by their president to celebrate a life that transcended race and religion. The nationwide day of prayer marked the formal start of a week-long state funeral for the man who forged a new multi-racial South Africa from the discredited remnants of the apartheid era he helped to dismantle. In the Regina Mundi Catholic church in the once blacks-only township of Soweto, parish priest Sebastian Rossouw called Mandela "a light in the darkness" and praised his capacity for "humility and forgiveness". "He fought for us then, now he needs to rest," said Olga Mbeke, 60, who was born in Soweto.
South Korea declared Sunday an expanded air defence zone that overlaps with one recently announced by China and covers a submerged rock disputed by the two countries as regional tensions soar over competing territorial claims. Seoul's defence ministry said its new zone, which will take effect on December 15, would cover Ieodo -- a submerged rock in waters off its south coast, which China calls Suyan. The airspace above the Seoul-controlled rock -- long a source of tension between South Korea and China -- is also covered by Beijing's zone. China last month unilaterally declared an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, asking foreign planes to identify themselves.
Ukraine's opposition hoped Sunday to muster a million-strong rally in a new push to wring concessions from President Viktor Yanukovych in a bitter confrontation over a rejected EU pact. Yanukovych's decision to drop political and free trade agreements with the EU in favour of tighter Russian ties and a crackdown on an opposition rally plunged the ex-Soviet nation into its worst political crisis in a decade. The president incensed the opposition and its supporters further by discussing the signing of a strategic partnership treaty with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday. Opposition leaders said Saturday that they would not sit down for talks with Yanukovych unless he dismissed the government, released arrested protesters and punished riot police officers for crushing an opposition rally last week.