Thai opposition protesters were preparing Friday to relaunch their campaign to overthrow the government after a temporary truce in the strife-hit capital for the birthday of the country's revered king. Despite a call by the ailing monarch for "stability and security" in his birthday speech, the demonstrators have vowed to step up their rallies after the lull in tensions, which follows violence that left five people dead and more than 200 injured. Protesters have no immediate plans for action on Friday and will await an "important speech" in the evening from their leader Suthep Thaugsuban about their next move, said Akanat Promphan, a spokesman for the demonstrators. The kingdom remains on edge following several days of street clashes between police using tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets against rock-throwing demonstrators seeking to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and curb the political influence of her brother Thaksin.
In 2008 just before his 90th birthday, the United States gave Nelson Mandela a special present, striking him from a decades-old terror watch list and ending what US officials called "a rather embarrassing matter." By then the anti-apartheid icon had long left behind the jail cells where he was incarcerated for 27 years, and was already enjoying retirement and his status as one of the most revered statesmen of the 20th century after becoming South Africa's first black president. On Thursday, when Mandela died at age 95, President Barack Obama hailed him as belonging "to the ages" and ordered that flags on US government buildings be flown at half-mast -- a rare tribute to a foreign leader. Yet decades ago many in America did not share in the adulation of Mandela and his African National Congress (ANC), which had been billed a terrorist organization by both South Africa and the United States.