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By Ed Cropley and Pascal Fletcher JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela died peacefully at home at the age of 95 on Thursday after months fighting a lung infection, leaving his nation and the world in mourning for a man revered as a moral giant. President Jacob Zuma's announcement late on Thursday of the death of a man who was a symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation reverberated through South Africa and around the world. Mandela's passing, while long expected, left Africa's biggest economy still distant from being the "Rainbow Nation" ideal of social peace and shared prosperity that he had proclaimed on his triumphant release from prison in 1990. "He's in a better place, but I really hope South Africa realises what he wanted us to be ... we are not even half-way to what he wanted us to be," local resident Jack Van der Merwe said in the Johannesburg suburb of Melville.
Embattled Australian carrier Qantas' credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's to "junk" status Friday after the airline issued a shock profit warning and slashed jobs. Qantas on Thursday flagged a half-year loss of up to Aus$300 million (US$271 million) and said it would axe 1,000 jobs as it struggles under the weight of record fuel costs and fierce competition from subsidised rivals. That puts Qantas in what is known as "junk" status among professionals, increasing the cost of financing for the carrier and restricting access to investors that do not put their money in lower rated companies. "The downgrades reflect our view that intense competition in the airline industry has weakened Qantas' business risk profile to 'fair' from 'satisfactory', and financial risk profile to 'significant' from 'intermediate'," S&P said in a statement.