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Nusa Dua (Indonesia) (AFP) - Commerce ministers capped days of hard negotiations on Saturday by approving a WTO agreement on international commerce they hailed as a "historic" boost for the trade body. The agreement still falls far short of the World Trade Organization's lofty but elusive vision of tearing down global trade barriers through its frustrating, 12-year-old Doha Round of talks. But the accord reached on the Indonesian resort island of Bali nevertheless marks the first global agreement struck by the Geneva-based body since its 1995 founding. "For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered," an exhausted but relieved WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo told a closing ceremony.
The passing of Nelson Mandela leaves a waning number of global figures representing freedom and resilience against oppression — and a changing world that makes it harder for anyone to approach Mandela's iconic power.