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Soweto (South Africa) (AFP) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday shook hands with Raul Castro, leader of America's Cold War foe Cuba, in a rare gesture at the memorial service in South Africa for Nelson Mandela. Obama offered the handshake before taking the stage to eulogise Mandela, but minutes later, made a clear swipe at states like Cuba, saying those who proclaim Mandela's legacy must honour its meaning by easing curbs on freedom.
Britain said on Tuesday it had abandoned plans to engage a private contractor to run a multi-billion dollar defence procurement programme plagued by spending overshoots, delays and technical problems. Britain's Conservative-led government had earlier this year trumpeted a reform of the way it buys equipment for its armed forces to help rein in public spending. The plan hit problems when one of two bidders for the contract pulled out on November 19, leaving only a consortium led by U.S. engineering group Bechtel, and with PA Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers, in the competition. I have therefore concluded that the risks of proceeding with a single bidder are too great to be acceptable," Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said, confirming earlier reports of the cancellation.