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By Ed Stoddard PRETORIA (Reuters) - Apartheid death-squad leader Eugene de Kock, dubbed 'Prime Evil' for his role in the torture and murder of scores of black South African activists in the 1980s and early 1990s, was granted parole on Friday after more than 20 years in prison. Justice Minister Michael Masutha said de Kock would be released "in the interests of nation-building and reconciliation" and because he had expressed remorse at his crimes and helped authorities recover the remains of some of his victims. Many South Africans, however, believe forgiveness is the only way to leave the memories of apartheid behind. WHITE RULE As head of an apartheid counter-insurgency unit at Vlakplaas, a farm 20 km (15 miles) west of Pretoria, de Kock is believed to have been responsible for more atrocities than any other man in the efforts to preserve white rule.
Britain marked 50 years on Friday since the state funeral of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, with the boat which carried his coffin under the dipping dockside cranes in 1965 retracing its journey along London's River Thames. Britain's current leader, David Cameron, began the remembrance events at a ceremony in parliament, laying a wreath at a statue of Churchill, a man he described as "a great Briton" who should never be forgotten. "A full fifty years since his funeral when the cranes along the Thames dipped low and the streets were lined with vast silent crowds, the sheer brilliance of Winston Churchill remains undimmed," he said. "He left a Britain more free, more secure, more brave and more proud, for that we will always be grateful to him." Churchill, whose inspirational leadership and dogged spirit are widely credited with having saved Britain from invasion by Nazi Germany, died on Jan. 24, 1965 aged 90.
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ninety-year-old Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, one of Africa's most divisive figures, ascended to the rotating chairmanship of the African Union on Friday, casting a shadow over the continental body's relations with the West. Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe has known since independence from Britain in 1980, assumed the largely ceremonial role at an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.