PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Nelson Mandela is gone, but many mourners waiting patiently for a chance to see Mandela for a last time on Thursday said they retain high hopes about South Africa's future. If the heady optimism of the days when South Africa's peaceful transformation to an all-race democracy in the 1994 elections has been diminished by time and economic challenges, many still believe the years ahead can be fruitful, with growing opportunity.
Leaders in debt-laden Catalonia vowed Thursday to let their region vote on November 9 next year on breaking away from Spain, but the national government immediately vowed to block their independence bid. Catalan political parties agreed on the date for a poll that would offer a choice of redrawing the map of Spain by creating a new, independent state between Spain and France, setting them on a collision course with the Spanish government. Led by Catalonia regional president Artur Mas's governing CiU alliance, the parties agreed to put two questions to voters: - "Do you think that Catalonia should be a State, yes or no?"