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Nation & World briefs, June 30

South Africa

Obama pays tribute to ailing Mandela

Paying tribute to his personal hero, President Obama met privately yesterday with Nelson Mandela’s family as the world anxiously awaited news on the condition of the ailing 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader.

Obama, who has spoken movingly about Mandela throughout his trip to Africa, praised the former South African president’s “moral courage” during remarks.

The president also called on the continent’s leaders, including in neighboring Zimbabwe, to take stock of Mandela’s willingness to put country before self and step down after one term despite his immense popularity.

California

Sponsors of ban: Weddings premature

Less than 24 hours after California started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, lawyers for the sponsors of the state’s gay marriage ban filed an emergency motion yesterday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and stop the weddings.

Attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom claim in the petition that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted prematurely and unfairly Friday when it allowed gay marriage to resume by lifting a hold it had placed on same-sex unions while a lawsuit challenging the ban made its way to and through the Supreme Court.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks said a three-judge 9th Circuit panel acted prematurely and unfairly when it lifted a hold on same-sex marriages it had put in place while a legal challenge to the voter-approved ban made its way through the courts.

Massachusetts

Funeral held for man in Hernandez case

Hundreds of relatives, friends and teammates wept together and hugged yesterday at the funeral of a semi-pro football player whose killing led to murder and weapons charges against former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez.

The body of Odin Lloyd was found June 17 near Hernandez’s home. The police arrested Hernandez on Wednesday and charged him with orchestrating the execution-style shooting.

Lloyd played for the Boston Bandits and was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.

New Mexico

Eager beaver blamed for internet outage

Officials have identified the culprit behind a 20-hour internet and cell phone outage last week in northern New Mexico – an eager beaver.

CenturyLink spokesman David Gonzales told the Associated Press on Friday that a hungry beaver chewed through the fiber line last week. He said the biting evidence was discovered by contractors who worked to repair the outage.

Officials said more than 1,800 internet users were affected by the blackout. The number of cell phone users without service during that time is still unknown.

The Associated Press

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