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SOUTH AFRICA: Mandela family feud

Police used a pickax to break down the gates at the home of Nelson Mandela's grandson Wednesday in search of the bones of the elder statesman's dead children. A spokesman for grandson Mandla Mandela, a tribal chief, said he agreed to obey a court order and allow the remains to be returned. The feud concerned Mandela's burial place, with the family confirming in court documents that the former president is on a life support machine and his death is "impending." The legal battle over the remains has implications for dominance of the powerful clan, and for control of the money Mandela's famous name generates. At the heart is a family feud over where the 94-year-old Mandela will be laid to rest, a site that potentially could draw tourists, since he expressed the wish to be buried next to his children. They were originally interred in his home village, Qunu. Two years ago, Mandla Mandela secretly had the bodies moved to Mvezo, the elder Mandela's birthplace. The family took court action to have the bodies exhumed and re-interred in Qunu. Mandela's eldest daughter, Makaziwe, led 14 other family members in the court application for the return of the bones.

MEXICO: Elections spawn killings

City and state elections are often the most deadly in Mexico, and nothing has changed this year. As Sunday's elections grow near in 14 states, eight politicians or their relatives have been killed. Others have reported being kidnapped or shot at. Some fear that drug gangs are asserting their power, others that candidates are being targeted by their rivals. People are being attacked for seeking office in areas where organized crime and old-style pols rule, and the cases seem to have accelerated over the past week.

BELGIUM: King, 79, stepping down

King Albert II announced his abdication, trying to smooth the path to next year's elections in a country torn between the richer Dutch-speaking north and the French-speaking south. Albert, 79, said he will end almost 20 years as the titular head of state and hand over to his eldest son, Prince Philippe, on July 21, the anniversary of the inauguration of the first Belgian king in 1831. "My age and my health no longer permit me to exercise my functions as I would like," the king said on national television.

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