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World and national news in brief

Gun control struggles
SEN. HEIDI Heitkamp, D-N.D., addresses her supporters Nov. 6 in Bismarck, N.D. Despite a proposal backed by over 8 in 10 people in polls, gun control supporters are struggling to win over moderate Democrats like Heitkamp in their drive to push expanded background checks of firearms purchasers through the Senate next month. Backed by a $12 million TV advertising campaign financed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, gun control groups scheduled rallies around the country Thursday aimed at pressuring senators to back the effort. President Barack Obama was meeting at the White House with gun violence victims.

Gun control struggles SEN. HEIDI Heitkamp, D-N.D., addresses her supporters Nov. 6 in Bismarck, N.D. Despite a proposal backed by over 8 in 10 people in polls, gun control supporters are struggling to win over moderate Democrats like Heitkamp in their drive to push expanded background checks of firearms purchasers through the Senate next month. Backed by a $12 million TV advertising campaign financed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, gun control groups scheduled rallies around the country Thursday aimed at pressuring senators to back the effort. President Barack Obama was meeting at the White House with gun violence victims. AP Photo/Will Kincaid

S. African leader hospitalized

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s presidency says 94-year-old Nelson Mandela is responding positively to hospital treatment for a recurring lung infection.

The office of President Jacob Zuma also said in a statement Thursday that the former president and anti-apartheid leader remains under observation.

Mandela was admitted late Wednesday to a hospital in Pretoria, the South African capital.

Mandela contracted tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment for fighting white racist rule in South Africa. He has repeatedly had lung problems.

Rebel declares himself president

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Michel Djotodia showed up for peace talks a few months ago in camouflage and a turban as the face of Central African Republic’s rebel movement. Now he has traded those fatigues for a suit as the country’s new self-declared leader after overthrowing the president of a decade.

Djotodia, whose diverse resume includes studying in the former Soviet Union and working as a consul in Sudan’s region of Darfur, initially signed on in January to serve as the defense minister in a unity government with his longtime nemesis, then President Francois Bozize. But that power-sharing deal fell apart only two months later when Djotodia’s forces invaded the capital and he declared himself president of the impoverished but mineral-rich country for at least the next three years.

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