In 2008 just before his 90th birthday, the United States gave Nelson Mandela a special present, striking him from a decades-old terror watch list and ending what US officials called "a rather embarrassing matter." By then the anti-apartheid icon had long left behind the jail cells where he was incarcerated for 27 years, and was already enjoying retirement and his status as one of the most revered statesmen of the 20th century after becoming South Africa's first black president. On Thursday, when Mandela died at age 95, President Barack Obama hailed him as belonging "to the ages" and ordered that flags on US government buildings be flown at half-mast -- a rare tribute to a foreign leader. Yet decades ago many in America did not share in the adulation of Mandela and his African National Congress (ANC), which had been billed a terrorist organization by both South Africa and the United States.
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in November and the jobless rate fell to a five-year low of 7.0 percent, which could fan speculation the Federal Reserve could start reducing its bond purchases this month. The unemployment rate dropped three tenths of a percentage point to its lowest level since November 2008 as some federal workers who were counted as jobless in October returned to work after a 16-day partial shutdown of the government. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising 180,000 last month and the unemployment rate falling to 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent. Other details were also upbeat, with employment gains across the board, hourly earnings rising and the workweek lengthening.