More than 90 world dignitaries arrived in South Africa this morning to honour Nelson Mandela in a memorial that celebrated his gift for uniting enemies across political and racial divides. World leaders, and past U.S. presidents and royal figures, joined thousands of South Africans in Johannesburg's Soccer City where the homage to Mandela was held. The memorial in the 95,000-seat bowl-shaped stadium is the centrepiece of a week of mourning for the globally revered statesman, who died on Thursday aged 95. On Wednesday, the public will get the chance to view Mandela's remains at the capital Pretoria. He will be buried on Sunday in Qunu, his ancestral home in the Eastern Cape province, 700 km south of Johannesburg.
South African President Jacob Zuma and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela joined the rest of the nation in hymns and eulogies during a day of prayer, following the death of Nelson Mandela last Thursday.
An international conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi has brought together ministers, economists, scientists and development experts to review and recommend policy action towards incorporating the valuation of natural resources and ecosystems services in development planning and accounting in Africa. Natural capital is a critical asset, especially for low-income countries, where it makes up around 36% of total wealth, according to recent World Bank estimates. In May 2012, 10 African countries, along with various public and private organizations, adopted the Gaborone Declaration, which outlines a set of concrete principles and development goals that include valuing natural capital in the development planning process. As of 2005, half of Africa's most biologically rich terrestrial areas lost more than 50% of their area due to cultivation, degradation or urbanization.
South Africa's deputy president has re-launched the country's HIV counselling and testing campaign to mark World Aids Day. Kgalema Motlanthe, who is also the chairperson of the National Aids Council, underwent an HIV test at a mobile testing station in the mining town of Piet Retief in Mpumalanga to raise awareness of the importance of getting tested. The focus of the campaign was mainly to encourage men to get circumcised. Studies have shown that circumcision reduces a heterosexual male's risk of contracting HIV by up to 60 percent. Currently there is an estimated 6.4 million HIV-positive people in South Africa, 2.4 million of them are on the treatment programme, the biggest in the world. This year, the health ministry introduced a single dose anti-retroviral drug to make it easier for those receiving treatment.
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