Mandela sees several visitors
South African President Jacob Zuma gave a largely upbeat assessment Tuesday of the health of Nelson Mandela, the nation's first black president and antiapartheid icon, who has spent more than two weeks in the hospital for a lung infection and gallstones. Zuma said in a statement that Mandela, 94, "is looking much better" and "the doctors are happy with the progress he is making." Zuma visited Mandela on Christmas morning at a Pretoria hospital along with Mandela's wife, the children's rights activist Graca Machel.
Bush kin bring holiday meal
Former President George H.W. Bush spent Christmas in a Houston hospital with his wife, Barbara, and other relatives who treated him to a special holiday meal. Bush's son, Neil, and his wife also visited on Tuesday, and one of Bush's grandsons was planning to stop by as well, said Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston. The 88-year-old has been in the hospital since Nov. 23 with a lingering, bronchitis-like cough. Doctors remain "cautiously optimistic" Bush will recover but want to build up his strength, McGrath said.
Queen's speech makes leap to 3D
Queen Elizabeth II hailed Christmas in a new dimension, delivering her holiday message for the first time in 3D. In the annual, prerecorded TV broadcast, the monarch paid tribute to the armed forces, "whose sense of duty takes them away from family and friends" over the holidays, and expressed gratitude for the outpouring of enthusiasm for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
By the numbers
111,000 Calls on Christmas Eve to the annual Santa-tracking operation of the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado, a record total. The usual questions: "Where's Santa, and when will he get here?"
107,000 Calls to NORAD in 2011.