Mandela is treated for pneumonia

Mandela is treated for pneumonia

South African officials for the first time Saturday confirmed the seriousness of former President Nelson Mandela's illness — pneumonia — as he prepared to spend a fourth night in a hospital.

Mandela, 94, who has a history of respiratory problems, had a pleural effusion, or fluid in or around the lungs, which had been drained, according to the president's office. "This has resulted in him now being able to breathe without difficulty. He continues to respond to treatment and is comfortable," said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj.

Mandela, who helped lead the rebellion against apartheid rule in South Africa, is revered as a symbol of peace and reconciliation in a nation often plagued by racial divisions. He contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned for 27 years by the white minority government, and has suffered from respiratory problems since.

Vatican City

Shroud of Turin goes on display for TV show

The Shroud of Turin went on display for a TV appearance on Holy Saturday — the day before Easter — amid new research disputing claims it's a medieval fake and purporting to date the linen some say was Jesus' burial cloth to around the time of his death.

Pope Francis sent a video message to the event in Turin's cathedral, but made no claim that the image on the shroud of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by Christ was really that of Jesus. Francis called the cloth an "icon," not a relic — an important distinction. The Vatican has tiptoed around what the cloth is.

Syria

Rebels enter strategic Aleppo neighborhood

Syrian rebels pushed into a strategic neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo after days of heavy clashes, seizing control of at least part of the hilltop district and killing a pro-government cleric captured in the fighting, activists and state media said Saturday.

There were conflicting reports about the scale of the advance into the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood by rebel forces battling to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. But the gains marked the biggest shift in the front lines in the embattled city in months.

Aleppo, Syria's largest city and a former commercial hub, has been a key battleground in the civil war since rebels launched an offensive there in July, seizing several districts before the fighting largely settled into a stalemate.

Nevada

Crash kills 5 members of family from Calif.

An 18-year-old was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in a southern Nevada crash early Saturday that killed five members of a California family and injured the suspect and three others.

Jean Soriano of California was booked into the Clark County Detention Center after he was treated at a Las Vegas hospital and released, state police said.

Soriano's sport utility vehicle struck a van from behind near Mesquite, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, investigators said. They said seven family members from Southern California were in the van, and five were killed. A passenger in the SUV also was hurt.

Washington

National Zoo performs insemination on panda

A Chinese veterinarian performed an artificial insemination on the National Zoo's female giant panda, Mei Xiang, on Saturday.

Pandas are able to breed once a year for a few days. Mei Xiang and partner Tian Tian had not been successful breeding naturally, the zoo said.

Times wires

Mandela is treated for pneumonia 03/30/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 31, 2013 12:20am]

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