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US President to Pay Respects to Nelson Mandela

The White House says President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will travel to South Africa next week to pay respects to late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday the Obamas will participate in memorial events, adding that he will announce more details when they become available.

The Washington National Cathedral will hold a national memorial service Wednesday to honor Mr. Mandela.

Every living U.S. president is expected to attend Mr. Mandela's funeral in South Africa, health permitting.



Celebrities close to Mr. Mandela, including Oprah Winfrey, also plan to fly in to pay their respects.

South Africa will hold a state burial on December 15 to honor the nation's first black president, who died Thursday at age 95.

President Obama says he was one of countless millions who have been inspired by the South African leader's "moral courage, kindness and humility." Flags in the U.S. will fly half-staff through December 9 to honor Mr. Mandela.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Mr. Mandela's courage "and then his forgiveness inspired us all and challenged us to do better."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Friday the creation of the Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice. The new high school will be located in the Boys and Girls High School campus in New York's Brooklyn borough, where Mr. Mandela visited in 1990.

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