South African human rights lawyer George Bizos dies at 92
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Noted South African lawyer George Bizos, who defended Nelson Mandela in many of his trials during the anti-apartheid struggle and helped win his release from prison, died on Wednesday at the age of 92. Bizos, known as one of the icons of South Africa's fight for democracy, died of old age at his home in Johannesburg, his family said in a joint statement with the Legal Resource Centre (LRC), where he was a member.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Noted South African lawyer George Bizos, who defended Nelson Mandela in many of his trials during the anti-apartheid struggle and helped win his release from prison, died on Wednesday at the age of 92.
Bizos, known as one of the icons of South Africa's fight for democracy, died of old age at his home in Johannesburg, his family said in a joint statement with the Legal Resource Centre (LRC), where he was a member.
"George Bizos is one of those lawyers who contributed immensely to the attainment of our democracy," President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised statement, calling him one of the architects of the country's constitution.
Bizos, a human rights champion for all his life, defended Mandela in the 1960s during the Rivonia Trial, named after a suburban locality on the outskirts of Johannesburg where many apartheid opponents were hiding in a farm.
"The friendship between him (Bizos) and Mandela spanned more than seven decades and was legendary," the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a nonprofit organisation, said in a statement.
Born in Greece in 1927, Bizos came to South Africa in 1941 at the age of 13 as a World War Two refugee and settled in Johannesburg. He completed his law degree at the University of Witwatersrand in 1950 and was admitted to the Johannesburg Bar in 1954. He served as an advocate in Johannesburg until 1990, according to the foundation.
As member of the Legal Resource Center, a public-interest litigation organisation, Bizos led a team for the government to pass the Constitution in 1996, represented people who were victims of apartheid atrocities, and fought for families whose members were murdered in detention, the LRC said.
"He also played an instrumental role in the negotiations for the release of Nelson Mandela," it said.
(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.