South Africa: Mandela in good spirits in hospital

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- South Africa's presidency says former leader Nelson Mandela, who has been in a hospital since Dec. 8, is looking better and in good spirits. Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said today that 94-year-old Mandela's condition "remains as it was yesterday." President Jacob Zuma had joined Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, and other family members in wishing a Merry Christmas to Mandela at his hospital bedside in Pretoria, the South African capital.

Mandela, a leader of the anti-apartheid movement, was diagnosed with a lung infection and also had a procedure to remove gallstones. Officials have said Mandela is improving, but note doctors are taking extraordinary care because of his age.

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