Updated 2:51 p.m. ET, 12/10/13
(CNN) – Arriving on stage at FNB stadium in Johannesburg to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, President Barack Obama shook hands with dozens of other world leaders, pausing briefly to grasp the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro.
The greeting quickly sparked a strong debate on Twitter between those who praised and disagreed with the handshake, given that the United States does not share diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Washington (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden, an administration point man on reducing gun violence, will meet with families who lost loves ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on Tuesday as the one-year anniversary of the shooting approaches.
Biden, who spearheaded an effort in the aftermath of the tragedy to find ways of stopping mass shootings, will discuss new funding for mental health services with the Newtown, Connecticut, families, who have publicly asked for privacy as the December 14 anniversary approaches.
Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) - A powerful U.S. delegation led by President Obama and representing the current and last two American administrations, arrived in South Africa for a whirlwind visit to attend a memorial service set for Tuesday honoring the late ant-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela.
Former president George W. and Laura Bush accompanied President and Mrs. Obama on Air Force One for the 16 hour journey to Johannesburg. Also on board was a potential future president, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
(CNN) – Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul indicated Monday that his son, Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky, will likely run for president in 2016.
"I think he probably will. I mean, he's been on TV hinting that he very well might," Paul, a former congressman from Texas, said of his son's presidential aspirations to CNN's Jake Tapper appearing on "Erin Burnett OutFront."
Washington (CNN) - The partisan battle over presidential nominations heated up again in the Senate Monday and threatened to dominate the remaining days before the winter recess and crowd out legislation important to both parties.
Senate Republicans, still angry over filibuster changes Democrats made last month, blocked a series of largely non-controversial nominations Democrats tried to clear.
(CNN) – A bipartisan group of Senators is close to an agreement on tougher Iran sanctions in opposition to the White House, which is easing them as part of an interim accord Tehran struck with world powers aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions, CNN has learned.
A Senate deal would include a new round of sanctions to begin in six months and would not allow for the enrichment of uranium. But it would permit commercial nuclear power as long as it was monitored by the international community.
Washington (CNN) - As Congress struggles to complete its lengthy to-do list before a holiday recess, bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate defense committees are pushing a compromise that would allow them to quickly pass a critical defense bill that is currently stalled in the Senate.
The bill, which Congress has passed for 52 straight years, has been held up over a bitter disagreement on how many amendments would receive votes.
Updated 9:39 p.m., 12/9/2013
(CNN) - Republican Rep. Steve Stockman is launching a primary challenge against fellow Texan Sen. John Cornyn.
The Senate's second-ranking Republican, Cornyn is up for re-election next year.
(CNN) - Netflix will premiere a behind-the-scenes look chronicling the Presidential aspirations of Republican Mitt Romney.
The subscription screening service will continue its original documentary series with "Mitt," airing exclusively on Netflix January 24. The film will debut a week prior at the Sundance film festival in Salt Lake City.
(CNN) - Health insurance enrollment in at least one state appears to be picking up.
Colorado’s state-based insurance exchange Connect for Colorado announced on Monday that more than 5,000 new customers have purchased private insurance since November 30, increasing the state’s total enrollment numbers in private plans by more than 50 percent.