The selfie and the handshake - news or not?

Published on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 12:46 - Written by includes quotes from articles by the Associated Press

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London in this image still image taken from video on Wednesday Dec. 11, 2013. British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was only being polite when he posed for a ``selfie’’ photo at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service deflecting complaints that he was being disrespectful during the occasion. Cameron joined President Barack Obama and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt in a camera phone snap at the service in South Africa on Tuesday. When asked about it in Parliament, Cameron said amid laughter from lawmakers that Mandela brought people together, so he thought it “only polite to say yes” to a request for a photo from Thorning-Schmidt, the daughter-in-law of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock. (AP Photo/PA)
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Following Nelson Mandela's memorial service Tuesday, President Barack Obama has been criticized for two things.

The selfie: President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron leaned in to pose for a selfie with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at a vast soccer stadium where Mandela was honored. Obama's wife, Michelle, sat unsmiling next to her husband, out of the picture, which was captured by a photographer at the event.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was only being polite when he posed for a selfie photo at Nelson Mandela's memorial service — deflecting complaints that he was being disrespectful during the occasion.

The handshake: It would hardly have been noteworthy, except the men locking hands in Johannesburg were Barack Obama and Raul Castro, whose nations have been mired in Cold War antagonism for more than five decades. A single, cordial gesture is unlikely to wash away bad blood dating back to the Eisenhower administration. But in a year that has seen both sides take small steps at improving the relationship, the handshake stoked talk of further rapprochement.

Not everyone was so happy about it.

"Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant," said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American congresswoman from Florida who until January 2013 was chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

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