Mali

2:21pm

Sun January 13, 2013
The Two-Way

France Claims Gains In Airstrikes Against Mali Islamists

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 4:56 am

A map shown Sunday during a news conference held by French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris shows the movement of French troops and aircraft n Mali.
Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

France says its military operations in the African nation of Mali have stopped the advance of Islamist militants.

"Stopping the terrorists, that's done," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told RTL radio on Sunday.

Without France's intervention, the Islamists would have advanced to Bamako, the Malian capital, he said.

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9:57am

Sat January 12, 2013
The Two-Way

Failed French Rescue Attempt Leaves Several Dead In Somalia

In October, kidnapped French intelligence agent Denis Allex appeared in a video shot by his captors. In the video, Allex pleads for French President Francois Hollande to negotiate for his release.
- AFP/Getty Images

It's not clear whether a French intelligence agent is dead or alive after a botched rescue attempt in Somalia on Saturday morning. As the AP reports:

"France says the agent, code-name Denis Allex, was killed in the raid, along with a French commando and 17 Islamist militants. But the militant group al-Shabab, which held Allex for more than three years, says it still has Allex and claims to have captured a French soldier."

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2:41am

Tue December 25, 2012
Africa

U.S. Military Builds Up Its Presence In Africa

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:22 am

Gen. Carter Ham is head of the U.S. African command. An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., will begin helping train African militaries beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.
AP

An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., some 4,000, soldiers, will begin helping to train African militaries. The idea is to help African troops beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.

The American troops will head over in small teams over the course of the next year. The Dagger Brigade returned to Kansas last year from a deployment to Iraq, where it trained and advised that country's security forces.

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1:31am

Thu December 6, 2012
Africa

Why No One's Going To Timbuktu These Days

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 8:41 am

A woman walks by the Grand Mosque of Djenne on market day in Djenne, Mali, on Sept. 2. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed town is among the Malian tourist sites suffering from a huge drop in visitors after a coup took place in March and Islamist rebels seized control of the country's north.
Joe Penney Reuters/Landov

Tourism, the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people in the West African country of Mali, has ground to a halt. Since the coup in March and the subsequent occupation of the north by militants linked to al-Qaida, Mali has virtually become a no-go zone for visitors. The impact on the economy and people's lives is profound.

In the historic city of Segou, about 150 miles north of the capital, Bamako, the effects are obvious.

On a recent day, the engine of the brightly painted pinasse, a wooden boat handcrafted with a swooping wicker canopy, slowly starts up.

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2:44pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Music Reviews

Two Malian Guitar Greats, Gone But Still Wailing

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 4:50 pm

Malian guitarist Lobi Traore died in 2010, at just 49. His last album is called Bwati Kono.
Courtesy of the artist

Back in 1985, a young Malian named Zani Diabate became one of the first African musicians to release a successful album in Europe. He was soon crowded out by a flood of superstar African singers, but for anyone who experienced Diabate's rocking guitar tone and edgy African phrasing, the sound is unforgettable.

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