Top news: France's military campaign in Mali intensified on Wednesday as its forces pushed north in an attempt to dislodge Islamist rebel groups, bringing French troops into direct combat with rebels who appear to have dug in and prepared for an extended fight.
Continuing a two-pronged assault with air strikes and a ground assault, French forces alongside Malian troops ringed the town of Diabaly, where militants have spread throughout the population and continued air-strikes have failed to rout the rebels. Fighting to expel the rebels from the city took place for much of the day Wednesday, but as of Thursday morning it appeared the rebels had managed to hold on to the city amid continuing reports of French airstrikes there. Meanwhile, the French army launched strikes against the rebel-held town Konna, whose capture first sparked the French intervention.
In an attack that may confirm French fears of international reprisals in response to its intervention in Mali, a tense hostage crisis has developed in Algeria, where militants struck a BP gas field and took several foreigners hostage, including some Americans. Some 15 to 25 foreigners are said to have escaped, but the standoff between the militants and the Algerian government, which is considering considering inviting an international force, continues unabated.
Pakistan: Citing a lack of evidence, Pakistan's anti-corruption chief refused to arrest the country's prime minister on corruption charges, further inflaming a growing political crisis in the country. The decision comes as a radical cleric and thousands of protesters have laid siege to the capital and demanded that the government be dissolved.
- The Somali militant group al-Shabab said it has killed captured French intelligence agent Denis Allex.
- The U.S. government plans to extend official recognition to the government of Somalia.
- Al-Qaeda linked gunmen killed five and wounded another three in a restaurant shooting in eastern Kenya.
- Hong Kong's chief executive unveiled a series of proposals aimed at alleviating the city's chronic housing shortages and pollution.
- Torrential rains inundated the Indonesian capital Jakarta, killing at least four and forcing tens of thousands to evacuate.
- Amid concerns for human rights abuses, the American military in Afghanistan has suspended the transfer of prisoners to some Afghan prisons.
- A string of bombings in Iraq targeting Shiite pilgrims killed 22.
- A poll gives Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-line bloc a comfortable lead ahead of elections next week.
- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy attempted to defuse a controversy over seemingly anti-Semitic remarks uttered in 2010.
- Amid a debate over the UK's future in the EU, Labour leader Ed Milliband warned that Prime Minister David Cameron is leading the country toward an exit from the EU.
- Thousands of people turned out for the funeral for three PKK activists killed in Paris.
- A Russian court denied a request by a member of the punk band Pussy Riot to defer her jail term until her son is a teenager.
- While ailing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez remains incommunicado in Cuba, the Venezuelan government published a decree Wednesday bearing his signature.
- U.S. aviation regulators -- in addition to several of their international counterparts -- grounded the new Boeing Dreamliner amid safety concerns.
- Guatemalan police are investigating the murder of two young girls whose bodies were dumped in the streets of the country's capital.