Officials worry about terror as France nears exit from Mali

Officials worry as France nears exit from Mali

With France planning to start withdrawing its troops from Mali next month, Western and African officials are increasingly concerned that the African soldiers who will be relied on to continue the campaign against militants linked to al-Qaida do not have the training or equipment for the job. The heaviest fighting so far, which has driven the militants out of the towns and cities of northeastern Mali, has been borne by French and Chadian forces, more or less alone. Those forces are now conducting mostly patrols in the north, while troops sent by Mali's other regional allies have been slow to arrive and have focused on peacekeeping rather than combat. Turning Mali's own fractured army into a cohesive and effective force would entail "a huge amount of work," according to Brig. Gen. Francois Lecointre of France, who is leading the effort to retrain Mali's army.

Los Angeles

Japanese architect wins Pritzker Prize

Japanese architect Toyo Ito, whose buildings have been praised for their fluid beauty and balance between the physical and virtual world, has won the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the prize's jury announced Sunday. The 71-year-old architect joins such masters as Frank Gehry, I.M. Pei, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano and Wang Su in receiving the honor that has been called architecture's Nobel Prize. Ito, the sixth Japanese architect to receive the prize, was recognized for the libraries, houses, theaters, offices and other buildings he has designed in Japan and beyond. The prize includes a $100,000 grant.

Elsewhere

Zimbabwe: Security officials arrested three senior officials of the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe's main opposition political party, and a renowned human rights lawyer on Sunday, one day after a referendum on a new constitution. The arrests follow months of harsh crackdowns on opposition politicians and civic groups ahead of a presidential election that is expected to be held this year.

South Bend, Ind.: A private jet apparently experiencing mechanical trouble crashed Sunday in a neighborhood, hitting three homes and killing two people aboard the plane, authorities said.

Times wires

Officials worry about terror as France nears exit from Mali 03/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 1:38am]

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