ISLAMIST INSURGENTS HAVE GRABBED MORE TERRITORY IN MALI AND ARE MOVING CLOSER TO THE AFRICAN NATION'S CAPITAL.

LAST WEEK, FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE frahn-SWAH' oh-LAWND' DEPLOYED SOME 550 FRENCH TROOPS TO MALI...

AND HE HAS AUTHORIZED AIR STRIKES IN THE NORTHERN AND CENTRAL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.

HOLLANDE oh-LAWND' HELD A MEETING WITH HIS CLOSEST ADVISERS IN PARIS ON MONDAY TO DISCUSS THE SECURITY SITUATION.

(SOT NATS)

THE FRENCH DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS DESPITE SOME SETBACKS IN THE FIGHT...

THE SITUATION IS WORKING OUT IN THE WAY THE FRENCH PRESIDENT EXPECTED AND IT'S 'EVOLVING FAVORABLY.'

PEOPLE LIVING IN THIS VILLAGE SAY THE FRENCH INTERVENTION HAS BEEN REASSURING.

THE MALIAN MILITARY IS IN DISARRAY AND HAS LET MANY TOWNS FALL SINCE THE INSURGENCY STARTED ALMOST ONE YEAR AGO.

SINCE TAKING OVER THE COUNTRY'S NORTHERN REGION...REBELS HAVE IMPOSED A FORM OF ISLAM MUCH STRICTER THAN WHAT THE PEOPLE OF MALI HAD PRACTICED--

THIEVES HAVE THEIR HANDS AND FEET CUT OFF IN PUBLIC...AND WOMEN ARE FLOGGED FOR THINGS LIKE WEARING PERFUME AND EYE SHADOW.

FRANCE IS NOW URGING AFRICAN NATIONS TO GET INVOLVED AND SEND TROOPS TO FIGHT THE EXTREMISTS.

MEANWHILE...BRITAIN HAS AUTHORIZED SENDING SEVERAL TRANSPORT PLANES TO HELP FRANCE BRING IN MORE TROOPS...

AND THE U-S IS SENDING DRONES, AS WELL AS COMMUNICATIONS AND LOGISTICAL SUPPORT.

TIM MCGUIRE, ASSOCIATED PRESS.

 

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