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August 23, 2003 | By Porus P. Cooper INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Joseph P. Smith has a hoop dream. At age 62, he isn't expecting to play in the NBA. His dream is one part altruism and four parts business scheme. This Clifton Heights entrepreneur is sponsoring half a dozen players from Africa - most of them in their mid-20s and with NBA dreams of their own - whose raw basketball skills he hopes can be polished and purveyed to pro teams. It's a long shot, according to basketball experts, but Smith isn't dismayed to hear that. After two decades in places such as Mali and Burkina Faso looking for diamonds and gold, and still waiting for the big payoff, he is used to long odds.
NEWS
November 21, 2012 | By Baba Ahmed, Associated Press
BAMAKO, Mali - Islamist extremist rebels say they have pushed secular Tuareg rebel fighters from Menaka, their last base in northern Mali. Oumar Ould Hamaha, spokesman of the Islamists of MUJAO, said the Tuaregs were forced to retreat from Menaka on Tuesday after heavy fighting. He said Menaka was under the Islamists' control. "I do not have an accurate record of the dead, but more than 100 fighters were killed," said Hamaha. He said the Islamists were hunting for Mohamed Najim, the Tuareg military leader.
NEWS
April 6, 2012 | By Rukmini Callimachi, Associated Press
BAMAKO, Mali - The rebel group that recently seized control of Mali's remote north in a maneuver that effectively partitioned the country in two announced a cease-fire Thursday, saying it had reached its military goal. Moussa Ag Assarid, a spokesman for the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, said the group was declaring the cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid to resume in the north, where shops were looted. In Ivory Coast, the military chiefs of the nations bordering Mali met Thursday to hash out their plan for a military intervention.
NEWS
April 13, 2012 | By Martin Vogl, Associated Press
BAMAKO, Mali - Mali's new interim civilian president took office Thursday, vowing to keep the chaotic country intact even after rebels declared an independent state in the north following a military coup three weeks ago. Hours after handing over power to Dioncounda Traore, the junta also released about a dozen politicians who had been detained since the coup, including the country's foreign minister. Traore, who heads the country's national assembly, is to serve as Mali's president for 40 days following an agreement between West African regional mediators and the leader of the junta that seized power last month.
NEWS
July 2, 2012 | By Baba Ahmed, Associated Press
BAMAKO, Mali - Islamist fighters with ties to al-Qaeda have destroyed tombs classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in Mali's historic city of Timbuktu, a resident and U.N. officials said Saturday. Irina Bokova, who heads the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said in a statement Saturday that the centuries-old Muslim mausoleums of Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi, Moctar and Alpha Moya have been destroyed. Resident Ali Yattara said Saturday that the Islamists began attacking the saints' tombs with shovels.
NEWS
February 27, 2013 | By Angela Charlton, Associated Press
PARIS - France's defense minister said Tuesday that French troops were involved in "very violent fighting" in the mountains of northern Mali and that it was too early to talk about a quick pullout from the West African country, despite the growing cost of the intervention. The fighting against Islamic extremists in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains has been going on for days. A clash in the area killed 23 soldiers from neighboring Chad on Friday, according to a letter from French President Francois Hollande expressing condolences to his Chadian counterpart.
NEWS
May 24, 2012 | By Martin Vogl, Associated Press
BAMAKO, Mali - Mali's interim president, who was beaten by a mob of demonstrators who broke into his office this week, has left the country to seek medical treatment in France, an adviser and two French government officials said Wednesday. The unexpected, and unpublicized, departure of 70-year-old Dioncounda Traore leaves a dangerous power vacuum in the West African nation, which was thrown off course after a March coup. Contacted by telephone, an adviser to Traore said the interim president had left Mali for France to undergo medical tests on his heart because he has had a previous heart attack.
NEWS
October 30, 2012 | By Bradley Klapper, Associated Press
ALGIERS, Algeria - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Algeria's assistance Monday for any future military intervention in Mali, pressing the North African nation to provide intelligence - if not boots on the ground - to help rout the al-Qaeda-linked militants across its southern border. Clinton, on the first stop of a five-day trip overseas, met with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as the United States and its allies ramped up preparations to fight northern Mali's breakaway Islamist republic.
NEWS
January 15, 2013 | By Rukmini Callimachi and Baba Ahmed, Associated Press
BAMAKO, Mali - Despite a punishing bombardment by French warplanes, al-Qaeda-linked insurgents grabbed more territory in Mali on Monday, seizing a strategic military camp that brought them far closer to the government's seat of power. Declaring France had "opened the gates of hell" with its assault, the rebels threatened retribution. "France . . . has fallen into a trap much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan, or Somalia," said Omar Ould Hamaha, a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, one of the rebel groups controlling the north, speaking on Europe 1 radio.
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NEWS
May 8, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
BACK IN 1972, Linton Grundy and his wife, Renee, decided to sell everything they owned and take off for faraway places. Often hitchhiking, they toured Europe, then set out for Africa, where they explored a large portion of the continent, catching rides on crowded buses or trains, battling snakes and bugs, unforgiving deserts and monsoon rains. Linton was a Vietnam War veteran who made 50 combat parachute jumps and later joined the Green Berets, and Renee spent years working for Mayors W. Wilson Goode, Ed Rendell and John Street, once in the thankless job of having to respond to every citizen complaint.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 22, 2013 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Mali-based couple Mariam Doumbia and Amadou Bagayoko may find great inspiration in wedded bliss and the strength they share as two blind artists walking through the world as one. The albums Amadou & Mariam have released since 1999 hold a gentle conversational ease that speaks warmly and succinctly about love - that is, when they aren't tackling stronger, more intense stuff, like a sociopolitical song. Yet, for all of the duo's intimate approach, there's nothing soft about their churning, highlife-based sound, a gritty and hypnotic groove that, in the live setting of World Cafe Live on Thursday night, popped like a coiled spring unbound.
NEWS
June 19, 2013 | Associated Press
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso - Mali, which lost half its territory last year to a rebel invasion, signed an accord Tuesday with Tuareg separatists who still control the country's northernmost province, paving the way for the Malian military to return to the areas that remain under rebel control. The agreement, signed in front of reporters by two Tuareg representatives and an emissary of the Malian government in Ouagadougou, where the two sides have been holding talks, calls for a cease-fire to go into effect immediately.
NEWS
May 26, 2013 | By Edward Cody, Washington Post
PARIS - A uniformed French soldier on an antiterrorism patrol west of Paris was wounded in the neck Saturday by a robed assailant wielding a box cutter, police and subway authorities said. The soldier was reported to be out of danger after being transported to a nearby military hospital. But the attack sent a shudder through the French capital because it recalled the gory killing of a soldier in the streets of London on Wednesday allegedly by a pair of homegrown Muslim extremists, an act that the British government called terrorism.
NEWS
May 17, 2013 | By Don Melvin, Associated Press
BRUSSELS, Belgium - A plan to turn Mali into a stable democracy rather than a terrorist haven drew massive support Wednesday as various nations and international groups pledged $4.22 billion to help reconstruct the West African nation. The objective of the donors' conference in Brussels had been to raise $2.6 billion to support a $5.6 billion plan drafted by Malian officials aimed at helping what many observers view as a failed state reemerge as a stable, secure democracy. By Wednesday evening, the pledges made far exceeded that goal.
NEWS
May 8, 2013 | By Elaine Ganley, Associated Press
PARIS - An Algeria-based al-Qaeda offshoot said in an online video on Tuesday that Muslims have an obligation to attack French interests around the world because of France's military intervention in Mali. In a message posted on YouTube, Abou Obeida Youssef Al-Annabi, a notable in the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb group, or AQIM, said the "crusade" led by France in Mali makes its interests "legitimate targets. " French President Francois Hollande said he takes the threat seriously.
NEWS
March 7, 2013 | By Sylvie Corbet, Associated Press
PARIS - French and Malian forces moving into far eastern Mali clashed with jihadist fighters in a spontaneous gun battle Wednesday, leaving a French soldier and about 10 insurgents dead, a French military spokesman said. The skirmish about 60 miles east of Gao, marked the latest bloodshed since French forces swooped into the West African nation in January to help its government root out extremist fighters. Mali's regional allies have sent hundreds of troops in a support role. Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesman, said the battle came as a military patrol involving troops from France, Mali, and Niger was extending into a previously uncontrolled territory.
NEWS
March 2, 2013
On TV, buildup to executions BEIJING - In an unusual action that quickly sparked debate online, Chinese authorities showed a live broadcast Friday of four foreign drug smugglers in their last hours before execution for killing 13 fishermen. A shocking and apparently unprecedented form of reality TV for China, the program on state-run television featured all the staples of modern current events coverage - experts, pundits, instant analysis. It cut away as the convicted men were being led from their cells, hands tied up with rope, toward their lethal injections.
NEWS
February 27, 2013 | By Angela Charlton, Associated Press
PARIS - France's defense minister said Tuesday that French troops were involved in "very violent fighting" in the mountains of northern Mali and that it was too early to talk about a quick pullout from the West African country, despite the growing cost of the intervention. The fighting against Islamic extremists in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains has been going on for days. A clash in the area killed 23 soldiers from neighboring Chad on Friday, according to a letter from French President Francois Hollande expressing condolences to his Chadian counterpart.
NEWS
February 21, 2013 | By Jamey Keaten, Associated Press
PARIS - It's crunch time in Mali for the French military. Radical Islamist fighters spent weeks on the run from Malian cities under a French ground and air assault - but they're brazenly fighting back this week at French troops. The French, meanwhile, are tightening a dragnet against the al-Qaeda-linked militants in one of their last remaining redoubts, mountain sanctuaries near Algeria's border. France's government said Wednesday it's still hoping to pull out of its thorny Mali operation in the coming weeks.
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