Mali mission extended
French troops will stay in the West African country of Mali at least until July, amid tougher-than-expected resistance from Islamic fighters, officials told the Associated Press, despite earlier government promises to begin a quick pullout within weeks. France’s leadership has painted the intervention against al-Qaida-backed radicals in Mali, which began in January, as a swift and limited one. But the combat in rugged Sahara Desert mountains is growing harder, and there’s a rising threat that the militants will turn to suicide bombings, hostage-taking and other guerrilla tactics.
Balkan conviction tossed
In a stunning reversal, U.N. appeals judges on Thursday acquitted the former chief of the Yugoslav National Army of aiding and abetting atrocities by rebel Serbs, including the Srebrenica massacre, by providing them with military aid during the Balkan wars. Gen. Momcilo Perisic, a former close ally of ex-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, had been sentenced to 27 years in 2011 after being convicted of crimes including murder, inhumane acts and persecution. The judges ordered him freed immediately. The judgment supported Belgrade’s often-stated assertion that it did not deliberately assist in Bosnian Serb atrocities.
Restaurant boat sinks
A crowded floating restaurant loaded with dozens of guests sank in the Tigris River in central Baghdad late Thursday, leaving at least eight people dead and several others missing, officials said. The sinking appeared to be an accident, with police saying the boat was over its capacity when it went down.
U.S. federal worker killed
A vacationing employee of the U.S. Department of State was found strangled in a Rio de Janeiro hotel, police said Thursday. Victoria Tcaciuc, 38, was killed Feb. 20. A hotel employee found her body the same day. Police have arrested a suspect who is seen in security video entering the hotel.
Compiled from wire reports.