Militants seize villages
Islamist militants appeared Thursday to have expanded their control in central Mali, occupying two villages after government troops abandoned their positions. Refugees and local officials said that the Islamists, who on Monday drove Malian troops from their garrison in the town of Diabaly, on Wednesday rolled into Sokolo, nine miles northwest of Diabaly, without a fight after government troops withdrew. The rebels also took control of Dogofry, nine miles north of Diabaly, when government troops pulled out.
British police have launched an official probe into claims that senior politicians had links to a pedophile gang during the 1980s. Scotland Yard says the investigation is looking into historic child abuse allegations at a London guest house. Thursday’s announcement came after opposition Labour Party lawmaker Tom Watson claimed last year that there was evidence that a member of a pedophile ring boasted about his connections with a “senior aide to a former prime minister.”
U.S. Navy ship stuck
A U.S. Navy minesweeper was stuck on a coral reef for a second day today, as the crew struggled to extract the ship and Philippine authorities tried to evaluate damage to a protected marine park. The Navy’s 7th Fleet said that the crew of the USS Guardian was working to find the best method of safely extracting the ship. The ship had just completed a port call in Subic Bay, a former American naval base.
Ex-leader faces probe
Lawmakers voted early today to investigate former finance minister George Papaconstantinou over his handling of data on Greeks with Swiss bank accounts and whether he amended the list to remove three of his relatives. French authorities gave the list of names to Athens in 2010 as Greece’s economy was imploding. But authorities failed to investigate the data for potential tax evasion, sparking outrage. Papaconstantinou insists he did not amend the list.
Compiled from wire reports.