MALI: Chadian troops set to pull out
The war against armed Islamic extremists will lose some 2,000 Chadian soldiers, the president of Chad said, leaving Malian cities more vulnerable to a resurgence of jihadist attacks. The news that Chad will pull its troops out could force France to push back its own timeframe for withdrawing troops from its former West African colony and creates greater urgency for a UN military mission to Mali. Since the French-led mission began in mid-January, soldiers from Chad have been involved in some of the fiercest fighting and are credited with some of the biggest successes. Among them was killing Abou Zeid, an al-Qaida commander who had kidnapped and terrorized Westerners in the desert for years.
SYRIA: Brotherhead defends role
The exiled leader of Syria's Muslim Brotherhood denied Monday widespread accusations by other pro-rebel political factions that the group is seeking to impose its will on other members of the country's opposition. The rare news conference by Mohammad Raid al-Shaqfa highlights the suspicions that his movement has raised in an already fractured opposition. The fundamentalist group has a powerful donor network among members in exile and supporters in oil-rich Gulf countries, especially Qatar. Al-Shaqfa, speaking in Istanbul, blamed accusations against his group on "lies and fabrications" that he said were spread by President Bashar Assad's regime. Some rebels say the movement is positioning itself to take power once the war against Assad is won. In Syria, activists reported that government warplanes carried out more airstrikes around the country. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Assad's aircraft hit targets in rebel-held areas near the capital, Damascus, in the northern city of Aleppo, and in Homs in central Syria.
CANADA: Trudeau's son leads party
Justin Trudeau, 41, eldest son of ex-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, will try to rebuild the Liberal Party that his father led for more than 16 years. He won more than 80 percent of support from members and party supporters in online balloting. The Liberals are third behind the ruling Conservatives and the pro-labor New Democratic Party.