Chatter: Britain's going to Mali




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French troops in Mali are about to get some company. The UK has said it's prepared to send a "sizeable" contingent of soldiers to join the forces from France and West African countries supporting the Malian army's battle against Islamist rebels.

The British government says its troops won't engage in combat, but will most likely help train local forces. Other European countries are discussing making the same commitment, while governments from Washington to Tokyo have pledged millions of dollars to fund the military campaign.

It will be needed: with rebels fleeing their former strongholds, many fear a new phase of guerilla warfare is about to begin. And as GlobalPost's Tristan McConnell has seen in Mali, the extremists are capable of unimaginable horror.

When is a curfew not a curfew? When nobody obeys it. Protests continued throughout the night in the Egyptian cities of Port Said, Ismailiyah and Suez, despite President Mohamed Morsi's orders to stay off the streets. The army, meanwhile, isn't showing much interest either in enforcing those orders nor in exercising its new powers to arrest civilians.

Morsi's call for national dialogue was also ignored, with leading opposition figures dismissing it as "fake." Egypt's at an impasse, and it's a deadly one: at least two more people were killed overnight.


Finally, good news for the huddled masses. Reform of US immigration law is starting to look like a real prospect, with not one but two plans on the table. President Barack Obama will today present his proposals to help resolve the fate of America's 11 million undocumented immigrants, one day after eight senior senators laid out their own blueprint for "a tough but fair path to citizenship."

Enacting either framework will be an uphill battle. But for the first time in a decade, GlobalPost's Jean MacKenzie says, there's hope that the long agony for undocumented immigrants might be nearing a solution.

So that's what North Korea looks like. Google has just launched its most detailed map to date of the secretive country, adding hundreds of streets, place names and landmarks where previously there were just blanks. (You can even see one of the gulags, which helpfully already has 15 "user reviews.")

The update was made possible by "citizen cartographers" from all over the world, according to Google. It's just unfortunate that no one in North Korea can get online to check their work.


Iran's space monkey is alive! Pictures of the star-hopping simian post-75-mile sub-orbital flight were circulated yesterday, showing him definitely living but also kind of furious. (Or is he just sad? These space monkeys can be so hard to read.)

The irate primate isn't the first animal astronaut, of course, as this hall of fame testifies. If they can put a man on the Moon, they can, er, send a mealworm into orbit.