Top news: France on Tuesday ramped up its military operation in Mali, where militant Islamists have taken over the north of the country and are pushing south toward the capital, Bamako. French warplanes carried out airstrikes in the strategic village of Diabaly, which was overrun by militants Monday, and moved a column of armored vehicles into the capital. French President François Hollande, who is in the United Arab Emirates attempting to drum up Arab support for the operation, has already ordered 750 troops into Mali and says he will increase that number to 2,500.
France's intervention, backed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council, has attracted broad-based support, including promises of military trainers from the European Union and logistical support from the United States, Canada, and Germany, among others. American surveillance drones are currently deployed in Mali, but U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday the United States has not reached a decision about whether to assist with air transport and midflight refueling.
West African nations have promised an additional 3,300 troops as part of a U.N.-authorized ECOWAS mission, but they have yet to arrive in Bamako. The head of ECOWAS in Bamako told Reuters that troops from Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, and Guinea are due to arrive within a week.
Pakistan: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on corruption charges, causing the Pakistani stock market to fall 3 points and plunging the country deeper into turmoil in the lead-up to elections. The order from chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry came just as popular cleric Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri rallied protesters outside Parliament to call for the government's ouster.
- Suspected members of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram killed two Nigerian policemen Monday at a checkpoint in the northern Kano state.
- Militants abducted four Chinese railroad workers in Sudan's North Darfur, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
- A major mining company announced plans to cease production at four mines in South Africa, a move that could eliminate roughly 14,000 jobs.
- Gen. Bikram Singh, India's chief of army staff, threatened retaliation against Pakistan for the Jan. 8 killing of two Indian soldiers in Kashmir.
- President Hamid Karzai announced that the United States had agreed to provide Afghanistan with its own fleet of unarmed surveillance drones.
- Shiites in the Pakistani city of Quetta finally agreed to bury the victims of last week's bombing attacks, after provincial leaders were sacked.
- The Iraqi government released more than 300 prisoners Monday in attempt to placate Sunni demonstrators.
- More than 50 countries called on the U.N. Security Council to refer the crisis in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
- A train carrying military recruits derailed south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, leaving 17 dead.
- Gunmen opened fire on the headquarters of Greece's governing New Democracy party, but no one was hurt.
- A court in Milan rejected former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's bid to postpone his trial until after the February election.
- A court in Austria sentenced former interior minister and Euro MP Ernst Strasser to four years in prison for accepting bribes.
- Brazilian officials urged Venezuela's government to hold new elections if President Hugo Chavez dies.
- FARC rebels said their ceasefire will expire on Jan 20, as negotiations with the Colombian government continued in Cuba.
- Gunman assassinated Carlos Enrique Castillo Medrano, the mayor the eastern Guatemalan town of Jutiapa.
AFP / Getty Images