View gallery Troops of the French-led Serval Operation in Mali patrol an area on the outskirts of Gao on October 16, 2013 (AFP Photo/Sebastien Rieussec) Paris (AFP) – France will maintain around 2,000 troops in Mali to help secure the December legislative polls before further scaling down its military presence, the defence minister said Thursday. “We’re going keep a little more than 2,000 men until the end of the year,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said. The former colonial power deployed its airforce and sent combat units in January this year to help Mali’s government wrest back the north of the country from Islamist groups linked to Al-Qaeda. It currently has 3,000 troops left on the ground and aims to scale back its presence to only 1,000 by the end of January 2014. Mali’s first parliamentary polls since a coup in March last year are due to begin on November 24 and a second round is scheduled for December 15. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was sworn in as president last month after an August election. French forces have helped the authorities reclaim control of the main cities but Al-Qaeda and its offshoots have remained a threat, launching sporadic attacks from their desert and mountain hideouts. “There no longer is a war, what we’re doing now is counter-terrorism,” Le Drian told reporters in Paris. “We must continue to battle terrorism and remain vigilant.” At the peak of Operation Serval, France had 4,500 troops in Mali. A UN stabilisation force meant to eventually reach 12,640 troops and police is gradually taking over. Politics & Government
From France to Texas – The Horse World takes me around the world!
ATR technical experts headed to Pakse, the airline said separately. A list provided by Thailand’s foreign ministry showed seven passengers from France, five Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, two Vietnamese, one American, one Chinese, one Taiwanese, one Canadian, and one Myanmar citizen were on board the flight, in addition to 17 Lao citizens. The aircraft was carrying 44 passengers and five crew. Flight QV301 left the capital at 2:45 p.m. local time Wednesday and was scheduled to arrive in Pakse at 3:55 p.m. The ATR turboprop can typically seat between 68 to 74 people. It was the first crash for an ATR -600 model, the planemaker said. Deliveries of the upgraded type began in 2011. The accident is the world’s worst this year in terms of fatalities, according to the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives website. At least four bodies were found, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing a press conference by the airline. Lao Airlines, established in 1976, operates Airbus SAS A320-214, Xi’an Aircraft Industry MA-6 and ATR-72-500 aircraft.
France to send investigators after Lao Airlines crash kills 49
October is a busy month for me. I returned home just in time to be a part of an acting showcase where 21 actors performed monologues to a standing room only audience. While horses are my world, acting is my newest passion. The next morning I hopped on a plane headed to San Antonio, Texas for an American Horse Publications board meeting, which took place at the Menger Hotel. This organization is a great opportunity for equine media, companies in the horse world or those who want to connect with the horse world. The AHP has a web site that is worth a visit at americanhorsepubs.org. Probably what the AHP is best known for is its distribution of press releases. Members can have up to two press releases a month sent out to the AHP membership. On the educational side, the AHPs annual seminar has become an event that most of its members have on their annual calendar because of the educational value of its workshops and the chance to be recognized in its awards contest. A special bonus is the chance to network to a group of like-minded people with similar goals. The board is in constant communication and meets twice a year. Those meetings focus on how to best service its members by offering educational opportunities alongside chances to be recognized.