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Chatter: Pakistan's Supreme Court orders premier arrested

Pakistan's prime minister is wanted for alleged corruption, France plans to send more troops into Mali, and Lance Armstrong gets something off his chest.
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NEED TO KNOW

Pakistan's Supreme Court has ordered the prime minister's arrest over corruption allegations. PM Raja Pervez Ashraf is accused of taking bribes while he was minister for water and power, back in 2010, and the country's highest court wants him booked and brought before the bench tomorrow. Warrants were also issued for 15 others.

Ashraf denies the charges. It's unclear what they'll mean for his position, but news of the court's ruling was enough to send the Karachi Stock Exchange crashing to the tune of 450 points. It seems the long-running battle between Pakistan's government, judiciary and military is far from over.

France is to boost its troops in Mali, with the UN's blessing – but little else. The UN Security Council last pledged its "understanding and support" for France's military campaign against the Islamist rebels steadily gaining ground in Mali, though it's not clear yet what, if anything, that means in practical terms. Meanwhile 750 French troops are already on the ground and more are on the way; as many as 2,500 are expected to be there within weeks.

The best hope for reinforcements is from Mali's West African allies. Regional military chiefs are meeting in Bamako today to thrash out how, exactly, a joint force would work.

WANT TO KNOW

Is the US – finally – about to get tougher gun laws? President Barack Obama has promised to unveil a plan to tackle gun violence this week, after reviewing Vice President Joe Biden's "common-sense" proposals. It's expected to comprise a mix of legislative and executive action, and to aim at the goals Obama has already outlined: a ban on assault weapons, tougher controls on high-capacity ammunition clips, and better background checks.

Meanwhile, some states are already getting started. New York legislators last night agreed to pass what's being billed as the strictest gun control law in the US to date – exactly one month after the shooting at Sandy Hook.

In Syria, life goes on. The country is 22 months into an increasingly dehumanizing conflict, but that hasn't stopped Syrians doing the normal things people do – though under very abnormal conditions.

GlobalPost's Tracey Shelton was there when one Syrian was born. No power, no water, no doctor, explosions in the background and a very uncertain future; but, even in the midst of so much death, new life.

Clean at last, clean at last, Lance Armstrong has come clean at last. Sources say that the disgraced – and might we add, stubborn – cyclist has finally admitted on record what almost every former teammate and multiple sports authorities have accused him of: that he used performance-enhancing drugs to help him win his seven Tour de France titles.

The scene of his confession? The Oprah Winfrey Show, which will air its tell-all interview with Armstrong on Thursday night. If Oprah couldn't get it out of him, no one could.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Charming company you're keeping nowadays, Gérard Depardieu. The portly French actor, fresh from the Russian passport office, has released a pop single with the daughter of Uzbekistan's dictator, Islam Karimov. Dictatorette Gulnara Karimova – known better as "Googoosha" or "the single most hated person in the country," depending on who you listen to – warbles, um, something in Russian before being joined by Depardieu on back-up, who apologizes in French for "all the things left unsaid."

Those things, presumably, include her father's reign of terror, her own alleged snatching of Uzbeks' private property, and so forth. And what's more, the tune's not even that catchy.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-pakistan-supreme-court-orders-prime-minister-arrested

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