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FRANCE 24, FRANCE TV INFO, AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE (France), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

PARIS - French forces, supported by the Mali army have captured both the rebel strongholds of Timbuktu and Gao in a fast-moving offensive against Al Qaeda-linked fighters occupying northern Mali.

Battling together to loosen the grip of Islamist fighters in the country’s north, French and Malian troops have taken control of Timbuktu’s airport, before working towards securing the town itself, France 24 reports.

The advancing troops met no resistance from the insurgents who had held the town since last year – but fleeing rebels set fire to the newly-constructed Ahmed Baba Institute containing thousands of priceless manuscripts, Timbuktu’s mayor told Reuters.

The joint operation, led by special forces supported by French aircraft, allowed the troops to regain control over the northern part of the Niger river, known as the "Niger bend," Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesman in Paris told the Agence France Presse.

On Saturday, French-led troops recaptured the Islamist stronghold of Gao, the most populous city in northern Mali, in a spectacular boost to the fast-moving offensive that began two weeks ago, France 24 reports.

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Society

Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

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