Hollande to Respond to Mali's Request for French Assistance

Islamic militants are moving towards the capital


French President Francois Hollande is expected to announce a decision Friday on Mali's request for help to counter a military advance by radical Islamist forces pushing south toward the capital.

Diplomatic sources say Hollande will address the issue at a mid-morning New Year's speech to diplomats in Paris. Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore has asked France, the country's former colonial ruler, for help in stopping the rebel advance.