France has pulled its first 100 soldiers out of Mali, part of a gradual draw-down. It intervened in northern Mali, three months ago, to halt an Islamist advance south and reclaim territory occupied by the al-Qaida-linked militants since last April. The French now plan to hand over security for much of the region to an eventual UN stabilization mission of African troops. VOA's Anne Look reports from Gao where fighting continues to flare and residents say they are not sure the Malian and African troops are ready to do it alone.
The White House released a new budget plan Wednesday that would reduce entitlement benefits for retired Americans. The budget proposal seeks to limit Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to Social Security by using a less generous formula to measure inflation for computing future benefit increases. Called "Chained CPI" -- some conservatives say the plan would save the government billions of dollars. But others say the proposed changes also place an unfair burden on people who can least afford it. Mil Arcega has more.