New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces an agreement on gun control with legislative leaders Monday in Albany.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces an agreement on gun control with legislative leaders Monday in Albany. (Mike Groll/AP Photo)

National editor's pick of the top news stories in the nation and world at this hour:

New York's tough gun law; Obama weighs executive orders

New York lawmakers have agreed to pass the nation's toughest gun laws, including a tighter ban on assault weapons, ammunition limits and mental illness restrictions. "This is a scourge on society," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "At what point do you say, 'No more innocent loss of life'?" One measure would outlaw the military-style rifle used in the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Current state law defines banned assault weapons as having two features of military rifles, such as a folding stock, muzzle flash suppressor, bayonet mount or pistol grip; the new law will require only one of those features. In another provision, a therapist who believes a mental health patient has made a credible threat to use a gun illegally would be required to report it to a mental health director, who would have to notify the state -- which could take away the patient's gun. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is said to be considering 19 anti-gun measures that he could impose by executive order, including stepping up prosecutions of those who lie on background checks, improving the background check database, toughening penalties on gun trafficking and giving schools flexibility to use grant money to improve safety. Obama is expected to unveil his proposals Wednesday. More sweeping measures, including an assault weapons ban, would require the approval of Congress, and the National Rifle Association has vowed to fight any measure that would limit access to guns and ammunition.

France tripling its deployment in Mali

Stung by rebel advances despite airstrikes, France is tripling the number of troops deployed in Mali to 2,500 as it prepares for a ground assault to retake the country's north from al-Qaida-linked extremists. Huge transport planes loaded with soldiers and supplies were landing at the airport in Bamako every few hours, and a regiment of 150 French soldiers arrived by land from Ivory Coast in a convoy of 40 armored vehicles. Several thousand soldiers from Nigeria and other neighboring countries were also expected to arrive soon. The United Nations had been expected to launch a Mali military operation in about nine month, but French President Francois Hollande decided a military response could not wait that long in the former French colony.

Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey interviews cyclist Lance Armstrong during taping for the show "Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive"
Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey interviews cyclist Lance Armstrong during taping for the show "Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive" in Austin, Texas, on Monday. (George Burns/Harpo Studios/AP Photo)
But after five days of airstrikes, the French acknowledge that the rebels are better armed and prepared than they expected. On Monday rebels seized a military camp at Diabaly, about 250 miles from the capital.

Pakistani court orders prime minister's arrest

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the arrest of the prime minister on corruption charges, just as the embattled government faced large street rallies led by a charismatic Islamic cleric. The court wants Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf arrested for alleged kickbacks over "rental power plants" that wasted millions of dollars but did little to alleviate the country's power problems. But the court's timing was seen as suspicious, coinciding with religious scholar Tahirul Qadri's emotional speech to tens of thousands of followers about corruption in the government of President Asif Ali Zardari. "There is no Parliament," Qadri proclaimed Tuesday. "There is a group of looters, thieves and dacoits (robber gangs)!" Some Pakistanis believe there is a move afoot to cancel upcoming elections and install a military-backed caretaker government. For years, deep animosity has tainted the relationship between the government on one side and the judiciary and powerful military on the other.

Winfrey confirms that Armstrong confessed

Oprah Winfrey confirmed Tuesday that Lance Armstrong came clean on his use of performance-enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles, and she said he made his confession in a way she wouldn't have expected. She said she and her crew were "mesmerized and riveted" by some of Armstrong's answers during their 2-1/2 interview Monday, and she predicted that the interview will satisfy viewers. Speaking on "CBS This Morning," Winfrey said, "I felt that he was thoughtful, I thought that he was serious, I thought that he certainly had prepared for this moment. I would say that he met the moment." She also said there was an agreement not to discuss the interview until it aired on her OWN network Thursday, but "by the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago, you all had already confirmed it."

Cleaning lady crashes Swedish train into apartments

A young woman who worked for a train-cleaning contractor in Sweden somehow stole an empty commuter train early Tuesday, drove it to a suburb of Stockholm and crashed it into an apartment building, police said. The woman, whose motives were unknown, was hospitalized with severe injuries after the derailment and crash of the four-car train. "There were three families inside the apartment building, but no one was injured. At least not physically," said Tomas Hedenius, a spokesman for train operator Arriva. About the woman, he said, "We have only heard good things about her. We're investigating how this could happen, and why she did what she did." He noted that if you can get hold of the keys to a train, driving one is not all that complicated. Stopping may be more of a problem.

The Wire, a summary of top national and world news stories from the Associated Press and other wire services, moves weekdays. Contact Karl Kahler at 408-920-5023; follow him at twitter.com/karl_kahler.