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U.N. might send peacekeepers to Mali

The U.N. Security Council will consider plans to deploy a new U.N. peacekeeping force to Mali to help pacify the northern part of the West African country following France's ejection of hard-line Islamists from the cities there, a senior diplomat said Thursday.

The Security Council last month passed a resolution approving a multinational African force to help stabilize Mali. But with the Islamist forces in retreat, that plan has been overtaken by events.

Instead, the Security Council will discuss a regular U.N. peacekeeping force for Mali, the senior Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the plans were in an early phase of discussion.

The force would probably be composed of 3,000 to 5,000 peacekeepers, the diplomat said.

Britain's big banks under scrutiny The Financial Services Authority said Thursday that it is reviewing practices of the U.K.'s big retail banks after finding serious problems with the sale of interest rate hedging products to small businesses.

The authority said Thursday the review will include Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS banks. The authority said in a statement that the banks have agreed to review sales and provide "redress" to customers in a process overseen by independent reviewers.

The FSA had announced in June 2012 that there were significant failings in the sale of IRHPs, which were marketed as a way for businesses to protect themselves from rate increases.

The authority's new statement says that in a review more than 90 percent of the 173 cases it studied turned up at least one regulatory violation.

Canadian spy case A top Canadian spy official says that a navy officer who sold secrets to Russia has harmed his country's credibility and could hinder its ability to gather intelligence. …