Malian women pose with a Malian soldier who just arrived in a convoy at the military base in Timbuktu, Mali. French President Francois Hollande visited the fabled city for two hours, twenty days after the start of operation Serval. Jerome Delay/AP
Boy Scouts carry US flags towards the Texas Capitol during the annual Boy Scouts Parade and Report to State, in Austin, Texas. Gov. Rick Perry says he hopes the Boy Scouts of America doesn't soften its mandatory no-gays membership policy. Eric Gay/AP
Groundhog Club co-handler Ron Ploucha holds the weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring, on Groundhog Day, in Punxsutawney, Pa. Keith Srakocic/AP
A second line brass band leads a parade through the French Quarter in New Orleans. The city hosts NFL football's Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. David Goldman/AP
Joel Woellner of Australia performs his contemporary variation during the final of the Prix de Lausanne at the Beaulieu Theatre in Lausanne, Switzerland. Denis Balibouse/Reuters
St. Anthony of Padua students Bishop Moorman (l.) Collin Dufrene, and Abby Stofer (r.) react as a balloon inflates by itself during the annual SCI://TECH Expo in Conroe, Texas. Jason Fochtman/Texas. The Courier/AP
Manchester United's Robin Van Persie (l.) unsuccessfully tries a shot on the Fulham goal during their English Premier League soccer match at Craven Cottage stadium in London. Dylan Martinez/AP
A child looks at snowdrops at the Chelsea Psychic Garden in London. The garden, London's oldest botanic garden, opened on Saturday for nine days to allow visitors to see it's snowdrops. Olivia Harris/Reuters
6-year-old Cadence Kleinfeld spins while playing with a Hula Hoop at the Ready, Set, Explore event at the Susan Byrnes Health Center in York, Pa. Jason Plotkin/York Daily Record/AP
Riot police detain a protestor during a demonstration against corruption in Madrid, Spain. Spain's prime minister promised to disclose the amount of funds in all his personal bank accounts, denying recent media reports that allege he and members of his governing Popular Party accepted or made under-the-table payments. Andres Kudacki/AP
The US announced steps toward a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas Wednesday, but the leader of Hamas insisted the Islamic militants would not relent until their main demand of lifting an Egyptian-Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is met.
ByIbrahim Barzak and Tia Goldenberg, Associated Press
The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.