Iraqi police say two suicide car bombs have exploded in a northern Iraqi town, killing at least 19 people and wounding about 30 others. One of today's (Tuesday's) blasts in Baiji happened outside the home of a police chief, who survived the attack. The other bomb exploded at the home of a Sunni tribal leader (Thamir Attallah) who was working with U.S. forces against al-Qaida. His condition is unclear. The Sunni tribal leader is part of a coalition of anti-al-Qaida sheikhs known as an "Awakening Council". Baghdad also was hit by a series of bomb blasts today that killed at least five people. Elsewhere, gunmen killed a senior police official in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
PAKISTAN VIOLENCE: Pakistan's military say the death toll from three days of fierce fighting against militants near the Afghan border has risen to 195. An army statement said today (Tuesday) that battles in the North Waziristan region have killed 150 rebels and 45 soldiers. Local residents say at least four civilians died in the fighting, but the military could not confirm the claims.
BURMA: China has voiced its opposition to sanctions against Burma, as the U.N. Security Council considers a response to the military government's recent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. A Foreign Ministry spokesman (Liu Jianchao) said today (Tuesday) any action adopted by the Security Council should be prudent and useful, and not involve sanctions. The council is considering issuing a statement condemning the crackdown.
CHINA-POL: Leaders of China's Communist Party met today (Tuesday) in the Chinese capital, Beijing, to make their final preparations for next week's twice-a-decade party congress. China's official Xinhua news agency said today's meeting of the party's top leaders would focus on discussing a final draft of the party's priorities for the next five years. The document is expected to outline Chinese President Hu Jintao's agenda regarding the economy and corruption, as well as health care and social services.
RUSSIA-FRANCE: French President Nicolas Sarkozy visits Moscow today (Tuesday) for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Iran's nuclear program and other issues. It will be the French leader's first major meeting with Mr. Putin since being elected in May. Mr. Sarkozy has criticized Russia's human rights record and accused Moscow of using its oil and gas reserves to bully its European neighbors. Mr. Sarkozy is also calling for tougher sanctions on Iran in response to its controversial nuclear work, a position that puts him at odds with Mr. Putin. Moscow says diplomacy should be given more time before further sanctions are imposed.
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