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Turkish Leaders to Hold Emergency Talks After Kurdish Rebels Kill 15 Soldiers


Turkey – Kurds – Iraq: Turkey's prime minister says the government will hold emergency talks today (Sunday) to consider its response to the killing of 15 Turkish soldiers by Kurdish rebels near the Iraqi border.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was responding to a Kurdish rebel ambush this morning on a military unit (near the town of Yuksekova) in southeastern Turkey's Hakkari province. The attack wounded several Turkish soldiers.
Meanwhile, Iraqi officials say the Turkish military fired at least 15 artillery shells toward Kurdish villages in northern Iraq today. No casualties were reported.
Turkey's government won parliamentary approval Wednesday for military raids into northern Iraq to hunt for rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Ankara blames the PKK for attacks that have killed about 30 soldiers in the past month.
In another development, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets his Turkish counterpart in Ukraine today (Sunday) to discuss Turkey's potential operation in Iraq.

Iraq: Iraqi officials say fighting between U.S. forces and militants in Baghdad's Sadr City district has killed at least 13 people and wounded more than 50.
A U.S. military statement says troops raided the Shi'ite militant stronghold this (Sunday) morning to search for an insurgent involved with high-profile kidnappings funded by Iran.
The statement says ground troops called in air strikes after being attacked with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. It says militants set off a roadside bomb as the troops left the area.
Witnesses say two young children were killed in the fighting. The U.S. military says it killed six "criminals" in the raid but has no initial evidence of civilian casualties.
Militants in Sadr City are loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who declared a six-month halt to attacks by his Mahdi Army militia in August.

China – Politics: China's ruling Communist Party has amended its charter and rearranged its Central Committee at the end of a week-long congress that strengthened President Hu Jintao's grip on power. Before its closing today (Sunday), the Congress revised the party's charter to include President Hu's key policy initiative - the idea of "scientific development." The initiative calls for greater efforts to address environmental problems and help for the country's poor.
The Congress also elected a new 204-member Central Committee.
Vice President Zeng Qinghong was not re-elected to the Committee, which means he will not be re-appointed to the nine-member Standing Committee - the most powerful government body in China.
Two other Standing Committee members also are retiring. Wu Guanzheng - the head of the party's disciplinary committee - and security chief Luo Gan were not re-elected to the Central Committee.

Burma – Curfew: The White House dismissed Burma's moves today (Saturday) to ease restrictions it imposed as part of a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators last month.
Loudspeaker trucks announced the government had lifted a curfew and ban on gatherings of more than five people in the country's largest city of Rangoon.
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino called the announcement a bad sign, suggesting it was evidence the Burmese government had jailed or chased away dissidents.
On Friday, President Bush announced new sanctions against Burma's military government, for its continued persecution of the pro-democracy opposition.

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