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China, U.S. Face Damaging Fallout from Activist's Flight

The escape of a Chinese activist championed by Washington and now said to be under U.S. protection is hugely embarrassing for Beijing and comes at the worst possible time ahead of U.S.-China talks, analysts say.

Both countries have maintained absolute silence on the whereabouts of 40-year-old blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng since his audacious flight from house arrest eight days ago, underscoring the extreme sensitivity of his case.

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5 Killed in Suicide Blast in Northeast Nigeria

Two motorcycle-riding suicide bombers drove into a convoy carrying a top police official in northeast Nigeria on Monday, detonating their explosives and killing at least five people, authorities said.

The attack targeted police commissioner Mamman Sule who was being driven in a convoy toward his offices, near the governor's office in Jalingo, the capital of Taraba state, said police spokesman Ibiang Mbaseki. The bombers missed injuring Sule, but the explosives caused massive damage at a roadside market and blew out the glass windows of the nearby state Ministry of Finance building, witnesses said.

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Iran Slams U.S. Pastor's Burning of Quran

Iran on Monday slammed a U.S. pastor's burning of a Quran, calling it provocative and demanding U.S. authorities take action to prevent any recurrence.

Iran's foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency that it "strongly condemns this ridiculous, insulting and provoking act by a so-called American priest in overt contempt of the holy Quran."

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U.N. Reports Surging Number of Hungry Flee Sudan War

A surging number of hungry refugees are fleeing fighting between Sudanese troops and ethnic rebels, with some reduced to foraging in the wild, the United Nations said on Monday.

There has been "a notable increase in the number of new arrivals" who have crossed the border from South Kordofan into South Sudan's Unity state, the U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA) said in its weekly bulletin.

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Khamenei Aide Says Baghdad Talks Will Not Resolve All Issues

May 23 talks in Baghdad between Iran and world powers on Tehran's nuclear program will likely not resolve all issues, an aide to Iran's supreme leader said on Monday.

But Gholam Ali Hadad Adel, a lawmaker who is a senior adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stressed that the powers on the other side of the table should lift their "illogical sanctions" at the meeting, the Mehr news agency reported.

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Four Killed in Nepal Bomb Explosion

Four people were killed and more than 20 wounded when a bomb attached to a motorbike went off near a crowd of protesters in southern Nepal on Monday, police said.

The group of 150 demonstrators had been staging a sit-in when the bike exploded in the religious hub of Janakpur, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Indian border, said local police chief Basanta Raj Gautam.

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U.N. Urges Eased Myanmar Sanctions, Suu Kyi Ends Oath Row

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged Western nations to drop more Myanmar sanctions, in a show of support for the reformist regime as Aung San Suu Kyi agreed to end a parliamentary dispute.

Ban welcomed moves by the international community to reward sweeping changes in the country since the end of direct army rule last year, in a landmark speech to parliament following talks with President Thein Sein.

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Blind Chinese Dissident in U.S. Embassy

Blind Chinese rights activist Chen Guangcheng is holed up in the U.S. embassy in Beijing but is not seeking asylum abroad, a fellow dissident said Monday, raising the specter of a serious China-U.S. diplomatic wrangle.

Hu Jia, who was detained over the weekend for questioning in the affair, also said Chinese security officials indicated that Chen had met with U.S. ambassador Gary Locke since the activist's dramatic flight from house arrest.

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Sudan State Governor Expels 12,000 S. Sudanese

A governor in a Sudanese border state has set a one-week deadline for 12,000 ethnic South Sudanese gathered south of Khartoum to leave the country, state news agency SUNA reported on Sunday.

"The wali (governor) of White Nile state, Yusuf al-Shambali, confirmed that he has set May 5 as the deadline for the Southerners waiting in Kosti," a way station south of the capital, it said.

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Iran Hopes for 'Success' in Next Nuclear Talks

Iran hopes May 23 talks with world powers in Baghdad over its disputed nuclear program will result in "success," Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Sunday, according to ISNA news agency.

"The Istanbul talks were a success and we hope that the Baghdad meeting also will be a success, and if we took one step forward in Istanbul surely, with God's help, we will take several steps ahead in Baghdad," Salehi said in a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart.

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