Obama to Meet With China’s President, Attack Kills 45 Iraqi Police Recruits

BY Francine Uenuma  January 18, 2011 at 8:42 AM EDT

Chinese President Hu Jintao is headed to Washington on Tuesday in preparation for a series of meetings with President Obama and a state dinner. President Hu will also make a stop in Chicago.

Both leaders are expected to emphasize economic and currency issues as well as regional security, with recent North Korean provocations roiling its neighbors and the United States pressuring its main ally, China, to help ease the tension.

The visit comes with high expectations, as China’s growing economic and military power have added a sense of urgency to its relationship with the United States and its neighbors. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited China last week to discuss military relations in advance of the presidential summit.

Bomb in Iraqi City of Tikrit Kills 45 Police Recruits

A suicide bomber blew himself up at a police recruiting center in the city of Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad, killing at least 45, with many more wounded.

Loudspeakers from a nearby mosque called for blood donations as the casualties mounted, according to the Associated Press. Similar recruiting centers have been a favorite target of insurgents in a country where the unemployment rate is around 30 percent.

Tikrit was Saddam Hussein’s home town and is the capital of a Sunni-dominated province.

Three Ministers Resign from Tenuous Tunisian Government

Only days after it was formed, three ministers have withdrawn from Tunisia’s fragile new unity government as protesters continued to clash with police on the streets of Tunis. They were members of the opposition party that played a role in driving former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali out of office last week, but the country’s new leader, Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, is a member of the same party and has had to defend its inclusion in the new government.

Unrest has grown steadily in recent weeks, stemming from an unemployed man who set himself on fire in protest when police tried to stop him from selling vegetables without a permit. The man later died. Demonstrators had railed against unemployment and corruption as Ben Ali made promises to step down in 2014, but his efforts to placate the growing crowds near the government’s interior ministry ultimately proved futile.

There have been fears in neighboring countries that events in Tunisia would spark similar discontent in other authoritarian-led nations. In Egypt, Algeria and Mauritania, protesters set themselves on fire.

On Monday, the Tunisian government said the death toll from the riots is at least 78.

Uncertainty on Second Day of Former Haitian Dictator’s Visit


Duvalier waves to supporters from a balcony of the Hotel Karibe on Jan. 16, 2011, in Port-au-Prince. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

One day after his surprise return to Port-au-Prince drew international attention, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s motives remain unclear. He told reporters Monday that he “came to help my country” after more than two decades in exile. Duvalier was ousted in 1986. President Rene Preval has said in the past that Duvalier would face charges if he returned.

The surprise visit comes in the wake of a turbulent presidential election vote, the results of which were widely questioned by the public and by many of the candidates themselves. The political situation has compounded Haiti’s woes following a massive earthquake in January 2010, from which the country has struggled to rebuild, and an ensuing outbreak of cholera.