Israeli train collides with truck, killing 7

REVADIM, Israel - A passenger train plowed into a coal truck Tuesday and sent three cars tumbling off the tracks in a sunflower field in southern Israel, killing seven people and injuring nearly 200 in one of Israel's worst train accidents.

The mangled cars were strewn around the field, far from main roads and cities. Dozens of passengers were thrown from the somersaulting cars.

In a country traumatized by mass casualties after four years of Palestinian suicide bombings, officials emphasized that the collision was an accident, not a terror attack.

The comparisons were obvious. Dudi Greenwald, a medic who called Israel Radio from the scene, said he had treated casualties at several bombings.

Car bomb kills politician in Lebanon

BEIRUT, Lebanon - A bomb killed an anti-Syrian politician Tuesday in the second such assassination in three weeks. The United States condemned it as an attack on Lebanon's quest to break free of Syrian domination.

Former Communist Party leader George Hawi was killed by an explosion under his seat as he was being driven through west Beirut. The blast came a day after official results of parliamentary elections were announced, showing the anti-Syrian opposition had won a majority in parliament.

The elections further loosened Syria's grip on its neighbor after its army ended a 29-year military presence in Lebanon in April. But the killing fueled fears that Damascus and its Lebanese allies are striking at enemies in a bid to revive their waning authority.

Israel-Palestinian summit leaves major issues unresolved

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon opened his summit with Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday by scolding the Palestinian leader for not doing more to prevent a recent wave of deadly attacks on Israelis. The atmosphere never thawed.

After more than two hours of talks, the Palestinians left Sharon's official residence frustrated, with few gains and a host of major issues unresolved less than two months before Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in August.

''This was a difficult meeting and did not live up to our expectations,'' Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia told reporters.

New U.S. envoy says militants want to take Iraq first

BAGHDAD, Iraq - America's new ambassador to Iraq expressed horror Tuesday at the violence wracking the country and said Islamic extremists and Saddam Hussein loyalists are trying to start a civil war.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who arrived from Afghanistan, said militants are using Iraqis as ''cannon fodder'' in a quest to dominate the Islamic world.

''I will work with Iraqis and others to break the back of the insurgency,'' Khalilzad promised on a day that saw more than a dozen gunmen launch an assault on a Baghdad police station, wounding two policemen. A roadside bomb also killed a U.S. soldier on patrol in western Iraq, officials said, while a mortar attack killed a woman and a child in their home in Tal Afar, 95 miles east of the Syrian border.

Top Vatican envoy in Moscow

MOSCOW - A top Vatican envoy was in Moscow Tuesday for sensitive talks to pursue Pope Benedict XVI's drive for better relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II, never fulfilled his dream of visiting Russia after the 1991 collapse of Communism because of disputes between the two churches.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who heads the Vatican's office for relations with other Christians, arrived late Monday to spend three days in Moscow. He is set to meet with Metropolitan Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church's foreign relations department.

Kasper will continue the dialogue with Orthodox leaders, the Vatican said in a brief statement.

Taiwan sends warships to defend fishermen

SUAO, Taiwan - Taiwan sent two warships Tuesday to protect fishermen who have been chased repeatedly by Japanese patrol boats away from rich fishing grounds near disputed islands in the East China Sea, a decision likely to raise diplomatic tensions.

The frigates - carrying Taiwan's defense minister and 15 lawmakers - made no contact with the Japanese vessels during their hourlong patrol near the uninhabited islands north of Taiwan, which are known in Japan as Sakashima and in Taiwan as Hsientao.

Both Tokyo and Taipei claim the islands fall within their exclusive economic zones. Japan often fines ship owners and impounds Taiwanese fishing vessels that enter the waters.

- From wire reports