Bomber kills at least 15 in Iraq

' BAQOUBA, Iraq - A suicide bomber struck a U.S.-promoted reconciliation meeting of Shiite and Sunni tribal sheiks as they were washing their hands or sipping tea Monday, killing at least 15 people, including the city's police chief, and wounding about 30 others.

Two U.S. soldiers were also wounded in the blast at a Shiite mosque in Baqouba, a former al-Qaida in Iraq stronghold about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials, who gave the overall casualty toll.

Monks warned after taking part in protest

' YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar's military government issued a threat Monday to the barefoot Buddhist monks who led 100,000 people marching through the capital, in the strongest protests against the repressive regime for two decades.

The warning shows the increasing pressure the junta is under to either crack down on or compromise with a reinvigorated democracy movement. The monks have taken their traditional role as the conscience of society, backing the military into a corner from which it may lash out again.

The authorities did not stop the protests Monday. The government has been handling the monks gingerly, wary of raising the ire of ordinary citizens in this devout, predominantly Buddhist nation.

Security tight for Lebanon election after slaying

' BEIRUT, Lebanon - Anti-Syrian lawmakers rattled by last week's assassination of one of their colleagues took refuge in a heavily guarded hotel Monday, a day before the deeply divided parliament convenes to elect a president.

Security forces put together an elaborate plan sealing off downtown Beirut to allow the lawmakers to move safely today from the hotel to the parliament building a half-mile away.

Fears of an attack were high after Thursday's slaying of pro-government lawmaker Antoine Ghanem.

Italian operatives rescued Monday in Afghanistan

' KABUL, Afghanistan - Italian commandos, aided by other NATO forces and aircraft, rescued two kidnapped Italian intelligence operatives Monday in a daring ambush and gunbattle that left at least nine of the captors dead in western Afghanistan.

Although both freed Italians were wounded - one of them seriously - Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said the operation was a success and could put a dent in Afghanistan's rising kidnapping industry.