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Defending his government's handling of the tainted-milk scandal, Chinese Premier Wen Jibao pledged over the weekend to "ensure that all China-made products are safe for consumers." At least four children have died and a reported 54,000 others have been made ill by drinking formula laced with the chemical melamine. Melamine also has been found in liquid milk, yogurt, candies, and numerous other products. But Wen said the experience "has laid a good foundation for resolving problems."

Gunmen said to be Taliban militants killed the most senior policewoman in southern Afghanistan and critically wounded her son Sunday. Lt. Col. Malalai Kakar died as she was leaving home for her office in Kandahar. She had survived numerous other assassination attempts and was internationally hailed for her courage. When they ruled Afghanistan, the Taliban forbid most women from working outside the home.

Pirates holding a cargo ship off the coast of Somalia Sunday were demanding a ransom of $20 million, reports said. The vessel, with a cargo of Russian-built tanks and ammunition intended for delivery to Kenya, was seized last Thursday, and its hijackers vowed to defend themselves "until the last one of us dies" if US and Russian warships that have been pursuing it tried to attack.

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