Russia's newly reinstalled President Vladimir Putin will be too busy with affairs at home to make a planned visit to the United States this month, where he was to have a high-profile tête-à-tête with President Obama and attend the G8 summit.
In his place, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who swapped places with Putin in recent elections, will go to the global economic summit.
Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng says his family is being hounded by local authorities in his Shandong, his home province, with his brother and sister-in-law placed under house arrest and his nephew detained.
Chen's flight last month from house arrest and his request for refuge from U.S. diplomats has caused considerable embarrassment for Chinese authorities and threatened to damage U.S.-Sino relations. Since then, Beijing has agreed in a face-saving move to allow the blind, self-taught legal activist and his immediate family to study in the United States.
A pair of powerful explosions ripped through Syria's capital, killing at least 50 people in the deadliest attack in the country's 14-month uprising. Some 170 people were wounded, according to state television.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but local TV reports called the attacks "terrorist bombings".
The explosions damaged a military intelligence building and left blood and human remains in the streets, according to The Associated Press.