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China warns against ‘dangerous’ western values

HONG KONG — The Chinese Communist Party has warned officials to combat “dangerous” Western values and other perceived ideological threats, according to accounts on Monday of a directive that analysts said reflects the top leader Xi Jinping’s determination to preserve top-down political control even as he considers economic liberalization.

The warning emerged when Chinese news websites carried accounts from local party committees describing a directive from the Central Committee General Office, the administrative engine of the party leadership under Xi.

The central document, “Concerning the situation in the ideological sphere,” has not been openly published, and most references to it disappeared from Chinese news and government websites by Monday afternoon, apparently reflecting censors’ skittishness about publicizing such warnings. But what did come to light in the local summaries exuded anxiety about the party’s grip on opinion.

—Chris Buckley, The New York Times

Car bomb kills at least 4 in Libya

BENGHAZI, Libya — A car explosion on a busy street killed at least four people and injured more than a dozen on Monday, stirring new anger at the failure of the transitional government to fill the security vacuum left by the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi.

There was no apparent target. The blast, which took place about two blocks from a hospital, may have been set off by a car full of explosives intended for other locations. Over the last week unidentified assailants have bombed at least four empty police stations here in the early hours of the morning, in a new burst of violence after months of sporadic attacks. This was the first of the recent blasts to cause casualties and the first attack in recent memory to hit civilians.

Speculation about responsibility has focused on Islamists or others seeking retribution against security forces who previously worked for Gadhafi, but some have suggested that the attacks may be the work of criminal gangs or Gadhafi loyalists. A Facebook page for a group calling itself the Islamist Front of Derna sought to claim responsibility for Monday’s bombing, but its authorship or credibility could not be confirmed.

—David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times

In Bavaria, family values that Merkel could do without

MUNICH — It’s a family affair, but one that is very public and very political.

Bavaria’s dominant political force, the Christian Social Union, is embroiled in a nepotism scandal, accused of confusing family values with rewarding family members. Dozens of party members paid their spouses, children and parents to work as assistants. Some hired wives to run their “home office.” One lawmaker hired his teenage sons to keep up his computers.

The scandal has engulfed this economically powerful region in recent weeks, damaging the party’s image but also threatening Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chances of re-election in September. The Christian Social Union, which has governed Bavaria for decades, is the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.

“All of the top members of the CSU knew about this,” said Werner Weidenfeld, a professor of political science at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. “These family members were sitting in offices at the state capital all day. When a party leader went past, there would be the wife of a representative, working. This was not undercover.”

Last month Georg Schmid, the parliamentary chairman in the state legislature, resigned his chairmanship after it was revealed that he employed his wife for more than two decades, telling the Munich-based broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk that he paid her up to 5,500 euros ($7,100) a month.

—Melissa Eddy and Nicholas Kulish, The New York Times