World Briefs: Suicide attack kills 3 U.S. soldiers, 18 Afghans

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL — A suicide bomber killed 21 people including three U.S. soldiers at a checkpoint in a packed market in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday - the third assault targeting Americans in as many days.

The daily violence is threatening to undermine international hopes of an orderly hand-over to Afghan forces at the end of 2014.

Although U.S. officials stress successes in establishing pockets of governance in some areas, the east and south continue to be plagued by regular attacks and clashes.

Wednesday’s attack took place in a marketplace in the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border and about 90 miles southeast of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The assailant approached on foot through the shops and taxi stands packed with people, then detonated his explosives as he approached Afghan and U.S. soldiers at a checkpoint, said Baryalai Wakman, a spokesman for the Khost provincial government.

UNITED KINGDOM

Assange faces arrest if he leaves embassy

LONDON — British police stood poised Wednesday to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should he step outside the Ecuadorian Embassy - but authorities conceded he is beyond their grasp as long as he stays inside.

Mr. Assange says he is seeking political asylum at the South American nation’s diplomatic mission. Police said he had violated the terms of his bail, which include an overnight curfew, and “is now subject to arrest.”

The 40-year-old Australian took refuge in the embassy a few doors down from the Harrods department store Tuesday. He said he was seeking political asylum in Ecuador, whose leftist President Rafael Correa previously has offered words of support.

Mr. Assange was arrested in London in December 2010 at Sweden’s request. Since then, he has been fighting extradition to the Scandinavian country, where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sexual assaults on two women in August 2010.

He denies the allegations and says the case against him is politically motivated.

BRAZIL

Environmental summit opens in Rio

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