World briefs: Bomb explodes at Kabul airport

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KABUL, Afghanistan -- A suicide car bomb exploded outside the military entrance to Kabul International Airport early Wednesday, police said.

The bomb went off at the northern gate to the airport, which is normally crowded with civilian workers waiting to go through security checks, but there were no civilian casualties, according to a spokesman for the Kabul police.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on one of its websites.

No access to AIDS care

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- About 13 million HIV-positive Africans still don't have access to the life-saving medication they require, the nonprofit World Aids Campaign said Wednesday, the final day of the African AIDS conference in Cape Town.

People living in West and Central Africa are the worst affected by HIV and AIDS on the continent. Only a third of them have access to treatment, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS.

The main reasons for the lack of access are inventory shortages, corruption, mismanagement and a lack of political will to make sufficient funds available, delegates said at the conference.

Chief justice retires

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's chief justice has stepped down after a high-profile career during which he was praised for protecting democracy but also criticized for judicial overreach.

Iftikhar Chaudhry was appointed chief justice in 2005 and attracted national prominence two years later, when he was sacked by then-President Pervez Musharraf. Mr. Chaudhry was reinstated in 2009 after a protest movement led by the nation's lawyers. He will be replaced by the next most senior judge on the Supreme Court, Tassaduq Jillani.

Japan defines new role

TOKYO -- Japan must strengthen its defense and seek a larger regional role as the balance of power shifts with the rise of China and declining U.S. influence, according to a draft of a new national security strategy released Wednesday.

The draft, written by a group of experts appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, called for building even closer military ties with the United States, the postwar guarantor of Japanese security that still has 50,000 military personnel based in Japan.

However, it also said Japan must "strengthen its own capabilities and expand its own roles" by such steps as bolstering anti-missile defenses and its ability to defend freedom of navigation in surrounding seas.

Basque rebels sentenced

MADRID -- Spain's National Court on Wednesday sentenced three Basque separatists to 3,860 years in prison each for a car bombing that injured 160 people in 2009.

Reports said the sentences were the longest ever given for an attack carried out by the Basque separatist group ETA. In practice, however, Spanish law does not allow anyone to stay in prison for more than 40 years.

Uruguay legalizes pot

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay -- This nation of 3.3 million tucked between Argentina and Brazil has become the world's first nation to legalize the cultivation, sale and use of marijuana.

The law will create a state-regulated market with prices set by the government and allow pharmacies to sell as much as 1.4 ounces of marijuana a month to registered users who must be over 18 years old and residents of Uruguay.


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