World Briefs: U.S. military on Sochi alert

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military will have warships and transport aircraft at the ready in case American athletes and officials need to make an emergency escape from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The Pentagon will have two warships and a number of C-17 transport aircraft on standby in the region to assist Russian security services in responding to any terrorist attack, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Any role for U.S. military personnel in getting help to the estimated 15,000 Americans expected to travel to Sochi for the Games would be contingent on Moscow's request for assistance, the official said.

Concerns about violence at the Games have run high since recent suicide bombings in nearby Volgograd killed 34 people. Sochi is located relatively near the North Caucasus region, where Islamist militants have waged a long, bloody insurgency.

U.S. soldier dies in attack

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Backed by a truck bomb, Taliban gunmen staged a brazen raid Monday against a sprawling base shared by U.S. and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan. A U.S. soldier was killed in the attack.

Afghan officials and officers from the NATO-led coalition said the assault on Forward Operating Base Pasab, in the Zhare district of Kandahar province, began when a truck packed with explosives drove up to the main gate. The driver set off a powerful blast, killing himself and the U.S. soldier. Within seconds, a minivan sped up and eight gunmen wearing suicide vests jumped out and tried to storm the base, but were killed by U.S. and Afghan soldiers.

China exporting filthy air

BEIJING -- Filthy emissions from China's export industries are carried across the Pacific Ocean and contribute to air pollution in the western United States, according to a paper published Monday by a prominent U.S. science journal.

The research is the first to quantify how air pollution in the United States is affected by China's production of goods for export and by global consumer demand for those goods, the study's authors say.

It was written by nine scholars based in three nations and was published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which last year published a paper by other researchers that found a drop in life spans in northern China because of air pollution.

Also in the world ...

Lawmakers in the Central African Republic on Monday elected the country's first female leader, Catherine Samba-Panza, 59, as interim president to take on the daunting job of halting sectarian killings, stabilizing a paralyzed country and ushering in elections. ... Twenty-seven people were killed and more than 70 wounded when seven bombs exploded in public markets and courts in Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad on Monday, medical and security officials said, in yet another flare-up in sectarian violence In Iraq. ... A suicide bomber struck Monday near the Pakistani military's general headquarters in Rawalpindi, killing at least 13 people, including six soldiers, officials said.


-- Compiled from news services


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