**Obama to Return to Washington as Fiscal Cliff Looms**
U.S. President Barack Obama is cutting short his vacation in ((the Pacific state of)) Hawaii and will return to Washington to resume talks with congressional leaders aimed at reaching agreement on a deficit reduction package before the year ends.
The White House says Mr. Obama will leave Wednesday and is expected to arrive back in Washington early Thursday.
Early last week, the president said he and Republican House Speaker John Boehner were relatively close to an agreement on a compromise to avert what is being called a "fiscal cliff" -- $500 billion in mandated spending cuts and tax increases that would affect almost all American workers starting January 1. But by the end of last week, those efforts were in disarray as lawmakers fled Washington for their Christmas holiday break.
**Deadly Bombing Near US Facility in Afghanistan**
A suicide car bomber has detonated explosives near a U.S.-run military facility in Afghanistan, killing three civilians.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place on Wednesday near the facility known as Forward Operating Base Chapman.
In 2009, seven ((U.S.)) Central Intelligence Agency employees and a Jordanian worker were killed at the base in a suicide bombing by an al-Qaida-linked agent.
The facility is located in the eastern city of Khost, a volatile region near the Pakistani border.
There were no reports of NATO casualties in Wednesday's blast, which also left seven people wounded.