Bombings strike Baghdad and northern Iraq

BAGHDAD - An explosives-laden sewage truck blew up near a police station and a car bomb struck an Iraqi army checkpoint Tuesday - attacks that bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida and showed extremists can still hit hard despite recent gains by U.S.-led forces.

A U.S. military spokesman said the terror network is on the run in some areas, but it 'obviously remains very lethal.'

Rice wins support from Egypt for peace conference

CAIRO, Egypt - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won public support Tuesday for a Mideast peace conference from a skeptical Egypt, boosting her bid to secure critical Arab backing for pushing Israel and the Palestinians to resume formal negotiations to end their conflict.

Pressing ahead with an intense four-day shuttle diplomacy mission, Rice appeared to have convinced the Egyptians of U.S. seriousness in organizing the conference to be held in Annapolis, Md., in November or December.

After her talks with President Hosni Mubarak and other top officials, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said at a news conference with Rice that she had given them 'a lot of trust and confidence' about American intentions for the meeting.

Piracy off Somalia coast increases

NAIROBI, Kenya - Piracy off Somalia is on the rise because an Islamic group that had cracked down on the seafaring criminals was ousted from power, an official who tracks such cases off Africa's side of the Indian Ocean said Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, an international watchdog reported maritime pirate attacks worldwide shot up 14 percent in the first nine months of 2007, with Somalia and Nigeria showing the biggest increases.

Reported attacks in Somalia rose rapidly to 26 cases, up from only eight a year earlier, the International Maritime Bureau said. Some hijackings have turned deadly - pirates complaining their demands had not been met killed a crew member a month after seizing a Taiwan-flagged fishing vessel in May off Somalia's northeastern coast.

Patriot missile accidentally hits Qatar farm

WASHINGTON - A U.S. Patriot missile was accidentally fired from a military base in Qatar, its debris hitting a nearby farm, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The missile self-destructed as it is supposed to and no one was injured, said Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, operations chief for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.