Taliban attack helps inmates escape prison

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Taliban militants staged a brazen bomb and rocket attack on the main prison in southern Afghanistan late Friday, blowing down the gate and helping hundreds of suspected insurgents flee, officials said. Many police officers were reported killed.

The complex attack included a truck bombing at the main gate, a suicide bomber who struck a back wall and rockets fired from outside, setting of a series of explosions that rattled Kandahar, the country's second-biggest city.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, said 30 insurgents on motorbikes and two suicide bombers attacked Sarposa Prison and freed about 400 Taliban members.

Iraqi PM: Security talks with the US are deadlocked

BAGHDAD - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared Friday that talks with the U.S. on a new security agreement were deadlocked, as Sunni and Shiite preachers spoke out against the deal that would enable American troops to remain in Iraq after year's end.

Al-Maliki said negotiations will continue, but his tough talk reflects Iraqi determination to win greater control of U.S. military operations after the U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

Bush says West must stand with Afghanistan

PARIS - President Bush said Friday that just as the United States helped Europe rebuild after World War II, the two powers must now stand with newborn democracies like Afghanistan and Iraq and reach out to people yearning for liberty, especially in the Middle East.

In his speech Friday, Bush pushed European leaders not to work at cross purposes with the United States or their neighbors, but to address global challenges of energy, security and trade. Ultimately, he said, the only way for freedom and democracy to win out over terrorists is to defeat their ideology, especially in the broader Middle East.

Japan shaken by 7.0 earthquake

TOKYO - A powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked northern Japan early today, swaying buildings and forcing authorities to close highways and stop high-speed trains. News reports said some people were cut by broken glass.

Authorities said two nuclear power plants in the area were not damaged and continued to operate normally, national broadcaster NHK reported. There was no danger of tsunami.