US sends drones to monitor pirates

NAIROBI, Kenya - U.S. military surveillance drones based in the Seychelles islands are patrolling off Somalia's coast in hopes of stemming a rising piracy trade.

Pirates have unleashed a wave of attacks in recent days as the new pirate season begins. Monsoons kept pirates off the water in recent months.

The bandits seized three ships in the last 10 days, and officials say attacks will rise.

US displeased at Iran uranium response delay

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration expressed mild disappointment Friday that Iran withheld a decision on whether to accept a U.N.-coordinated plan that could ease fears about Iran's potential for making a nuclear weapon.

The U.S., along with Russia and France, officially endorsed the plan Friday. The State Department said it was unhappy that Iran was not ready to embrace the plan, which calls for Iran to ship most of its low-enriched uranium to Russia for further enrichment and eventual use as fuel for a research reactor in Tehran that makes medical isotopes and is under regular monitoring by a U.N. agency.

NATO may beef up Afghanistan war support

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Top NATO and United Nations officials signaled Friday they may request more international troops to join American forces in Afghanistan as the top U.S. defense official said President Barack Obama is still weeks away from deciding on a shift in war strategy.

At a Friday meeting of 28 NATO defense ministers, Pentagon chief Robert Gates said allies indicated a willingness to boost military and civilian aid - even as Obama remains undecided over whether to escalate U.S. troop strength to counter Afghan insurgents.

Pakistan militants hit air force base

ISLAMABAD - A suicide bomber on a bicycle attacked a major Pakistani air base on Friday, killing seven people in an escalating campaign that strikes at the heart of the nation's security forces.

The strike was one of three bombings in northwest Pakistan that killed 24 people and wounded 28 as the army pushed a seven-day offensive deeper into al-Qaida and Taliban territory.

- From wire reports