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U.S. backed talks with ISIS over American hostage: newspaper

LONDON - U.S. counter-terrorism officials backed negotiations with two prominent jihadi clerics in a failed attempt to save the life of an American hostage who was later beheaded by Islamic State militants, the Guardian newspaper reported on Friday.

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Man drives car into headquarters of Spain's ruling party

MADRID - A Spanish businessman drove a car containing gas cylinders into the headquarters of Spain's ruling People's Party on Friday, triggering a major police alert, official spokesmen said.

4:53am EST

EU leaders ready long confrontation with Russia

BRUSSELS - European Union leaders warned Moscow they were ready exercise their combined muscle over the long haul in a confrontation with an economically wounded Russia if President Vladimir Putin refused to pull back from Ukraine.

Russia 18 Dec 2014

Pakistan to challenge bail for Mumbai attack 'mastermind'

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani prosecutors are to appeal against a court decision to grant bail to a man accused of plotting a 2008 militant assault in India's financial capital that killed 166 people and seriously strained ties between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

5:01am EST

China lodges protest after Obama approves Taiwan frigate sale

BEIJING - China said on Friday it had lodged a protest with the United States after President Barack Obama signed into law legislation authorizing the sale of up to four Perry-class guided missile frigates to Taiwan.

China 3:24am EST

In dealings with the West, Erdogan holds all the cards

ISTANBUL - President Tayyip Erdogan's tightening grip on power is likely to meet little more than symbolic resistance from the West next year, as Turkey's G20 presidency and the fight against Islamic State trump concerns about a slide towards authoritarianism.

Turkey 2:04am EST

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