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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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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

Russia's Lavrov criticizes Ukraine statement on neutral status

MOSCOW - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized on Friday a statement by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on ending Ukraine's neutral status as confrontational rhetoric favored by what Russia calls Kiev's 'party of war'.

5:31am EST

As U.S. eases hostilities, Cuba faces new challenge

HAVANA - For decades, it was Cuba's first response to criticism. | Video

Cuba, U.S. 18 Dec 2014

Japanese activist challenges secrets law with whistleblower tool

TOKYO - A Japanese Internet activist and academic is challenging a new state secrets law by setting up a website aimed at making it easier for government officials to leak sensitive information to the media without getting caught.

Tech, Japan 6:46am 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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