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Spain Clears Way to Host U.S. Missile Interceptors

Spain gave the final green light Friday for the U.S. navy to deploy four ships equipped with missile interceptors in its territory as part of NATO's ballistic defense shield.

Equipped with Aegis defense systems, the ships are to be deployed at a U.S. naval base in Rota, southern Spain by 2013, along with 1,400 US personnel, under a deal agreed a year ago, the government said.

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Georgia Poll Opponents Start Power Handover Talks

Top officials from Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's party met with opponents from the Georgian Dream coalition Friday for the first time since the opposition bloc's shock election victory.

The talks are aimed at smoothing a rare peaceful transfer of power in the ex-Soviet state after billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili's bloc unexpectedly defeated Saakashvili's ruling party on Monday after a venomous campaign.

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Abu Hamza, 4 Terror Suspects Set for U.S. Extradition

Radical Islamist preacher Abu Hamza and four other terrorism suspects are set to be extradited to the United States after a British court Friday rejected their last-ditch attempts to block their removal.

A legal saga that has dragged on for more than a decade in the courts of Britain and Europe finally ended when two senior judges at the High Court in London dismissed the men's pleas to be allowed a stay of extradition.

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Tajikistan Extends Presence of Russian Military Base for 30 Years

Russia on Friday won an effectively free 30-year extension to military base it leases in Tajikistan to police that country's drug and crime-infested border with Afghanistan.

The agreement valid through 2042 was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to the Tajik capital Dushanbe for the 60th birthday celebrations of Tajik leader Emomali Rakhmon.

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Russian Suspects Deny U.S. Charge in Smuggling Scandal

Russian suspects in a U.S. probe into alleged smuggling of high-tech military technology to Russia denied wrongdoing as a senior official accused Washington of reluctance to share expertise.

While Russia's authorities denied any links to an alleged military exports ring, some saw the case as a political time bomb similar in scope to the 2010 spy-swap which involved ten agents including the sultry redhead Anna Chapman.

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World Bishops Gather to Counter Decline of Faith

Catholic bishops from around the world are convening for a synod starting on Sunday to debate how to counter rising secularism on the 50th anniversary of the historic but controversial Second Vatican Council.

The synod will hear a call from Pope Benedict XVI for a "new evangelization" drive for the Catholic Church, which is fast losing followers in Europe and feels increasingly discriminated against in many parts of the world.

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Romney Says '47 Percent' Remarks were 'Wrong'

Mitt Romney said late Thursday that his secretly-filmed remarks dismissing 47 percent of Americans as government dependents were "completely wrong."

Fresh from a victory in the first presidential debate that seemed to get his campaign back on track after the earlier remarks derailed it, the Republican challenger addressed the controversy in an interview on Fox News.

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Islamists Kill Two Civilians in Northern Mali

Armed Islamists in northern Mali attacked a vehicle and killed two civilians overnight, a witness and local official said Friday.

"There were nine of us in the vehicle between Timbuktu and Douentza. The Islamists ordered us to stop, the driver slowed but they opened fire nonetheless and two people in the front were killed," a survivor told Agence France Presse.

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Myanmar Monks Protest Anti-Buddhist Unrest

About 100 monks demonstrated in Myanmar's main city Yangon on Friday against attacks by Muslim mobs targeting Buddhist temples and homes in neighboring Bangladesh.

Holding signs with slogans including "The Earth Is for Everyone, Not Only for Muslims" and "Stop Insulting Buddhism", the robed monks staged a short protest outside the Bangladesh embassy in the former capital.

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Australia Court Backs Security Risk Refugee's Visa

Australia's High Court on Friday ruled that an asylum-seeker deemed a security risk can still be granted a refugee visa, in a decision that could have implications for others in similar situations.

The 36-year-old plaintiff, a Sri Lankan known as M47, arrived in Australia in December 2009 and has been held in detention since.

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