24 suspected al-Qaida members on trial in Spain

MADRID, Spain - Twenty-four suspected al-Qaida members went on trial Friday, including the group's alleged ringleader in Spain and two associates accused of aiding one of the Sept. 11 suicide pilots who flew a jetliner into the World Trade Center.

The proceedings were Europe's biggest trial of alleged al-Qaida militants and made Spain only the second country after Germany to try suspects in the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001. The only man charged in the United States, Zacarias Moussaoui, pleaded guilty Friday to helping al-Qaida carry out the attacks.

Moussaoui pleads guilty in attacks

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Zacarias Moussaoui pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring with the Sept. 11 hijackers to kill Americans and declared he was personally chosen by Osama bin Laden to fly a plane into the White House during a later attack.

Moussaoui admitted guilt in front of a packed courtroom only a few miles from where one of the four hijacked planes crashed into the Pentagon in 2001. He pleaded to six conspiracy counts, four of which could bring the death penalty.

Car bomb kills 8 at Baghdad mosque

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A car bomb ripped through a crowded mosque during Friday prayers, killing eight people and wounding 26 in the latest attack targeting Iraq's Shiite majority. Frantic worshippers searched through rubble for loved ones, and women wailed and beat their chests in grief.

The U.S. military sent investigators to the grassy field north of Baghdad where a helicopter carrying 11 civilians was shot down Thursday. A video posted on a militant Web site suggested insurgents gunned down the lone survivor of the crash, and the Bulgarian company that owns the helicopter confirmed Friday the man seen in the footage was indeed one of the aircraft's pilots.

Interim president vows election will proceed in Togo

LOME, Togo - Togo's interim head of state vowed presidential elections will go ahead Sunday - and fired his security minister who had called for the ballot to be canceled because of fears of bloodshed.

The apparent split within the government comes as tensions have been mounting in this tiny West African nation. There was no immediate response from the generals who wield much of the power here or the late dictator's son, who was expected to win the race.

British shoe-bomb conspirator gets 13-year sentence

LONDON - A British judge Friday imposed a 13-year prison sentence on a man who admitted conspiring with shoe-bomber Richard Reid to blow up a U.S.-bound trans-Atlantic jet in 2001.

Prosecutors said they believe British-born Saajid Badat, 25, may have backed out of an alleged plot with Reid, who was subdued by passengers when he attempted to detonate a bomb aboard an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami on Dec. 22, 2001.

Retrial ordered in cannibal case

KARLSRUHE, Germany - A German court Friday ordered a retrial for a man convicted last year of killing and eating another man, giving prosecutors a chance to get a tougher sentence than one imposed last year by a lower court.

Armin Meiwes was sentenced by a court in the city of Kassel to 81D2 years for manslaughter in the 2001 death of Bernd Juergen Brandes, 43. Prosecutors appealing that sentence said he should be given a life sentence for murder.

Ecuador's president gets asylum in Brazil

QUITO, Ecuador - Brazil's decision to grant asylum to Ecuador's deposed President Lucio Gutierrez provoked outrage on Thursday among many Ecuadoreans who demanded that the politician remain and account for alleged abuses of power.

Gutierrez, who was fired by Congress on Wednesday after a week of street protests calling for his removal, was waiting at the Brazilian Embassy residency for a flight to Brazil, said Brazilian Ambassador Sergio Florencio Sobrinho.

Japanese premier apologizes to China

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Japan's prime minister apologized Friday for his country's World War II aggression in Asia in a bid to defuse tensions with regional rival China, but a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said the apology needed to be backed up with action after Japanese lawmakers made a controversial visit to a war shrine.

Just hours before Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologized, a Cabinet minister and more than 80 Japanese lawmakers visited a Tokyo shrine to Japan's war dead. China's Foreign Ministry expressed ''strong dissatisfaction over the negative actions of some Japanese politicians'' in visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, which also honor's Japan's executed war criminals.

North Korea: nuclear weapons needed for self-defense

JAKARTA, Indonesia - North Korea's No. 2 leader Friday accused the United States of trying to topple Pyongyang's government, shortly after a brief meeting with the South Korean prime minister that was the highest-level exchange between those two neighbors in five years.

The developments came amid international efforts to resume six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

In a speech to delegates at a meeting of African and Asian leaders, Kim Yong Nam of North Korea said the reclusive communist country needed nuclear weapons for self-defense.

- From wire reports