Ministers forgive $40B in debt

LONDON - The world's richest countries agreed Saturday on a historic deal to write off more than $40 billion of debt owed by the poorest nations.

The debt relief package backed by finance ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations is part of a British-led effort to lift Africa out of poverty.

Air strike ordered on insurgents

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A former commando in the feared Wolf Brigade blew himself up after sneaking into the morning roll call at the unit's heavily fortified headquarters Saturday, one of a series of weekend insurgent attacks that killed at least 35 people including youngsters waiting to buy sandwiches and ice cream. Near the Syrian border, Marine air strikes wiped out a band of 40 heavily armed militants.

The American military said Marines ordered the four-hour bombardment near the Anbar province frontier city of Qaim after insurgents took control of a road "and were threatening Iraqi civilians,"

8 arrests made

in kidnapping

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan police have arrested eight people suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of an Italian aid worker, who was freed after three weeks in captivity, the interior minister said Saturday.

Flood, hotel fire kill 95 in China

BEIJING - A torrential flood hit a school in northeast China and swept 64 people - many of them children - to their deaths, while a fire in the south raced through the top floors of a hotel and killed 31, state media reported Saturday.

5,000 demand Arroyo's ouster

MANILA, Philippines - An estimated 5,000 protesters demanded Saturday that Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo step down. Allegations surfaced that she fixed last year's election.

- From wire reports