Afghanistan: Battle kills 80

KABUL — U.S.-led coalition forces killed about 80 Taliban fighters during a six-hour battle outside a Taliban-controlled town in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, the latest in a series of increasingly bloody engagements in the region, officials said.

Also Saturday, a suicide bomber wearing an Afghan security uniform detonated his explosives at the entrance to a combined U.S.-Afghan base in the east of the country, killing four Afghan soldiers and a civilian, officials said.

India: Rebels kill 18

NEW DELHI — Communist rebels opened fire on a crowd of revelers at a festival in eastern India on Saturday, killing a politician's son and 17 other people, police said.

About 25 Maoist guerrillas attacked the village festival in the remote state of Jharkhand, firing indiscriminately, local police chief Arun Kumar Singh told The Associated Press. Among the dead was Anuplal Marandi, the son of the state's former chief minister, Babulal Marandi, he said. The politician was thought to be on the rebel's hit list after leading a crackdown against them while in office, Singh said.

Indonesia: Volcano warnings

JAKARTA — The Indonesian volcano known as the "Child of Krakatoa" spewed ash and smoke, prompting warnings of a possible eruption, a government volcanologist said Saturday.

The mountain in the Sunda Strait, 80 miles west of Jakarta, formed after the giant Krakatoa eruption of 1883 that killed tens of thousands of people and was the largest explosion in recorded history.

Iraq: Handover of security

U.S. military officials said Saturday they were turning over security for Karbala Province south of Baghdad to Iraqi security forces on Monday, marking the eighth of Iraq's 18 provinces where Iraqis have assumed control.

The move has been delayed several times as violence has continued to erupt there. Still, "It's to the point where they are going to pull it off," said U.S. Master Sgt. Dennis Beebe.

An Iraqi brigade commander said a celebration is planned for Monday in Karbala Stadium.

Italy: Pavarotti's widow

ROME — Luciano Pavarotti's widow denounced the "unseemly" gossip swirling in the Italian media alleging financial and family problems, saying Saturday she felt compelled to set the record straight for the sake of their young daughter.

Nicoletta Mantovani appeared on RAI state television, granting her first interview since the Sept. 6 death of the great Italian tenor.

She denied Pavarotti had left her in debt or that she was squabbling with his three adult daughters over the terms of his will. Pavarotti left half of his estate to Mantovani and half to his four daughters.

Jordan: 168 suffer poisoning

AMMAN — More than 160 people from a single town in northern Jordan were hospitalized on Saturday for poisoning, which health officials attributed to either bad food or contaminated water. It was the third such case in four months.

In the latest poisoning, 168 people were admitted to three hospitals in northern Jordan since early Saturday, said an on-duty doctor at the Jerash Government Hospital — one of the medical facilities that received the patients. "The exact cause is still unknown," the doctor said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to make press statements.

Peru: Misappropriated funds

LIMA — Peru's Supreme Court has convicted a former economy minister of misappropriating state funds during the administration of jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori, the government said Saturday.

Jorge Baca Campodonico, who was extradited earlier this year from Argentina to stand trial, was found guilty Friday of diverting $59.4 million in state funds to bail out a private bank. He was given a three-year suspended sentence which requires he serve no prison time, fined more than $666,000 and barred from holding public office for a year, according to the official government gazette, El Peruano.

Turkey: Leader warns rebels

ANKARA — Turkey's top military commander promised Saturday to make Iraq-based Kurdish rebels "grieve with an intensity that they cannot imagine," while the prime minister said his nation would fight "when needed," regardless of international pressure.

The military chief, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, said Friday that Turkey would wait until Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Bush in Washington on Nov. 5 before deciding on any cross-border offensive.