Two suspects in a spate of rural Alabama church fires have been arrested, state and federal investigators announced Wednesday. A third suspect is being sought in the series of arsons that began Feb. 3 and damaged or destroyed at least 10 Baptist churches, some with largely white congregations and others with mostly black congregants. Before details were officially released, one pastor said the authorities told him the two men in custody are are white men from the Birmingham area.

The US will launch free trade talks with Malaysia, a fastgrowing Asian economy that is the 10th-largest US trading partner, officials of the two countries said. The US is also awaiting a 90-day consultation period before beginning similar negotiations with South Korea.

A new book about San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds, who hit a single-season record 73 home runs in 2001, says he used steroids for at least five seasons, casting new doubts about his slugging as he chases Babe Ruth for second place on the all-time home run list. Sports Illustrated ran an excerpt from "Game of Shadows" on its Web site.

Rep. Tom DeLay (R) of Texas, the former House majority leader who is awaiting trial, breezed to victory Tuesday in a party primary, with more than 60 percent of the vote. He was indicted in October for illegally funneling corporate donations to the GOP.

Special elite military troops have been placed at more than a dozen embassies in Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America for the purpose of gathering intelligence on terrorists and to help plan counterterrorism missions, The New York Times said of the "Military Liaison Elements." The effort has "drawn opposition from traditional intelligence agencies" like the CIA, according to the report.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has signed a book contract with Penguin Press for an undisclosed amount that industry experts believe to be $8 million, The Washington Post said. Only one other nonfiction book, Bill Clinton's "My Life," has ever had a higher advance ($12 million). The Greenspan book is scheduled for release in 2007.

Photojournalist Gordon Parks, who died Tuesday in New York, was the first black photographer at Life magazine, where he worked from 1948 to 1968. Thereafter, he shifted to filmmaking, with movies such as "Shaft" and "The Learning Tree. "

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