Moscow Criticizes Diplomat's Expulsion

MOSCOW--Russia further criticized the United States in a row over spying yesterday, saying the expulsion of one of its diplomats from Washington was unjustified.

The United States on Wednesday ordered the expulsion of a second secretary at the Russian embassy, Stanislav Gusev, saying he was caught monitoring a listening device that was found in a State Department conference room.

The charges against Gusev were made days after Russia accused a U.S. diplomat at the Moscow embassy, Cheri Leberknight, of spying and told her to leave within 10 days. Russia's domestic security service said Leberknight left Moscow yesterday.

Nobel Prizes Awarded in Oslo, Stockholm

STOCKHOLM--The last Nobel Prizes of this century were collected by an author feted as the savior of postwar German literature, a group of volunteer doctors and an economist whose theories led to a common European currency.

German author Guenter Grass, who was cited for compelling Germans to remember their country's Nazi past, joined this year's winners of the economics, chemistry, medicine and physics prizes at Stockholm's stately Konserthuset concert hall to receive their prizes from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Doctors Without Borders accepted the Nobel Peace Prize at a separate ceremony in Oslo for bringing care and hope to the victims of catastrophes.

Belfast Interrogation Center to Close

BELFAST--The Northern Ireland police interrogation center in Belfast will close by the end of the year, Britain announced in its latest gesture to encourage the Irish Republican Army to disarm. Detectives have used the Castlereagh Interrogation Center for three decades to question suspected terrorists.


Canada Sets Terms for Quebec Secession

TORONTO--The Canadian government unveiled legislation proposing tough terms to be met before it will negotiate a secession by French-speaking Quebec.

Under the Clarity Act, designed to raise the bar and lower support for breaking up the country, the Ottawa government would not enter into negotiations unless secession was agreed to in a clearly worded referendum by more than a simple majority of Quebec voters. But how much more than 50 percent was left unclear, except to say that Parliament would decide based not only on the size of the majority but also the turnout and the geographic distribution of the secessionist vote.

Secessionist forces in Quebec immediately denounced the legislation as undemocratic, unnecessarily provocative and yet another move by Ottawa to "crush Quebec." Last week, Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard rejected an offer from Ottawa to drop the legislation if he would promise not to hold a referendum during the rest of his term, which could run through 2004.

Inmates Escape in Chiapas Prison Attack

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico--Armed men attacked a prison in southern Mexico and freed up to 40 inmates, police in the state of Chiapas said. A child visiting the jail with her mother died after being crushed during the riot.

Chiapas state prosecutor Eduardo Montoya said authorities suspected the attackers were from the Chamula evangelical community, which wanted to free two of its jailed members.

Colombia Rebels Free Last Hostages

BOGOTA, Colombia--Leftist rebels have freed the last three hostages in the mass kidnapping of a congregation at a Roman Catholic Mass, apparently in return for political concessions.

"Not one person remains held from those kidnapped at La Maria church," Julian Otoya, spokesman for the hostages, said Friday.

Guerrillas of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, abducted an entire congregation at the church on May 30. The insurgents from Colombia's second-largest guerrilla band herded more than 100 people into trucks after barging in on a Mass in an exclusive southern neighborhood.

More than 30 people, mostly children and the elderly, were released the same day as the rebels, pursued by troops, headed into the mountains for refuge. The rest were released in small groups over the ensuing six months.


Russia and China Pledge Mutual Support

BEIJING--Strengthening their nations' post-Cold War friendship, Boris Yeltsin and Jiang Zemin swapped pledges of support on sensitive matters both view with utmost importance: Chechnya and Taiwan. At the end of a two-day summit that highlighted the partnership between China and Russia, they also voiced frustration at what they regard as U.S. domination of world affairs.

Woman Runs for Vice President in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan--A feminist and former political dissident was chosen as the first woman to run as vice president for a major political party in Taiwan. Annette Lu joined former Taipei mayor Chen Shui-bian's campaign, which most polls say is in second or third place ahead of the March election.


Kuwait Plane Crash Kills 3 U.S. Soldiers

KUWAIT CITY--A U.S. Air Force troop transport made an emergency belly landing in fog and rain after its wheels failed to come down, killing three soldiers and injuring 16. The servicemen died from inhaling smoke after the landing sparked a fire in the rear of the C-130 aircraft, Kuwait's state-run television said.


West Africa Sets Up Security Council

LOME, Togo--West Africa set up its own Security Council as part of a new plan to prevent or defuse conflict in the volatile region. Presidents of the Economic Community of West African States approved the plan at their annual two-day summit in Lome, where Sierra Leone's warring parties signed a peace deal in July. Mali, which took over the rotating presidency of the 16-nation group, is to chair the council.


"I am ready to meet anyone -- the devil, Maskhadov ... provided it produces results and they let civilians -- old people, women and children -- leave Grozny."

--Sergei Shoigu, Russian emergencies minister