Russia Plans to Bar ABC Journalists

After Interview With Chechen Radical

MOSCOW -- Russia's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it would not renew permission for ABC News to operate in the country after the network broadcast an interview with a notorious Chechen warlord.

In a statement, the ministry said ABC would be considered "undesirable" by all Russian state agencies because of the interview with Shamil Basayev, which was broadcast last week on "Nightline."

ABC News President David Westin said he was hopeful the Russian government would reconsider its decision but defended the network's reporting.

In the interview, Basayev said he was plotting more attacks. Basayev has asserted responsibility for some of Russia's most terrifying terrorist attacks, including last year's hostage seizure at a school in Beslan, which ended in the deaths of 330 children and adults.


* BEIJING -- North Korea's envoy at six-nation talks said his country would not give up its nuclear weapons until an alleged U.S. threat against the communist nation was eliminated. "Our decision is to give up nuclear weapons and programs related to nuclear weapons if the United States removes its nuclear threat against us and when trust is built," Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan said in the first public comments by North Korean officials after eight days of negotiations. Despite the disagreements, Kim said the North still looked to "narrow these differences as much as we can to present results."

* JAKARTA, Indonesia -- An American who heads the Indonesian branch of the world's largest gold producer goes on trial Friday, insisting that he and his company will be cleared of charges that they polluted a bay and sickened villagers.

The Indonesian subsidiary of the Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp. has been accused of causing dozens of residents on the island of Sulawesi to develop skin diseases and other illnesses, although tests have produced conflicting results. Richard B. Ness, head of the Indonesian branch, faces a possible 10-year sentence.


* SDEROT, Israel -- Palestinians fired rockets at Israeli settlers gathered for a massive protest against Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, but missed, killing a 3-year-old Palestinian boy and wounding nine other Palestinians in Gaza. Witnesses said gunmen fired three rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot.

* TEHRAN -- A gunman on a motorcycle shot and killed a judge in central Tehran, a judiciary spokesman said. Judge Masoud Moqadasi handled a case against an investigative reporter jailed in 2000 for reporting that intelligence officials murdered five Iranian dissidents in 1998, judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad said.

The journalist, Akbar Ganji, remains in jail and is on a hunger strike. Iran's Intelligence Ministry later blamed the dissidents' deaths on "rogue agents" in the secret service.


* MOSCOW -- Russian veterinary officials said an outbreak of an avian flu strain that can infect humans has spread to another region in Siberia. The outbreak began in the Novosibirsk region in early July and has killed thousands of domestic fowl. The veterinary service last week identified the virus as the H5N1 strain, which can fatally infect humans, although no human cases have been reported in Russia.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said the outbreak already had killed 2,707 domestic fowl, including 325 since Sunday morning.


* MEXICO CITY -- Mexico promised to tighten security on its U.S. border after the U.S. Consulate in the city of Nuevo Laredo closed because police have failed to curb spiraling violence.

A spokesman for President Vicente Fox said tougher measures would soon be taken, but ruled out a curfew in the city, across the border from Laredo, Tex.

More than 100 people have been killed this year in Nuevo Laredo. Most of the killings were linked to the drug trade, including the deaths of 18 police officers. Last week, U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza ordered the consulate temporarily closed after rival drug gangs clashed with hand grenades and automatic weapons in a 20-minute battle. The State Department has repeatedly warned Americans not to travel to Nuevo Laredo.

-- From News Services