Osama bin Laden will not be turned over to the US even if proof of his involvement in the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks is received, Afghanistan's Taliban regime said. The announcement, reported in an Arabic-language newspaper, came as neighboring Pakistan's government signaled it had seen "sufficient" evidence offered by the US of bin Laden's role. (Related stories, pages 1, 6; speech text, page 10.)

A new round of high-level meetings aimed at salvaging the truce between Israel and the Palestinians ended inconclusively, and reports said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's cabinet had OK'd the resumption of targeted killings of militants. Against that backdrop, a Palestinian gunman posing as an Israeli soldier fired into a crowded bus terminal in the northern town of Afula. Two Israelis died and 14 others were wounded. Security forces killed the attacker. (Related stories, pages 2, 8.)

An emergency meeting of OPEC was called for tomorrow or Sunday in Vienna as the price for a barrel of crude slid to $19.65 a barrel. The cartel's target price is a $22- to $28-a-barrel range. Last week, OPEC officials hinted they might cut production if prices remain weak, although Saudi Arabia's oil minister told the Financial Times his government was leaning away from such a move.

While acknowledging public anger over the murder of a popular ex-minister of culture, Colombia's president said he'd likely take until Tuesday to decide on extending a controversial sanctuary for leftist rebels. Andres Pastrana faces growing pressure to take back the zone ceded three years ago in peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces. The latter were not making his decision easier, refusing to accept any conditions for remaining in the sanctuary without government interference. The FARC is suspected of killing Consuelo Araujo, who'd been kidnapped last month.

At least 76 people died in the explosion and crash of a chartered airliner on a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Novosibirsk in Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the incident could have been caused by terrorism, but a senior US military official suggested the plane might have been shot down accidentally by a missile fired in Ukraine during a military exercise. (Story, page 8.)

The apparent hijacking of a domestic flight in India late Wednesday turned out to be neither that nor an exercise to test security measures, officials said. The plane was en route from Bombay to New Delhi when a phone call warned it would be seized by two people who "didn't speak proper English." The plane was stormed by commandos once on the ground at New Delhi, but the warning proved false.

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