Preview -- World News Tonight 07/25/01

Good Afternoon.

The Organization of Oil Producing and Exporting Countries has spoken. And as is often the case when OPEC speaks, nerves have been rattled in many corners of the globe.

The cartel plans to reduce the flow of oil, in an attempt to boost prices. The price of crude has already headed upward — on news of the announcement alone. Our business correspondent Betsy Stark is reporting on the implications of this.

In Switzerland today, negotiations aimed at agreeing on a way to ban germ warfare have failed, after the Bush administration said a draft agreement would have hurt the business and national security interests of the United States. Sound familiar? It is. Though even Washington's allies were surprised by this one. State Department correspondent Martha Raddatz takes a look tonight at why the United States stands alone on so many issues these days.

Then we'll take a Closer Look at a story that generated a many-layered discussion in the newsroom this morning. It's no longer that unusual to hear about a convicted killer freed by new evidence, or fresh testimony; but you don't often hear about someone kept in jail because a priest and public defender kept silent about the person who actually confessed to the crime. Today Jose Morales is free, after 13 years in prison. And today there are all sorts of questions about how that was allowed to happen. Dan Harris will have that.

We'll also examine the difficulties inherent in the pursuit of the missing. As Jackie Judd reports, "Famous — or anonymous — missing persons cases are among the toughest for police." You know about the "famous" cases. Jackie spends some time tonight with the people you probably haven't heard much about. Shreveport, La., detective Carolyn Deal, for example, who says that "with a homicide you have evidence. Somewhere there's going to be a crime scene. With a missing person you don't really even know where the scene is."

Finally, Mike Lee is still on The Road To Anywhere. And tonight we really mean "anywhere." Mike reports from Pentecost Island, part of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, on a death-defying rite of passage. For those of you who have envied Mike's assignment so far — we wonder if you'll be interested in participating in this one.

We hope you'll join us.

Peter Jennings