N. Korea's Defiance Over

Inspections 'Very Serious'

The United States said yesterday that the situation in North Korea is "very serious" and that the government there had embarked on a dangerous course after defiantly violating agreements not to develop nuclear arms.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld met South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jun and they spoke with reporters a day after North Korea rejected a call by the International Atomic Energy Agency to open its nuclear arms program to inspections.

Rumsfeld said the defense chiefs discussed military contingency plans for the peninsula, but refused to give details. They stressed that the crisis should be resolved using political pressure on North Korea.

The United States says North Korea admitted in October to enriching uranium secretly for a weapons program but will neither confirm nor deny whether it has nuclear weapons.

Attacks in Kenya Bode Ill

For All Nations, Bush Says

Last week's attacks in Africa show that terrorists can strike anywhere and underscore a need to work together in defense, President Bush told Kenya's leader.

"If the terrorists could strike in Kenya, they could strike in Ethiopia, they could strike in Europe," Bush said in a meeting with President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. "We must continue this war to hunt these killers down one at a time to bring them to justice, which means information-sharing."

Bush's meeting with two of Africa's most prominent leaders was planned before last week's attacks on Kenya's Indian Ocean coast that killed 10 Kenyans, three Israelis and three bombers. Evidence has suggested that al Qaeda was behind the attacks -- a bombing at a hotel frequented by Israelis and the firing of missiles at an Israeli charter flight.

The Kenyan president said security within the Horn of Africa was the most important subject for the meeting with Bush. Other topics were the fight against AIDS, efforts to end civil war in Sudan, regional drought and economic development.

New Guidelines From CDC

Aim To Improve Lab Security

The government issued detailed guidelines aimed at tightening security at labs that handle dangerous pathogens but have gone largely unregulated.

It's the most detailed set of recommendations ever issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency is calling on labs to monitor areas where pathogens are stored, keep specimens locked up and limit access to those who are authorized to work with these agents.

The new rules were mandated by Congress after last year's anthrax attacks. The case remains unsolved, but experts suspect the anthrax sent through the mail came from a U.S. laboratory.

Next week, the CDC will publish regulations requiring tighter security at labs that handle "select agents," 42 pathogens and toxins that pose the greatest dangers to the public's health.

-- Compiled from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters