USA

Four North Korean fighter jets shadowed a US reconnaissance plane last weekend, and one used its radar in a way that suggested it might attack, the Defense Department revealed Monday. The jets did not fire during incident, the first since 1969, but it threatened to greatly escalate tensions over North Korea's resumed nuclear program. US officials planned to file a protest, but were hampered by the fact that the two nations don't have formal diplomatic ties. In an interview with US newspapers, President Bush repeated his determination to pursue a diplomatic solution, hopefully with the help of China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan. A military option "is our last choice," Bush said.

Continuing a buildup for possible war with Iraq, the Bush administration ordered another 60,000 troops to join the more than 250,000 US and British forces in the Persian Gulf, defense officials said. Many analysts consider an attack likely within weeks, despite setbacks such as Turkey's refusal to allow use of its bases and sharp divisions at the UN Security Council on a new resolution to authorize military action. US diplomats said they'll push for a vote there next week.

Seven of San Francisco's top police officials, including Chief Earl Sanders, were being arraigned on conspiracy charges in a scandal that has polarized the city. Sanders' attorney said Monday that the chief would go on medical leave, and the other six commanders have stepped down since being indicted last week for allegedly trying to cover up a brawl involving three off-duty officers in November. One of the officers is the son of Sanders' top aide.

Saying free-market competition would improve Medicare, Bush outlined plans to offer benefits such as prescription drug subsidies to elderly enrollees who move into private health plans, in a speech to the American Medical Association in Washington. The proposal was criticized by Democrats and some congressional Republicans, who want improved benefits for traditional Medicare.

ImClone founder Samuel Waksal pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud in New York Monday, for avoiding $1.5 million in sales tax on nine works of art. Prosecutors said that wraps up the charges against Waksal, who pleaded guilty last year to insider trading. He'll be sentenced May 29 on all counts.

Readers in red-and-white hats read "Green Eggs and Ham" and other children's classics at schools, libraries, and in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for Read Across America Day. The celebration is timed to the birthday of the late author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

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