USA

The recall of beef in a mad-cow disease scare was expanded to eight states and a US territory, as investigators and retailers in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, and Guam join those in Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada in pursuing meat from an infected dairy cow. Japan Monday rejected a Bush administration request to discuss lifting its ban on US beef, despite Agriculture Department assurances that the meat poses "essentially zero risk" to consumers since potentially hazardous tissue from the spinal cord, brain, and intestines was removed at slaughter. The scientist who discovered the protein believed to cause the disease has disputed assertions about the meat's safety.

International air carriers are now required to place armed officers on flights over the US upon notice by the Homeland Security Department. Government officials called the move an effort to further enhance security on aircraft flying to, from, and over the US, amid a heightened state of alert for possible terrorist attacks. Britain announced Sunday that it will start putting armed sky marshals on transatlantic flights "when necessary."

The death toll in the Southern California mudslides rose to 14 Sunday as five more bodies were recovered. Rescue workers are continuing their search for an infant boy and a teenager unaccounted for since a mudslide buried a Greek Orthodox church campground Christmas Day; 14 people were rescued after boulders, trees, and 12-foot walls of mud crashed into the camp. As much as four more inches of rain are expected by Tuesday night.

Teenager Lionel Tate, whose life sentence for the murder of a 6-year-old friend was overturned this month by an appellate court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., "would have to be a fool" to pass up the plea bargain offered by state prosecutors, his attorney told NBC-TV's "Today" show. The deal would let Tate, now 16, plead guilty to second-degree murder in return for a three year prison term, of which he has already served 33 months, followed by one year of house arrest and 10 years' probation. Former Fort Lauderdale prosecutor Ken Padowitz, who represents the mother of Tate's victim, says she has always considered the life sentence too harsh and is "giving [the offer] her blessing."

The Army has forbidden more than 40,000 soldiers to retire as scheduled, The Washington Post reported. Military sociologist Charles Moskos told the Post the use of such "stop-loss" orders "reflects the fact that the military is too small, which nobody wants to admit." Two American GIs were killed and eight others were wounded in Iraq Sunday; 325 have died in combat since March.

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