US to Beef Up Forces In S. Korea if UN Acts

THE United States is prepared to strengthen its military forces in South Korea if the United Nations imposes economic sanctions on the Communist north, Defense Secretary William Perry says.

``The political situation is very worrisome and is a matter of great concern, but we do not see ourselves as in danger of military attack,'' Mr. Perry told reporters as he flew home from an eight-day trip to the former Soviet Union. ``There is no imminent danger of war.'' Nevertheless, Perry said the administration was considering an increase in its presence in South Korea as a protective move. Whitewater's toll

WHITEWATER still takes its toll on President Clinton.

Senate Republican leader Bob Dole predicts Whitewater hearings in Congress by May 1. And President Clinton's job approval rating has slipped 11 points in less than a month and fallen below 50 percent for the first time this year, according to an ABC News-Washington Post national survey poll released Wednesday. Much of the drop was attributed to the Whitewater controversy.

Whitewater special counsel Robert Fiske has a grand jury ready to hear testimony in the probe of President and Mrs. Clinton's land dealings in Arkansas. Mr. Fiske asked a federal judge at Little Rock to impanel a new grand jury in February, saying his investigation could take longer than the year's term of a normal grand jury. The panel chosen Wednesday will meet for up to 18 months. Fiske has taken some testimony in the probe before a grand jury in Washington and the regular grand jury in Little Rock. Concern over weapons dismantlement

A shortage of trained personnel and the poor condition of nuclear plants is hurting United States Energy Department efforts to dismantle nuclear weapons and dispose of used nuclear material, says a government safety board.

The department, commissioned with dismantling 20,000 nuclear weapons and warheads, is handicapped by ``a lack at various levels of technical competence,'' John Conway, chairman of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, said Wednesday in Senate hearings.

Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary, also testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, acknowledged the department had a problem with older scientists retiring and said there was a need to show young scientists that dismantling weapons is an important national security task.

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