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The percentage of Army recruits with high school diplomas continued to drop in 2007, falling to 71 percent, well below the 90 percent goal last achieved in 2004, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Priorities Project, which analyzes federal data. Since all troops must have a diploma or equivalent degree, the Army assists recruits in taking GED tests. "We don't put unqualified people in the Army, but it's something we're watching," a recruiting spokesman said.

Survivors, family members, and friends of those killed in last April's Virginia Tech shooting massacre packed a hearing in Richmond, Va., Monday to show their support for a bill to close a gun-ownership loophole. The proceeding also drew about 200 opponents of the measure, which would require background checks of buyers at gun shows aimed at preventing criminals and the mentally ill from buying firearms.

The New York attorney general's office is investigating the relationship between 15 colleges and universities, including Columbia and Cornell, and study-abroad providers for possible "cozy" financial relationships, a lead investigator said Monday. The kind of arrangements being probed are ones in which school administrators might take vacations at the students' expense.

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