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POSTED February 10, 2012 9:03 p.m.

AUDIT: ND UNIVERSITY AWARDED UNEARNED DEGREES: BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Facing pressure to bring in more students as North Dakota's booming oil industry made it tougher to coax new high school graduates into college, Dickinson State University began looking overseas to boost its enrollment.

China, which sends more students to U.S. universities than any other nation, became one of the school's more reliable suppliers of young people.

But as an audit made public Friday revealed, lax recordkeeping and oversight resulted in hundreds of degrees being awarded to students who didn't finish their course work. Others enrolled who couldn't speak English or hadn't achieved the "C'' average normally required for admission.

The report depicts Dickinson State as a diploma mill for foreign students, most of whom were Chinese. Of 410 foreign students who have received four-year degrees since 2003 — most of them in the past four years — 400 did not fulfill all the graduation requirements, it said.

OBAMA BUDGET PREDICTS $1.3T DEFICIT FOR 2012: WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's new budget predicts a $1.3 trillion deficit for the ongoing fiscal year but that would drop to $575 billion in 2018 if the president gets his wish to raise taxes and if policymakers can live within tight restraints on the Pentagon and other Cabinet agency budgets, the White House said Friday.

After four consecutive years of trillion dollar-plus deficits, next year's budget shortfall would drop to $901 billion under the administration's tax and spending policies.

In his budget submission on Monday, the president will also call for a "Buffett Rule" — that would guarantee that households making more than $1 million a year pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes. Billionaire financier Warren Buffett has made headlines proposing the idea, saying that it's unfair for him to pay a lower tax rate than his secretary.

NAVY NAMES SHIP FOR FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN GIFFORDS: WASHINGTON (AP) — Gabrielle Giffords, the recently retired congresswoman from Arizona who was shot in an assassination attempt 13 months ago, returned to Washington Friday for double honors. The Navy named a ship after her and she saw President Barack Obama sign the last piece of legislation she authored into law.

In a ceremony at the Pentagon, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus unveiled an artist's rendering of the USS Gabrielle Giffords, a littoral combat ship. The craft is among the Navy's most versatile and can operate in shallower coastal waters than larger ships.

PHILADELPHIA CARDINAL'S DEATH INVESTIGATED: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The child-molestation scandal in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has taken a mysterious new turn, with prosecutors asking a coroner to examine the body of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua to establish whether he died of natural causes.

Risa Vetri Ferman, district attorney in suburban Montgomery County, said Friday that she wants to lay to rest any speculation about Bevilacqua's end, given the "peculiar" timing of the 88-year-old cardinal's death just a day after a judge ruled him competent to testify at the trial of his longtime aide.

U. MICH.: CHILD PORN CASE SPURS OUTSIDE REVIEW: ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — University of Michigan officials said Friday they have ordered an outside review of campus security in the wake of a botched response to child pornography found on a medical resident's computer flash drive.

An internal investigation determined a hospital attorney aware of the discovery decided after a month there wasn't enough evidence to tell police and closed the matter in June.

But the case was reopened after doctors expressed concern in the wake of the Penn State University scandal.

Charges were filed in December against a resident physician. The flash drive containing child porn was found in a staff lounge.

 

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