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At a dropout prevention summit in Washington organized by America's Promise Alliance, the organization reported that 17 of the nation's 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates below 50 percent, with Detroit, Indianapolis, and Cleveland registering the worst results. To address the situation, the Bush administration planned to announce a major new federal regulatory requirement to increase the accuracy of dropout statistics, The New York Times reported.

Overall construction spending dropped 0.3 percent in February, the record 24th straight month it has fallen, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

In a report on last summer's deadly Crandall Canyon mine collapse in Utah, a federal regulator Monday portrayed the district office of the Mine Safety and Health Administration as negligent in failing to address warnings of unsafe conditions. Six miners were entombed by the mine's collapse on Aug. 6, and three rescuers were later killed trying to reach them.

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The Department of Homeland Security gave South Carolina an indefinite extension Tuesday in which to comply with a new federal ID law, but told Maine it must show progress toward meeting guidelines by Wednesday. South Carolina driver's licenses already come close to conforming with upgraded IDs needed to board airplanes and enter federal buildings.

Support Our Troops, a patriotic nonprofit organization with chapters in 37 states, has sent 19 tons of popcorn, valued at $220,639, to US Air Force personnel serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts assisted in the "thank you" gesture by collecting monetary donations door to door.

The first New York revival of "South Pacific," the Rodgers and Hammerstein hit musical that opened on Broadway in 1949, begins a new run at Lincoln Center Thursday. Actress Kelli O'Hara will play the role of Navy nurse Nellie Forbush, the role made famous by Mary Martin during the show's original 1,925-performance run.

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