National briefs: ollege listing is questioned

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WASHINGTON -- Tulane University officials were preparing to send statistics to U.S. News & World Report for its annual graduate school rankings when they noticed something peculiar in early December: sharp drops in admissions test scores and applications to their business school.

Their curiosity became alarm and then embarrassment, as the New Orleans university discovered and disclosed that the business school's admissions figures from previous years had been falsified. Soon afterward, Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., announced that for several years it had reported inflated SAT scores for incoming students.

These and similar revelations in the past year from other universities have renewed debate about the validity of the U.S. News rankings, which for three decades have served as a kind of Bible for parents and students shopping for colleges.

A token of appreciation

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- The cat token has been chosen by Monopoly fans to replace the tiny iron statuette that was voted out of the property-inspired board game this week.

Fans of the wheelbarrow and shoe tokens can now breathe easy -- the pieces will stay put, rounding out a Monopoly set that will include the unnamed kitty along with a battleship, a thimble, a top hat, a race car and the ever-popular Scottish terrier.

Monopoly maker Hasbro Inc. set up the monthlong elimination on Facebook in an effort to engage consumers and keep them invested in the future of the game. The Rhode Island company announced the cat's ascendancy Wednesday.

Eyeball falls out in court

PHILADELPHIA -- A Philadelphia trial has ended in mistrial by eyeball.

It was the assault trial Commonwealth v. Brunelli, involving an early morning fight outside a tavern in the city's northeast Burholme neighborhood where one punch cost John Huttick his left eye.

Mr. Huttick, 48, was on the witness stand Wednesday, weeping as he told the Common Pleas Court jury about the impact of losing an eye when his $3,000 prosthetic blue eye fell out.

Judge Robert Coleman granted the mistrial motion by defense attorney Eileen Hurley. Judge Coleman set a new trial for March 4 and, with judicial understatement, declared it an "unfortunate, unforeseen incident."

Also in the nation ...

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., has delayed a vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary as 25 Republican senators demand more information from the former Nebraska senator. The senators want Mr. Hagel to disclose who funded his private speeches, The Washington Post reported. ... The Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank in New York City, said Wednesday that former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would become its newest senior fellow later this month. ... A chain-reaction series of collisions on Interstate 16 in Georgia killed four people Wednesday and injured nine.

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