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Groups assist tsunami victims

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* With the tsunami death toll at 116,000 and rising, relief teams and supplies are flooding South Asia but not yet reaching the hardest-hit and remote areas, BBC News reported Dec. 30. World leaders promised long-term help, the New York Times reported Dec. 30, while U.S. citizens have contributed millions of dollars, the Times reported Dec. 30, much of it over the Internet, the Washington Post reported Dec. 30.

* Due to emergency food crises and budget cutbacks, the Bush administration has withdrawn commitments and cut donations to global food aid programs, as much as $100 million, some charities estimate, at a time when global hunger is on the rise, the New York Times reported Dec. 23.

* The first charity reform bill in England in 400 years requires public schools to demonstrate a “public benefit” to keep their charitable status, charges the Charity Commission with establishing the parameters of public benefit and provides regulations for street fundraisers, the Guardian reported Dec. 22.

* A renewed surge in philanthropic activity in China, brought about by greater reform and openness, will fuel social development in the country, experts said at the Second China Philanthropy Forum in Beijing, China Economic Net reported Dec. 23.

* The National Alliance for Choice in Giving will host more than 50 workplace giving groups, including the American Red Cross and Community Shares USA, at a conference Jan. 20-23 in Las Vegas to discuss increasing diversity and choice in workplace drives, which raise an estimated $4 billion for charity, CSRwire reported Dec. 22.

* Elderly Irish are increasingly more charitable than other age groups, with more than three in 10 Irish households headed by a 70-year old donating to charity, and fewer than two in 10 headed by 20-somethings giving, UTV reported Dec. 22.

* In response to what Congress deemed inflated tax deductions, a new law effective Jan. 1 allows taxpayers who donate vehicles to charities to deduct only the amount the nonprofit realizes from the sale of the vehicle, rather than the market value, a change some believe will dampen vehicle donations, the Associated Press reported Dec. 22.

* Chicago-based Health Care Services Corp., which owns Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Texas and New Mexico, says it plans to merge with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, American Medical News says in its Jan. 3/10 edition.

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