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Charities get politicians’ Abramoff gifts

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Here are the week’s top headlines reported elsewhere:

* Tens of thousands of dollars in political donations from Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist who is the focus of an escalating scandal, are being returned or donated to charities, The New York Times reported Jan. 6.

* The Senate Finance Committee has launched an inquiry into the American Red Cross, looking for information about how handles its governance, compensation and disaster-relief donations, The New York Times reported Dec. 30.

* Congress gives little scrutiny to veterans groups it has chartered, with six of the 15 largest groups spending less than 60 percent of their money on programs that helped veterans and were not also used to pay for fundraising, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Jan. 1.

* The Metropolitan Opera in New York City received $25 million, its biggest individual gift ever, The New York Times reported Jan. 5.

* New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein have raised $311 million in private funds for the city’s schools, turning public education into a pet cause of corporations, philanthropists and the society set, The New York Times reported Dec. 30.

* The government of Singapore is looking at strengthening the nation’s charities act and income tax act to better regulate charities, channelnewsasia.com reported Dec. 30.

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