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Frist to push estate-tax repeal

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Here are the week’s top news stories reported elsewhere:

* Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist vowed to push for Senate vote to repeal the estate tax this spring, but does not yet have the 60 votes required to defeat a filibuster threatened by Democrats, the Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 13.

* A report by a House Republican committee investigating the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina found fault at every level, including individual, corporate, philanthropic and government, the New York Times reported Feb. 12.

* Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff admitted using tax-exempt organizations for illegal purposes, including laundering money, concealing taxable personal income, financing personal vacations and paying for bribes of public officials, activities said to be enabled by lax oversight of the charitable sector, the Los Angeles Times reported Feb. 11.

* Charity auctions, events selling donated items or services to raise money, are gaining in popularity in the U.S. as shoppers hunt for ways support nonprofits while taking advantage of below-market prices, particularly on luxury items, the New York Times reported Feb. 12.

* Starbucks, which has 220 outlets in China, donated $1.5 million for teacher training in China and is partnering with the Soong Ching-ling Foundation, a children’s charity, to carry out the training, the Associated Press reported Feb. 14.

* Employment Plus, a program of the Salvations Army in Australia, has repaid $9 million in taxpayer-funded grants for the unemployed in response to an investigation into alleged mismanagement of funds by the agency, The Courier Mail reported Feb. 13.

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