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CALIFORNIA: Files reveal church abuses

Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials maneuvered to shield molester priests, provide damage control for the church and keep parishioners in the dark, according to church personnel files. The confidential records filed in a lawsuit against the archdiocese disclose how abuse allegations were handled for decades. Notes inked by Mahony demonstrate he was disturbed about abuse and sent problem priests for treatment, but there were lengthy delays or oversights in some cases.

WASHINGTON: Lew displays social concerns

When Jack Lew became President Barack Obama's budget director, he removed from his new office a portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first Treasury secretary, and put up paintings of New York City by jobless artists from the New Deal's public works program. That small gesture speaks volumes about the mind-set of the man Obama has nominated to serve as the 76th Treasury secretary, a focus on protecting the nation's social safety net over three decades of budget battles in which programs that support the poor and jobless have been targets for cuts. Some conservatives say Lew, 57, has a blind obsession with providing government benefits, without care for the nation's finances. His history suggests that while Lew aggressively advocates on behalf of programs for the poor, he has also been willing to make unpopular compromises to see that the nation has its financial books in order.

PENNSYLVANIA: Child suspended over idle talk

The family of a kindergartner suspended from school for talking about a soap bubble toy gun is protesting her punishment and wants her record cleared, an attorney for the family said Monday. The 5-year-old child from Mount Carmel was suspended after she talked on Jan. 10 about a Hello Kitty Bubble Gun while waiting for a bus after school, said attorney Robin Ficker. The little girl said to a friend: "I'm going to shoot you and I will shoot myself, and we'll all play together." Her comments were overheard by an adult who reported them to the school, he said. But the toy shoots only soap bubbles, and the girl did not even have one.

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