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Mrs. Clinton’s statement called on the government to pursue a transparent investigation and to do everything in its power to bring about his “immediate and safe return home.”

Laos has disavowed responsibility for the disappearance, suggesting Mr. Sombath was kidnapped over a personal dispute.

The Southeast Asian nation’s government is intolerant of dissent, but associates say Mr. Sombath’s work was neither directly political nor confrontational.


Episcopal priest chosen for inaugural benediction

The pastor of the Episcopal parish closest to the White House will give the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration.

The Rev. Luis Leon of St. John’s Church has been chosen for the honor. He replaces Atlanta megachurch pastor Luis Giglio, who bowed out last week after a sermon he gave years ago surfaced in which he criticized the gay-rights movement. A spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee said the person chosen to give the prayer would reflect the administration’s beliefs.

The Episcopal Church blesses same-sex relationships and elects bishops who live openly with same-gender partners.

St. John’s Church is known as “the Church of the Presidents.” The National Park Service says every president since James Madison has attended a service there.

The presidential inaugural will be held Monday.


New tax deduction limits worrisome for charities

Charities and nonprofit organizations worry that new limits on tax deductions for high earners will hurt donations just as charitable giving is starting to rebound from the depths of the recession.

Tax specialists doubt the new limits will have much impact on giving, but some major nonprofit organizations fear they are a sign that the charitable deduction is no longer sacrosanct on Capitol Hill, just as Congress is promising a broader effort later this year to overhaul the tax code.

The limits on deductions are part of the tax law Congress passed on New Year’s Day. They reduce the value of itemized deductions for individuals making more than $250,000 and married couples making more than $300,000.

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