YANGON, Myanmar — New clashes between Muslims and Buddhists have broken out in volatile western Myanmar, leaving at least two people dead and more than a thousand homes burned to the ground, authorities said.
The unrest is some of the worst between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists since skirmishes swept the region in June, displacing about 70,000 people.
Rakhine state Attorney General Hla Thein said the latest violence began in Minbyar township, about 15 miles north of the state capital, Sittwe. It later spread farther north.
BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania’s highest court has upheld the conviction of a top Orthodox cleric that he secretly served as an informant for the country’s communist-era Securitate police.
The 83-year-old Archbishop Pimen was found guilty by a government council of serving as an informant sent by the church and the Securitate to spy on fellow clergy and members of Romania’s expatriate community in the United States in the 1970s.
Before the allegations emerged in 2007, he was considered one of the luminaries of the church and had hosted Romania’s former King Michael and Britain’s Prince Charles at famous painted monasteries in Romania. The conviction carries no penalty.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State officials say church-sponsored child-care programs such as parents’ day out must either obtain licenses or limit their programs to no more than two days a week.
The Tennessean reports that the programs have been given until next summer to comply with the rules after Department of Human Services attorneys scrutinized the child-care center law and determined it had been misinterpreted.
DHS said in a statement that it would work with child-care providers over the next year to explore any possible compromise. Annual licensing fees range from $100 to $500.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is postponing the departure of a Catholic church delegation to Syria, citing the “gravity of the situation” in the country wracked by civil war.
The church delegates are to express the pope’s solidarity with the people of Syria and his “spiritual closeness” with the Christian community.
The Vatican’s No. 2 official, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said the delegation, which had been expected to depart for Damascus last week, will leave at a date still to be decided.
ST. MARTINVILLE, La. — For the first time in a century and a half, the bells of St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church are not chiming out quarter-hours or ringing people to Mass. The bell tower is empty.
The oldest bell is cracked, one of the newest needs retuning and the tower is being reroofed, repaired and reinforced as part of renovations planned before the church’s 250th anniversary in 2015.
The work should take about six weeks, said Phil Borel of Loreauville, one of a few certified bell technicians in the country. The church, founded in 1765, has no plans to use amplified recordings while that goes on. “We’re going to be silent until we get the bells back,” said the Rev. Rusty P. Richard.
Seven bells dating from 1850, 1904 and 1977 have been removed from their stands.