Bangladesh sends back boatloads of Muslims fleeing Myanmar sectarian violence

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ Bangladesh turned away three boats carrying 1,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar, bringing to 1,500 the number of refugees blocked in recent days.

"They have been chased away," police official Jahangir Alam said by phone from Saint Martins Island in the Bay of Bengal after the three boats attempted to approach the shore of the island. "We are keeping our eyes open so that nobody can enter Bangladesh illegally."

Violence between Buddhists and minority Muslims in western Myanmar have left at least 12 people dead and hundreds of homes burned since Friday. Bangladesh earlier said it sent back 11 boats with about 500 Rohingya Muslims aboard in the past three days.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said at a news conference in the capital, Dhaka, that it was not in Bangladesh's interest to accept any refugees because the impoverished country's resources already are strained.

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Suspected gang member charged in Venice murder of youth pastor

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Los Angeles County prosecutors say they have charged a suspected gang member with gunning down a youth pastor in Venice.

Deputy District Attorney Teresa Magno says 28-year-old Kevin Dwayne Green was charged Tuesday with the murder of Oscar Duncan and a separate count of second-degree robbery for an earlier incident.

Green is accused of being in a group of men who drove up to Duncan and his girlfriend, jeering her on June 4.

Prosecutors say the assailants shouted a gang name before firing a single shot into the 23-year-old Duncan's head, killing him. Duncan was a youth pastor at Greater Zion Church in Compton.

Green was also charged in a May 21 robbery. If convicted he faces a minimum of 50 years to life in prison.

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Vatican reports important discovery of early church father Origen, 29 unpublished homilies

VATICAN CITY (AP) _ The Vatican newspaper reported Tuesday that 29 previously unpublished homilies said to be the work of one of the most important and prolific early church fathers have been discovered in a German library.

The 3rd Century theologian Origen of Alexandria is considered to have played a critical role in the development of Christian thought. Pope Benedict XVI, himself a theologian, dedicated two of his 2007 weekly church teaching sessions to the importance of Origen's life and work.

Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said that despite Origen's importance, few of his original texts remain in part because he was condemned by the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 553.

The newspaper said an Italian scholar, Marina Molin Pradel, discovered the homilies in the Bavarian State Library in April while reading an 11th Century Byzantine code. She noticed that some homilies were similar to a Latin translation of Origen's work. After further study, the newspaper said, she concluded the originals were his.

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Protesters agree to leave Mass. church after order by Vatican high court

HOLYOKE, Mass. (AP) _ Protesters who have occupied a closed Roman Catholic church in Holyoke for a year say they're ending their round-the-clock vigil.

The decision by the protesters at Mater Dolorosa came after an order by the Vatican high court, which also agreed to consider an appeal the protesters hope will reopen the church as a worship site.

The group voted to end the vigil last week, but didn't announce it until this week.

The protesters say they don't expect the diocese to sell the church, remove sacred objects or take down its steeple during Vatican deliberations.

The diocese cited debt and an unsafe steeple when closing the church. Parishioners refused to leave after the final Mass last June. They say the steeple needs just minor repairs and parishioners could have resolved the debt.

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Thieves threaten tradition at 210-year-old western Pa. church by stealing copper kettles

DARLINGTON, Pa. (AP) _ Police say thieves who stole six copper kettles from a 210-year-old southwestern Pennsylvania church have also endangered a longstanding tradition.

The Beaver County Times reports that elders at the First United Presbyterian Church of Darlington say the antique kettles have been used for decades to churn apple butter each October, a congregational tradition for decades.

South Beaver Township police have notified metal dealers in western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to be on the lookout for the kettles, which could be worth up to $300 each.

Church officials discovered the copper pots stolen on Friday morning and say they're so heavy it likely would have taken two people using a truck to steal them.

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Senators back NH town bid to change Jew Pond name

MONT VERNON, N.H. (AP) _ Two New Hampshire senators are backing a rural town's request to change the name of a fishing spot that's been called Jew Pond since the 1920s.

Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Kelly Ayotte wrote to the chairman of the U.S. Board of Geographic Names on Tuesday urging board members to approve the request.

Mont Vernon residents and the board of selectmen decided this year to rename the pond Carleton Pond, after one of the town's founding families.

Town officials say the pond originally was named Spring Pond because the owners of a hotel there created it by digging up a spring to irrigate their golf course. It's believed the spot became Jew Pond when Jewish businessmen bought the hotel.

The senators say "pejorative place names" reflecting religious "prejudice" aren't consistent with New Hampshire values of "community and mutual respect."

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Detroit area Hindus to celebrate expanded Bharatiya Temple; project took 7 years, cost $10M

TROY, Mich. (AP) _ It took seven years and $10 million to renovate and expand the Bharatiya Hindu Temple to accommodate the growing numbers of worshippers who have arrived in the Detroit area from India.

The temple in Troy, a northern Detroit suburb, has been enlarged from 28,000 square feet to about 70,000 square feet, The Detroit News reported. Its prayer hall houses seven new interior temples that were made in India from marble that was mined there.

Other parts of the building, including teak doors, were also built in India then transported to Detroit by ship and train. Local masons spent a year assembling the parts inside the Bharatiya Temple.

At least 25,000 Hindus live in the Detroit area and about 800 families worship at the Bharatiya Hindu Temple, said Tom Patel, chairman of the temple's board of trustees.

"More people are joining and coming, and we needed more space to offer services," he said.