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A fringe Christian group has been spreading rumors about the world’s impending end, prompting Chinese authorities to detain more than 500 people this week and seize leaflets, video discs, books and other material.

Those detained are reported to be members of the group Almighty God, also called Eastern Lightning, which preaches that Jesus has reappeared as a woman in central China. Authorities in the province of Qinghai say they are waging a “severe crackdown” on the group, accusing it of attacking the Communist Party and the government.

U.S.

Dozens of Michigan schools canceled classes for thousands of students to cool off rumored threats of violence and problems related to doomsday. The fears were exacerbated by the recent shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, which “changed all of us,” the school system in Genesee County said. “Canceling school is the right thing to do.”

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Associated Press writers Florent Bajrami in Bugarach, France; Mansur Mirovalev in Moscow; Peppino Ciraci in Cisternino, Italy; Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey; Paisley Dodds in London; and Dejan Mladenovic in Mount Rtanj, Serbia, contributed to this report.