- - Tuesday, October 23, 2012

YANGON, Myanmar — Renewed clashes between Muslims and Buddhists have broken out in volatile western Myanmar, leaving at least two people dead and more than 1,000 homes burned to the ground, authorities said Tuesday.

The unrest, which began Sunday night, is some of the worst reported 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 to Mrauk-U township. Both areas are remote, reachable only by foot, Hla Thein said.

The unrest erupted four months after members of the two religious groups turned on each other across Rakhine state in June after the alleged rape and killing of a Buddhist woman by three Muslim men in late May.

That violence left at least 90 people dead and destroyed more than 3,000 homes and dozens of mosques and monasteries.

CANADA

Little progress found against cyberwarfare

OTTAWA — Canada “has been slow” to set up fire walls to protect against cyberthreats to critical infrastructure, leaving the nation vulnerable to crippling attacks, a top government investigator warned Tuesday.

In a report, Auditor General Michael Ferguson said the government has made only “limited progress” over the past decade to safeguard electrical grids, telecommunications infrastructure, banking systems, manufacturing and transportation, as well as its own computers.

A key agency set up seven years ago to monitor cyberthreats around the clock, called the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center, is still not functioning fully, leaving evening and weekend gaps in its security coverage, he said.

Also, incidents were not reported in a timely manner nor shared with the appropriate agencies, he said.

Opposition parties pounced on the report to accuse the government of being “recklessly ill-prepared” to protect Canadians against cyberattacks.

COLOMBIA

Three soldiers killed despite peace talks

BOGOTA — Three Colombian soldiers have been killed in clashes with leftist rebels, the army said Tuesday, as Latin America’s longest-running conflict grinds on despite peace talks.

The troops died Monday in a battle with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in a rural area of the Arauquita district of northeastern Colombia, the army said.

The government launched peace talks with the FARC last week in Oslo, and negotiations are to resume in earnest next month in Havana. The goal is to end nearly 50 years of armed conflict.

The government has refused to declare a cease-fire while the talks are under way, saying a truce could happen only after the discussions conclude.

SUDAN

Army blames rebels for killing children

KHARTOUM — Rebel shelling killed two children in the capital of Sudan’s South Kordofan state Tuesday, the army said, in what insurgents called retaliation for government air raids on villages.

The attack, confirmed by witnesses, marked the second time this month that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North has struck the capital, Kadugli. An unprecedented Oct. 8 barrage killed seven women and children, official media said.

The army reported that two children were killed and eight people wounded, but analysts said casualty figures from either side in the war should be treated with caution.

Since fighting began in oil-producing South Kordofan in June 2011, there have been repeated allegations that civilians have been bombed from the air by the Sudanese air force.

POLAND

Van thieves discard coffins found inside

WARSAW — Three Polish car thieves got some unexpected cargo when they stole a van in Germany: 12 sealed coffins.

Polish police said the coffins were found early Tuesday in the woods near the western Polish city of Konin. The thieves apparently dumped the coffins after they stole a van in Germanynnot knowing that it was on the way to a crematorium.

The coffins were in one of three vans stolen on the night of Oct. 14 in the Berlin suburb of Hoppegarten.

Polish police spokesman Andrzej Borowiak said three Poles have been detained and two more are being sought on suspicion of stealing the vehicles.

From wire dispatches and staff reports