When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Deadly Sectarian Clashes In Burma Coincide With Visit By Google's Schmidt



MEIKTILA- Burmese sectarian violence has turned deadly, as angry mobs rioted in the streets and at least five people have been reported killed in the central city of Meiktila.

The BBC cites a death toll of 20 by Friday morning, though the Myanmar government has only confirmed five fatalities after an argument in a gold shop escalated into mobs setting mainly Muslim buildings on fire -- including mosques -- and rival communities fighting in the streets.

Meiktila is more than 500km north of the capital Yangon (Rangoon)

The state media reported that a Buddhist monk is among the dead, with dozens wounded. Anonymous state authorities have put the death toll at 10 or higher, says Reuters. Buildings were still burning Friday morning and Buddhist crowds roamed the otherwise empty streets of the city in one of Asia’s most ethnically diverse countries, which is known to many as Burma but officially recognized as Myanmar.

“Two mosques and an Islamic religious school nearby were destroyed. A Buddhist monk and another man succumbed to their injuries at the hospital around 11 pm yesterday,” said an officer from the police station in Meiktila to Burmese daily Irrawaddy, without explaining how the two had been injured.

Irrawaddy reports that Nobel Peace Prize winner and opposition chief Aung San Suu Kyi urged the Police Chief to take action as soon as possible. “Don’t sit by and watch. Act in accordance with the law.”

Parts of Meiktila have been reduced to ashes in the most serious Buddhist-Muslim clashes since those last year in the northern Rakhine State riots that left more than 120,000 displaced. Most of the victims were the Rohingya Muslims who are not recognized as Burmese citizens.

The ethnic cleansing in Burma had been previously hushed up but since the current government took power in 2011, people have been using the Internet more and more to publicize what is going on.

Coincidentally, Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt arrived in Burma on Friday to promote the use of technology. The U.S. Embassy in Rangoon was live-tweeting his speech and visit.

LIVE! #Google"s Eric Schmidt in Rangoon: "Myanmar was a formerly inaccessible country, but the Internet will make it impossible to go back."

— U.S. Embassy Burma (@USEmbassyBurma) March 22, 2013

LIVE! #Google"s Eric Schmidt in Rangoon speech: "Rule #1 - Don't let the government control the Internet." Audience applauds

— U.S. Embassy Burma (@USEmbassyBurma) March 22, 2013

Schmidt: Techonology empowers individuals. One mobile phone in one village can record injustices.

— U.S. Embassy Burma (@USEmbassyBurma) March 22, 2013

#Google"s Eric Schmidt:Myanmar is right on the cusp and will be able to leapfrog many other developing countries. This is your big moment.

— U.S. Embassy Burma (@USEmbassyBurma) March 22, 2013

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


How Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest