Newsbites

Daring Deeds. In June, seven women gathered on a boat on the Danube in Austria to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests. The rite was carried out by Romulo Braschi, founder of a schismatic community, and is considered illicit by the Vatican. The women face excommunication.

Spire Sharing. The Church of England has decided to sell spire space to telecommunications giant Quintel S4. The company will be allowed to install a network of hidden base stations for mobile phones on church roofs throughout England.

Cinema Saint. Film director Franco Zeffirelli wants to produce another movie on St. Francis of Assisi, decades after Brother Sun, Sister Moon. The new flick will portray Francis' 1219 meeting with the Sultan of Egypt to make a peace treaty that would prevent the fifth crusade.

Fenced In. José Bové, right, the French farmer who leads a populist movement against globalization, began a three-month prison sentence for smashing up a partially constructed McDonald's restaurant in 1999. He was protesting U.S. taxes on French Roquefort cheese.

Trading Up. Under the motto "Arms for Bibles," Catholics and evangelicals in the Dominican Republic are collecting weapons and exchanging them for Bibles as part of a delinquency prevention program.

Are You Registered? Mennonites in the Netherlands have set up a national registry of conscientious objectors to protect the interests of all who refuse to serve in the armed forces because of their pacifist convictions.

Shout Out. City Montessori School in Lucknow, India, received a $30,000 UNESCO prize for peace education. The school became famous in 1992 when its students hired Jeeps with loudspeakers to promote peace and averted anti-Muslim violence that was sweeping the region.

T-Men Again. The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has imposed fines of $10,000 each on Bert Sachs and Randall Mullins for taking medicine into Iraq in 1997 with the human rights group Voices in the Wilderness. Both men have refused to pay the fine.

Just Jokes. The World Intellectual Property Organization, an arbiter of Internet domain names, ruled recently that it is legal for Internet satirist Gary Cohn to make fun of televangelist Jerry Falwell for blaming the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America's immoral behavior.

Faith Works. More than half (54 percent) of people who regularly attend worship services also regularly do volunteer work, compared to 32 percent of non-attenders, according to a recent report by Independent Sector and the National Council of Churches. The report showed that most volunteers (54 percent) serve at secular charities.

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