lucy24 - 5:44 am on Oct 20, 2012 (gmt 0)
The CMS rewrites need to come AFTER all redirects. For htaccess purposes, "after" can mean either physically later in the same file-- or in a second htaccess in a deeper directory. (Caution! This only works because everything is happening in the same module, mod_rewrite in this case. Processing goes from outermost to innermost. Or from the top down, depending on how you visualize it.)
Since the domain-name redirect has no other restrictions, I don't understand why the CMS rewrites are preventing it from working. From your original post I got the impression the rewrites come before the redirect, which would explain it. But now you're saying the redirect comes first?
You don't need to have identical commands in a root htaccess and a subdirectory htaccess. Anything headed for the subdirectory first has to pass through your root htaccess, in the same way that anything headed for your domain has to start with the config file. A request can't leapfrog straight to its final destination.
Unless -- and this is a big horrible Unless -- unless the CMS has also added a line in your primary htaccess, something like
RewriteRule /news/ - [L]
meaning that it would skip the whole mod_rewrite for the root-level htaccess, and proceed directly to the inner directory.
Building onto an htaccess that was created and installed by a CMS can be much harder than developing your personal htaccess from scratch.