John of God: Brazil ‘faith healer’ considered fugitive

Joao Teixeira de Faria sees a patient at his spiritual clinic in Abadiania in 2012Image copyright AFP
Image caption Self-declared spiritual healer Joao Teixeira de Faria denies abusing women who came to him as patients

A Brazilian faith healer accused of sexually abusing more than 300 women is now considered to be a fugitive.

Joao Teixeira de Faria — known as «John of God», failed to comply with a court order giving him until 14:00 (1600GMT) on Saturday to turn himself in.

A dozen women have come forward in Brazil to accuse the prominent self-styled spiritual healer of sexually abusing them at his clinic.

He is based in the central town of Abadiania but has followers worldwide.

Mr Faria’s lawyer, Alberto Toron, said he would report to the authorities but did not say where or when. Mr Toron said he would file an appeal on Monday.

A Dutch photographer, Zahira Leeneke Maus, told Globo TV that he had manipulated her into performing sex acts and then raped her.

In a statement to Globo, Mr Faria’s office strongly denied the allegations.

It said the 76-year-old had used his powers to treat thousands of people, and «vehemently rejects [allegations of] any improper practice during his treatments».

Nine Brazilian women, who remained anonymous, also told Globo TV that the self-declared healer had abused them on the premise of transferring his «cleansing» energy.

Some said they had been seeking a cure for depression when the alleged abuse took place.

The related O Globo newspaper later said it had spoken to two more women with similar allegations.

Mr Faria, who is not a medical doctor, has previously been fined and jailed for operating without a licence.

He denied the accusations when speaking to a crowd of followers on Thursday, at his centre, declaring that he would comply with the law.

US TV host Oprah Winfrey travelled to Brazil in 2013 to meet him, and witnessed him performing his «psychic surgery» at his clinic, west of the capital Brasilia.

According to ABC News, Mr Faria claims that the spirits of more than 30 doctors and other entities can enter his body, and that they perform the healings.

Mulvaney called Trump ‘terrible human being’ in 2016, video shows

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney outside the West Wing of the White House 19 January 2018Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mick Mulvaney has been praised by President Trump for doing «an outstanding job» while in the administration

President Donald Trump’s choice of new acting White House chief of staff once described him as «a terrible human being», it has emerged.

A video shows Mick Mulvaney making the disparaging remark in a debate shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

«Yes, I am supporting Donald Trump, but I’m doing so despite the fact that I think he’s a terrible human being,» Mr Mulvaney says.

He describes Mr Trump’s then opponent, Hillary Clinton, as «just as bad».

Mr Mulvaney, 51, is a former Republican Congressman and the video, which was obtained by the Daily Beast, was taken during a debate with Democratic challenger Fran Person in York, South Carolina.

He is currently director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and takes up his new role in January.

An OMB spokeswoman said the remarks had been made before Mr Mulvaney had met Mr Trump and were «old news», the New York Times reported.

Meghan Burris said Mr Mulvaney «both likes and respects the president, and he likes working for him».

The White House has not responded.

A Facebook post has also emerged from 2016 in which Mr Mulvaney describes Mr Trump as «not a very good person», NBC reported.

Mr Mulvaney was responding to the release of a videotape from 2005 in which Mr Trump made obscene comments about women.

«I think one thing we’ve learned about Donald Trump during this campaign is that he is not a very good person,» Mr Mulvaney wrote in the post. «What he said in the audiotape is disgusting and indefensible. My guess is that he has probably said even worse.»

But he adds: «I’ve decided that I don’t particularly like Donald Trump as a person. But I am still voting for him. And I am still asking other people to do the same. And there is one simple reason for that: Hillary Clinton.»

Mr Mulvaney replaces General John Kelly, who steps down at the end of the year.

Stuttgart: Christian Gentner’s father dies in stadium after Bundesliga game

Midfielder Christian Gentner has five caps for Germany

The father of Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner died in the stadium immediately after the Bundesliga side’s 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Stuttgart said the club are «mourning the loss of Herbert Gentner» and that their thoughts are «entirely with the Gentner family at this difficult time».

The cause of death is not yet known.

Gentner, a 33-year-old midfielder with five caps for Germany, played the whole of Stuttgart’s home victory and set up Mario Gomez’s winner.

Gomez had pulled Stuttgart level after Max Mittelstadt’s opener for Hertha.

Hertha Berlin posted on social media: «Everyone from Hertha would like to send their thoughts and condolences to Christian Gentner and his family after today’s sad news.»

Ranil Wickremesinghe: Sri Lanka reinstates ousted prime minister

File image of Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from April 17, 2017Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ranil Wickremesinghe always maintained he was the rightful prime minister

Sri Lanka’s ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been sworn into office again, two months after being removed by the president.

Mr Wickremesinghe’s supporters set off fire crackers as the ceremony took place behind closed doors.

His surprise sacking by President Maithripala Sirisena plunged Sri Lanka into a political crisis.

Mr Wickremesinghe was replaced by a former president and ally of Mr Sirisena, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

But Mr Rajapaksa was unable to command a parliamentary majority and resigned on Saturday.

Journalists were not allowed to attend Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony in President Sirisena’s office but a picture was tweeted by MP Harsha de Silva.

«We thank the citizens of the country who fought the illegal seizure of power and ensured that democracy was restored,» Mr Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) posted on Twitter.

Mr Wickremesinghe’s spokesman said a new cabinet would be formed in the coming days.

Sri Lanka had faced a government shutdown as the power struggle took hold, with parliament failing to approve a budget for 2019.

What led to the crisis?

President Sirisena was once a party ally of Mr Rajapaksa, and served in his government.

But in 2015, he teamed up with Ranil Wickremesinghe to defeat him in an election and the pair went on to form a coalition government.

However the relationship turned sour and Mr Sirisena in October turned on Mr Wickremesinghe, sacking him in favour of Mr Rajapaksa.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mahinda Rajapaksa, seated, resigned on Saturday, ending a two-month power struggle

Throughout the crisis, Mr Wickremesinghe always maintained he was the rightful prime minister.

On Thursday, Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court ruled that President Sirisena had acted illegally in November by dissolving parliament and calling snap polls.

The crisis, which has provoked brawls in parliament and sparked large protests, has been closely watched by regional power India, as well as the US, China and the European Union.

Nicaragua police beat journalists, reports

Riot police clear journalists from an area near a police station in Managua, Nicaragua. Photo: 15 December 2018Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Riot police cleared journalists who gathered outside a police station in Managua

Nicaraguan police have beaten several journalists protesting against earlier raids on their offices, reports say.

They say this happened as the reporters gathered outside a police station in the capital Managua, saying the raids were illegal.

Nicaragua has been rocked by months of protests against President Daniel Ortega, who is accused of restricting civil liberties in the country.

The president in turn accuses the protesters of planning a coup.

Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and the security forces since April.

Carlos Fernando Chamorro, who runs the online daily Confidencial, accused the police of acting without any justification.

«This is an armed assault on private property, freedom of the press, freedom of expression and free enterprise,» he said.

Nicaragua’s police have so far not commented on the reported beatings of the journalists.

Read more about Nicaragua’s crisis:

The demonstrators in the Central American country first rallied against planned changes to the country’s social security system, but the protests soon escalated to include the demand for President Ortega to resign.

Mr Ortega, who has been in power since 2007, declared the protests illegal on 28 September.

He accuses the demonstrators of planning a coup against his democratically-elected government and of incitement to violence.

Local human rights groups as well as the United Nations Office for Human Rights have documented alleged human rights violations which range from illegal detention to torture.