World News (November 15, 2020)

LIMA, Peru (AP) — University student Yessenia Medina was trying to concentrate on her virtual Psychology class when a stunning headline popped up on her screen: Peru’s Congress had voted to oust the nation’s popular president.

Furious, the 23-year-old joined the thousands of students, workers and others protesting this week, decrying Congress and refusing to recognize the new president, Manuel Merino.

“I think they removed him out of their own personal interests rather than those of the people,” she said. “Legislators are supposed to watching out for the good of all.”

Peru’s Congress voted overwhelmingly to remove now ex-President Martín Vizcarra, complaining about his handling of the pandemic and accusing him of corruption. The shock vote drew condemnation from international rights groups who warned that the powerful legislature may have violated the constitution and jeopardized Peru’s democracy.

The move has also sparked protests unlike any seen in recent years, fueled largely by young people typically apathetic to the country’s notoriously turbulent politics who saw the ouster as a power grab by lawmakers, many of whom were being investigated for corruption under Vizcarra’s government.

WARSAW, POLAND (AP) – Polish bishops defended St. John Paul II against evidence that he rejected reports that ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick slept with his seminarians, seeking to salvage a papal legacy that has been badly tarnished by his inaction on clergy sexual abuse.

The head of the Polish bishops conference, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, said in a statement that John Paul had been “cynically deceived” by McCarrick as well as other U.S. bishops.

It was the Polish bishops’ first response to the publication this week of the Vatican’s two-year investigation into McCarrick, which implicated John Paul and his secretary in covering up McCarrick’s sexual abuse.

The criticism of John Paul’s legacy has hit a nerve in overwhelmingly Catholic Poland, whose most famous native son has long been held up as a model for his role in bringing about the fall of communism and for keeping the faith and Polish values alive. But John Paul’s 1978-2005 papacy has come under increasing scrutiny in Poland and abroad, amid a growing scandal over abusive priests and bishops who covered up for them.

Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick, 90, last year after a separate Vatican inquest determined he sexually abused children and adults, including during confession, and abused his power over seminarians. Francis authorized the more in-depth study into McCarrick’s rise and fall in the church amid evidence that the Vatican and U.S. bishops knew of his abuses but turned a blind eye.

The 449-page report determined that John Paul had received credible reports about McCarrick’s misconduct from authoritative prelates in the late 1990s. Yet even after commissioning an inquiry that recommended against a promotion, John Paul in 2000 named McCarrick archbishop of Washington D.C., and later a cardinal.

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser was seen  leaving Downing Street carrying a moving box, amid reports that he has left his job following a bruising battle for influence at the heart of the government fueled by tensions over Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

Dominic Cummings was pictured exiting the Prime Minister’s 10 Downing Street office through the front door. British media reported he had left for good rather than staying on as Johnson’s adviser until the end of the year, when he was expected to give up his post.

The Prime Minister’s office hasn’t confirmed Cummings’ departure.

Cummings, a chief architect of the campaign to have Britain leave the European Union, has been a divisive figure inside the Conservative government since Johnson became Prime Minister 16 months ago. His position weakened earlier this year after he drove hundreds of miles across England after contracting COVID-19, violating national lockdown rules and leaving the impression that elite officials didn’t have to obey the same onerous rules as everyone else.

The episode fueled criticism of the government’s handling of the pandemic after delays in the expansion of testing and efforts to avoid a second national lockdown in England. That lockdown was finally imposed last week, but it couldn’t stop the U.K. from becoming the first country in Europe to pass 50,000 deaths during the pandemic.

Nicknamed “Boris’ brain,″ Cummings has also been the target of complaints from senior members of Johnson’s Conservative Party, who say that unelected advisers in the Prime Minister’s Downing Street office were effectively running the government, sidelining ministers and Parliament.