• Italian police break up a macrobiotic 'sect'

    ROME (AP) - Italian police say they have dismantled a macrobiotic "sect" that denied its followers contact with the outside world.

    Authorities told reporters Wednesday that followers in the central Marche and Emilia Romagna regions of Italy were manipulated to follow a rigidly controlled diet known as "Ma.Pi." and that the weight of one follower plunged to 35 kilos (77 pounds).

    Five persons have been formally put under investigation for alleged maltreatment, tax evasion and criminal organization with the aim of reducing people to slavery.

    Police said the probe began in 2013 after a young woman told police the group's head, a macrobiotic business entrepreneur, promised the diet would provide miracle cures.

    Authorities said the sect manipulated followers to obtain donations and work for it practically for free.

    Next Up:

  • Headline Goes Here

    Italian police break up a macrobiotic 'sect'

  • Headline Goes Here

    Ex-French president Sarkozy held on Gadhafi financing claims

  • Headline Goes Here

    Zuckerberg asked to testify; data firm's CEO suspended

  • Headline Goes Here

    Cambridge Analytica: We designed Trump campaign strategy

  • Headline Goes Here

    Chinese dissident, official trade barbs at UN rights body