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Business

    Billionaire businessman and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is recovering after suffering symptoms of a stroke and seeking hospital care. Officials with Detroit-based Quicken Loans said in a statement that Gilbert 'received immediate medical attention and is currently recovering comfortably' after going to a Detroit-area hospital early Sunday with 'stroke-like symptoms.' Gilbert is the company's founder and chairman. The company said Gilbert's family requests privacy at this time. Gilbert has owned the Cavs since 2005. The 57-year-old Gilbert introduced new Cavs coach John Beilein at a press conference Tuesday at the team's training facility in Independence, Ohio. His hospitalization comes a month before his Rocket Mortgage is to host Detroit's first PGA Tour event. It also follows his launch of a ballot drive just days earlier to push auto insurance reform in Michigan. The state Legislature passed a landmark insurance reform bill Friday.
  • France's government is sounding a note of caution about a possible alliance between French automaker Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Both companies are in talks about a tie-up, as major carmakers around the world try to share the significant costs of developing autonomous and electric vehicles. Renault's board is meeting Monday morning. The French state owns 15% of Renault, and a French official said Sunday that the state will only agree to a potential alliance with Fiat Chrysler if it makes sense for jobs and France's national interests. The official told The Associated Press that Japanese authorities have also been informed, and that France would prefer a tie-up within the existing Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. The official wasn't authorized to be named discussing talks that haven't been made public.
  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for an early national election following the defeat of his party at the European Parliament elections. Tsipras said from the Syriza party offices that 'the result does not rise to our expectations ... I will not ignore it or quit.' Tsipras credited his government for pulling the country out of the austerity imposed by Greece's creditors and said that voting for Sunday's winner, the conservative New Democracy, would be turning back to 'the darkness of austerity, the darkness off crisis, the oligarchs, the International Monetary Fund.' The government's term expires in October and before Sunday night's announcement, government officials insisted that elections would be held at the end of the term. But a long and, it is said, contentious meeting of government ministers and party officials, ended with the announcement of the early election. Tsipras said he will visit the Greek president to request the early dissolution of parliament after the second round of local and regional elections on June 2. This puts the election date at June 30 at the earliest. In the run-up to the election, Tsipras brought to Parliament a series of measures that amounted to handouts and defied the conservatives to vote against them. They did not, but accused Tsipras of a desperate gambit for votes. With just over a third of voting precincts reporting, New Democracy is leading with 33.62% to Syriza's 23.86%. The socialists of the Movement for Change follow with 7.16%, ahead of the Communist Party (5.75, the far-right Golden Dawn (4.86%), the hard-line nationalist Greek Solution (4.04%) and Diem25, the pan-European movement of Syriza's first finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (3.15%). If the results hold, New Democracy will win seven European Parliament seats; Syriza will get six; the socialists, the communists and Golden Dawn two each; and Greek Solution and Diem25 one each. New Democracy also stands to make important gains in the second round of the local and regional elections next Sunday.
  • One of the drugmakers named in Oklahoma's lawsuit over the opioid crisis has agreed to a settlement in which it will pay the state $85 million. Israeli-owned Teva Pharmaceuticals and Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter both announced the settlement Sunday in separate statements. Teva, its related affiliates and Johnson & Johnson and several of its subsidiaries were set to go to trial Tuesday in Norman. Hunter said the case against Johnson & Johnson will proceed on schedule. He also said the funds from the settlement with Teva will be used to fight the opioid crisis in Oklahoma. Teva did not admit any wrongdoing under the settlement. Earlier this year, Oklahoma settled with OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma for $270 million.
  • Moviegoers voted with their dollars and chose the familiar over the new this Memorial Day weekend. The Walt Disney Co.'s live-action remake of 'Aladdin' crushed the competition at the box office, which included two new original R-rated films that opened as counterprogramming to the family pic: The critically acclaimed teen comedy 'Booksmart' and the horror movie 'Brightburn.' But the strategy didn't quite work. 'Aladdin' did better than expected, grossing an estimated $86.1 million to take the top spot at the North American box office, according to studio estimates on Sunday. It'll likely pass $100 million by Monday. The others didn't even break $10 million. 'Aladdin,' a musical-adventure directed by Guy Ritchie, stars Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott and draws heavily on the music and story of the 1992 animated film (the top earner of that year) that it's based on. 'We're delighted,' said Cathleen Taff, Disney's president of theatrical distribution. 'Between the fun action-adventure and spectacular music combined with the cast, which is so charming and has such great chemistry together, we've hit something that fans are embracing and walking out of wanting to share with others.' Audiences, who were 54% women and 51% families, gave the remake an A CinemaScore, which is much more promising for its continued success than the tepid critical reviews. The studio also got another metric with the newly launched verified Rotten Tomatoes audience rating. Over 7,000 people rated the film to give it a 93%. 'I'm so pleased that Rotten Tomatoes launched this, it means people bought the ticket. You can trust that people giving you the score actually sat through the movie,' Taff said. 'We couldn't ask for a better barometer of fan reception.' With an international gross of $121 million, 'Aladdin' has already earned over $207 million globally. It cost a reported $183 million to produce. The top few spots at the holiday box office were populated by known brands and sequels. 'John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,' now in its second weekend, placed second with $24.4 million. 'Avengers: Endgame' took third with $16.8 million, and 'Pokémon Detective Pikachu' landed in fourth with $13.3 million. Original films are struggling to attract significant audiences at the moment. Sony's modestly budgeted horror movie 'Brightburn' opened in fifth with $7.5 million. The James Gunn-produced film starring Elizabeth Banks puts a sinister spin on the Superman myth and has received mediocre reviews from critics. A surprise for many, however, was 'Booksmart,' an Annapurna film distributed by United Artists Releasing, which debuted in sixth with only $6.5 million, despite excellent reviews and steady buzz from its SXSW film festival debut. Although in line with studio expectations going into the weekend, some had thought that this would be a summer breakout hit. Olivia Wilde directed the film that stars Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein as two teenage overachievers and rule-followers who decide to go to a party on their last night of high school. Many compared it to 'Superbad,' which opened in August 2007 to $33 million. But despite all the hype, including a lot of celebrity endorsements on social media from the likes of Natalie Portman and Ryan Reynolds, audiences just didn't turn out for 'Booksmart' in noteworthy numbers. Wilde saw the writing on the wall Saturday and tried to change the course with a Twitter plea. 'Anyone out there saving @Booksmart for another day, consider making that day TODAY,' Wilde wrote. 'We are getting creamed by the big dogs out there and need your support. Don't give studios an excuse not to green-light movies made by and about women.' Those who did make it to 'Booksmart' were mostly women (61 and under the age of 35 (74%). And the target 17-34 age group gave a more favorable exit score (an A) than audiences overall, who gave it a B+. 'People are in a popcorn mood,' Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said. 'Films trying to be more introspective and fresh are having a tougher time getting their head above water.' Still, he noted, to have three R-rated films in the top 6 ('Brightburn,' ''Booksmart' and 'John Wick: Chapter 3') is impressive. And one limited release that did manage to connect was the Laurel Canyon music documentary 'Echo in the Canyon,' which earned an impressive $103,716 from two locations in Los Angeles. It expands to New York next week. The deficit is still running around 9% for the year, but next weekend could chip away at that with a diverse set of new offerings including the Elton John biopic 'Rocketman,' ''Godzilla: King of the Monsters' and the Octavia Spencer thriller 'Ma.' Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Tuesday. 1.'Aladdin,' $86.1 million ($121 million international). 2.'John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,' $24.4 million ($24.8 million international). 3.'Avengers: Endgame,' $16.8 million ($15.3 million international). 4.'Pokémon Detective Pikachu,' $13.3 million ($24.3 million international). 5.'Brightburn,' $7.5 million ($4.5 million international). 6.'Booksmart,' $6.5 million. 7.'A Dog's Journey,' $4.1 million ($6.5 million international). 8.'The Hustle,' $3.8 million ($4.6 million international). 9.'The Intruder,' $2.3 million. 10.'Long Shot,' $1.6 million ($788,000 international). ___ Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore: 1. 'Aladdin,' $121 million. 2. 'John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,' $24.8 million. 3. 'Pokémon Detective Pikachu,' $24.3 million. 4. 'Avengers: Endgame,' $15.3 million. 5. 'A Dog's Journey,' $6.5 million. 6. 'The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil,' $6.4 million. 7. 'Rocketman,' $6.4 million. 8. 'Mayday Life 3D,' $5.5 million. 9. 'The Hustle,' $4.6 million. 10. 'Brightburn,' $4.5 million. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr
  • Britain's governing Conservative Party was all but wiped out in the European Parliament election as voters sick of the country's stalled European Union exit flocked to uncompromisingly pro-Brexit or pro-EU parties. The main opposition Labour Party also faced a drubbing in a vote that upended the traditional order of British politics and plunged the country into even more Brexit uncertainty. The big winners were the newly founded Brexit Party led by veteran anti-EU campaigner Nigel Farage and the strongly pro-European Liberal Democrats. With results announced early Monday for all of England and Wales, the Brexit Party had won 28 of the 73 British EU seats up for grabs and almost a third of the votes. The Liberal Democrats took about 20% of the vote and 15 seats — up from only one at the last EU election in 2014. Labour came third with 10 seats, followed by the Greens with seven. The ruling Conservatives were in fifth place with just three EU seats and under 10% of the vote. Scotland and Northern Ireland are due to announce their results later. Farage's Brexit Party was one of several nationalist and populist parties making gains across the continent in an election that saw erosion of support for the traditionally dominant political parties. Conservative Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was a 'painful result' and warned there was an 'existential risk to our party unless we now come together and get Brexit done.' The results reflect an electorate deeply divided over Britain's 2016 decision to leave the EU, but united in anger at the two long-dominant parties, the Conservatives and Labour, who have brought the Brexit process to deadlock. Britain is participating in the EU election because it is still a member of the bloc, but the lawmakers it elects will only sit in the European Parliament until the country leaves the EU, which is currently scheduled for Oct. 31. Farage's Brexit Party was officially launched in April and has only one policy: for Britain to leave the EU as soon as possible, even without a divorce agreement in place. Farage said his party's performance was 'a massive message' for the Conservatives and Labour, and he said it should be given a role in future negotiations with the EU. 'If we don't leave on Oct. 31, then the scores you have seen for the Brexit Party today will be repeated in a general election — and we are getting ready for it,' said Farage. But the election leaves Britain's EU exit ever more uncertain, with both Brexiteers and pro-EU 'remainers' able to claim strong support. Labour and the Conservatives, who in different ways each sought a compromise Brexit, were hammered. The result raises the likelihood of a chaotic 'no deal' exit from the EU — but also of a new referendum that could reverse the decision to leave. The Conservatives were punished for failing to take the country out of the EU on March 29 as promised, a failure that led Prime Minister Theresa May to announce Friday that she is stepping down from leading the party on June 7. Britain's new prime minister will be whoever wins the Conservative party leadership race to replace her. The favorites, including ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, have vowed to leave the EU on Oct. 31 even if there is no deal in place. Most businesses and economists think that would cause economic turmoil and plunge Britain into recession. But many Conservatives think embracing a no-deal Brexit may be the only way to win back voters from Farage's party. Labour was punished for a fence-sitting Brexit policy that saw the party dither over whether to support a new referendum that could halt Brexit. Labour foreign affairs spokeswoman Emily Thornberry said the party needed to adopt a clearer pro-EU stance. 'There should be a (new Brexit) referendum and we should campaign to remain,' she said. ___ For more news from The Associated Press on the European Parliament elections go to https://www.apnews.com/EuropeanParliament ___ Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • Carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French automaker Renault are in talks about a possible alliance, as both companies seek to address technological and regulatory challenges in the industry. A person with knowledge of the matter confirmed the advanced discussions, first reported by the Financial Times. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations have not been made public. Fiat Chrysler has for months been the subject of merger speculation, with PSA Peugeot also reportedly interested. Collaboration between automakers has taken on importance in recent years as they seek to build their technological capabilities in pursuit of electrical vehicles, net connectivity and artificial intelligence for vehicles. Automakers are also under pressure from regulators, particularly in Europe and China, to come up with electric vehicles so they can meet tougher pollution limits. Volkswagen and Ford formed a global alliance in January to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups and explore cooperation on future battery-powered and autonomous vehicles and services. Renault is already in a three-way global alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi, a partnership that has been frayed since the arrest of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn on financial misconduct charges in Japan. Together, the three companies are the biggest maker of passenger cars in the world. Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley told analysts earlier this month that he expects further consolidation in the industry in the near term, though he has stressed that the company can continue to make it as an independent player. Manley also told analysts that Fiat was taking action to address weaknesses in Europe. North American sales accounted for virtually all of the U.S.-Italian carmaker's profits in the first quarter, a difficult period that saw a 47% drop in profits due largely to production changes. The Financial Times reported that a number of partnership options between Renault and Fiat Chrysler are being considered, but that the talks have moved beyond sharing technology.
  • A Wisconsin judge has ordered Anheuser-Busch to stop suggesting in advertising that MillerCoors' light beers contain corn syrup, wading into a fight between two beer giants that are losing market share to small independent brewers. U.S. District Judge William Conley for the Western District of Wisconsin on Friday granted a preliminary injunction sought by MillerCoors that temporarily stops Anheuser-Busch from using the words 'corn syrup' in ads without giving more context. MillerCoors sued its rival in March, saying St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch has spent as much as $30 million on a 'false and misleading' campaign, including $13 million in its first commercials during this year's Super Bowl. However, the ruling did not affect all of Anheuser-Busch's advertising targeting MillerCoors, allowing the commercials that premiered at the Super Bowl to keep airing. Anheuser-Busch's ad drew a rebuke from the National Corn Growers Association, which thanked MillerCoors for its support. In its lawsuit, MillerCoors said it's 'not ashamed of its use of corn syrup as a fermentation aid.' Corn syrup is used by several brewers during fermentation. During that process, corn syrup is broken down and consumed by yeast so that none of it remains in the final product. Bud Light is brewed with rice instead of corn syrup, but Anheuser-Busch uses corn syrup in some of its other beverages, including Stella Artois Cidre and Busch Light beer. MillerCoors applauded the ruling and said Anheuser-Busch should be trying to grow the beer market, not 'destroy it through deceptive advertising.' 'We are pleased with today's ruling that will force Anheuser-Busch to change or remove advertisements that were clearly designed to mislead the American public,' said MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley. Anheuser Busch, however, called the ruling a 'victory for consumers' because it allows the brand's 'Special Delivery' Super Bowl ad to continue airing. That ad showed a medieval caravan pushing a huge barrel of corn syrup to castles for MillerCoors to make Miller Lite and Coors Light. The commercial states that Bud Light isn't brewed with corn syrup. Anheuser Busch said the ad would air as early as this weekend. 'As the number one selling beer in the U.S., Bud Light remains committed to leading the alcohol industry by providing more transparency for consumers including letting them know about the ingredients that are used to brew their beer,' said Cesar Vargas, Anheuser-Busch vice president of legal and corporate affairs. Judge Conley ordered Anheuser Busch to temporarily stop using advertisements that mention corn syrup without references to 'brewed with,' ''made with' or 'uses,' or that describe corn syrup as an ingredient in the finished products. The ruling affects two Bud Light commercials and billboards that describe Bud Light as containing '100 percent less corn syrup' than Miller Lite and Coors Light. Anheuser Busch said those ads are no longer up and the company had no plans to continue using them. Judge Conley also denied an Anheuser Busch motion to dismiss the case, saying it was likely to succeed in proving misleading statements and some harm to the reputation of MillerCoors. Chicago-based MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch have the biggest U.S. market share at 24.8 percent and 41.6 percent, respectively, but they've been losing business in recent years to smaller independent brewers, imports, and wine and spirits, according to the Brewers Association. MillerCoors maintains Anheuser-Busch is preying on health conscious consumers who have negative connotations of corn syrup, sometimes confusing it with the high-fructose corn syrup in sodas. The feud threatens to disrupt an alliance between the two companies to work on a campaign to promote the beer industry amid declining sales.
  • The race to succeed British Prime Minister Theresa May is heating up, the field of Conservative contenders is quickly growing and the focus is squarely on how to handle Brexit. Former House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab joined the fray Saturday night. Both had earlier resigned from May's Cabinet to protest her Brexit policy. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Saturday morning he is seeking to replace May, joining several others who have announced they will run to become the Conservative party's next leader, and by default, Britain's new prime minister. May announced Friday she plans to step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7 and remain as a caretaker prime minister while the party chooses a new leader in a contest that officially kicks off the following week. She plans to remain as party leader through U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming state visit and the 75th D-Day anniversary celebrations on June 6. Her successor will have to try to complete Brexit — a task that May failed to deliver during her three years in office. While she succeeded in striking a divorce deal with the European Union, the plan was defeated three times in Parliament by British lawmakers from across the political spectrum. The EU extended Britain's departure date to Oct. 31 but there still is no consensus among British lawmakers about how or even if the country should leave the bloc. Even before a new leader is chosen, the Conservative Party is expected to fare poorly when the results of the European Parliament election in Britain are announced Sunday night. The best-known contestant for the Conservative leadership post is former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has said he will take Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 even if no deal has been reached with EU leaders. Johnson's willingness to back a no-deal Brexit is already causing some ripples. Another Conservative contender, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, said Saturday that he could not serve in a Cabinet under Johnson if Johnson wins. Stewart says he could not work for a leader who is comfortable with the idea of a no-deal Brexit. Stewart complained that Johnson said in a private meeting several weeks ago that he would not push for a no-deal departure but appears to have changed course completely. Many economists and business leaders have warned that a no-deal departure would have a drastically negative impact on Britain's economy and also hurt its European neighbors. The field is likely to grow to about a dozen candidates, with a winner expected to be chosen by mid or late July. Senior Conservatives including Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are among those considering a leadership run. The Conservative Party chooses its leaders in a two-step process. First there's a series of votes among the party's legislators to establish two top contenders, then those names are submitted to a nationwide vote by about 120,000 party members. The winner becomes party leader and prime minister, although the opposition Labour Party is warning of an immediate challenge to the new leader with an eye toward forcing an early general election. John McDonnell, Labour's economic spokesman, told the BBC on Saturday the party would push a no-confidence vote against the new prime minister right away. 'We believe any incoming prime minister in these circumstances should go to the country anyway and seek a mandate,' McDonnell said. An earlier Labour Party attempt to force an early election failed in January when May's government survived a no-confidence vote. The U.K.'s next general election will be held in 2022 unless a government collapse speeds up the timetable. ___ Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • Over a lunch of hamburger steaks, mashed potatoes and green beans, Walter Hussman delivered his pitch to the dozen or so attendees of the Hope, Arkansas, Rotary Club meeting. He promised that if they keep paying their current rate of $36 a month for subscription to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper, even though it will no longer be printed daily or delivered to their door, they'll get a free iPad to view a digital version. The daily digital replica of the state's largest newspaper will be accessed with an easy-to-use app they can download on the tablet that the newspaper is distributing to subscribers. Hussman, the newspaper's publisher, said Wednesday that by the end of the year, only the Sunday edition of the paper will be printed. It's a gamble Hussman feels compelled to take to sustain his newsroom of 106 employees and turn a profit, which the paper hasn't done since 2017. In March 2018, the paper began the experiment in Blytheville, a town of about 14,000 in the northeast corner of the state 155 miles (249 kilometers) from Little Rock, where the paper publishes. Each of the paper's 200 subscribers was offered the iPad at the current print delivery rate, plus a personal training session to explain how to use the tablet, and print delivery stopped about two months later. More than 70% of the Blytheville subscribers converted to the digital version, a figure that, if replicated statewide, is enough for the paper to turn a profit, which Hussman expects will be in 2020. Including distribution of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which is not converting to iPad, the paper's daily circulation was about 80,000 before the transition, said Larry Graham, vice president of circulation. Hussman has said he's willing to spend $12 million on the tablets, or about 36,400 iPads, which retail for $329. At the current lowest subscription rate of $34 a month, that would generate about $14.8 million in revenue per year, which Hussman said would turn a profit after expenses. Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at Poynter, said two publications have tried similar experiments. In 2011, the Philadelphia Inquirer sold Android tablets for $100 if users signed up for a two-year, $9.99 monthly subscription, a program which Edmonds said was 'very unsuccessful.' In 2013, the Montreal-based La Presse launched a free tablet app and discontinued daily printed editions three years later, though they've since become a non-profit. To sell the Democrat-Gazette's plan, Hussman is traveling the state speaking to civic clubs. He explains how advertising revenue for newspapers has dropped precipitously since its peak in 2006, and how digital advertising isn't as profitable as media outlets originally predicted. After the Rotary meeting, 65-year-old Steve Harris, a subscriber since the early 1980s, said he's been using his iPad for about a month. There are 'pros and cons' to the iPad, but he likes the photo galleries available on the digital replica, as well as its ease of access when he's traveling. But Bill Loe, 87, said he doesn't know if he'll keep subscribing. 'I'm not sure. If I can run that gadget, I will,' he said. In Hussman's experience, skepticism is the initial reaction from subscribers of the newspaper, who tend to skew older, but eventually, most tell him they prefer it to print. The digital replica looks just like the printed paper and is intuitive to navigate within the app. Clicking on the jump takes the user to the continuing story. The text can be enlarged. All pictures are in color; some also reveal videos. This isn't Hussman's first controversial move to keep his newspaper profitable. In the mid-2000s, he thought papers publishing online content for free was short-sighted and the Democrat-Gazette's website established a paywall earlier than most media organizations. The tablets are essentially a long-term loan and subscribers keep them for as long as they pay for the paper. They're also responsible for repairing or replacing the tablets, which come with Apple's one-year warranty. Hussman said the newspaper doesn't monitor usage or track users in any way. When it's returned, it's wiped clean and can be re-distributed. Hussman isn't sure whether the digital replica will appeal to younger generations, but enough people are converting for now. Penny Muse Abernathy, who teaches digital media economics and behavior at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said whether people will continue to pay depends on what the reader experience is like and if the news is still vital to readers. 'I think it's a very smart move. It's a very farsighted one,' she said. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which turns 200 this year, won two Pulitzers in 1958 as the Gazette before two papers merged, for its coverage of the integration of Little Rock's Central High School. 'I wish we didn't have to do this,' Hussman said of scrapping print, but to sell the newspaper would be a 'dereliction of our responsibility.' Cutting print delivery hasn't disappointed everyone, though. Dolly Henley, 61, decided to subscribe at the Rotary Club meeting. She and her husband haven't had the Democrat-Gazette delivered to their home in the 25 years they've lived in the tiny town of Washington, Arkansas. Now, with the digital replica accessible by iPad, she's excited to get daily 'delivery' again. 'Getting it to the digital world is just where it's at right now,' she said. 'Change is good.' ___ Follow Hannah Grabenstein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hgrabenstein