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    Former Ohio State and NFL player Beanie Wells is offering a $5,000 reward for the capture of the person who gunned down his brother. Akron police said 31-year-old Joel 'Joey' Wells was found in a driveway in Akron on Thursday morning. He had been shot in the head. Police are continuing to look for the drivphoer of the getaway car and other leads but have not named a suspect. Police said Joel Wells apparently was taking his infant daughter to day care when he made a stop at a friend's house in East Akron, where he was shot. Summit County Crimestoppers also is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the killer. Others from the Columbus area are adding to the reward money, Beanie Wells said.
  • American Express posted a 9% gain in second-quarter profits on Friday, helped by more of its cardmembers carrying a credit card balance and increased spending on its namesake cards. The New York company said it earned a profit of $1.76 billion, or $2.07 a share. That's up from earnings of $1.62 billion, or $1.84 a share, in the same period a year earlier. Analysts were looking for AmEx to earn $2.03 a share, according to FactSet. The improving economy has convinced more U.S. consumers to spend, and take on increasing amounts of credit card debt, which benefits AmEx's bottom line. Its cardmembers spent $311.7 billion on its cards worldwide in the quarter, up from $296.5 billion a year earlier. Meanwhile individual U.S. cardmember spending rose to $5,445 in the quarter, up from $5,275 in 2018. American Express makes most of its money off of fees it charges merchants to accept their cards. The more money spent by consumers at these merchants, the more AmEx earns in processing fees. AmEx has also been encouraging its customers to carry a balance, even on its traditional cards that typically had to be paid off at the end of each month. The company had $72.6 billion in loans to customers at the end of the second quarter, up from $66.3 billion a year earlier. Other financial companies have been reporting similar gains in their consumer banking businesses. JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, two of American Express' biggest competitors, both reported higher credit card revenue and interest revenue. Total revenue for the company, net of interest expense, was $10.84 billion, up from $10.00 billion a year earlier.
  • Bulgaria's parliament has approved the purchase of eight new American fighter jets as part of a plan to replace the Balkan country's aging Soviet-built jets and to bring its air force in line with NATO standards. Lawmakers voted 123-78 on Friday in favor of a government motion to buy the eight F-16 Block 70 aircraft, which will be the biggest military procurement in post-Communist Bulgaria. Two legislators abstained from the vote. The $1.25 billion deal includes the jets, ammunition, equipment and pilot training. The six single-seat and two two-seat F-16s would be delivered by 2023. The defense minister will sign the contract with producer Lockheed Martin. Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union three years later.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel fended off worries about her health on Friday, saying that she has a personal interest in staying healthy and having a life after politics. Merkel said that she understands questions about her health after three recent incidents in which her body shook as she stood at public events. But she said she's aware of her responsibility as chancellor and 'can exercise this function.' She has said that there's no reason to worry. Merkel, who turned 65 this week, recalled that she has ruled out seeking a fifth term as chancellor. 'I have said that 2021 will be the end of my political work and I hope that there is a life after that — and I would like to lead it in good health,' she said. Merkel still enjoys solid popularity ratings, but her party's performance in polls has been poor recently and it remains unclear who will be her party's candidate to succeed her as chancellor, a job she has held since 2005. Last year, she gave up the leadership of her center-right Christian Democratic Union party. That job was won by Merkel ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who has struggled to establish her authority and this week entered Merkel's Cabinet as defense minister — a move widely interpreted as being intended to strengthen her claim to the top job. 'I am not exerting any influence on my succession — the party will have to decide that in the future,' Merkel said. 'But Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is the party leader and so of course is in an important and decisive position.
  • The 92-year-old had a painful tumor on his tongue, and major surgery was his best chance. Doctors called a timeout when he said he lived alone, in a rural farmhouse, and wanted to keep doing so. 'It was ultimately not clear we could get him back there' after such a big operation, said Dr. Tom Robinson, chief of surgery at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System. The Denver hospital is trying something new: When their oldest patients need a major operation, what to do isn't decided just with the surgeon but with a team of other specialists, to make sure seniors fully understand their options — and how those choices could affect the remainder of their lives. It's part of a move to improve surgical care for older Americans, who increasingly are undergoing complex operations despite facing higher risks than younger patients. The American College of Surgeons launched a program Friday to encourage hospitals around the country to adopt 30 new standards to optimize surgery on patients who are 75 and older — information seniors and their families eventually will be able to use in choosing where to get care. Seniors account for more than 40% of surgeries, which is expected to grow as the population ages. Certainly there are plenty of robust elders who can withstand major operations. But as people get older, they don't bounce back like they did even in middle age. Seniors rapidly lose muscle with even a short period in bed. They tend to have multiple illnesses that complicate recovery. And 15% of older adults who live at home — and a third of 80-somethings — face particular risks because they're frail, meaning they're weak, move slowly and get little physical activity. The new standards stress team-based care and better communication about surgical risks and quality of life, to help patients choose their treatment. They must be evaluated for vulnerabilities such as frailty, being prone to falls or having dementia, and the hospital must have plans to handle them. After surgery, standards run the gamut from geriatric-friendly hospital rooms — with non-skid floors and windows to help stay oriented to day and night — to preventing post-surgery complications like delirium, a frightening state of confusion that can impair recovery and cause long-term memory and thinking problems. Some of the steps have long been recommended, 'but we realized guidelines are just that — they're suggestions. The uptake of them in hospitals is pretty spotty,' said Dr. Ronnie Rosenthal of Yale University, who chaired the standards task force. So the surgeons' group, with funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation, created a geriatric surgery 'verification program,' similar to programs credited with spurring trauma and pediatric surgery improvements. Hospital participation is voluntary, but those that join will be inspected and have to document how patients fare. Eight hospitals including the Denver VA tested the standards. Robinson already sees a difference: 1 in 4 patients change their original surgical plan after a team review, and more go home rather than needing at least a temporary stay in a nursing home or other facility. Consider that 92-year-old with a tumor on his tongue. After consultations with speech and swallowing experts, and an evaluation of his house, Robinson said the man ultimately chose a smaller operation. The tumor and only part of the tongue were removed to relieve pain rather than trying for a cure, and he returned home. 'These are difficult conversations,' Robinson said. But choosing to spend, say, their last year at home rather than two in a nursing home, 'those are trade-offs people are making.' After surgery, the standards also focus on seniors' special needs such as maintaining mobility; prompt return of glasses and hearing aids to help keep patients oriented and able to follow care instructions; and steps to prevent delirium that include avoiding risky medications. To implement them, Robinson's hospital set up new nurse-led teams that check each older patient daily. For example, no more waiting for the surgeon to decide if physical and occupational therapy are needed; the nursing team puts that in place up front, explained geriatric nurse specialist Jennifer Franklin. One of her team's patients, George Barrett, 85, of Lakewood, Colorado, is recovering from successful open-heart surgery, and being prepped to go to a cardiac rehabilitation facility to regain his strength. 'They told me about all the risks and I wanted to go ahead with it anyway,' Barrett said of the surgery. 'I want to hang around.' Even before any hospitals go through the quality-improvement program, the standards can offer guidance to seniors and their families in making surgical decisions. For example, make sure the patient's vulnerabilities are discussed up front: If dad already needs a walker, will being in the hospital make him worse? And what will the hospital do to help? Especially make clear the patient's goals: 'It's most important they ask, 'What will my life look like after? What will I be able to do?'' said Yale's Rosenthal. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • A Paris court rejected a compensation claim Friday related to the 1994 sinking of an Estonian ferry, which remains one of Europe's deadliest maritime disasters. The court ruled on the claim from more than 1,000 survivors and relatives of victims of the accident in which a car ferry connecting the Estonian capital of Tallinn with Stockholm sank on Sept. 28, 1994, killing 852 people. They sought 40.8 million euros ($46 million) from the French agency Bureau Veritas that deemed the ship seaworthy and the German shipbuilder Meyer-Werft. But the French court in the western suburb of Nanterre threw out the claim, citing a lack of 'intentional fault' attributable to either company in the case, the second-deadliest peacetime sinking of a European ship after the Titanic. Henning Witte, a German lawyer who represents relatives in the case, told that Swedish news agency TT that the ruling was, 'of course, a disappointment.' 'The circus continues. It is absolutely scandalous how the events around the Estonia disaster are being ignored, and especially the relatives,' Witte said. Raivo Hellerma, a spokesman for Memento Mare, a group that represents mainly Estonian victims of the disaster, was more stoic, saying 'we had no expectations' in the case. Hellerman lost his wife in the sinking. An investigation that concluded in 1997 found that the locks on the ferry's front, the prow door, had not held up to the strain of the waves, causing water to flood the car deck. The case has been making its way through French courts since 1996, and had been retried on appeal twice. ___ Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.
  • A Dutch still-life painting, stolen by retreating Nazis and sent by a German soldier as a present to his wife, came back to a Florence museum on Friday, thanks largely to a relentless campaign by the Uffizi Galleries' director, a German. The foreign ministers of German and Italy were on hand Friday at Palazzo Pitti, a Renaissance palace that is part of the Uffizi Galleries, for the unveiling of 'Flower Vase,' a masterpiece by Jan van Huysum, an early 18th-century artist whose exquisitely detailed still-life works were highly sought in his day. Uffizi director Eike Schmidt earlier this year urged his native country to return the work. He had posted on a gallery wall three labels where the painting had hung before being taken during World War II: 'stolen,' the labels read in Italian, English and Germany. His homeland, Schmidt said at the time, had a 'moral duty' to return the work. Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero hailed the 'civic and moral courage of a German director of an Italian museum' in pursuing the painting's return. As did his German counterpart, Moavero hailed the happy ending, saying it was achieved through 'real Europeanism, of concrete facts' and not just words. He revealed to reporters that the painting's return was discussed, among other matters, during bilateral talks between Italy and Germany. 'Flower Vase' is so realistic it has been likened to a photograph. Van Huysum used a magnifying glass to study his subjects. Ripples are visible in insects' transparent wings, to name just one striking detail on the returned painting. The painting was acquired in 1824 by a grand duke of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, which followed the Medicis in residing in the palace in Florence. Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, the palace's artworks were packed for safekeeping into wooden crates and moved from villa to villa. When the Germany army was retreating, the crates were added to other war booty and eventually ended up in Bolzano, an Alpine city near Austria. There the crate containing 'Flower Vase' was opened, and in July 1944, a German soldier sent the painting to his wife in Germany. Minister Moavero quoted the soldier as writing instructions to his wife to 'put it in a gilded frame.' The painting's whereabouts appeared to be a mystery until a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Starting in 1991, the German family repeatedly tried to sell the painting to Italy via intermediaries, 'threatening to give it to a third party or even destroy it if a ransom wasn't paid,' the Italian culture ministry said. The latest approach for money was made to the Uffizi in 2016, it said. German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass thanked Schmidt for campaigning so passionately for the painting's return. 'Here is its place, here is where it belongs,' he said. At a time of tensions among many European Union allies over migrant issues, Maas saw inspiration in the successful artwork diplomacy. He likened an EU 'without 'diversity, without solidarity' to a 'museum without paintings on display, a vase without flowers.' ___ D'Emilio reported from Rome. ___ Frances D'Emilio is on twitter at 222.twitter.com/fdemilio
  • American Express is reporting a profit hike of more than 8% from the second-quarter. The company on Friday posted net income of $1.76 billion, or $2.07. That's a 2-cent beat on Wall Street projections, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research. Revenue of $10.84 billion also edged out expectations. in the period, also beating Street forecasts. Eight analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $10.82 billion. Shares edged slightly lower, however, before the opening bell after the company stuck to per-share annual guidance of between $7.85 and $8.35. _____ Portions of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on AXP at https://www.zacks.com/ap/AXP
  • Long before President Donald Trump turned up the heat on four Democratic congresswomen of color, saying they should 'go back' to their home countries, hateful rhetoric and disinformation about the self-described squad was lurking online. Racist, inflammatory and inaccurate content has circulated on far right blogs, news sites and social media accounts about Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and her three freshman colleagues since they ran for public office. With his tweets and harsh comments, Trump has elevated that rhetoric, playing into a conspiratorial feedback loop that reared its head repeatedly during his campaign and presidency. Trump rose to conservative prominence by falsely claiming former President Barack Obama, the first black president, wasn't born in the country. Since then, he has promoted claims and memes that originated in the darkest corners of the internet while fueling new ones of his own. His latest targets are Omar and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. In his Sunday tweets , Trump claimed, without identifying the women by name, that the minority legislators 'originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe.' He suggested they should 'go back' to those 'totally broken and crime infested places,' even though three of the four were born in the U.S. and all are U.S. citizens. He has since questioned the women's allegiance to their country, accusing them of hating America and promoting terrorism while suggesting they should leave America if they're unhappy here. For some, the Republican president's tweets were shocking. But for others, they were just an average day on Facebook or Twitter, where allegations that Omar was not legitimately elected, is not a U.S. citizen and committed immigration fraud have festered in far right chatrooms, blogs and social media sites since she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2016. 'This is the agenda of white nationalists, whether it is happening in chat rooms or it's happening on national TV,' Omar said this week. 'And now it's reached the White House garden.' Omar was born in Somalia and immigrated to the U.S. as a refugee in 1995 when she was a child. She became a U.S. citizen in 2000 at age 17. The rumors about her have been spread by dozens of conservative social media figures and bloggers, including Michelle Malkin and Laura Loomer, the latter now banned from Facebook. In February, self-described far right social media influencers Jacob Wohl and Loomer flew to Minneapolis, where they provided live updates on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook of their trip to 'investigate' Omar's past and immigration status. Even seemingly everyday citizens have taken to social media to upload their own theories on Omar's background, with one Minnesota woman posting a video months ago on Facebook sharing 'proof' Omar is not a U.S. citizen. The video has been watched more than 50,000 times. Trump also repeated a contested claim, characterizing as 'fact' that Omar had married her brother, before acknowledging that he really didn't know. 'Well, there's a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother,' Trump said this week in response to a question posed by a conservative news outlet. 'I know nothing about it. I hear she was married to her brother. You're asking me a question about it. I don't know, but I'm sure that somebody will be looking at that.' Omar has described such allegations as 'disgusting lies.' She has declined to provide access to immigration records, birth certificates or other documents that could verify her family history. Omar, the biggest target of online vitriol among the four legislators, has made comments that raise eyebrows, including a remark this spring in which she referenced the Sept. 11 attacks by saying that 'some people did something.' She was also criticizing for asking a judge in 2016 to show leniency toward a man accused of trying to join the Islamic State. But other allegations have been provably false. Before they took office, for instance, Omar and Tlaib, the first Muslim women elected to Congress , were dogged by false online allegations that they were so anti-American they did not intend to take the oath of office. Others tried to delegitimize Omar in memes that falsely claim Obama resettled 70,000 Somali refugees in Minnesota in an effort to ensure her election. In fact, the state received 6,320 Somali refugees during the Obama administration. A similar inaccurate claim was later floated online about Iraqi refugees in Tlaib's home state of Michigan. Other comments by the women have been taken widely out of context. Around February, social media users and fringe sites began circulating an edited 2013 clip that they said showed Omar 'laughing' at al-Qaida and admitting to taking a 'terrorism' class. The full context of the 28-minute interview, originally broadcast on a local Minneapolis TV station, shows she was talking about a U.S. college course and was making a point about how the Arabic language had been hijacked by extremist groups to mean something negative. In the 2016 presidential election, Russians relied on a similar online playbook, deploying anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in an effort to boost Trump's prospects. Racially divisive content was the biggest component of the Russian disinformation campaign, according to Ian Vanderwalker, counsel for the Democracy Program at the nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice. One Facebook post linked to a Russian agent, for instance, featured a group of women walking in headdresses and asked: 'What are they hiding?' 'A lot of it was fearmongering that was intended to mobilize right-leaning voters,' Vanderwalker said. 'Some of it was similar to or echoed themes in Trump's own campaign.' He predicted Russians would revive racially fraught social media content in 2020. Negative sentiment about the four congresswomen has migrated into more mainstream outlets recently. Last week, just days before Trump's incendiary tweets, Fox News host Tucker Carlson described Omar on his show as having 'undisguised contempt for the United States.' The president's comments, in turn, appear to have inspired even more negative online rhetoric, including a new batch of Facebook and Twitter posts that describe Omar as a 'terrorist.' Memes also have emerged calling the women 'anti-American' and 'enemies within.' One mock movie poster labels the women 'The Jihad Squad' and includes the tagline: 'Political Jihad is their game.' The attacks are part of a pattern for Trump, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of a recent book about how Russian hackers and trolls influenced Trump's election. She pointed to Trump's birther claims against Obama, which she said suggested 'he doesn't belong here, he belongs somewhere else,' as well as Trump's unfounded claims in 2016 that Hillary Clinton and Obama were co-founders of the Islamic State group. Chants at the president's rallies — such as 'Lock her up!' in reference to Clinton or the newly minted 'Send her back!' refrain for Omar — emerge because Trump has cast the women as enemies of the nation, Jamieson said. The result, she said, is to discredit 'the loyalty, patriotism and ability to act on behalf of the U.S. of an elected official.' ___ Seitz reported from Chicago. Follow Seitz and Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaSeitz1 and https://twitter.com/colvinj .
  • Authorities in the Spanish city of Melilla say that around 200 migrants have tried to climb a barrier separating the European country's north African enclave from Morocco. The local office of the Spanish government's representative said Friday that one migrant suffered a fractured leg while six Spanish police were injured when around 50 migrants managed to scale the security fence surrounding the coastal city. The other 150 were repelled by Spanish and Moroccan border guards. The migrants who reached Spanish soil were taken to a holding center, where they can ask for asylum while authorities start procedures to return them to their countries of origin. Spain has become the leading entry point for migrants to Europe. Most cross the Mediterranean Sea in small boats unfit for open waters.