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    An Arizona elected official charged with running an adoption-fraud scheme involving women from the Marshall Islands ran a legal practice and “made happy families,” his attorney said Friday. Paul Petersen, county assessor in the Phoenix area, had long arranged adoptions between women from the Pacific Island nation and U.S. families, lawyer Scott Williams said. Petersen, he said, “has made happy families for 15 years, that’s what he has done open and notoriously.” The comments came after Petersen made his first appearance in a Utah courtroom on charges including human smuggling, fraud and sale of a child. Prosecutors in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas say he paid women up to $10,000 to come to the United States to give up their babies in at least 70 adoption cases. Upon arrival, the women were crammed into houses to wait to give birth and then provide their babies for adoption, prosecutors say. Petersen also is charged with falsely registering the women for state Medicaid benefits. Marshall Islands citizens have been prohibited from traveling to the U.S. for adoption purposes since 2003. The case has drawn condemnation from the Marshall Islands’ president, as well as a leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Petersen completed a mission in the Marshall Islands for the church in the late '90s. Ronald Rasband, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has said he was “disgusted” by the charges, and the church plans to review Petersen’s membership. Petersen’s attorney said his client has been vilified before his side of the story comes out. Petersen himself did not speak and Williams did not dispute any specific allegations on Friday but said the adoption practice was legitimate and Petersen had support from some in the Marshallese community. Petersen is facing federal charges in Arkansas and state charges in Arizona and Utah. He has pleaded not guilty in Arizona and Arkansas. He has not yet entered an official plea in Utah and is due back in court in February. Petersen also is fighting for his job after being suspended by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
  • Many older American adults may inaccurately estimate their chances for developing dementia and do useless things to prevent it, new research suggests. Almost half of adults surveyed believed they were likely to develop dementia. The results suggest many didn’t understand the connection between physical health and brain health and how racial differences can affect dementia risk. Substantial numbers of people who rated their health as fair or poor thought their dementia chances were low. At the same time, many who said they were in excellent health said they were likely to develop the memory robbing disease. Many said they tried at least one of four unproven memory-protecting methods, including taking supplements like fish oil and ginkgo. The most popular strategy was doing crossword puzzles. Mental stimulation is thought to help, but there’s stronger evidence for more challenging activities than puzzles — things like playing chess, taking a class, reading about unfamiliar topics, said Keith Fargo, who oversees research and outreach programs at the Alzheimer’s Association. He was not involved in the study. Research has shown that regular exercise, a good diet, limiting alcohol and not smoking make dementia less likely. Supplements have not been shown to help. “We really haven’t done a good job of getting the word out that there really are things you can do to lower your risk,” said Dr. Donovan Maust, the study’s lead author and a geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Michigan. The study was published online Friday in JAMA Neurology. It’s based on a nationally representative health survey of 1,000 adults aged 50 to 64. The survey asked people to assess their likelihood of developing dementia and whether they had ever discussed ways to prevent it with their doctor. Few people said they had, regardless of their self-rated risk for dementia. The results raise concerns because doctors can help people manage conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes that have been linked with dementia risk, Maust, said. Among those who said their physical health was only fair or poor, a substantial 40 percent thought they were at low risk for Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Almost the same portion rated their chances as likely even though they reported very good or excellent physical health. More whites than blacks or Hispanics surveyed believed they were likely to develop dementia and almost two-thirds of blacks said they were unlikely. Only 93 blacks were surveyed, making it difficult to generalize those results to all U.S. blacks. But U.S. minorities face higher risks for dementia than whites — blacks face double the risk — and the Alzheimer’s Association has outreach programs that aim to raise awareness in black and Hispanic communities. “There’s lots of work to do ... to educate the public so they can take some actions to protect themselves,” Fargo said. One in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. While there are no medicines or medical treatments proven to prevent it, rigorous European studies have shown that healthy lifestyles may help prevent mental decline. The Alzheimer’s Association is sponsoring similar U.S. research. The new study used data from the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging. Adults were surveyed online in October 2018. Funding came from AARP, the University of Michigan health system and U.S. government grants. ___ Follow AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner at @LindseyTanner. ___ 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.
  • Democrat Elizabeth Warren says that if she’s elected president, she won’t immediately push to give every American government-funded health care and will work to pass a “Medicare for All” plan by her third year in office. That’s a significant step away from a proposal she’s spent months championing. The Massachusetts senator is pledging to build on existing programs to expand public insurance options in her first 100 days as president. The public option is backed by Warren’s more moderate rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden. She says she’d work with Congress to pass universal coverage “no later than” her third year. Warren has been trying to show she’d pay for Medicare for All without raising middle-class taxes. Experts have criticized her approach for underestimating the proposal’s costs.
  • The Latest on Roger Stone’s conviction on witness tampering and other charges (all times local): 12:30 p.m. President Donald Trump is reacting to news that his longtime friend and confidant Roger Stone was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering. The president tweeted Friday, just minutes after the jury handed down its verdict in federal court in Washington. He called Stone’s conviction “a double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country,” because his frequent nemeses, including Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey and “including even Mueller himself,” have not been convicted. “Didn’t they lie?,” Trump’s tweet said. Stone was convicted on a seven-count indictment brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election tampering. Prosecutors alleged he lied to lawmakers about WikiLeaks, tampered with witnesses and obstructed a House intelligence committee probe. __ 12:05 p.m. A judge says can Roger Stone can remain free pending his sentencing in February. Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected prosecutors’ request that Stone be jailed following his conviction Friday for lying to Congress and other charges stemming from the special counsel’s Russia investigation. Jackson said Stone will be subject to the same conditions he faced following his arrest, including a gag order preventing him from talking to media. She set Stone’s sentencing for Feb. 6. Stone, 67, could face up to 20 years in prison. __ 11:52 a.m. Roger Stone, a longtime friend and ally of President Donald Trump, has been found guilty at his trial in federal court in Washington. Stone was convicted Friday. He was charged in a seven-count indictment that alleged he lied to lawmakers about WikiLeaks, tampered with witnesses and obstructed a House intelligence committee probe. His trial highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather information about emails hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton that were released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Prosecutors say Stone lied to Congress about his conversations about WikiLeaks with New York radio host Randy Credico and conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. He’s also accused of trying to intimidate Credico and threatening to take his dog. Stone had denied the allegations and decried the case as politically motivated.
  • A former telecommunications executive convicted in one of the largest corporate accounting scandals in U.S. history is asking a judge to shorten his prison sentence so he can be released as his health deteriorates. Bernard Ebbers led WorldCom, which collapsed and went into bankruptcy in 2002 after revelations of $11 billion in accounting fraud in the Mississippi-based company. He was convicted in New York in 2005 on securities fraud and other charges and received a 25-year sentence. He has been imprisoned since September 2006. A federal judge has set a Monday deadline for federal officials to provide an update about Ebbers’ health. His attorneys say Ebbers, 78, has recently lost weight, is legally blind and has several medical problems, including a heart ailment. “Because of his diminished eyesight, Ebbers unintentionally bumped into another prisoner while walking in the facility in September of 2017. The prisoner came to Ebbers’ open cell later in the day and physically attacked him for bumping into him,” his attorneys say in court papers filed Sept. 5. The papers say the attack fractured the bones around Ebbers’ eyes and caused blunt head trauma and other injuries. They also say Ebbers was put into solitary confinement because his “severely limited eyesight” made him unable to identify the attacker. One of Ebbers’ daughters submitted a request in July that her father receive compassionate release from a federal prison medical facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Court papers say a Bureau of Prisons official denied that request in August. Ebbers’ attorneys are asking that his sentence be reduced to the time he has already served and that he be released. In court papers filed Oct. 4, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, Geoffrey S. Berman, objected to releasing Ebbers. “Ebbers has not carried his burden of demonstrating that his medical conditions have substantially diminished his ability to provide self-care within the environment of a correctional facility,” Berman said in the filing that was also signed by an assistant U.S. attorney, Gina Castellano. “Ebbers’ medical conditions remain manageable — and are being well-managed — through treatment by the Bureau of Prisons.” ____ Follow Emily Wagster Pettus: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.
  • Seventy-seven-year-old María Gonzalez is tired of waking up, Monday to Friday, to sell toilet paper in the Chilean capital. Her meager $146 monthly pension puts her below the poverty line, which in Chile is around $222 a month. “I feel tired. Honestly, I’m exhausted. These last 15 days that I have been at home, I slept and ate,” Gonzalez told The Associated Press after protests shut down public transport and made it impossible for her to reach the city to sell. What started on Oct. 18 as a student protest over a modest subway fare hike has ballooned into a massive, mostly peaceful social uprising that continues to consume Chile. Those early days were marked by attacks across Santiago’s subway that rendered public transit nonexistent. Looting of grocery stores and pharmacies also broke out. The chaos meant that thousands of people couldn’t get to work. The protests include struggling retirees as well as others seeking better salaries, subsidized housing, a decrease in the cost of medicine and a new constitution. Many also want to overhaul a dictatorship-era private pension system that is widely criticized in a country with a rapidly aging population. More than 1.2-million Chileans receive a pension that is less than $216 a month, well below the minimum salary of $400. Like Gonzalez, many retirees need to work in the informal sector to make ends meet. She sells big toilet paper rolls for offices, and paper towels. “Sometimes I’m left with everything... but when I sell, I earn 5,000 to 6,000 pesos (the equivalent of $7 or $8),” she said. “With that money, I can charge my phone, buy bread, buy some chicken.” On an unusually good month, she can earn $160 this way, helping cover living expenses and her $133 rent in the impoverished settlement of Cerro Navia on the outskirts of Santiago. She says without that extra income, she would be living off the cold bread, powdered milk and soup that the state’s health system provides for the elderly who live in poverty. “I’m always eating beans, chickpeas,” she said. “For example, today I didn’t go to the grocery store and I’m living off my breakfast, which was milk, tea, and a pastry that cost 1,300 pesos ($1.70).” The limitations of her life are visible in other ways. “I don’t have a heater, I don’t have anything. ... I’m sleeping on a cot someone gave me. I don’t have enough to buy a bed,” said Gonzalez, who lives alone. “One day I sat down and I figured out I spend more than 500,000 pesos ($660) a year just on transportation.” It costs Gonzalez $42 a month to take public transportation twice a day. That’s 29% of the pension received by the poorest in society. And while a middle class household of two spends roughly $28 a month on electricity, $21 on water and $45 on gas, the cost of a basic basket of food costs, according to the government, about $58. In 1981, during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, Chile enacted a pension system that requires all workers to allocate 10% of their earnings to privately run pension fund administrators, known by their Spanish initials of AFP. Those who haven’t made contributions, or have very few, receive a basic pension from the state that amounts to $146 a month. That minimum wasn’t introduced until 2008 under the government of Michelle Bachelet, and later modified in response to public demands. Some 500,000 elderly receive that basic pension. Gonzalez calls the AFP system “terrible.” Women, who can retire at the age of 60 versus the age of 65 for men, typically have saved less. That is reflected in their pensions, which are smaller, although they live longer than men. Prior to the protests, President Sebastián Piñera announced a pension reform proposal that would increase contributions from 10% to 14%, with employers responsible for covering the increase. Segundo Vergara, 69, earns 400,000 pesos ($530) a month as a cleaner. If his wife wasn’t working, “we would be living off bread and water, eating rice and pasta every day,” he told the AP as he attended a demonstration in Santiago. Vergara said he is still working in hopes of taking advantage of a proposed law, not yet approved, that would reward those who retire later with an additional contribution from the state to their pension. At the moment, his pension would be about $260. Margarita Álvarez, who works at a human rights organization and has a disability pension, said that the existing pension system needs to go “because in the end, the people who win are the ones who are managing the money.” The six pension companies that manage Chileans’ savings recently announced that their earnings during the first nine months of the year had jumped 70.6%, thanks in part to better profitability, and more people contributing. Álvarez, 64, lives with her husband, a daughter and grandchildren. She says they are able to eat beef twice a month. “The rest is vegetable soup. Luckily, artichokes are around, because they are cheaper, and eggs ... which help a lot at home, especially when you have children. You have to feed them protein somehow.” Fernando Larraín, director general of the pension administrators’ association, said that the issue Chile confronts is one of meager salaries, as well as the fact a large number of retirees worked during the 80s and 90s, when the salaries in the country were even lower. “In addition, today, we have around 30% of the population that isn’t contributing” to pensions on a regular basis, he said. He also said that the 10% savings rate is “a lot lower than the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. We have retirement ages that have not adapted to the reality of the labor market ... and a basic pension in which the state uses 0.8% of its gross domestic product, compared to 6%, on average, of OECD countries.” Benjamín Saez, an economist at Fundacion Sol, an NGO that specializes in issues of inequality, said that people who made pension contributions over 30 years or more still receive just about $266.” He said that introduction of the minimum $146 pension has only served to “postpone the crisis” as it “is not enough to cover even 70% of the poverty line.” ___ Associated Press writer Marcos Sepúlveda contributed to this report.
  • Rafael Nadal staged another comeback to stay in contention for a semifinal spot at the ATP Finals. The top-ranked Spaniard still needs help from Daniil Medvedev to avoid an early exit. Nadal rallied to beat already-qualified Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 on Friday for his second win of the round-robin stage. That still won’t be enough, though, if Alexander Zverev beats Medvedev in the last match of the group phase. That would leave Zverev, Nadal and Tsitispas with identical 2-1 records. But Nadal would finish third in the group based on the tournament’s tiebreaker rules. Making things worse for Nadal is that his win ended Medvedev’s chances of advancing, meaning the Russian (0-2) has only pride to play for against Zverev. Nadal lost his opening match to Zverev and saved a match point at 5-1 down in the third set against Medvedev on Wednesday before rallying to win. The comeback against Tsitsipas wasn’t quite as dramatic. Nadal never faced a break point in the match but lost the last three points of the first-set tiebreaker to hand the Greek the lead. But he broke for a 5-3 lead in the second set and again to make it 6-5 in the third, then converted his first match point when Tsitsipas netted a forehand. Regardless of whether he advances, Nadal is guaranteed to leave London with the year-end No. 1 ranking after Novak Djokovic was eliminated in the group stage on Thursday with a loss to Roger Federer. It’s the fifth time that the 19-time Grand Slam winner ends the year atop the rankings, tied for second on the all-time list with Djokovic, Federer and Jimmy Connors. Pete Sampras did it six times. At 33, Nadal is the oldest man to finish the year as No. 1. However, he has never won the ATP Finals despite qualifying for a 15th year in a row. He has had to pull out of the tournament on six occasions because of injuries and reached the final only twice, the last time in 2013. ___ More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Mina Lioness’ longstanding battle to finally receive writing credit on Lizzo’s megahit song “Truth Hurts” is paying off in more ways than one: it could win her a potential Grammy Award. Lizzo's breakthrough tune features the signature line — 'I just took a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% that bitch” — a lyric that originated from a 2017 tweet by Lioness and was turned into a popular meme. And now Lioness, a singer based in London who Lizzo agreed to give writing credit to, has a chance at earning her first Grammy nomination if “Truth Hurts” scores a nomination for song of the year — a category reserved for the writers of a song. “I haven't really been able to kind of just sit and ponder what the ramifications is of this happening. I mean, it's just surreal to me,” Lioness said in a phone interview from London with The Associated Press this week. “I didn't actually realize that the Grammy nominations were being announced next week, but I knew that this would be a possibility for me when it’s all said and done. But for it to come through so soon as well, it's just another one of those moments when you’re like, ‘Wow.’” The Recording Academy will announce its nominees on Nov. 20. When Grammy submissions were due earlier this year, Lioness had not been a listed writer of “Truth Hurts,” but Atlantic Records, Lizzo’s label home, told the AP they are in the process of submitting Lioness’ name as a co-writer of “Truth Hurts” to the Grammys. “Truth Hurts,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven weeks, is a likely contender in categories like song of the year, in which Lioness would share the nomination with co-writers Lizzo, Ricky Reed, Tele and Jesse Saint John. The song could also land a nomination for record of the year, a category that awards the song’s performers, producers and engineers/mixers, or best pop solo performance, an award that would only be given to Lizzo. Lioness said next week will be one of the biggest in her life — not only does she find out if she’ll become a Grammy nominee, she will “find out the results of my master's degree, pretty much on the same day (as the Grammy nominations).” “I still got work tomorrow,” added Lioness, who studied social policy at the London School of Economics. “I’m still a regular person.” Lioness created the tweet that’s changed her life “from zero to 100” — as she put it — around 4 o’clock in the morning in 2017. She said she was responding to a tweet from singer-actress Demi Lovato, who had posted about her ancestry background results. “She was saying all these different places she’s from and in one tweet she was like, ‘And I’m 1% African.’ And I was just so besides myself. I was just laughing so hard,” Lioness said. So she replied with: “I just did a DNA test and found out I’m 100% that bitch.” She went to bed. Woke up. And she had gone viral. Her bold sentence has become so popular that even Hillary Clinton tweeted some of the line, sans the vulgar word in August around the time “Truth Hurts” became a worldwide hit. The song was originally released in 2017 but got a boost this year after it was featured in the Netflix film 'Someone Great,' and as Lizzo’s label saw the public’s interest in the song, they decided to push it. Lioness learned her words were featured in “Truth Hurts” when she and some friends were Googling some of their most popular tweets. “I was just like, ‘What?’ From then on I started to try to get in contact with Lizzo,” she said. Eventually things blew up for Lizzo last month when the songwriting brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen said they felt they deserved writing credit on 'Truth Hurts.” A week later, Lizzo announced she was giving credit to Lioness and later filed a lawsuit to establish that the Raisens, as well as Justin 'Yves' Rothman, are not entitled to any credit for the song. Lioness said, at first, she wasn’t sure what to do when she discovered her words were in a pop song. “I had a lot of resentment at first, I will be completely honest. It did hurt me in the beginning to know that no one actually believed that you’re the one who brought this to the internet,” she said. “It’s so easy to erase credit online, but I just wasn’t going down without a fight.” She said watching Peaches Monroee — the young girl who went viral after praising her eyebrows for being “on fleek” — not be properly credited for starting the trendy word inspired her to fight hard for her own credit. “I saw that she was pleading and it hurt to watch another black girl have to beg for something that she put on the internet just out of a sheer joke. People told me to do the same, people told me to do a GoFundMe, but I just didn't want to do any of that because I'm not begging for something that belongs to me. Absolutely not,” she said. Things worked out for Lioness, and she and Lizzo are on good terms. They met in person this month after Lizzo’s concert in London. “She’s just really kind. She spoke to my heart. She looked me in my eyes and we had a really heartfelt conversation and we hugged,” Lioness said. And now Lioness is using her newfound fame to help boost her own music career. She said she’s been singing since she was 3 and counts Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige and Erykah Badu as inspirations. She and her musical partner, Jam, have released music together, and they are busy working on more songs as well as writing for others. “It's still tough because I would like to be known for what I said, but I don't want to be defined by one moment,” said Lioness. “I’m a very multidimensional artist. And so I don't want to be known for just one thing, and I don't want this to be the peak of my career.”
  • Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended for at least the rest of the regular season and postseason by the NFL on Friday for using a helmet “as a weapon” and striking Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head. His violent outburst in the final seconds of Thursday’s nationally televised game against the Steelers landed him the longest suspension for a single on-field infraction in league history. Tennessee’s Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games in 2006. Garrett was also fined an undisclosed amount and must meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office before his reinstatement is considered. Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and clobbered him on top of the head, triggering a brawl between the rivals. Rudolph avoided serious injury and called the defensive star's attack 'cowardly and bush league.' The league said Garrett “violated unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, as well as fighting and removing an opponent’s helmet and using it as a weapon.” Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended three games for punching and kicking Garrett, and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was suspended for one game. He shoved Rudolph to the ground from behind during the melee. The suspended players have three business days to appeal their penalties. The Steelers and Browns were also fined $250,000 each. “We are extremely disappointed in what transpired last evening at the end of our game,” Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “There is no place for that in football and that is not reflective of the core values we strive for as an organization. “We sincerely apologize to Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Myles Garrett has been a good teammate and member of our organization and community for the last three years but his actions last night were completely unacceptable. We understand the consequences from the league for his actions.” Garrett’s attack on Rudolph drew condemnation across the league and sports world. His disturbing actions will cost the Browns (4-6), who have moved back into the playoff race but must now play the rest of this season without their best defensive player. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • Cleveland police say they are not investigating Browns player Myles Garrett for striking a Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback in the head with a helmet. Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia (CHAWCH’) said Friday that police hadn’t received a complaint from Mason Rudolph. And a city spokeswoman says the prosecutor can’t comment because Rudolph hasn’t filed a complaint. Rudolph’s agent, Tim Younger, tells media outlets that no legal options “have been removed from the table.” Rudolph called Garrett’s actions “pretty cowardly.” Garrett pulled off Rudolph’s helmet during a melee at the end of Thursday night’s game in Cleveland and used it to strike him on the head. Garrett is the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick in 2017 and was ejected from the game. The NFL on Friday suspended Garrett indefinitely.