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Gareth Bale and co face key Nations League clash in World Cup warm-up – kick-off time, team news, how to follow

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Gareth Bale And Co Face Key Nations League Clash In World Cup Warm-Up – Kick-Off Time, Team News, How To Follow
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Wales will face Belgium in the Nations League this week as they continue their preparations for the World Cup.

Robert Page’s men are eager to impress at this winter’s showpiece tournament but have just two games to polish their tactics before they travel to Qatar.

Wales will face Belgium in the Nations League this week

Wales will face Belgium and then Poland in the Nations League during the current international break.

The Dragons are bottom of Group A4 and have yet to win. They will need two big performances this week to avoid being relegated from the top groups.

But they face a huge task on their trip to Brussels with Belgium, the second-ranked team in the world and among the favorites for glory this winter.

Belgium v ​​Wales: talkSPORT coverage

This meeting of Group A4 of the League of Nations will take place on Thursday 22 September.

It takes place at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels and will start at 7.45pm UK time.

talkSPORT coverage will begin at 7pm with Hugh Woozencroft while commentary will come from Nigel Adderley and former Wales striker Dean Saunders.

talkSPORT.com will also host a live blog for all the action.

To tune into talkSPORT or talkSPORT 2 via the website click HERE for the live stream. You can also listen through the talkSPORT app, on DAB digital radio, through your smart speaker and on 1089 or 1053 AM.

Page Is Busy Preparing Wales For The World Cup

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Page is busy preparing Wales for the World Cup


Belgium v ​​Wales: Team News

Belgium team

  • Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels, Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Matz Sels
  • Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Zeno Debast, Jason Denayer, Wout Faes, Brandon Mechele, Arthur Theate, Jan Vertonghen, Timothy Castagne, Thomas Meunier, Alexis Saelemaekers
  • Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco, Thorgan Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Leander Dendoncker, Amadou Onana, Youri Tielemans, Hans Vanaken, Axel Witsel
  • Attackers: Michy Batshuayi, Charles De Ketelaere, Eden Hazard, Dodi Lukebakio, Dries Mertens, Lois Openda, Leandro Trossard

Wales team

  • Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey, Danny Ward, Tom King
  • Defenders: Neco Williams, Rhys Norrington-Davies, Ben Davies, Ben Cabango, Joe Rodon, Chris Mepham, Ethan Ampadu, Chris Gunter, Connor Roberts
  • Midfielders: Sorba Thomas, Joe Allen, Joe Morrell, Dylan Levitt, Rubin Colwill, Jonny Williams, Matthew Smith
  • Forwards: Wes Burns, Dan James, Kieffer Moore, Mark Harris, Luke Harris, Gareth Bale, Brennan Johnson, Rabbi Matondo, Tyler Roberts

Bale Will Be Eager To Impress For Wales At The World Cup

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Bale will be eager to impress for Wales at the World Cup

Belgium vs Wales: what was said?

Gareth Bale is at risk of missing Wales’ Nations League game in Belgium, despite plans for a transatlantic dash to join the team.

Boss Page said: “We haven’t gone into specifics yet, but all we know is that it will be affected.

“He’s not going to land until Tuesday and we have to get him from Heathrow.

“There will be a lot of planning in terms of, ‘Is he going to be ready for the first game against Belgium?’

“Otherwise, obviously, we might have to leave him for the game against Poland.

“But his safety and health is the most important thing, so we will have to deal with that.

“We want him in perfect condition, we don’t want him to be tired before games and run the risk of injury.”

Belgium Are Among The Favorites For World Cup Glory This Winter

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Belgium are among the favorites for World Cup glory this winter

Belgium v ​​Wales: The facts of the match

  • In their last 13 away games, Wales have either kept a clean sheet (six times) or conceded at least twice (seven times), scoring 18 goals.
  • Belgium are the top scorer in the UEFA Nations League with 37 goals, scoring in every game. The Belgians have also netted 23 goals, with the 60 goals in their games being the most of any nation.
  • Wales have lost three of their last five matches (W1 D1), losing 3-2 to the Netherlands last time out. They haven’t lost consecutive games since June 2021 in the Euro final against Italy and Denmark.
  • Belgium have won four of their last 10 matches (D3 L3), having won eight of their previous 10 (D1 L1). Their previous three losses prior to this run have come on a 38-game streak.
  • Since beating Belgium 3-1 at EURO 2016, Wales have been winless in three games against Belgium (D2 L1).
  • Belgium have never lost a home game to Wales in seven previous home encounters (W4 D3), winning 3-1 in the last match at Den Dreef in March 2021.
  • Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi has been involved in five goals in his last six appearances for Belgium (3 goals, 2 assists), including an assist against Wales in June.
  • Brennan Johnson has scored in his last two appearances for Wales – his first two goals for the Welsh – despite not finishing on the winning side (D1 L1).

Watch the World Cup with talkSPORT

Gareth Bale And Co Face Key Nations League Clash In World Cup Warm-Up – Kick-Off Time, Team News, How To Follow

At talkSPORT, we’re powered by fans, so come join us for the ultimate World Cup fan experience this winter – in the talkSPORT fan zone.

In a huge covered room under the arches of Waterloo in London, we will bring you live screenings of every World Cup game.

There will be Q&A with talkSPORT talent, you’ll be part of our live shows and plenty of food and drink will be on offer too.

Come and have the best World Cup fan experience in London – and enjoy a free pint – with tickets for the England and Wales group stage matches on sale now HERE!

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Braves finish sweep of Mets, add to division lead

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Braves Finish Sweep Of Mets, Add To Division Lead
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ATLANTA — It was the biggest moment of the season and the Mets failed to meet it.

When the Mets landed in Atlanta, they had a one-game lead on the Braves in the NL East. They left two games back after a sweep at the hands of their division rivals. They fell 5-3 on Sunday night in the series finale at Truist Park, capping a disappointing weekend that may have sealed their fate as a wild card team.

If this was a litmus test to see how the Mets (98-61) stack up next to the defending World Series champs in crunch time, then it’s clear that this squad isn’t there yet. They were outplayed in nearly every facet of the game. They had three aces lined up — two of which are some of the best big-game pitchers on the planet — and they failed the test against the Braves (100-59).

Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt combined for 11 earned runs over 14 1/3 innings. These are the types of games these pitchers were born for, and they couldn’t come through.

But it’s not that simple. Atlanta’s lineup is one of the best and deepest in baseball. Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson hit home runs in all three games of the series, with Swanson taking all three starters deep.

The Mets, on the other hand, scored only seven runs over 27 innings. That’s not enough for any pitcher, let alone world-class ones like deGrom and Scherzer. Much has been made about how the Braves are homer-heavy and the Mets manufacture runs, but they didn’t manufacture many.

That point was underscored in the third inning when they scored two runs and stranded two runners. The Mets put nine runners on over the first three innings, driving up Charlie Morton’s pitch count. But they plated only three of them.

Daniel Vogelbach homered off Morton to lead off the second inning and tie the game at 1-1. Jeff McNeil, who is chasing former Braves and current Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman for the batting title, led off the third with one of his own. Morton then gave up three straight singles to score Pete Alonso. The bottom of the order went down in order and the Mets came away with only a one-run lead.

It wasn’t enough.

Former Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud blew the game open in the bottom of the inning with a two-run single off of Bassitt. Olson’s third homer of the game came off Seth Lugo in the sixth.

Bassitt (15-9) was shaky from the start and lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up four earned runs on three hits, walking three and hitting one. Morton (10-6) limited the Mets to three runs over 4 1/3 innings and the bullpen blanked them the rest of the way. Kenley Jansen earned his 29th save and his third in as many nights.

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Mets mulling over bullpen decisions as postseason nears

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ATLANTA — In the midst of the most important week of the regular season, the Mets have also been evaluating players for postseason roles. At the start of the week, the biggest questions were about which relievers they would take and what they would do with the DH spot. Those questions still have not been answered.

David Peterson and Drew Smith pitched well this week, but Tylor Megill wasn’t as strong. Peterson, Megill and Trevor Williams all have value as pitchers who have been stretched out to start at times this season, so they could eat multiple innings from the bullpen if needed. But the Mets have to find out if they can trust them in the type of high-leverage situations that typically define the postseason.

“You’re not going to find out in four games,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Most of the guys we’re talking about are probably going to be starters for us next year. But this is about the here and now and trying to put our best foot forward.”

The bullpen has long been short on left-handers with only Peterson and Joely Rodriguez, so that could give Peterson a leg up in the competition.

Peterson was given a tough task Saturday night in a 4-2 loss and passed with flying colors. Coming in during the eighth inning, he had to face left-handed Michael Harris II, right-handed Austin Riley and left-handed Matt Olson. Riley and Olson had homered off Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer on back-to-back nights, and Peterson had to keep runs off the board to be able to give the Mets a chance to come back.

Peterson struck out Harris and allowed a single to Riley. With Olson at the plate, Riley advanced on a wild pitch. But he struck out Olson and former Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud to end the inning.

“If you’re asking about left-handed relievers, can you really survive Riley in between the two left-handers? Can you keep it in the park,” Showalter said. “Things like that. And can you trust him?”

But winning is more important than evaluating right now given that the Mets are still in a battle for the NL East with the Braves. Time is running out so the club will have to be confident with the decisions made.

“You’re not going to know that in five days or 10 days,” Showalter said. “You might think you can. You do what you can to take that information and try to make a good decision. But if anyone tries to tell you they know for sure what’s going to happen when the playoff lights go on, they’re kidding themselves.”

MAPPING IT OUT

In preparation for the final series of the season, the Mets sent pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker back to New York. They will start the first two games of the series against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field, which begins Monday.

As for whether or not deGrom throws in the regular season finale, that hasn’t been determined yet. However, Showalter and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner have told him to plan on pitching Wednesday for now.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mychal Givens and Tommy Hunter will not have to throw more simulated games. The relievers are eligible to be activated off of the injured list at any time but a roster move would have to be made. The Mets did not have a decision as of Sunday.

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‘SNL’ gets a Manningcast for its first episode of the season

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'Snl' Gets A Manningcast For Its First Episode Of The Season
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“Saturday Night Live” kicked off its 48th season on Saturday night with host Miles Teller as former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and Andrew Dismukes as his brother, Eli.

In the skit, the two were doing an analysis of the season premiere of the NBC variety show.

“Okay, we have a Mar-a-Lago establishment shot,” Dismukes’ Eli said.

“Oh great! Sketch of Trump,” Peyton said of Teller. “A way to mix it all up.”

This led to the two watching a Trump skit featuring James Austin Johnson as the former president.

Peyton (Teller) and Eli (Dismukes) were unhappy with the sketch.

“Okay, time out,” Eli of Dismukes said, interrupting the sketch. “What was that?”

Teller’s Peyton asked why there weren’t any fun Anthony Fauci or Rudy Giuliani impersonations.

“It was all Kate McKinnon,” Dismukes’ Eli told Teller’s Peyton. McKinnon left the show last season.

Bowen Yang then walked into the sketch and missed a line, which the two former fake quarterbacks called.

“He was supposed to step up this year,” Eli of Dismukes said. “But you can tell the pressure is mounting on him.”

Teller’s Peyton said the series was in a “year of rebuilding for sure”.

The two then went over the show’s stats so far, which were “14 joke attempts, 1 sweet laugh, and 3 laughs.”

“Thank goodness they have Kendrick Lamar because that’s the only reason everyone tunes in,” said Peyton of Teller — the joke being that Teller is also the host.

The two then brought in former host Jon Hamm as a guest and asked him what he had seen so far tonight.

“I don’t know, but it’s not comedy,” Hamm said.

Hamm, Teller’s “Top Gun: Maverick” co-star, went on to point out that the show couldn’t even have celebrity hosts anymore.

“Well, I hear they rarely put the host out in the open, so when they do…it’s special,” Teller’s Peyton said.

The entire cast then spoke the show’s tagline, “Live…from New York.” It’s Saturday night!”

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Medical bills can be crippling. Mayo Clinic’s charity care may be lacking

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Ge Bai Is An Accounting And Health Policy Professor At Johns Hopkins University, Who Published Research Reports On Charity Care In 2021 And 2022. (Contributed / Ge Bai)
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The bills from Mayo Clinic were piling up, and Megan Bass felt hopeless.

Bass visited Mayo Clinic in October 2021 to get a medical device inserted to resolve her chronic bladder issues. After the surgery, she received a $3,110 bill. Just the cost of meeting her $3,000 health insurance deductible would deplete her savings.

“It’s not the most responsible thing to do, but I would hide my mail because I was too scared to look at it,” said Bass, 22, who works two jobs, as a school paraprofessional and a Kwik Trip cashier in New Prague, Minn. “I avoided my problems until the collection notice arrived.”

Fortunately, as she scrolled through TikTok one day she discovered charity care.

Every nonprofit hospital, including Mayo Clinic, is required by the Affordable Care Act to establish free or discounted care policies, known as “charity care” or “financial assistance,” for eligible, often low-income patients in order to maintain and justify the hospital’s tax-exempt status.

With support from Dollar For, a nonprofit that works with patients to relieve medical debt, Bass applied for charity care through Mayo Clinic and was approved. However, only half of her bill was covered, so Bass submitted an appeal and awaits Mayo Clinic’s decision. Mayo Clinic responded that it cannot comment on an appeal in process.

“It would be incredible if it was completely covered,” Bass said. “It would be a big lift off my shoulders.”

Ge Bai, an accounting and health policy professor who researches charity care at Johns Hopkins University, said what hospitals currently allocate each year toward charity care is insufficient, especially considering the tax subsidies nonprofit hospitals enjoy, and the prevalence of medical debt.

Ge Bai is an accounting and health policy professor at Johns Hopkins University, who published research reports on charity care in 2021 and 2022. (Contributed / Ge Bai)

This is true for Mayo Clinic, where charity care spending, Bai noted, is on the “lower end” compared to other nonprofit hospitals.

U.S. News & World Report, which has ranked Mayo Clinic as the top hospital in the U.S. seven years in a row, described Mayo Clinic’s charity care contributions as “significantly lower than other hospitals” in its 2022 rankings.

In 2021, Mayo Clinic spent 0.34 percent of its expenses on charity care. That percentage is a standard way of measuring how much free care hospitals provide. By this measurement, Mayo Clinic spent less as a percentage on charity care in 2021 than Olmsted Medical Center. In fact, every hospital with available data in the top 10 of U.S. News’ rankings, with the exception of Stanford Hospital, ranked above Mayo Clinic for charity care.

Bai said Mayo Clinic is probably not a “bad actor” like the hospital exposed in a recent charity care investigation by the New York Times. It’s also not alone in its insufficient spending. In recent years, none of the nonprofit hospitals ranked in the top 10 nor any in southeastern Minnesota meets the national average of 2.3%, according to Bai’s 2021 research report. Bai said a quarter of nonprofit hospitals spend less than 0.7%.

“Taxpayers are putting their faith in nonprofit hospitals and subsidizing them with the expectation that they’re benefiting the community and helping vulnerable patients avoid medical debt,” Bai said. “Financially strong nonprofit hospitals need to be doing more to make it a fair exchange.”

INSUFFICIENT CONTRIBUTIONS

Until 2021, Mayo Clinic was contributing almost twice as large a portion of its expenses on charity care — between 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent since 2015.

In 2021, Mayo Clinic spent $49 million on charity care, $40 million less than in 2020, and less than every year for the past 15 years. This drop came despite the fact that its 1.4 million patient volume was consistent with the previous year and its revenue grew by $1.8 billion.

Kelley Luckstein, Mayo Clinic spokeswoman, said the “significant reduction” in 2021 was due to a decreased need for charity care since more patients were covered by Medicaid and recipients of financial assistance through national COVID-19 pandemic relief measures. The Post Bulletin asked for data to determine if fewer people applied for charity care in 2021 compared to 2020, but Mayo Clinic declined to respond, saying it couldn’t get into that level of detail.

“Mayo Clinic is committed to providing high-quality, high-value care for all its patients, and to ensuring that financial considerations are not an obstacle between patients and the care they need,” Luckstein said.

Bai called it a “red flag” that Mayo Clinic decreased its charity care spending at such a rapid pace given the fact that more people struggled financially during the pandemic and Mayo Clinic had more financial leverage with $15.7 billion in revenue — a 13 percent growth in revenue from 2020. Although most of the top 10 hospitals with available data spent less in 2021 than in 2020, Mayo Clinic showed the sharpest decrease.

Minnesota Hospital Association said that it didn’t have complete 2021 data, but that its member hospitals collectively increased charity care spending by 7 percent from 2019 to 2020. Meanwhile, Mayo Clinic, which is not a member of MHA, decreased its spending by 8 percent, or $7 million.

While Luckstein said Mayo Clinic’s spending will likely return to pre-pandemic levels this year, Bai said that’s still not enough.

All financially-strong nonprofit hospitals, not just Mayo Clinic, should be spending more and making charity care more accessible, Bai said. They should be spreading awareness, providing application support and expanding eligibility criteria. Few patients know about charity care now, and those who do know struggle because of the burdensome application process.

Ruth Lande, vice president of hospital relations at RIP Medical Debt, agreed that what hospitals spend is insufficient, but she said it’s unfair to expect hospital charity care to solve a broken medical financial system.

“I think hospitals are unfairly blamed for contributing to medical debt,” said Lande, whose organization works to alleviate medical debt. “Financial assistance is one aspect, but it’s a multifaceted issue. We need to advocate for a new system where people don’t have high deductible plans and where people have affordable health insurance that actually covers everything.”

Erica Dowden, patient advocate lead with Dollar For, said that while she agrees that medical debt is a systemic issue, she doesn’t want to cut hospitals the same slack.

“These nonprofit hospitals receive billions of dollars in tax breaks and are supposed to be a benefit to the community,” Dowden said. “But when you have patients who are thousands of dollars in debt after going to your facility, and they can’t pay it, and they can’t afford to go back for more services because of debt owed, you are no longer a benefit to the community.”

COMMUNITY BENEFIT

“Community benefit” is an Internal Revenue Service standard for all nonprofit hospitals. Mayo Clinic meets this standard in a number of ways besides charity care, such as advancing medical education and operating an emergency room open to all regardless of ability to pay, but Bai said that charity care spending is the only quantifiable factor that the IRS uses to determine if the community benefit standard is being met.

The IRS does not specify a minimum amount that hospitals need to spend towards charity care to maintain their nonprofit status, but Bai said nonprofit hospitals, at a minimum, should contribute to the community at a dollar amount equal to the taxpayer subsidy.

Many nonprofit hospitals miss the mark.

According to the Lown Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that recently published its 2022 hospital fair share spending rankings, 83 percent of hospital systems evaluated spent less on charity care and community investment than the estimated value of their tax breaks — what Lown Institute calls a “fair share deficit.” Mayo Clinic’s fair share deficit is $328 million, the 11th worst in the country.

Mayo Clinic disagrees with Lown Institute’s methodology, which does not account for the research and education missions of academic medical centers such as Mayo, and omits other categories of community investment and assistance.

“Charity care is just one of many ways Mayo contributes to patients and communities we serve,” said Justin Furst, a Mayo Clinic spokesman. “In 2021, we provided more than $601 million in unpaid portions of Medicaid and indigent care. We contributed over $11 million in 2021 in the communities we serve to support hundreds of nonprofit organizations, address health needs and assist those in need. In 2020, Mayo committed to spending $100 million within 10 years to end racism, address health disparities, and advance equity and inclusion, and that work continues.”

While Mayo Clinic and other nonprofit hospitals may tout other public benefit spending as proof that they are meeting the “community benefit standard,” Bai said these amounts should not be lumped in with charity care and that charity care alone is the most important factor in determining whether a hospital is fulfilling its obligation to give back to the vulnerable in the community.

“Charity care spending is the most direct reflection of a nonprofit hospital’s charitable actions,” Bai said.

In fact, Bai’s research found nonprofit hospitals, on average, direct a smaller percentage of their expenses towards charity care than for-profit hospitals do, even though for-profit hospitals do not receive favorable tax benefits. She said this is a sign that high-revenue nonprofit hospitals, like Mayo Clinic, could and should be spending more.

“Nonprofit hospitals are always balancing between their financial objectives and their social objectives,” Bai said, “but in many cases, they prioritize their financial goals.”

PART OF THE SOLUTION

After falling out of her bed one morning, Brittany Leary’s knee swelled to four times its normal size. Leary, a child care provider at the Wisconsin Falls YMCA, headed to her local hospital, Aspirus Riverview in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., and was diagnosed with a torn meniscus.

Brittany Leary, 27, Applied For Charity Care After Receiving An Unaffordable Mri Bill For Her Torn Meniscus. (Contributed / Brittany Leary)
Brittany Leary, 27, applied for charity care after receiving an unaffordable MRI bill for her torn meniscus. (Contributed / Brittany Leary)

A few weeks later, the hospital served her with a lab work and MRI bill for $3,340. Her health insurance deductible was $6,500, so she was expected to pay the full cost out of pocket.

Leary and her boyfriend had been saving to buy a house, and she was planning to go back to school to get her bachelor’s degree, but her hospital put her on a $700 per month payment plan — more than her rent payment. Once the bill arrived, she said, she saw her dreams start to fade.

“With that payment plan, a house or school wouldn’t be an option,” Leary said. “It would mean not even being able to go out for a night at a restaurant. It would literally be all the money that I had.”

Unaffordable bills like the ones Leary and Bass received are often unavoidable, and hospital charity care is one of the few options available to alleviate the impact of high medical costs.

Caitlin Donovan, senior director at the Patient Advocate Foundation, said it is especially important given the current landscape of medical debt.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported in 2022 that four in 10 adults in the U.S. have some form of health care debt. In Minnesota, nearly 750,000 adult residents, or 17 percent, have medical bills in collection, according to the 2018 U.S. Financial Capability Study.

Donovan, whose nonprofit provides free case management to anyone diagnosed with a serious or chronic health condition, said that although charity care alone won’t solve medical debt, it’s a crucial component.

“Every hospital should expand its charity care program,” said Donovan. “You can go to a hospital for four hours and come out with a $40,000 bill. It’s life-changing and there’s no protection against that. Charity care offers some relief.”

This was true for Leary, who, with help from Dollar For, applied for and received hospital financial assistance to cover her bill in full.

“It meant the world to me,” Leary said. “I had all these things planned that I didn’t think I could do anymore and once I was approved, I got hope back. I was like, OK, I can do this.”

The Post Bulletin’s Jeff Kiger contributed to this report.

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Chinese billionaire Richard Liu settles Minneapolis rape allegation

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Chinese Billionaire Richard Liu Settles Minneapolis Rape Allegation
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Chinese billionaire and JD.com founder Richard Liu agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former University of Minnesota student who alleged he raped her in her Minneapolis apartment after a night of dinner and drinks with wealthy Chinese executives in 2018, attorneys for both sides announced late Saturday.

A settlement amount was not disclosed.

Richard Liu, who stepped down as the CEO of Beijing-based e-commerce company JD.com this year amid increased government scrutiny of China’s technology industry, has denied raping the woman, Jingyao Liu, and prosecutors never filed criminal charges. A joint statement from attorneys for both sides called the encounter “a misunderstanding.”

“The incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota in 2018 resulted in a misunderstanding that has consumed substantial public attention and brought profound suffering to the parties and their families,” the joint statement said. “Today, the parties agreed to set aside their differences, and settle their legal dispute in order to avoid further pain and suffering caused by the lawsuit.”

The settlement was announced just two days before the civil trial was set to begin Monday in a Minneapolis courtroom. On Friday, a jury of seven men and five women were picked to hear the case.

Richard Liu is a celebrity in China, part of a generation of entrepreneurs who created the country’s internet, e-commerce, mobile phone and other technology industries since the late 1990s. Forbes estimated his wealth at $10.9 billion on Saturday.

Jingyao Liu alleges the attack happened in 2018 while Richard Liu was in Minneapolis for a weeklong residency in the University of Minnesota’s doctor of business administration China program, geared toward high-level executives in China.

Jingyao Liu, a Chinese citizen, was at the university on a student visa and was a volunteer in the program at the time. The Associated Press does not generally name people alleging sexual assault, but Jingyao Liu has agreed to be identified publicly.

Jingyao Liu was 21 and Richard Liu was in his mid-40s at the time, the lawsuit said. They are not related.
Richard Liu, also known as Liu Qiangdong, was arrested on suspicion of felony rape in August 2018, but prosecutors said the case had “profound evidentiary problems” and declined to file criminal charges.

Jingyao Liu sued Richard Liu and JD.com in 2019, alleging sexual assault and battery, along with false imprisonment.

The case drew widespread attention at a time when the #MeToo movement was gaining traction in China. Richard Liu’s supporters and opponents waged aggressive public relations campaigns on Chinese social media; censors shut down some accounts that supported Jingyao Liu for “violating regulations.”

Jingyao Liu said in her lawsuit that she had to withdraw from classes in fall 2018 and seek counseling and treatment. Her attorney said she has since graduated but has post-traumatic stress disorder. She sought compensatory as well as punitive damages from Richard Liu.

Her lawsuit said she was seeking more than $50,000, a standard figure that must be listed in Minnesota if a plaintiff intends to seek any larger amount. She was expected to ask a jury to award much more.

On the night of the alleged attack, according to the lawsuit, Richard Liu and other executives went to a Japanese restaurant in Minneapolis and one of the men invited Jingyao Liu at Richard Liu’s request.

She felt coerced to drink as the powerful men toasted her, and Richard Liu said she would dishonor him if she did not join in, her lawsuit claimed.

According to text messages reviewed by The Associated Press and Jingyao Liu’s interviews with police, she said that after the dinner Richard Liu pulled her into a limousine and groped her despite her protests. She said he raped her at her apartment. At one point, she texted a friend: “I begged him don’t. But he didn’t listen.”

Her friend notified police, who went to her apartment. Jingyao Liu told one officer, “I was raped but not that kind of rape,” according to police. When asked to explain, she changed the subject and said Richard Liu was famous and she was afraid. She told the officer that the sex was “spontaneous” and she did not want police to get involved.

Police said they released Richard Liu because “it was unclear if a crime had actually taken place.” In a later interview with an investigator, Richard Liu said the sex was consensual and the woman “enjoyed the whole process very much.”

Jingyao Liu told a police sergeant that she wanted to talk with Richard Liu’s attorney and threatened to go to the media if she did not, according to police. Richard Liu’s former attorney recorded the phone call, in which Jingyao Liu said she didn’t want the case to be in the newspaper and “I just need payment money and apologize and that’s all.”

A recording of the phone call was expected to be played as evidence at trial. Surveillance videos from the restaurant, the restaurant’s exterior and the halls of the woman’s apartment complex were also expected to be played for jurors.

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Felicia Znajda carries on a family tradition as a DNR conservation officer

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She’d heard the stories from her father and grandfather — of late-night patrols, of days both nice and not-so-nice spent outdoors checking hunters and anglers, and of the adventures and occasional misadventures that go with a career in which no two days are the same.

For Felicia Znajda, that was enough to steer her toward a career in fish and wildlife enforcement.

“It always changes,” she said. “There’s no such thing as a routine day.”

A 2013 graduate of Stephen-Argyle High School in Minnesota and 2017 graduate of the University of North Dakota, Felicia Znajda (pronounced za-NAY-da) spent five years with the East Grand Forks Police Department before getting accepted into the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Conservation Officer Academy. The 16-week program trains candidates for careers in natural resources enforcement.

Upon graduating from the academy on Sept. 13, she became the third generation in her family to work in natural resources enforcement.

Like father, like daughter, you might say. And like grandfather before her.

“I wanted to start out at a police department, but I knew I wanted to get into wildlife,” she said.

Felicia’s dad, Capt. Pat Znajda of East Grand Forks, who is retiring from the DNR on Oct. 4 after 17 years with the agency and nearly 36 years in enforcement, pinned the badge on his daughter during a graduation ceremony at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls, Minn.

He also pinned a badge on his son, Taylor, who graduated in October 2021 from the Minnesota State Patrol Academy and now is a state trooper in Hibbing. The opportunity to pin badges on both children in the past year has been a career highlight, says Pat, a Warren native and 1987 UND graduate who spent 16½ years with the Minnesota State Patrol before joining the DNR in October 2005.

If not for those opportunities, Znajda says he probably would have retired a couple of years ago. “I’m very proud of them both,” he said of Taylor and Felicia. “They work for outstanding law enforcement agencies, and they both carry on a family tradition.”

Family footsteps

Pat Znajda started his DNR career as a conservation officer in Karlstad, Minn., before being promoted to lieutenant and becoming District 1 Enforcement supervisor in October 2007. He became a captain and was Northwest Region Enforcement manager from January 2020 to July 2021, at which time he took his latest position as program manager for DNR Enforcement.

Felicia’s grandfather, Ted Znajda, started his career in 1949 as a “refuge patrolman” at Norris Camp, known today as headquarters of Red Lake Wildlife Management Area. Ted Znajda worked as a game warden and conservation officer in Warren from 1959 until retiring in 1989.

He died in December 2000 at the age of 76.

Ted Znajda was a game warden and conservation officer in Warren, Minnesota, from 1959 until retiring in 1989. His son, Pat, and granddaughter, Felicia, followed in his footsteps to become conservation officers for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. (Contributed / Pat Znajda)

“I was pretty young when he passed away — I was like 5 or 6 — but I still remember sitting on the back deck at his house and listening to him and my dad talk,” Felicia said during a recent interview at the DNR’s Northwest Region Headquarters in Bemidji. “Listening to my dad and all the stories that he’s been able to tell me is what really drew me.”

Like his daughter, Pat Znajda says his interest in fish and wildlife enforcement came from his days riding around on patrol with his dad, something that wouldn’t be allowed for conservation officers today.

The DNR changed the title of its enforcement officers from “game warden” to “conservation officer” in the late 1960s to better reflect the nature of the job.

“I can remember lots of times as a little kid, waking up in the middle of the night — 3 o’clock in the morning — hearing people talk, and I’d go out in the kitchen,” he said. “I’d sit down on the floor and there’d be three or four game wardens around the table, and they’d just come in from the night working, and I’d sit there listening to the stories and probably fall asleep on the floor.”

Graduation surprise

Felicia’s graduation from the Conservation Officer Academy came with an emotional surprise. In a break from standard protocol, she now wears Badge No. 86, the same badge her grandfather wore as a DNR conservation officer.

Capt. Pat Znajda Of The Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources' Enforcement Division Pins The Same Badge Worn By His Father, Ted Znajda, On His Daughter, Felicia Znajda, On Sept. 13, During Her Graduation From The Dnr'S Conservation Academy At Camp Ripley Near Little Falls, Minnesota. (Contributed / Lisa Dugan, Minnesota Dnr)
Capt. Pat Znajda of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Enforcement Division pins the same badge worn by his father, Ted Znajda, on his daughter, Felicia Znajda, on Sept. 13, during her graduation from the DNR’s Conservation Academy at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minnesota. (Contributed / Lisa Dugan, Minnesota DNR)

Originally, Felicia says, she thought she was going to receive Badge No. 671.

“On graduation day, when they gave me Badge 671, my dad pulls out my grandpa’s badge from the ’60s and then pinned Badge No. 86 on me,” Felicia said. “So, I think I’m the first one ever to be able to reuse a badge number.”

Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR’s Enforcement Division, gave the OK to reuse the badge, Pat Znajda says.

“He was all for it,” Znajda said. “In the late ’60s, when they went from game wardens to conservation officers, they issued badge numbers by seniority, and my dad was Badge No. 86 — and he’s the only one that ever wore that badge.

“I know he would be extremely proud.”

Training continues

Felicia now is spending four months in field training with DNR conservation officer Jordan Anderson in Wadena. She’ll be stationed in Osakis beginning in January.

“Ideally, I kind of wanted to get anywhere like the Alexandria or Detroit Lakes kind of area, so Osakis was perfect,” she said.

There have been many changes in a conservation officer’s job duties even since he joined the DNR in 2005, Pat Znajda says; technology is a big one.

“Even when I started, we had tickets that we’d write out — now they’re all computerized,” he said. “People (Felicia’s) age know no different, but for me, it was a huge adjustment.”

Compared with his father’s days in fish and wildlife enforcement, the changes are even more considerable, he says.

“You go back to the 1970s, even when they were doing boat and water enforcement, they weren’t allowed to carry guns,” Pat Znajda said. “That has evolved into we’re fully armed all of the time.”

Also gone are the days of blowing up beaver dams and picking up roadkill deer.

“We’ve gotten away from some of that,” he said. “From some of that fish and wildlife (focus) to more law enforcement and education — education is a big part of what we do, as well.”

Today’s conservation officer workforce also is more diverse, both in terms of female officers and minorities, Pat Znajda says.

“I don’t know the percentage, but we have a significant amount,” he said. “We can probably still do better attracting more females and attracting more minorities, but we’re striving for that. I think we’re doing better.”

Of the 18 recent academy graduates, Felicia was one of seven to come from traditional law enforcement backgrounds. The other 11 were “preppers” who came to the DNR through the agency’s Conservation Officer Prep Program for prospective officers with at least a two-year college degree.

The differences between now and her grandfather’s day are “like night and day,” she says.

Still, the goal remains the same: protecting the state’s fish and wildlife.

“It never fails,” Felicia said. “When I go up to Warren, kind of where my grandpa used to work, I will go into a gas station, and someone will come up to me, and they’ll be like, ‘Was your grandpa Ted?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes’ — I have no idea how they know this — and then they’ll tell me a story about a contact that they had with him 50 years ago.

“I hope to make the same impact that I think that my grandpa and my dad did, going into this field.”

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