A dressing covers the scar where surgeons cut open Reynaldo Nilo's chest for life-saving heart surgery, but the Philippine teenager feels stronger than he has for years after his operation in Sudan. The 17-year-old arrived in Khartoum last month after his sister saw a television report about a hospital run by an Italian medical charity that offers free treatment. Sitting in his spotless hospital room, his voice still hoarse after his five-hour surgery on June 16, Reynaldo said he was on the mend. "I am feeling better, not like before. I feel stronger," he said, smiling weakly as he sat up on his bed, his sister Sarah Joy by his side. Reynaldo, the son of impoverished farmers, dropped out of school two years ago after developing rheumatic heart disease. He had strep throat as a child which developed into a deadly heart condition because it was not treated with antibiotics. Distraught that the family could not afford the $25,000 (22,500 euro) surgery at the hospital near their home in the north of the Philippines, Reynaldo's sister spotted the opportunity that saved his life. Sarah Joy, 25, who had become his full-time carer, saw a television report on a documentary featuring Gino Strada, the surgeon who founded the humanitarian organisation Emergency during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. "I saw it on CNN that Dr Strada performs open heart surgery for free," she said. "I found hope again." After contacting Emergency by email and telling the charity about Reynaldo, they agreed to treat him for free. When Turkish Airlines offered to cover the flights for Reynaldo and his sister, they prepared to travel for the surgery, but not without worries. "We were afraid because they also said if he did not survive the operation, he would be buried here in Sudan," she said, wiping tears from her eyes as she spoke. "But there's nothing we could do but to take the risk." - 'Second chance in life' - Sarah Joy and her brother were also anxious about travelling to Sudan, knowing little about the country apart from reports of war and sickness on the news. "At the start I was nervous because of Ebola," she said. Although Khartoum is Ebola-free, it is an unlikely location for a state-of-the-art heart hospital. The Salam Centre is an outpost of neat buildings and greenery amid squat mud brick houses and scrubby wasteland covered with litter. Emergency picked the site after being offered the land by Sudan's health ministry and opened the Salam Centre in 2007. Since then it has carried out 6,800 heart operations, funded by the Sudanese government and international donors. Medical director Alessandro Salvati -- who carried out Reynaldo's open heart surgery -- says it has a simple ethos. "We want just to help poor people that maybe they can die because they cannot pay," the 42-year-old surgeon from Rome said. "This is the point of Emergency". Dressed in a red t-shirt and with a beard, Salvati was relaxed as he talked, but is used to working long days operating on patients brought in from across Sudan and Africa. The patients are selected in screening missions and once picked, the treatment is free. In the ward across the corridor from Reynaldo, Ismail Omer Ismail is recovering from the same surgery. The 25-year-old labourer from Omdurman had been off work for two years because of his condition. "In this country we treat all the patients, poor and rich," Salvati shrugged. Patients are given support once they leave the hospital too. If Reynaldo cannot afford the medication he needs for the rest of his life, Emergency will provide it. The hospital itself is also designed to help patients make a speedy recovery. Designed by an award-winning team of Venetian architects, it includes lush gardens to give recuperating patients somewhere to relax. Reynaldo is looking forward to returning home once he has rested in the hospital guesthouse. "I'm just very happy because I have a second chance in life," he said.
- The Independent
The lawmakers voted with a majority of 92 against 6 in the Senate
- The Week
Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector for Florida's Seminole County and accused sex trafficker who is reportedly cooperating with a federal investigation of his friend Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), made at least 150 Venmo payments to young women, including a 17-year-old, The Daily Beast reports, citing several documents detailing years of online financial transactions. Greenberg is the linchpin of an alleged sex ring, and "according to three people with knowledge of the relationship, Gaetz was among the men who tapped Greenberg to access a large network of young women." The Venmo payments, in installments of $300 to $1,000 or more, were typically labeled as being for "food" or "school," though Greenberg also wrote "ice cream," "salad," "stuff," and "ass" in some transactions, or just use emojis like the lipstick kiss, The Daily Beast reports. The documents show only one new Venmo payment from Gaetz to Greenberg, "for $300 on November 1, 2018, with the love hotel emoji in the memo field." But the documents also show Greenberg in 2017 making at least 16 Venmo payments totaling nearly $5,000 to a woman who would go on to date Gaetz (not his current fiancée), plus another $1,500 via Cash App over two days in April 2017, The Daily Beast reports. "That woman — who came to Washington, D.C., as an intern in January 2018 — has said she dated Gaetz during and after her senior year in college. Federal investigators seized Gaetz's phone in December 2020, and they took his ex-girlfriend's device shortly after." Gaetz has denied paying for sex or having sex with a 17-year-old, and the one payment he Venmo'd to Greenberg tied to the the underage girl was after she turned 18, The Daily Beast reports. That woman has recently changed all her identifying information on Venmo and apparently defriended Gaetz and two other women Greenberg paid, The Daily Beast says, and Gaetz has lost at least seven Venmo friends in the past week, since the news organization started reporting on the payments. More stories from theweek.com5 colossally funny cartoons about Biden's infrastructure planMads Mikkelsen reportedly joins the cast of Indiana Jones 5Brooklyn Nets' LaMarcus Aldridge unexpectedly retires from the NBA due to irregular heartbeat
- The Independent
The La Soufriere volcano has erupted multiple times since Friday, and the damage to St Vincent is shocking
- The Independent
Unveiling of outfits for Team USA and Canada attract controversy — for different reasons
A new 'Fast & Furious 9' trailer is here, and it shows Dom and his family going to war with his long lost little brother
Universal Pictures released a new "Fast 9" trailer Wednesday morning featuring the long-awaited return of Dominic Toretto.
- The Independent
A Russian intelligence agent accused of attempting to undermine US election integrity and sow disinformation was among Kremlin-linked figures targeted in Russian sanctions announced on Thursday. Federal authorities alleged that Konstantin Kilimnik "provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy" for former president Donald Trump in 2016. The allegations connect to findings from Robert Mueller's investigation and congressional investigations that assessed Mr Kilimnik was fed information by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Reuters) -The United States on Thursday imposed a broad array of sanctions on Russia, including curbs to its sovereign debt market, to punish it for interfering in last year's U.S. election, cyber-hacking, bullying Ukraine and other alleged "malign" actions. The U.S. government blacklisted Russian companies, expelled Russian diplomats and barred U.S. banks from buying sovereign bonds from Russia's central bank, national wealth fund and finance ministry. The United States warned Russia that more penalties were possible but said it did not want to escalate.
- LA Times
Justin Turner's home run absolutely destroyed a fan's plate of nachos in the new 'Home Run Seats' on Wednesday night.
- The Independent
‘They could not break one of the 10 commandments and just be faithful to their marrieds,’ host says
- The Independent
Pro-Trump lawyer and conspiracy theorist Lin Wood clashes with Republicans at GOP meeting: ‘You’re a liar and a manipulator’
‘The Senate race was a rigged election – wake up and see it,’ attorney says during gathering
- Business Insider
And there's a new plan to end America's longest war.
An email from the French embassy warns of "serious threats" after anti-blasphemy protests.
- LA Times
What's on TV tonight, Thursday, April 15: "Top Chef" on Bravo; "Rebel" on ABC; the season finale of "Fast Foodies" on TruTV and more.
- Associated Press
OG Anunoby scored 22 points, Pascal Siakam had 20 points and 11 rebounds and the short-handed Toronto Raptors beat the San Antonio Spurs 117-112 on Wednesday night. The Raptors had to go big because they were almost out of guards, and it worked in their favor. Anunoby moved down to the two-guard spot, and the Raptors got good production from newcomers Khem Birch and Eddie Gillespie at the big positions.
Lady Gaga responds to fans' petition for an 'Artpop' sequel as the 7-year-old album rockets to No. 2 on iTunes
The "Rain On Me" singer responded to praise of the album on Twitter and addressed requests to release a sequel to the 2013 project.
- Kansas City Star
Overland Park Republican Chris Croft met with the NRCC about a potential run for Congress. He chairs the committee in Topeka that will draw the new maps.
- Business Insider
Sen. Lindsey Graham called the move "dumber than dirt," saying Biden was "paving the way for another 9/11."
- USA TODAY
Retired Maj. Gen. Mark Quantock predicts what the next year will be like in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops. It's grim.
- Yahoo News
'The longer we stay, the stronger the Taliban gets': Sen. Murphy praises Biden's decision on Afghanistan withdrawal
Speaking on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., applauded President Biden’s move to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 as the only reasonable step after 20 years of frustration and failure.
Look no further than the flood of bank earnings out today for evidence the pandemic crisis is long over on Wall Street.Why it matters: Banks are riding high — helped by wild activity in deals and the stock market — as the worst of the pandemic's economic impact sits in the rearview mirror.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeThe clearest sign: Banks set aside billions of dollars' worth of rainy day funds for potential bad loans when COVID-19 hit.They were too pessimistic. Now that money is going back in the coffers at the quickest pace yet at JPMorgan and Wells Fargo.At Goldman Sachs: Average balances in its prime brokerage business — the one that services hedge funds and worked with the now blown-up Archegos Capital — hit a record high.At JPMorgan: "We're buying back stock because our cup runneth over. ... We're holding a tremendous amount of money and we really have no option right now," CEO Jamie Dimon told analysts today.Catch up quick … Investment banking boomed, helped by the SPAC-a-palooza. Here JPMorgan raked in record fees, while Goldman's revenue exceeded expectations by $1 billion.Trading desks soared on the back of the market mania. Goldman says revenue here jumped almost 50% from a year earlier.Consumer-related segments were also strong. Spending across JPMorgan’s consumer business — like on its debit cards — returned to pre-pandemic levels. It’s a similar story at Wells Fargo. What to watch: Businesses and consumers are still taking out loans at a snail's pace. Loans fell 4% from a year earlier at JPMorgan. Wells Fargo called out tepid loan demand and low-interest rates as a headwind. What’s happening: Cash (for some) is plentiful, creating less demand. Others might still be too skittish about what’s ahead to take on more debt.“We’re gonna know when the crisis is over when people start borrowing again and when that borrowing ends up showing up in loans,” Jesse Rosenthal, a bank analyst at CreditSights, tells Axios.What's next: More from big banks.Bank of America and Citigroup earnings are on deck Thursday, followed by Morgan Stanley on Friday.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free