Day: January 12, 2020

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'DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS'…


President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS troops knew about attack on al-Asad airbase, were able to take shelter: report Democrats expand ground game to woo Latinos in Nevada Trump tweets message of support to Iranian protesters: ‘Your courage is inspiring’ MORE in an early morning tweet on Sunday called on Iranian leaders to halt their crackdown on protesters.

“To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free!” Trump tweeted.

“Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!”

The tweet came one day after Trump posted a message in Farsi expressing support for the protesters after demonstrations erupted following Tehran’s admission that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian flight.

“To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you,” Trump said on Saturday.

“We are following your protests closely,” he added. “Your courage is inspiring.”

In a follow-up tweet in English, the president said the government of Iran “must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people.

“There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown,” he added. “The world is watching.”

Iran initially denied responsibility for the crash, which killed everyone on board.  Foreign Minister Javad Zarif later conceded it was the result of “human error at time of crisis caused by U.S. adventurism.”

The plane was shot down shortly after Iran launched missiles at an Iraqi airbase housing U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad earlier this month.

Protesters in Tehran changed “death to liars” and “death to the dictator,” reportedly referencing Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.



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Pentagon chief 'didn't see' evidence showing threat to 4 U.S. embassies…


Washington — Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he “didn’t see” specific evidence that top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was planning attacks on four U.S. embassies, but said he believed such attacks would have occurred.

“The president didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence. What he said was he believed,” Esper said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “I didn’t see one, with regard to four embassies. What I’m saying is that I shared the president’s view that probably — my expectation was they were going to go after our embassies. The embassy is the most prominent display of American presence in a country.”

The president and his top officials have said the strike that killed Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was justified because there was an “imminent” threat to American service members and diplomats. Members of Congress, however, have raised questions as to the nature of the threat following briefings on the strike that the administration conducted with all members of the House and Senate.

Congressional Democrats have argued the intelligence they were presented did not demonstrate there was an “imminent” threat to U.S. personnel in the region, while some Republicans said the Trump administration was justified in killing Soleimani.

Mr. Trump told Fox News in an interview Friday that “it would’ve been four embassies” that were attacked, seemingly revealing more information about the nature of the threat.

Esper said he agreed that the embassies probably would’ve been targeted by Soleimani.

“What the president said was he believed that it probably and could’ve been attacks against additional embassies,” he said. “I shared that view. I know other members of the national security team shared that view. That’s why I deployed thousands of American paratroopers to the Middle East to reinforce our embassy in Baghdad and other sites throughout the region.”

Esper said the U.S. had information that an attack would occur “within a matter of days that would be broad in scale, in other words more than one country, and that it would be bigger than previous attacks, likely going to take us into open hostilities with Iran.” 

Esper also pushed back on frustrations from Senators Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, and Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, who said after an all-Senate briefing Wednesday that Esper and other administration officials who briefed them on the Soleimani attack suggested they tamp down on debate and discussion regarding further military action in Iran.

“For every member that didn’t like the brief, there were members who thought it was the greatest brief ever,” he said. “That was never said, that they should not have debate, that they should not have a discussion.”

Esper said he urged lawmakers to “be conscious of the messaging particularly to our troops because they are looking for messages — do they have the support of the American people while they are in harm’s way?”



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Japanese Billionaire Looking for Love to Take on Musk Moon Trip…


(Bloomberg) — Call it “The Bachelor: Moon Edition.”

An eccentric, lonely Japanese billionaire planning to fly to the moon on Elon Musk’s rocket is looking for the love of his life to join him on his journey. He just hasn’t found her yet.

Yusaku Maezawa, the first paying passenger on SpaceX’s maiden tourist voyage to the moon in 2023, tweeted a link Sunday to a website where women can apply to be his companion on the week-long space flight.

“I’m 44 now,” Maezawa said on the website. “As feelings of loneliness and emptiness slowly begin to surge upon me, there’s one thing that I think about: Continuing to love one woman.”

According to the website, Maezawa will begin considering the applicants by the end of the month, and a final decision will be made by the end of March. The deadline to apply was listed as Jan. 17. The post was retweeted more than 10,000 times, including by Musk.

The selection process won’t be discreet. Maezawa has commissioned a documentary by AbemaTV, called “Full Moon Lovers,” to be produced.

“With that future partner of mine, I want to shout our love and world peace from outer space,” Maezawa said.

Read More: Billionaire Dreamer Is Taking Elon Musk’s Rocket to the Moon

Maezawa has a net worth of $3.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He skipped college, moved to California to play in a rock band and started his own e-commerce company, Start Today Co. After making his fortune, he started investing hundreds of millions of dollars on artwork.

Along with his future mate, he’s said he intends to take a combination of painters, musicians, dancers, photographers, film directors, fashion designers and architects on a week-long lunar loop, where he’ll get to watch as they get inspired and create art along the way.

Last week, Maezawa announced on Twitter that he planned to give away 1 billion yen ($9 million) to 1,000 of his Twitter followers who reposted a message from his @yousuck2020 account.

Read More: Japanese Billionaire Fires Up Twitter With Free Money Pledge

To contact the reporters on this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at jlee2352@bloomberg.net;Jeanette Rodrigues in Mumbai at jrodrigues26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Arijit Ghosh at aghosh@bloomberg.net, Joanna Ossinger, Matthew G. Miller

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



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Former strip club made famous by rappers to now host gospel…



Former strip club made famous by rappers to now host gospel...

(Second column, 19th story, link)


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Ticket, Passport, Pregnancy Test. Flying to This U.S. Island Can Be Complicated…


HONG KONG—Japanese citizen Midori Nishida was checking in to a flight in Hong Kong in November to visit her parents on Saipan, a U.S. island in the Pacific, when airline staff made an unusual demand. She had to take a pregnancy test if she wanted to board.

Ms. Nishida, 25 years old, was escorted to a public rest room and handed a strip to urinate on.

The test was part of the response of one airline, Hong Kong Express Airways, to immigration concerns in Saipan. The island has become a destination for women intending to give birth on U.S. territory, making their babies eligible for American citizenship. In 2018, more tourists than residents gave birth in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, in which Saipan is the largest island.

Pregnant foreigners aren’t barred from entering the U.S., or from giving birth in U.S. territory. But immigration authorities can turn away visitors if they are found to be lying about their purpose of travel, or if they come to the U.S. planning to have a medical procedure, such as giving birth, but can’t prove they have the funds to pay for it.

Airlines are required to take back passengers who are denied entry—an incentive to ensure that those who board their flights are likely to be deemed admissible to the U.S.

At the Hong Kong airport, Ms. Nishida had indicated on a check-in questionnaire that she wasn’t pregnant. That didn’t satisfy airline staff, who asked her to give permission to an authorized medical provider to give her a “fit-to-fly” assessment, including a pregnancy test.

The permission form said it was for women who were observed to have a body size or shape resembling a pregnant woman.

“It was very humiliating and frustrating,” Ms. Nishida said. The test was negative and she boarded the flight, she said.

“In response to concerns raised by authorities in Saipan, we took actions on flights to Saipan from February 2019 to help ensure U.S. immigration laws were not being undermined,” HK Express, a budget carrier acquired in July by

Cathay Pacific,

said in late November in response to questions.

The company said that, under new management, it recognized the concerns its actions had caused. “We would like to apologize unreservedly to anyone who has been affected by this,” it said. “We have immediately suspended the practice while we review it.”

The boom in birth tourism in Saipan comes largely from China. The Northern Marianas are the only U.S. soil that Chinese can visit without first getting a visa—a policy intended to boost tourism from the world’s most-populous country. Japanese citizens such as Ms. Nishida can visit the U.S., including the Northern Mariana Islands, without a visa.

In 2018, 575 Chinese tourists gave birth in the Northern Mariana Islands, up from 12 in 2009, the year the Chinese visa-waiver program was introduced.

Saipan authorities have sought to discourage the practice while keeping the visa-waiver program alive for the hundreds of thousands of Chinese travelers who are critical to the island’s economy. In part because of immigration concerns, the period of visa-free stay for tourists from China was shortened last year to 14 days from 45 days.

Babies born on Saipan can benefit from the U.S. birthright citizenship policy.


Photo:

Nancy Borowick for The Wall Street Journal

Saipan authorities have expressed their misgivings about birth tourism to carriers flying to Saipan, said

Kevin Bautista,

the press secretary for the Saipan governor’s office. The practice raises health risks for mothers who arrive late in their pregnancies with no records of prenatal care, he said.

It also hurts the island’s reputation as a tourist destination, he said, adding that local officials want people to visit “solely for our beautiful beaches, our unique environment, and our world-renowned island hospitality.”

Authorities recommended to airlines that they implement more effective screening procedures for the health and safety of pregnant women—but didn’t recommend that HK Express require pregnancy tests, Mr. Bautista said. He said the local administration hoped airlines prioritized passengers’ privacy.

The conversations stemmed from concerns brought up by federal and local immigration enforcement agencies, he said.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Should the U.S. eliminate the policy that grants citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil? Join the conversation below.

HK Express is one of at least six commercial airlines that fly regularly from East Asian countries to Saipan, including Beijing Capital Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. Tourists from China also arrive on charter flights.

One carrier,

Asiana Airlines

of South Korea, said it advises women who are past their eighth month of pregnancy to avoid traveling to the U.S. territory because of the scrutiny they will face at immigration.

Since 2017, after Northern Mariana Islands authorities asked them to “reinforce pre-screening measures,” Asiana’s airport service agents have checked specifically for medical certificates, return tickets and other documents, Asiana said. The company said it doesn’t ask passengers to take pregnancy tests.

Beijing Capital Airlines said it doesn’t recommend pregnant passengers travel to Saipan without a visa, as they are likely to be turned away after landing in Saipan.

Write to Jon Emont at jonathan.emont@wsj.com

Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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Satan, the FBI, the Mob — and the Forgotten Plot to Kill Ted Kennedy…


But Kennedy’s hesitancy faded by the end of the decade, and he was heartened by early polls that showed Democratic voters would favor him over Carter in a presidential primary battle. “He was running for president because he really believed President Carter was not addressing issues that were important,” says Stuart Shapiro, a former Kennedy senior staffer. “That’s why, after much soul-searching, he decided to take on a sitting president.”

Running for the country’s highest office, though, increased the odds that Kennedy could become a target for some deranged would-be assassin who might lurk, anonymous and undetected, at a busy rally. It was no idle threat. In March 1980, a tipster in Charlotte, North Carolina, contacted the police after overhearing a group of men in a movie theater bragging that they planned to assassinate Kennedy in Pittsburgh, with some stolen M-16 rifles. A campaign volunteer in Trenton, New Jersey, received a phone call from a man who vowed to gun down the senator when he visited the city in May.

Aside from blurting, “They’re going to shoot my ass off the way they shot Bobby,” while on a congressional flight back from Alaska, Kennedy shied away from sharing his assassination fears with aides or family members. Instead, he tried to project an air of invincibility, or at least indifference. “I remember being in Iowa, and when we’d first go out there, the Secret Service would create this huge space between him and the crowd,” Shrum tells me. “And he hated it. So he started working the rope line again.”

Privately, Kennedy sought out his physician and political adviser, Larry Horowitz, and handed him something important. “It was a letter my father had written to me at the start of his presidential campaign, in case he was assassinated,” Patrick Kennedy, his youngest son, recalled in his 2015 book, A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction. “In it, he talked about how much he loved me, and how I had given him so much love. He said he would never forget the times we went fishing and sailing.” Kennedy took to calling Patrick from the road every night—his way of letting his adolescent son know nothing bad had happened.

The informant who contacted the FBI in 1980 said he’d received a phone call, too, on October 20. The caller had identified himself as LaVey, the informant claimed, and disclosed that he wanted the man’s help with a plan to murder Ted Kennedy.


The FBI and the Secret Service knew two things for certain: LaVey still lived in San Francisco, and they needed to get a handle on the case—and quick.

Investigators didn’t have to contend with Twitter or Facebook, digital echo chambers that decades later would make political discourse more toxic and create ideal delivery systems for trolls to share threats. But they also had fewer tools at their disposal. “We didn’t have all of the modern vehicles of communication or detection that you have today,” says William H. Webster, who was the director of the FBI from 1978 to 1987. “Investigations involved a lot of interviews and personal contacts.”

The FBI’s San Francisco office pulled records it had on LaVey dating back to the mid-’70s, when a tipster told the bureau that LaVey had purchased handguns, a shotgun and a rifle. Other files showed that LaVey had once supposedly been “interested” in joining the National Socialist White People’s Party, which had been known, in an earlier incarnation, as the American Nazi Party.

LaVey had no arrest history, but he’d been linked to a tragedy once before. His relationship with Mansfield had reportedly ended with LaVey’s putting a curse on Sam Brody, the actress’ attorney and boyfriend, promising that he’d die in a car crash. In 1967, not long after the hex was supposedly cast, Brody and Mansfield were killed in a wreck on a highway near New Orleans. The improbable implication—that LaVey inadvertently caused Mansfield’s death—persisted long enough to fuel a 2017 documentary, Mansfield 66/67. (In truth, LaVey did not have magical powers.)

The Chicago informant—whose identity is still being kept secret by the FBI—told agents that he’d had dinner once before with LaVey, who explained to him the Church of Satan’s beliefs. When they supposedly reconnected by phone in 1980, LaVey told the man that he owed the high priest a favor. His alleged instructions were simple: In a week or so, the informant would receive a package, and he must ferry it to a mob boss on the South Side of Chicago; the mob would, in turn, take out Kennedy. After the phone call, the informant was visited by a member of the Church of Satan, whose purpose “was specifically to discuss the satanic cult and the plot against Senator Kennedy,” according to FBI records.

There was more. The informant told the FBI that LaVey was going to fly to Chicago on October 27, carrying with him eight kilograms of hashish and an unknown amount of cash. Was this another piece of the puzzle to the assassination plot? Taking no chances, the FBI, Secret Service and DEA sent agents to O’Hare International Airport to intercept flights from San Francisco and apprehend LaVey, like something out of Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can. But there was no sign of him at the airport. An attempt at monitoring a phone call to LaVey also failed.

The Secret Service had polygraphed the informant prior to the fruitless airport search. “Results were inconclusive,” investigators noted, “due to use of cocaine.” They pressed on. They had to find LaVey. “I was a young agent when President Kennedy was killed, and [investigated] some leads on the case,” says Francis Mullen, who had risen to executive assistant director of the FBI by 1980. “When Bobby was assassinated, I was in Los Angeles, coordinating some of the leads on that case. If a threat had come in on the third brother, we’d have to take it seriously.”

Two days after the search at O’Hare came up empty, agents flew to San Francisco, and made their way to the Black House. A woman who answered LaVey’s door told them that he was traveling, and wouldn’t be back for several days. Another whiff. The investigators warned her they had information that suggested “an attempt may be made on LaVey’s life,” according to the records. They encouraged the woman to get a hold of LaVey and urge him to make himself available for an interview.

Kennedy’s Secret Service detail was kept in the loop about the potential threat, but it’s unclear whether the senator was aware of the investigation. “I spent a lot of time with him privately, and I don’t ever recall hearing about that one,” Shapiro says. “But I can tell you there were times when the Secret Service wanted him to wear a bulletproof vest.” The informant, meanwhile, had been polygraphed again, and was facing increased scrutiny. The FBI began to notice inconsistencies in his account. Were the agencies being played?

Investigators returned to the Black House a second time, on Halloween. And this time, when the door opened, they came face-to-face with LaVey. For years, he had enjoyed toying with people’s imaginations, blurring the lines between performance and something darker. But now he was faced with no-nonsense federal agents, and they weren’t in the mood to play around.

For a man who referred to himself as the “Black Pope,” the notoriety of being linked to an FBI investigation might have been a welcome development when he was first seeking attention for his church. This older version of LaVey, though, decided to come right out with it: He had nothing to do with any assassination plot.

“LaVey advised that of any political official, he has the highest regard for Senator Kennedy and his family,” according to the FBI records. And LaVey could sympathize with the threats that Kennedy often received; he told the agents that he had been the victim of physical and verbal attacks because of his position in the Church of Satan.

LaVey checked his recent phone messages, and noticed that he’d received calls from the Chicago area on October 23 and October 27. But he told the agents that he didn’t know the identity of the caller and hadn’t tried dialing the number that had been left for him.

And then LaVey shared some surprising news with the agents: His role as the head of the church was all a charade. Most of the church’s followers, he said, were “fanatics, cultists, and weirdos,” the records show. “[H]is interest in the Church of Satan is strictly from a monetary point of view,” the agents noted, “and spends most of his time furnishing interviews, writing material, and lately has become interested in photography.”



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Lamar Jackson picks worst time to turn into mortal…


BALTIMORE — All of Baltimore waited for the lightning.

All of Baltimore waited for Lamar Jackson to light up the sky and electrocute the Titans.

What they got was more thunder from Big Bad Derrick Henry (30 carries, 195 yards rushing and a trick play touchdown pass) and it rained despair after Titans 28, Ravens 12.

Titanic upset against the star quarterback who looked as if he was steering the Titanic.

Baltimore had been awed all season by Jackson’s MVP brilliance and couldn’t help but believe that 8 Is Enough.

Once upon a team this city worshipped a crew-cut Hall of Fame quarterback who wore high tops and No. 19 for their NFL Colts, and 61 years after Johnny U it is a 23-year-old Raven who has made everyone’s jaw drop and took their breath away and honored a Yankees marketing slogan of yesteryear: AT ANY MOMENT A GREAT MOMENT.

They kept waiting for the MVP to give them a great moment.

Damn near prayed.

Alas, their Superman could not fly. A Raven clipped of his wings. Lamar Jackson (31 completions, 59 attempts, 365 yards, one TD, two interceptions, one fumble) looked flummoxed, rattled, out of sorts and out of his league.

8 was not enough, and blame it on rust all you want.

8 ran for 143 yards and they were mostly insignificant.

A beaten Lamar Jackson walks off the field after the Ravens' 28-12 season-ending loss the Titans on Saturday night.
A beaten Lamar Jackson walks off the field after the Ravens’ 28-12 season-ending loss the Titans on Saturday night.2020 Getty Images

“We just beat ourselves,” Jackson said.

Quoth the Titans: Nevermore.

They defended every blade of grass at M&T Bank Stadium and turned Jackson into a mere mortal who cannot win The Big One with his second playoff no-show in two tries.

“I think this team’s identity right now is get in the playoffs and choke,” Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey said.

King Henry bloodied the Ravens’ collective nose, killed the body and the head died.

Who the hell are these guys?

They’re a nitty-gritty dirt band of a football team that believes, that will meet the Texans-Chiefs winner in the AFC Championship and is therefore 60 minutes away from authoring another Music City Miracle 20 years after the first one.

The Titans looked like the one seed and the Ravens looked like the six seed.

Ryan Tannehill (7-for-14, 88 yards, two TDs, one rushing TD) looked more like an MVP than Lamar Jackson did.

And Big Bad Derrick Henry, well, he looked like Big Bad Derrick Henry again, a modern-day Jim Brown, a raging bull nailing the Ravens coffin shut.

Henry is the first player in NFL history to rush for 180-plus yards in three straight games (regular and post season).

“Stats and all that stuff is good, but we got the win and we’re advancing. That’s the most important thing,” Henry said.

Jackson, following a season when he accumulated 43 TDs and engineered a 33.2 points-per-game machine, didn’t get his team into the end zone until the fourth quarter.

“When he gained yards, he was getting them between the hashes and the numbers,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “When we defended from number to number and made him go laterally, they weren’t big plays.”

Jackson’s 30-yard romp on the opening drive of the third quarter had filled the place with hope. It was only a 14-6 game and now John Harbaugh and Jackson faced a fourth-and-less-than-1 at the Titans 18.

Harbaugh’s first-half gamble asking Jackson to get the longest yard had failed.

And this one would, too.

Jackson for some reason tried running inside.

Nothing.

And then Big Bad Derrick Henry looked like Usain Bolt racing 66 yards. Asked for one word to describe his 6-foot-3, 247-pound beast, Tannehill said: “Special. He’s got the size that is extremely rare in a running back and he also has the speed to go with it.”

When Big Bad Derrick Henry threw his perfect 3-yard Tebowesque jump pass TD to Corey Davis and it was Titans 21, Ravens 6.

“I put it perfect, man,” Henry said. “I haven’t done that pass since high school. I feel like I still got it.”

Jackson was Dead Quarterback Walking, and the Ravens were Dead Team Walking.

Jackson was strip-sacked by Jurrell Casey and Tannehill’s 1-yard TD run was merely icing on the cake.

The Titans had imposed their will on the Ravens just as they had against the Patriots.

Jackson had it fourth-and-1 at his 45 when the second quarter began and when you have a quarterback like this and an offense like this, you are seduced into going for it and you do not fear the consequences.

Mistake.

Harbaugh went for it.

And Jackson ran up the middle … and didn’t get the longest yard.

And Tannehill hit Kalif Raymond immediately with a 45-yard TD past Marlon Humphrey and the Titans led 14-0 and Ravens fans sat in shellshocked silence.

An early Jackson mistake had proved costly.

“I feel like we were too excited. We wanted to score points right away,” Jackson said.

Instead he was intercepted by Kevin Byard, and Jackson’s horse-collar tackle at the end of Byard’s 31-yard return led to TE Jonnu Smith reaching up with his left hand and tipping it to himself as he tumbled to the ground for a 12-yard TD.

It was the Titans’ way of announcing to all of Baltimore: Game on.

Perfect Storm.

And Lamar Jackson couldn’t do a thing about it. They asked him whether he will play in the Pro Bowl and he said: “I wanted to get to the Super Bowl.”



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Girls thought they were dating a teen boy. It was an adult woman…


Published


Jake Waton won over teenage girls on social media, swapping flirty messages and intimate pictures with them online before meeting them in person. For many of them, the 16-year-old was the first boy they dated.

But Jake Waton was actually Gemma Watts – an adult woman. The British 21-year-old posed as a teen boy to groom and sexually assault girls as young as 13, wearing baggy clothing and tucking her long hair under a hat to fool her targets and, in some cases, even their parents.

On Friday, London’s Metropolitan Police announced that Watts had been sentenced to eight years behind bars for incidents involving four girls. She pleaded guilty to seven sexual assault and grooming charges in a crime that Judge Susan Evans said caused “severe psychological harm” to victims.


“Their age, as you plainly knew, made it more likely that they would be sexually naive, enabling you to get away with your deception,” Evans said during sentencing, according to the Independent.

In what police described as “a bizarre and elaborate web of deception,” Watts created profiles for “Jake Waton” on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms. She shared skateboarding videos, used teenage slang and claimed to work as a cashier at Hollister, a clothing store popular among teens. In photos, she gazed out from beneath a baseball cap or hoodie.

Posing as Waton, Watts liked photos shared by teenage girls and struck up relationships with them, calling them “babe” and other pet names in messages. She built their trust online and through phone calls, police said, before arranging to meet. She traveled across the U.K. to see them.

Authorities said they began investigating in April 2018, after a 14-year-old girl reported being sexually assaulted by her boyfriend, whom she identified as Jake Waton. Police discovered Watts’ true identity and two additional victims, both under 18.

They arrested her in July 2018. Under questioning, police said, she admitted to grooming victims while pretending to be Waton and to committing some of the assaults.

“I was only trying to cheer them up,” she claimed, according to The Guardian.

As the investigation continued, Watts was released on bail. Then, in October 2018, she was found with a 15-year-old girl whose parents had reported her missing. The teenager told police she too had been sexually assaulted by Watts, who was arrested and taken into custody again.


She was charged in September 2019 and pleaded guilty two months later. Metropolitan Police Detective Phillipa Kenwright told British media outlets that authorities believe the extent of her crimes may not yet be known, telling the Independent, “I think there will be further victims, who were in a relationship with Watts, who will now realize she is a woman.”

Defending Watts in court, Patrick Maggs said his client understood her crime was serious, the Independent reported. But he pointed to her low IQ, lack of maturity and struggle to accept her sexuality as mitigating factors.

“With Gemma Watts’s low IQ, with her immaturity, I would invite the court that that represents that she was almost certainly going to be trying to socialize with those who were younger than herself,” he said. “Whatever else it was to present as a boy was indicative of Gemma Watts’s entire failing to cope with her own sexuality.”

The judge acknowledged those factors during the sentencing hearing, but also noted the harm Watts had caused.

One 14-year-old girl said in a victim impact statement that her “heart exploded” when she learned the truth about Watts from police.

“My world stopped, I actually stopped breathing . . . I loved him so much,” she said, according to the BBC.



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Harry rushed to announce Megxit to avoid Meghan 'meltdown'…


THE Queen has summoned Charles, William and Harry to a historic summit at Sandringham on Monday to thrash out the Royal Family’s future, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.

Her Majesty also aims to sort the Sussexes’ roles, and Meghan could join in via conference call.

 The Queen and senior royals are set to make a deal over Harry and Meghan's futures at their Sandringham summit on Monday

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The Queen and senior royals are set to make a deal over Harry and Meghan’s futures at their Sandringham summit on MondayCredit: PA:Press Association
 A Palace source says they will discuss the 'next steps' for the monarchy

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A Palace source says they will discuss the ‘next steps’ for the monarchyCredit: GEOFF ROBINSON

The Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter said tonight: “This is a landmark meeting which is ­absolutely unprecedented.”

A Palace source confirmed they will also discuss the “next steps” for the monarchy, with an announcement due within days.

The meeting will be the first time Harry has come face-to-face with his gran since revealing his plan to quit frontline duties last week.

The Queen, Harry, Charles and William will discuss a hastily-drafted document outlining various options for The Firm.

Meghan, 38, who returned to Canada to join baby Archie on Thursday, could join discussions in a conference call.

We can also reveal that Harry agreed to quit after Meghan vowed not to return to the UK full time.

The summit comes as the royals face their biggest crisis since Princess Diana’s death in 1997.

The Palace source said: “The family will gather on Monday at Sandringham to talk things through.

‘DAYS NOT WEEKS’

“Attendees will be Her Majesty, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

“Following a series of meetings and consultations across the last few days, there are a range of possibilities for the family to review which take into account the thinking the Sussexes outlined earlier in the week.

“Making a change to the working lives and the role in the monarchy for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will require both complex and thoughtful discussions.

“Next steps will be agreed at the meeting and the request for this to be resolved at pace is still Her Majesty’s wish.

“The aim remains to have it resolved in days not weeks. There are a range of possibilities to review.

 The historic summit will be the first time Harry has come face to face with his gran since he and Meghan revealed their bombshell plans

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The historic summit will be the first time Harry has come face to face with his gran since he and Meghan revealed their bombshell plansCredit: AFP or licensors
 The Queen has summoned Prince William to the talks - it is said that William's aims are not to be overshadowed by his brother and sister-in-law

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The Queen has summoned Prince William to the talks – it is said that William’s aims are not to be overshadowed by his brother and sister-in-lawCredit: PA:Press Association
 Prince Charles will also be in attendance - he wants a smooth succession to the throne, and for his sons to retain their global star power

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Prince Charles will also be in attendance – he wants a smooth succession to the throne, and for his sons to retain their global star powerCredit: Getty

“There is genuine agreement and understanding that any decision will take time to be implemented. It is a family discussion and is also very complex.

“However, decisions will be taken in days not weeks and the news of the outcomes will be shared.”

The Queen is seeking future continuity and will not want Harry and Meghan open to accusations that they will “cash in”.

Charles wants a smooth succession to the throne, and for his sons to retain their global star power.

William’s aims include a modern and progressive royal family, and not to be overshadowed by his brother and sister-in-law.

Harry wants his independence but also financial and personal security for his family.

Royal watchers said the summit demonstrated how the Queen was ­personally taking charge of the crisis by convening the meeting at her Norfolk home.

The royals formed the Way Ahead Group after 1992’s Annus Horribilis that saw both Charles and Diana, and Prince Andrew and Sarah ­Ferguson ­separate.

But that group — led by Philip and including the Queen, Charles and Andrew — was kept secret.

‘ON THE BRINK’

Royal author Phil Dampier said: “This is truly historic and shows how seriously the Queen and the royals are taking this crisis.

“And it is very reminiscent of the decisive steps taken after Annus Horribilis which helped to reverse the fortunes of the Royal Family.

“The difference in this case is that the royals are being very open — they realise that the public will demand to know what is going on.”

The Sun on Sunday can also reveal that in the run-up to their ­bombshell announcement Harry, 35, grew concerned that Meghan was “on the brink”.

 Meghan is set to join via conference call as Harry makes his case for independence, but also financial and personal security for his family

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Meghan is set to join via conference call as Harry makes his case for independence, but also financial and personal security for his familyCredit: Getty

He moved swiftly to back her desire to spend more time in North America where she feels more comfortable than in the UK.

Meghan, 38, flew to Britain on Monday after the couple spent six weeks away over Christmas.

But she has already returned to their luxury bolthole on Vancouver Island, Canada.

She flew back the day after the couple released a statement confirming they plan to step down from senior roles and spend more time across the Atlantic.

A separate source said tonight: “The ­statement was rushed out and part of the reason for that is that Harry knew he needed to take swift action.

“Meghan has not settled in the UK and he knows that and wants her to be happy.

“And it has got worse recently, with their spell in Canada helping to cement her view that the family would be better off out of the spotlight and spending more time there.

“He feared staying in the UK too long would lead to Meghan having a meltdown. That is why things moved so quickly.”

Harry and Meghan’s spell in Canada helped to cement her view that the family would be better off out of the spotlight and spending more time there.

Harry and Meghan released their statement online on Wednesday after The Sun revealed their Canada plans that morning.

They ignored advice from senior royals, including the Queen and Charles, not to rush out the announcement and give the monarchy more time to discuss their future roles.

Harry and Meghan have been stung by criticism over issues including their use of private jets, her troubled relationship with dad Thomas, 75, and her lavish baby shower in New York last February.

HARRY ‘WORRIED’

Our source added: “Harry could see the writing on the wall and knew he had to do something, as it was clear things were not working out for Meghan here.

“Their statement was brought forward after The Sun story broke, but also because Harry knew speed was of the essence.

“He was worried that their previous royal roles were having an impact on Meghan and that would therefore affect their marriage and family life.

 This 'line of succession' photo released a week ago was said to be the final straw for Harry and Meghan
This ‘line of succession’ photo released a week ago was said to be the final straw for Harry and Meghan
 Prince Charles was pictured driving near his Scottish estate Birkhall in Aberdeenshire for the first time since the crisis broke

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Prince Charles was pictured driving near his Scottish estate Birkhall in Aberdeenshire for the first time since the crisis brokeCredit: www.newsline-media.com
 The Queen looked sombre while driving with aides on the Sandringham estate

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The Queen looked sombre while driving with aides on the Sandringham estateCredit: Terry Harris

“He has been open about his mental health struggles in the past and knew that something had to be done quickly to make the situation less stressful.”

As she moved to take control of the crisis, the Queen — in ­sunglasses and a flowery head-dress — was spotted driving with aides on the Sandringham estate.

The drama began when Harry suggested the idea of the couple stepping down as senior royals before Christmas.

Charles told him to come up with a “thought out” plan and Harry sent him a draft proposal before requesting a meeting with the Queen over the issue.

But officials reportedly blocked the proposed meeting — leading to the dramatic statement being posted online.

A portrait released on January 3 of the Queen with three heirs to the throne — Charles, William and George — is also said to have added to Harry and Meghan feeling “marginalised”.

The rest of the family find Harry and Meghan difficult and they’re being driven out, as they see it.

Tom Bradby

But a royal source said: “The Duchess of Cambridge was not in the picture, neither was Camilla so it is ludicrous to interpret the picture as some form of snub.”

Courtiers have also expressed anger about comments made by ITV journalist Tom Bradby — a close pal of Harry — who claimed the Prince and Meghan felt frozen out by plans for a “slimmed down” monarchy.

Bradby said: “The rest of the family find Harry and Meghan difficult and they’re being driven out, as they see it.”

Another royal source tonight said Charles was angry at claims that his son and daughter-in-law were being forced out of The Firm.

The source revealed: “Prince Charles is furious about this. He is really p***** off in fact.

“He says it is simply not true. He and the Queen are massively keen for Harry and Meghan to be part of everything.”

The source added: “He has ­supported them all the way, and helped pay for their wedding, their house near ­Windsor Castle and their separate office.

“He will make his support for his son and his family very clear at Monday’s meeting, and does not want any tension between them.”

“With regard to the photograph of the Queen, Charles, William and George, many royals were not in it either, such as Kate, Camilla and Meghan.

“So he hopes Harry has not interpreted it as a snub and will be keen to explain that it wasn’t.”

 Meghan returned to Canada to join baby Archie on Thursday

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Meghan returned to Canada to join baby Archie on ThursdayCredit: Getty
Meghan flees back to Canada after bombshell royal exit while Harry holds crisis talks with Queen


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Obama campaign guru warns against Bernie…


This is not the first time Messina has questioned Sanders’ viability as a general election candidate. His latest remarks come amid Sanders’ first-place showing in the marquee Iowa Poll and as the Vermont senator‘s messaging has increasingly focused on his electability.

Messina said he is not endorsing in the 2020 race. He recently attended a fundraiser for Biden in Irvine, Calif., he said, because his wife is a supporter of the former vice president.

“From a general election perspective, socialism is not going to be what Democrats are going to want to defend,” Messina added.“If you’re the Democratic nominee for the Montana Senate race, you don’t want to spend the election talking about socialism.”

Messina is the latest Democrat to raise concerns about Sanders at the top of the ticket. Endangered House Democrats are coalescing around Biden because of concerns that Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could threaten their reelection hopes, POLITICO reported Saturday.

Sanders’ campaign pushed back by pointing to news reports in 2008 saying that Obama was not electable. The campaign also took a shot at Messina, who now heads his own firm, the Messina Group, and was hired in 2017 to represent former British Prime Minister Theresa May, the leader of the Conservative Party.

“If he spent less time in boardrooms courting CEOs, he would witness the incredible energy generated by Bernie’s campaign, which has more than 5 million individual donations — the all-time record for a presidential candidate at this point in the race,” Sanders communications director Mike Casca said in a statement to POLITICO. “But please do make sure Jim gives our best to his dear friend Theresa May.” (Messina said May won when he worked for her.)

A second senior member of Obama’s campaign team, who asked not to be identified, sounded a similar warning, arguing Sanders would not be able to help Democrats in states like Arizona and North Carolina if they’re to defeat Trump.

“My concern about Sanders would be just how low his ceiling may be,” the adviser said.The argument Sanders would make is he can turn out tough-to-turn-out voters. While many are very progressive like the Sanders base, most aren’t, most aren’t connected to politics, they tend to be more moderate,” the adviser said. “I think it’s a falsehood that all the people not registering to turn out are looking for the most classically liberal candidates — that’s just not true.”

Sanders surged starting in late October after recovering from a heart attack and receiving a pivotal endorsement from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. For more than a week, Sanders has more directly attacked Joe Biden, the national top polling candidate, arguing the former vice president has too much “baggage” to win a general election. Sanders has argued the excitement behind his campaign and his steady dominance in grass-roots fundraising makes him the more electable candidate.



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