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National Entertainment

Harry, Meghan ‘over the moon’ about their healthy baby boy

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WINDSOR, England — Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, gave birth to a healthy baby boy early Monday morning, a beaming Prince Harry announced to the world, declaring he’s “incredibly proud” of his wife.

The baby weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces at birth and was born at 5:26 a.m. Harry said the child was a little bit overdue and that had given the royal couple more time to contemplate names.

Harry said he was ecstatic about the birth of their first child and promised that more details — such as the baby’s name — will be shared in the coming days. The couple said earlier they were not going to find out the baby’s sex in advance.

“This little baby is absolutely to die for,” he said. “I’m just over the moon.”

The infant is seventh in line to the British throne and Queen Elizabeth II’s eighth great-grandchild. Harry is the younger son of Prince Charles, heir to the throne, and the late Princess Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997.

The 34-year-old Harry, speaking before TV cameras on Monday afternoon in Windsor, said he was present for the birth.

“It’s been the most amazing experience I could ever have possibly imagined,” he said. “How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension.

“We’re both absolutely thrilled and so grateful for all the love and support from everybody out there. It’s been amazing, so we just wanted to share this with everybody,” he gushed.

Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland was reportedly also with her daughter and said she is overjoyed, according to British media. Senior royals were informed of the birth, as was the family of Diana, Harry’s late mother, before he went before the cameras.

The couple’s Instagram account said: “It’s a boy! Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to announce the birth of their child.”

Harry said he planned to make another announcement, probably in two days’ time, “so everyone can see the baby.” It’s expected they will pose for a family picture at that point.

The former Meghan Markle, 37, was an American TV star before retiring from acting to marry Harry at St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle a year ago.

The child will be eligible for dual British-U.S. citizenship if Meghan and Harry want to go through the application process.

The birth of Britain’s latest royal baby marks the completion of Harry’s transformation from a boy whose mother died when he was just 12 to a sometimes-troubled teen, a committed military man, a popular senior royal, a husband and now to a proud father. He has long spoken of his desire to start a family.

He and his older brother, Prince William, along with their wives, are seen by many in Britain as the new, fresh faces of a royal family that had become stodgy and aged. They are raising the next generation of royals amid a genuine groundswell of British public support for the monarchy.

Meghan in particular represents a change for the royals.

At 37, she is older than Harry, had a previous marriage that ended in divorce and has strong feminist views. As the daughter of a black mother and a white father, she says she identifies as biracial.

Meghan also achieved considerable success in her own right before agreeing to a blind date with Harry that changed both of their lives. Meghan had an important role in the popular TV series “Suits,” pressed for increased women’s rights around the world and had a wide following even before she joined the world’s most famous royal family.

Harry and Meghan recently moved from central London to a secluded house known as Frogmore Cottage near Windsor Castle, 25 miles (40 kilometres) west of London. The move is seen in part as reflecting a desire for privacy as they raise their first child.

It also separates Harry and Meghan from William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who had been living in the same compound at Kensington Palace in central London with their three children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — the new baby’s cousins.

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Read all Associated Press coverage of the latest royal baby at https://www.apnews.com/RoyalBaby

Gregory Katz, The Associated Press





























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National Entertainment

Prosecutors drop groping case against Kevin Spacey

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BOSTON — Prosecutors dropped a case Wednesday accusing Kevin Spacey of groping a young man at a resort island bar in 2016 after the accuser refused to testify about a missing cellphone the defence says contains information supporting the actor’s claims of innocence.

Spacey was charged with indecent assault and battery last year in the only criminal case that has been brought against the actor since his career collapsed amid a slew of sexual misconduct allegations. The two-time Oscar winner was among the earliest and biggest names to be ensnared in the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment that swept across the entertainment and other industries.

Spacey denies groping the man, whose mother first went public with the allegations in 2017.

A phone message seeking comment was left with Spacey’s lawyer.

The actor’s accuser was ordered to take the stand earlier this month after he said he lost the cellphone he used the night of the alleged groping. The defence said it needed the phone to recover deleted text messages it says would help Spacey’s case.

The man denied deleting messages or manipulating screenshots of conversations he provided to investigators. But when he was pressed by the defence about whether he knew that altering evidence is a crime, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination , and the judge said his testimony would be stricken from the record.

The judge then questioned how prosecutors would be able to bring Spacey to trial if the accuser continued to refuse to testify, and prosecutors told the judge they needed time to decide how to proceed.

On Wednesday, Cape and Island District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said in court documents that they were dropping the charge “due to an unavailability of the complaining witness.”

Prosecutors said in an emailed statement that they met with the man and his lawyer Sunday and told him that if he wouldn’t testify in further proceedings, they couldn’t move forward with the case. The man “elected not to waive his right under the Fifth Amendment,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they could further pursue the case and grant the accuser immunity but then they would need more than his uncorroborated testimony.

Furthermore, “a grant of immunity compromises the witness to a degree which, in a case where the credibility of the witness is paramount, makes the further prosecution untenable,” they said.

Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for the accuser, said in email that the man and his family “have shown an enormous amount of courage under difficult circumstances.” Garabedian said he had no further comment.

The hearing at which the accuser testified came days after the man abruptly dropped a lawsuit he had just recently filed against the actor that sought damages for “severe and permanent mental distress and emotional injuries.” The suit was dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning it cannot be refiled.

The man did not receive a settlement to drop the civil case, his mother said. His lawyer said he dropped it because he was emotionally overwhelmed and wanted only “one roller coaster ride at a time” and so chose to focus on the criminal case.

The man’s mother, former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh, alleged in 2017 that Spacey got her son drunk and sexually assaulted him at the Club Car, a bar on Nantucket where the teen worked as a busboy.

The man told police he went over to talk to Spacey after his shift because he wanted to get a picture with the former “House of Cards” star. He said Spacey bought him several drinks and tried to persuade him to come home with him before unzipping the man’s pants and groping him for about three minutes.

Unruh’s son told police he tried to move Spacey’s hands, but the groping continued, and he didn’t know what to do because he didn’t want to get in trouble for drinking because he was underage. The man said he fled when Spacey went to the bathroom.

Shortly after Spacey was charged, he posted a video on YouTube in the voice of his “House of Cards” character who was killed off after the sexual misconduct allegations emerged, saying “I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn’t do.”

Spacey has faced several other accusations.

His first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologized if the allegations were true.

The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they are the victims of sexual assault unless they identify themselves publicly. Rapp has; Unruh’s son has not.

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Follow Alanna Durkin Richer at http://www.twitter.com/aedurkinricher

Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press


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Man screaming ‘You die!’ kills at least 23 at anime studio

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Man yelling You Die kills 23 at Tokyo studio

TOKYO — A man screaming “You die!” burst into an animation production studio in Kyoto, Japan, and set it on fire early Thursday, authorities said, killing 13 people and leaving more than 10 others presumed dead.

The blaze injured another 36 people, some of them critically, Japanese authorities said. Most were workers at Kyoto Animation, known for mega-hit stories featuring high school girls, with places featured in the stories even becoming “pilgrimage sites” for their fans.

The fire started in the three-story building in Japan’s ancient capital after the suspect sprayed an unidentified liquid accelerant, Kyoto prefectural police and fire department officials said.

Thirteen were confirmed dead on the first and second floors, Kyoto fire department official Kazuhiro Hayashi said. On the third floor, more than 10 people were found unresponsive, he said. Some of them were found on the stairs, where they apparently collapsed while gasping for air and trying to go out to the roof.

Hayashi says firefighters were still searching inside the building in case anyone else was left behind.

Kyoto police said the suspect was injured and taken to a hospital for treatment. They are investigating the man, who is 41 and not a company employee, on suspicion of arson, police said.

A witness who saw the suspect being approached by police told Japanese networks that the man admitted spreading gasoline and setting a fire with a lighter. She told NHK public television that the man had burns on his arms and legs and that he was angrily complaining that something of his had been “stolen,” possibly by the company. NHK footage also showed sharp knives police had collected from the scene, though it was not clear if they belonged to the suspect.

Survivors who saw the attacker said he was not their colleague and that he was screaming “(You) die!” when he dumped the liquid and started the fire, according to Japanese media reports. They said some of the survivors got splashed with the liquid.

Kyoto Animation, better known as KyoAni, was founded in 1981 as an animation and comic book production studio, and its hits include “Lucky Star,” ”K-On!” and “Haruhi Suzumiya.” The company does not have a major presence outside Japan, though it was hired to provide secondary animation work on a 1998 “Pokemon” feature that appeared in U.S. theatres and a “Winnie the Pooh” video.

Footage on Japan’s NHK television showed gray smoke billowing from the charred building. Other footage showed windows blown off.

“There was an explosion, then I heard people shouting, some asking for help,” a female witness told TBS TV. “Black smoke was rising from windows on upper floors, then there was a man struggling to crawl out of the window.”

Witnesses in the neighbourhood said they heard bangs coming from the building, others said they saw people coming out blackened, bleeding, walking barefoot, Kyodo News reported.

Rescue officials set up an orange tent outside the studio building to provide first aid and sort out the injured.

Fire department officials said more than 70 people were in the building at the time of the fire and many of them ran outside.

With at least 23 killed or presumed dead, the fire was the worst mass killing in Japan since a man stabbed and killed 19 people at an assisted living facility in western Tokyo in 2016.

A fire in 2001 in Tokyo’s congested Kabukicho entertainment district killed 44 people in its worst known case of arson in modern times. Police never announced an arrest for setting the blaze, though five people were convicted of negligence. In 2008, 16 people died in a blaze at a movie theatre in Osaka, near Kyoto.

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Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press













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