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Japan’s crown prince criticizes media coverage of daughter Mako’s engagement

Japan’s crown prince criticized the media on Tuesday for falsities and “terrible things” in its coverage of the engagement of his daughter, former princess Mako, who relinquished her royal status to marry a non-royal last month.
Mako, 30, postponed her marriage to Kei Komuro, 30, for roughly three years over opposition stemming from a scandal involving his mother. Mako was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder during that period.

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In accordance with Japanese law, Mako relinquished her royal status when the two married by submitting paperwork at a local office and left to live in New York this month.
Crown Prince Akishino, the emperor’s brother, made the remarks, unusually candid for a Japanese royal, at a news conference to mark his 56th birthday.
“If you read the tabloids, well — I’m not sure how to say this exactly — but there’s a lot of things in there that are fabricated, although there are also some opinions we should listen to,” Akishino said when asked about the connection between media coverage and his daughter’s diagnosis.
Though Japan was captivated when Mako and Komuro, who works in a law office in New York, announced their engagement in 2017, revelations of the scandal touched off intense media scrutiny and criticism.
“As for articles on the internet, there are also lots of comments … and some of them say really terrible things,” Akishino added. “There are people who are deeply hurt by this slander.”
Some royal watchers said the furor over Mako’s marriage, which even sparked protests against the wedding, might have been toned down with more adept handling by the Imperial Household Agency (IHA), which runs the family’s lives, pointing to how similar incidents are handled by royals overseas.
Akishino said the IHA does sometimes correct “mistaken” information on its website but implied more might be needed.
“If you are going to argue against an article, you have to set proper standards and then protest when those are exceeded,” he said. “Negative coverage may continue, so I think it is necessary to consider setting such standards in consultation with the IHA.”
Akishino also said that the decision to forego all ceremonies for the marriage had been his, as he felt the scandal — about money loaned to the Komuro family by Komuro’s mother’s former fiance — had not been adequately explained.
But, he added, “I think it would have been appropriate if they could have been carried out as usual.”

Read more: Japan's former princess Mako moves to New York with husband

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Lindsay Lohan celebrates birthday as married woman to Dubai resident Bader Shammas

Actress Lindsay Lohan is celebrating her 36th birthday on Saturday as a married woman.

The “Freaky Friday” star said she was the “luckiest woman in the world” in an Instagram post Friday that pictured her with financier Bader Shammas, who had been her fiance.

“I am stunned that you are my husband,” Lohan said in the post, adding that “every woman should feel like this everyday.”

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The couple had announced their engagement last November. People magazine and Entertainment Tonight confirmed there had been a wedding, but no details were offered.

While still single a few years ago, Lohan told Entertainment Tonight that she was looking for “a smart businessman” and someone who doesn’t like the spotlight. Shammas’ Instagram account is private.

The “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” actress and sometimes singer has worked through some sobriety issues in recent years, and has recently filmed a romantic comedy that is due to be released on Netflix later this year.

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Dutch university gets cyber ransom money back with interest

A Dutch university that fell victim to a massive ransomware attack has partly received back its stolen money, which in the meantime more than doubled in value, a news report said on Saturday.

The southern Maastricht University in 2019 was hit by a large cyberattack in which criminals used ransomware, a type of malicious software that locks valuable data and can only be accessed once the victim pays a ransom amount.

“The criminals had encrypted hundreds of Windows servers and backup systems, preventing 25,000 students and employees from accessing scientific data, library and mail,” the daily De Volkskrant said.

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The hackers demanded 200,000 euros ($208,000) in bitcoins.

“After a week the university decide to accede to the criminal gang’s demand,” the paper said.

“This was partly because personal data was in danger of being lost and students were unable to take an exam or work on their theses,” it said.

Dutch police traced part of the ransom paid to an account belonging to a money launderer in Ukraine.

Prosecutors in 2020 seized this man’s account, which contained a number of different crypto currencies including part of the ransom money paid by Maastricht.

“When, now after more than two years, it was finally possible to get that money to the Netherlands, the value had increased from 40,000 euros to half-a-million euros,” the paper said.

Maastricht University will now get the 500,000 euros ($521,000) back.

“This money will not go to a general fund, but into a fund to help financially strapped students,” Maastricht University ICT director Michiel Borgers said.

The investigation into the hackers responsible for the attack on the university is still ongoing, De Volkskrant added.

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Singer R. Kelly sues Brooklyn jail for putting him on suicide watch

R. Kelly on Friday sued the Brooklyn jail that has housed him since his racketeering and sex crimes conviction, saying it wrongly put him on suicide watch after he received a 30-year prison sentence despite knowing he was not suicidal.

In a complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court, the 55-year-old multiplatinum R&B singer said officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center ordered the watch after his June 29 sentencing “solely for punitive purposes” and because he was a “high-profile” inmate.

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Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean quoted a prosecutor as saying the jail’s legal counsel had told her that “per the psychology department, is on a psych alert for various reasons, such as age, crime, publicity and sentencing.” No timetable was provided.

Bonjean wasn’t satisfied with the explanation. “Simply put, MDC Brooklyn is run like a gulag,” she wrote.

Kelly said the “harsh conditions” he faced led to “severe mental distress,” and amounted to cruel and unusual punishment that violated the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment.

He is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, though the docket suggests Kelly is seeking $100 million.

The jail did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Known for the 1996 Grammy-winning hit “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly was convicted last September on one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which bars transporting people across state lines for prostitution.

Prosecutors said Kelly exploited his stardom and wealth over two decades to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex, with the help of his entourage.

Kelly said he was also put on suicide watch after his conviction.

Ghislaine Maxwell, another inmate at the Brooklyn jail, was placed on suicide watch on June 24, four days before being sentenced to 20 years in prison for aiding financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls.

Maxwell’s lawyer said the British socialite had been given a “suicide smock” and deprived of clothing, toothpaste and soap though she too was not suicidal.

Friday’s filings did not say what specific conditions Kelly faced.

Kelly still faces an August trial in Chicago federal court on child pornography and obstruction charges, and various state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

Read more:

R&B singer R. Kelly handed 30-year prison sentence for sex crimes

UK prosecutors charge actor Kevin Spacey with sex crimes

Ghislaine Maxwell handed 20-year prison sentence for sex trafficking

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