NEW YORK (AP) — Bruce Jenner’s transition is complete.
“Call me Caitlyn,” declares a headline on the July cover of Vanity Fair, with a photo of a long-haired Jenner in a strapless corset, legs crossed, sitting on a stool. The image was shot by famed celeb photographer Annie Leibovitz. Inside, more images show Caitlyn in gold lame, a black bustier and a cleavage-baring, off-the-shoulder gown.
Caitlyn Jenner also debuted a new Twitter account with: “I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.”
The account broke a record for fastest time to reach 1 million followers, besting President Barack Obama’s new @Potus handle with a mark of 4 hours and 3 minutes, according to Guinness World Records.
Vanity Fair took to Twitter with the cover Monday and said Jenner spoke emotionally about her gender journey: “If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life.'”
The cover comes after Jenner’s two-hour ABC interview with Diane Sawyer in which Bruce Jenner confirmed the transition. The much-anticipated “20/20″ interview on April 24 was watched by more than 17.1 million viewers.
Prior to the unveiling of Caitlyn, Jenner had said he preferred the pronoun “he,” but Vanity Fair contributing editor Buzz Bissinger, who wrote the story, refers to “she.”
The Olympian who married and divorced reality show “momager” Kris Jenner has appeared for years on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Jenner’s own still-untitled docu-series chronicling her transition is scheduled for the same network, E!, beginning July 26.
“Everyone has been so supportive and so amazing and I think that that’s all we could really ask for is kindness and we feel that,” said Jenner’s stepdaughter, Kim Kardashian.
In addition to the va-va voom corset cover, Vanity Fair released a black-and-white video on the making of the cover
“Caitlyn doesn’t have any secrets,” Jenner narrates. “As soon as the Vanity Fair cover comes out, I’m free.”
Bissinger, the “Friday Night Lights” Pulitzer Prize winner, said in the lengthy magazine story that he had unfettered access to Jenner, both before her transition and after. His approach to Jenner’s life is exhaustive, based on interviews with several of her biological children, her mother, her former wives and others.
The story describes Jenner’s painful recovery from “facial-feminization” surgery in March, a grueling 10-hour procedure that had Jenner briefly second-guessing the decision during a panic attack eased in part with the help of a Los Angeles Gender Center counselor who made a house call. There was also a breast-augmentation procedure.
Now, Bissinger reports, the 65-year-old Jenner is “immensely happy, relaxed, with a shiny sense of purpose and confidence.” He added: “She can’t wait when she goes out now to tell the paparazzi to ‘make sure it’s a good shot.'”
Of the upcoming reality series, Jenner is already prepared with a response over criticism that she’s doing it for a paycheck:
“I’m not doing it for money. I’m doing it to help my soul and help other people. If I can make a dollar, I certainly am not stupid. (I have) house payments and all that kind of stuff. I will never make an excuse for something like that. Yeah, this is a business.”
Jenner said she is aware of the appalling conditions in which many of the 700,000 transgender men and women live in the U.S. and plans to shed light in the E! show on such issues as suicide and attempted suicide within the community.
She also plans a segment in which she sees if she can still hit a golf ball 300 yards off the tee with her new physical attributes. A road trip is planned on the new show for Jenner and several transgender women to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco to visit a center for transgender youth.
On July 15, Jenner plans her first major public appearance. She will be given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at ESPN’s ESPYs in Los Angeles. Past winners include Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela and Billie Jean King.
Among big names to reach out on Twitter in support of Jenner’s reveal were some of his children, LGBT advocates and Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama.
“Nice to meet you, @Caitlyn—Jenner,” Jarrett tweeted (and was re-tweeted by the White House). “The brave choice to live as your authentic self is a powerful example to so many.”
Associated Press writer Alicia Rancilio contributed to this report from New York.
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:
1. HOMELAND SECURITY CHIEF ORDERS AIRPORT SECURITY OVERHAUL
The directive follows a report that undercover agents were able to smuggle prohibited items through TSA checkpoints in 67 out of 70 attempts.
2. CONGRESS POISED TO END BULK COLLECTION OF AMERICANS’ PHONE DATA
The turn of events is a victory for Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who disclosed the records collection by the government in 2013.
3. WHO’S MAKING SPLASHY MAGAZINE DEBUT
Caitlyn Jenner — formerly Bruce — appears on the July cover of Vanity Fair with flowing hair and dressed in a strapless corset.
4. BOAT CARRYING MORE THAN 400 SINKS IN CHINA’S YANGTZE
Rescuers search for survivors after a small cruise ship with more than 450 people aboard sinks in the river in southern China during a cyclone.
5. SUPREME COURT BOOSTS WORKPLACE RELIGIOUS PROTECTIONS
The justices side with a Muslim woman who did not get hired after she showed up to a job interview with Abercrombie & Fitch wearing a black headscarf.
6. HOW ISLAMIC STATE GROUP IS WOOING FOLLOWERS
The extremists’ recruitment videos are surprisingly polished, with thrumming beats and Western-style production.
7. CLASH OF PRIORITIES DEFINES ’16 DEBATE
As the U.S. presidential campaign takes off, the Republican candidates are stressing terror threats while the Democrats focus on the economy.
8. NO BULL: SITTING TOO MUCH CAN HARM HEALTH
In the first advice of its kind, British experts are recommending office workers stand for at least two hours a day.
9. WHY ENRIQUE IGLESIAS NEEDED RECONSTRUCTIVE HAND SURGERY
The pop singer sliced his fingers when he grabbed a drone hovering near him during a show over the weekend in Tijuana, Mexico.
10. COSMOS HELPING KICK-START US-CUBA DIPLOMACY
The New York soccer club will be the first U.S. pro sports team to play in Cuba since leaders of the two countries announced a thaw in relations.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating a monkey breeding facility in southwest Florida after an animal welfare group said an undercover worker found sick and injured monkeys living in inhumane and unsanitary conditions.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a video Monday purporting to show conditions at Primate Products Inc. in Hendry County. PETA first gave the video exclusively to The Associated Press.
After meeting with PETA, inspectors from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service went to Primate Products Inc. for three days last week. The farm has three weeks to appeal the inspectors’ report, and then it will be made public.
The president of Primate Products says he “appreciates the corrective actions and timelines provided by the USDA.”
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The lead investigator in the mysterious death of a prosecutor who had accused Argentina’s president of wrongdoing came under sharp criticism Monday for a video showing police working without latex gloves where Alberto Nisman’s body was found.
Ernesto Duronto, vice president of Argentina’s association of forensic experts, said many irregularities are seen in the video, which was shot by federal police and obtained by Canal 13.
The video “shows how things should not be done,” Duronto said, saying it was paramount for forensic investigators to preserve the cleanliness of a crime scene.
Lead prosecutor Viviana Fein defended her investigation. She acknowledged what the video captured but said it had no impact on the case.
“The crime scene was not contaminated. It was diligently preserved,” Fein told Vorterix radio station.
In the video, an officer is seen removing articles from Nisman’s safe without gloves. Officers are also seen picking up Nisman’s cellphone without gloves and cleaning the gun found at the scene with toilet paper.
Fein said police cleaned only part of the pistol to read the serial number and that would not have eliminated a criminal’s fingerprints. Duronto disagreed, saying such an action could indeed smudge prints.
Nisman was found dead in a pool of blood in his apartment Jan. 18. The next day, he was scheduled to elaborate to Congress on his allegations that President Cristina Fernandez had orchestrated a secret deal to cover up the alleged role of Iranian officials in the deadly 1994 car bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
Fernandez rejected the allegations and a federal judge threw out the case in February.
More than four months since Nisman’s death, no suspects have been arrested and Fein has said authorities are not sure whether Nisman was killed or committed suicide.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal judge in Nevada dismissed a criminal case Monday against a wealthy Malaysian gambler who was arrested last year after FBI agents impersonated Internet repair technicians to get a peek at what he was doing in suites at a Las Vegas Strip resort.
Gone is the allegation that Wei Seng “Paul” Phua headed an illegal bookmaking operation that reaped $13 million after converting high-roller villas into a worldwide sports betting hub during the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.
Phua, 51, won the return of a $2 million cash bond and the $50 million private aircraft he had surrendered as collateral, and he immediately planned to leave Las Vegas for home, defense attorney David Chesnoff said.
“Mr. Phua’s courageous and principled stand helps to ensure personal liberty for all of us,” Chesnoff said. “He had faith in the integrity of the federal court, and we are gratified that he can go home to his family.”
Chesnoff and defense attorney Thomas Goldstein had cast the case as a cutting-edge test of the Fourth Amendment right to be free at home from governmental search and seizure.
U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden declined through a spokeswoman to comment.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon’s decision was not unexpected. Last week, the judge upheld a federal magistrate’s earlier recommendation and threw out, as the product of an illegal search, evidence collected by FBI and Nevada Gaming Control Board agents from three exclusive high-roller suites at Caesars Palace.
That left little evidence for the government case.
Bogden said last week it could take several weeks to decide whether to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
To do so would invite another review of what now amounts to a stinging rebuke of investigators’ tactics and the collapse of a high-profile international investigation.
It crumbled after testimony during hearings last year showed the agents enlisted a Caesars contractor to shut off Internet service to get invited in to hotel rooms without a warrant so they could collect enough evidence to get a federal magistrate to approve search warrants.
The agents failed to tell the magistrate such a ruse had been used.
Goldstein noted that evidence about the ruse came to light by mistake.
“They avoided creating any documents that said they did it on purpose,” Goldstein said last week. He called it “just dumb luck” that Phua’s legal team found evidence of the ruse in video turned over to the defense.
“I think they forgot they were being recorded,” Goldstein said.
Prosecutors cast Phua as a top member of an Asian organized crime syndicate who flew to Las Vegas on his private jet last June, just days after his arrest and release in the Asian gambling hub of Macau on charges of operating an illegal sports-betting business.
Phua’s lawyers denied their client had any connection with organized crime.
In Las Vegas, the government said that Phua had several people including his son convert several hotel suites to betting boiler rooms crammed with computers, Internet routers and cellphones.
Eight people were arrested in July, and Phua was initially charged with operating an illegal gambling business and transmission of wagering information. Prosecutors last month added a conspiracy count that has now also been dismissed.
Phua’s son, Darren Wai Kit Phua, and five Chinese citizens pleaded guilty to lesser charges, forfeited hundreds of thousands of dollars and returned to Asia under plea deals banning them from travel to the U.S. for five years. Charges against one defendant were dismissed.
Associated Press writer Kimberly Pierceall contributed to this report.
PARIS (AP) — The announcer with an American accent offers an upbeat roundup of the day’s main headlines: Islamic State fighters seized control of a crucial Syrian city, extremists repelled Kurdish fighters despite coalition airstrikes, and two suicide bombers successfully carried out their missions.
The tone is National Public Radio in the United States. But this is Al-Bayan, the Islamic State radio targeting European recruits by touting recent triumphs in the campaign to carve out a Caliphate, and it represents a major headache for Western powers trying to curtail the IS influence.
All news is good news for Al-Bayan’s “soldiers of the Caliphate.” In this narrative, the enemy always flees in disgrace or is killed. The broadcasts end with a swell of music and a gentle English message: “We thank our listeners for tuning in.”
The tension between the smooth, Western-style production and the extremist content shows how far the hardcore Islamic propaganda machine has come since 2012, when an aging Frenchman posed in front of a jihadi flag and threatened France in the name of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. The footage was grainy, with minimal production values, and released on a relatively obscure website. By contrast, Al-Bayan reaches thousands of listeners every day via links shared on social networks, helping to swell the ranks of Westerners — projected this year to reach up to 10,000 — fighting for the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
In the time it took to bring the Frenchman Gilles Le Guen to trial, his European successors in violent jihad have overturned the recruitment script in ways that might impress a New York PR agency.
Islamic State videos come with thrumming beats, handsome clear-eyed young men and editing techniques that call to mind tourism commercials. A typical week of recruitment now includes multiple newscasts in three languages, except the “good news” is about suicide attacks instead of traffic reports and baseball scores. A polished video directed at French recruits shows trainees leaping through burning hoops and swinging across monkey bars over flames. And a metastasizing network of tweets spills forth from the smartphones of armchair cheerleaders.
Cameramen themselves are heroes in this information war: Media, an unnamed fighter says in a video dedicated to these PR muhajedeen, is “half of the battle, if not its majority.”
An April video calling for doctors to join IS shows physicians in immaculate scrubs, as well as functioning medical equipment. It features a blue-eyed Australian moving about in a pristine neo-natal ward, promising new recruits that they will be helping Muslims who suffer from “a lack of qualified medical care.” The video has the feel of a daytime television public-service message.
In an exchange on the social networking service Ask.fm the same week, a person identifying himself as a British resident of IS territories promised newcomers free medical school. Meanwhile, in a series of tweets, another person purporting to be a Briton praises subsidized gas, free water and dental care superior to anything offered in the West.
“Naturally the arrogance will kick in & they would deny the truth and claim there (sic) way is better. Lol next time you pay your bill smile,” the person said, according to a selection of tweets culled by the SITE Intelligence Group.
A handful of people show up repeatedly as key recruiters: a Glasgow woman who reportedly helps British girls reach Syria; a Dutch fighter who gives jihadi interviews and set up a Tumblr page; a blue-eyed Frenchman who appears in multiple videos calling on his countrymen to emigrate to IS territories.
“They want Europeans in general. They want anyone to come, to fight, to create the Islamic state, to make the caliphate,” said Sebastien Pietrasanta, a French lawmaker who is spearheading nascent efforts to de-radicalize young extremist recruits. “We estimate there could be 5,000 and within the year, there could be 10,000. … We are facing not just a problem of security, but a problem of society.”
Anyone, from anywhere, can recruit for Islamic State. A March study by Brookings Institute researchers J.M. Berger and Jonathon Morgan found more than 46,000 active Twitter accounts supporting Islamic State in a two-month period. As soon as one account is shut down, more emerge.
Meanwhile, Western government warnings about the dangers of joining Islamic State have barely dented the rate of departures. Those who have lived unhappily under IS rarely offer a competing narrative, in mortal fear of retaliation. And Western nations are having a hard time combatting rhetoric that they — and the Western media that IS so successfully mimics — are untrustworthy.
Islamic State recruits skew young. In France, the West’s largest source of extremists heading to Iraq and Syria, they average in their mid-20s, with female recruits tending to be even younger. Whatever they are looking for, Islamic State promises: Shariah law, a deeper purpose in life, a fight against a dictator, aid work, automatic weapons, pathological violence for those so inclined.
“They are able to reach and find out what is important to these people, what motivates these people, and then they create an ability to fill that need, initially through the social media, Internet,” Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, said recently. “And then when they bring them on board, they continue to address these basic wants, of value, of a purpose — a sense of something as a part of a larger good.”
Peter Neumann, of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at Kings College London, says disillusioned returning fighters — if Western governments can guarantee their safety — will ultimately be the most effective at preventing more departures.
“Right now it’s really only Islamic State who is telling a story,” he said. “To have a counter-story being told by a former fighter would be potentially very powerful.”
Associated Press writer John-Thor Dahlburg in Brussels contributed to this report.