Fashion designer Kate Spade dead in apparent suicide

Spade, 55, apparently hanged herself. She was found by her housekeeper on Tuesday Morning, hanging from a red scarf tied to a doorknob, the New York Times reported citing the NYPD.

She left behind a note, but the police did not disclose its contents.

Born Katherine Brosnahan, she met Andy Spade – the brother of actor David Spade – while at Arizona State University. They launched Kate Spade Handbags in 1993 and married in 1994.

Initially famous for handbags, Spade’s brand quickly expanded into clothing, jewelry, shoes, eyewear and other products. She sold her shares in the company in 2006, to spend more time raising her daughter, Frances Valentine.

Her new business line, named after Valentine, was launched in 2016. Spade was inducted into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 2017.

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Child, 9, brings loaded gun to New Jersey school

Police were alerted to the incident after a fellow student informed security staff at Oak Street Elementary School that the boy was in possession of the weapon.

Security guards identified the child “and did in fact locate a loaded 22 caliber handgun in his backpack,” Detective Lt. Gregory Staffordsmith told Asbury Park Press.

Staffordsmith said the investigation was still ongoing “and additional information will be released as it becomes available.”

RT has reached out to Lakewood police department and the school district for further comment.

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No need for Europe to buy US gas at triple the price, will continue imports from Russia – Austria

While US politicians are accusing Europe of being dependent on Russian gas, they forget that “American liquefied gas is two or three times more expensive than Russian gas. Under such circumstances, it makes little sense in purely economic terms to replace Russian gas with American LNG,” Van der Bellen said at a press conference after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vienna on Tuesday.

Putin noted that Austria is a major transportation hub for Russian gas being exported to Europe. “Austria has become one of the key, if not to say, one of the most important units of Russian gas transportation to Western Europe and plays an important role in ensuring the energy security of the entire European continent,” Putin said.

He recalled that Russia has exported more than 200 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Austria in the past 50 years. After the meeting, Russia’s Gazprom and Austria’s OMV signed a gas supply contract until 2040.

Before Putin’s trip to Austria, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also spoke about the importance of Russian gas shipments to his country. “I would like to note that fruitful cooperation of the two very important companies – OMV and Gazprom – which seems to me extremely beneficial for both sides,” the chancellor told TASS news agency in an interview.

OMV and Gazprom are now implementing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which seeks to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream. The project has faced opposition from the US, which is seeking to ramp up LNG exports to Europe.

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Russia interested in lifting of EU sanctions, like everybody else – Putin

“Sanctions, political restrictions, protectionism… they are methods of resolving political issues that are ultimately unsuitable for achieving the final result, they are harmful – both for those who initiate them, and for those whom they are directed against,” the Russian President, who is on an official visit to Austrian capital Vienna, said.

Putin said that Russia was able to overcome the difficulties caused by the EU restrictions and “managed not only to maintain macroeconomic stability, but strengthen it.”

However, he acknowledged that “it was difficult for us a couple of years ago as we simultaneously faced a substantial – two-fold – drop in prices on the goods of our traditional exports.”

“It seems to me that those actions, which we call sanctions, are harmful to everyone and therefore I think that everyone is interested in their abolition, including us,” the Russian President said.

Van der Bellen said that, with regards to sanctions against Russia, Austria will “act in line with the decisions of the European Union.” Putin, however, stated that economic restrictions didn’t hamper the development of relations between Moscow and Vienna.

The US and EU introduced numerous waves of sanctions which target individuals, companies and various sectors of Russian economy after Moscow’s reunion with Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

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Large fire ravages Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, tons of water poured in by planes

The fire inside the Chernobyl ‘dead zone,’ which is now part of Ukraine, started on Tuesday morning, when dry grass was ignited, local emergency services said in a statement. The wildfire subsequently reached a forest, where up to 10 hectares (24 acres) are now in flames. 

Some 29 vehicles and 126 personnel have been dispatched at the scene, with several planes and helicopters dropping water from the sky on the area engulfed by wildfire.

The zone saw another large blaze last year, which scorched 25 hectares (60 acres) of land.

READ MORE: Chernobyl disaster site repurposed for solar energy (PHOTOS)

Chernobyl became the site of one of the biggest nuclear disasters in history, when a local power reactor blew up in 1986, leading to massive contamination of the surrounding area. The severely damaged reactor was sealed off by a protective ‘sarcophagus’ of steel and concrete, while the nearby town of Pripyat had its 50,000 population evacuated. Today, Pripayt is a ghost town. The so-called ‘exclusion zone’ was imposed around the site of the disaster, banning visitors.

Current winds are not blowing residual pollution towards the country’s capital Kiev, local authorities said, noting that radiation levels remain normal.

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Leader of Merkel’s bloc in parliament downplays irritation with new US ambassador

A leading member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party is downplaying irritation with the new US ambassador that has led to opposition calls for his removal. Volker Kauder, the leader in parliament of Merkel’s Union bloc, suggested that outspoken opinions from the appointee of President Donald Trump are just something to get used to, AP reports. Kauder said Tuesday that conventionally an ambassador represents his country’s interests but “if the American ambassador understands his work a little differently, it’s up to him.” He said “you have to take it how it is.” In less than a month as ambassador, Richard Grenell has raised the ire of many, first for tweeting that German companies should stop doing business with Iran and then for saying he wants to “empower” European conservatives.

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