Man sparks outrage by taking selfie at scene of train accident in Italy

The image of a man taking a selfie while a woman lay seriously injured after being hit by a train has caused an international outcry.

Paramedics were treating the elderly Canadian tourist on the tracks when the man posed for a photograph next to the scene in Piacenza, Italy.

He appeared to giving a “V for victory” sign as he stood on the side of the platform in white shorts and a t-shirt.

The woman, who has not been identified, reportedly had to have her leg amputated as a result of the accident on 26 May.

Giorgi Lambri, the journalist who captured the image of the selfie-taker which was published on front pages across Italy, wrote about the incident in the Liberta newspaper. 

“We have completely lost a sense of ethics,” he said. “The most terrible thing is that guy [doesn’t] understand absolutely the badness of his behaviour. I am a veteran journalist who extensively covered crime, and I have seen many terrifying scenes, but this made me really sad.”

His story was titled: “The barbarism you don’t expect: the selfie in front of a tragedy.”

Other Italian newspapers described the scene as “a cancer that corrodes the internet” and “a portrait of disheartening exhibition”.

After the story made headlines worldwide, social media users have joined in condemnation of the unidentified selfie-taker.

“The world has gone mad,” said one Twitter user, while another criticised the man’s “ghoulish sense of ego.”

Others questioned the ethics of Mr Lambri for publishing the photograph of the man taking the selfie.

The selfie-taker was spoken to by police at the railway station and told to delete the photo before being released without further action.

Similar outcries have followed stories of a British stag party taking selfies at the 9/11 Ground Zero memorial, disaster tourists taking selfies at the scene of the Grenfell fire, and a man taking a selfie in front of victims of the Westminster terror attack.

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Heathrow third runway given go-ahead by government, Chris Grayling announces

Plans for a controversial third runway at Heathrow airport have been given the go-ahead by the cabinet, transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced.

The divisive project was approved by the cabinet’s economic subcommittee, before being rubber-stamped by Theresa May’s top team on Tuesday.

MPs will be given a vote on the scheme by early July, although hardened critics of the project such as Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, will reportedly be allowed to be out of the country on the day of the vote.

Mr Grayling told the Commons: “Today, I am laying before parliament our final proposal for an airports national policy statement, which signals our commitment to securing global connectivity, creating tens of thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships, and boosting our economy for future generations by expanding Heathrow Airport.”

He added: “My department has met with local residents and fully understands their strength of feeling but this is a decision taken in the national interest and based on detailed evidence.”

It comes after the transport secretary faced pressure over chaos on the railways, with Ms May describing recent disruption as “unacceptable”.

The decision faced criticism from other prominent Tory MPs, including former cabinet minister Justine Greening, who said: “This decision is not only wrong for the UK and its competitiveness, it’s wrong for London communities who will be blighted by the pollution from an expanded Heathrow.

“The secretary of state says that the runway cannot be opened unless air quality conditions are met, but can he confirm that, given in the Heathrow Airport Ltd statement of principles there is a cost recovery clause for Heathrow in the event that the project does not proceed after this decision, that this could mean taxpayers have to pick up a bill that costs billions and billions of pounds?”

Mr Grayling insisted air quality was a “broader problem for London and other cities that will need to be dealt with well before we get to 2026”, adding: “That’s why the government has brought forward its air quality proposals and that’s why we are determined to see changes in our society that tackle the air quality issue.”

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said Labour would consider the proposed Heathrow expansion against four tests.

He told MPs: “Expansion should only happen if it can effectively deliver on the capacity demands, if noise and air quality issues are fully addressed, if the UK’s climate change obligations are met in their entirety, and that growth across the country is supported.

“We owe it to future generations to get all of these factors absolutely right, but if the correct balance isn’t found then the law courts will quite rightly intervene.”

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This is Fred, Manchester United's newest star with 'balls of steel' and the tools to bring out the best in Paul Pogba

When Fred finally gets to meet up with the Manchester United squad after the World Cup, many of his new teammates might make the easy mistake that those from Shakhtar Donetsk did when he first arrived in Ukraine in 2013 – that he’s quite small, that he might be easy to knock off the ball.

It is an easy mistake given that slight five-foot-six-inch frame – but could lead to a few difficult moments in training. As former Shakhtar assistant Miguel Cardoso tells The Independent, Fred has “balls of steel”.

“He’s very brave and, in challenges, so strong.”

The 25-year-old will likely add more than steel to United, though. Fred will also add that high-grade oil, to make them a much slicker, free-moving side. That is another of his strengths – and he has many of those that Jose Mourinho most specifically wants this summer.

The United boss has been primarily concerned with bolstering his midfield in this window, and particularly wants a player to create a more fluid link between Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba. That necessitates fine positional sense, strong tackling and quick passing, all under Mourinho’s wider demand that any new players signed be “warriors”, who follow his tactical instructions like soldiers.

Cardoso, however, feels Fred is “perfect” for this.

“He is perfect, perfect,” the Portuguese coach enthuses, having worked at Shakhtar for Fred’s first four years there before moving on to become the much-admired coach of Rio Ave. “If Fred needs to fight, he’ll fight. When he needs to play, he plays. He’s very brave, very brave.

“He’s a player with great ambition, that doesn’t have a fear of playing in any situation, any context. He is the type of player that, when things are going badly, you can give the ball to him. He has balls of steel – to use the expression. He has such a strong nerve.

Fred is expected to star for Brazil at this summer’s World Cup (Getty)

“His technical capacity is enormous. And in challenges, as I say, even though he’s small, he’s strong. But the real positive to him being small is that he doesn’t have a problem playing in tight spaces, and coming out with the ball to drive play.

“He’s also excellent box to box, has that energy, and is so good tactically. He has a deep understanding. When Paolo [Fonseca] arrived at Shakhtar, he liked him a lot.

“So, whatever Jose will ask of him, he will try to do it well. He’s also decisive, that I think Mourinho will like. He plays for the team. If he has to do something on the pitch, he’ll do it. If they ask him to make that connection between Matic and Pogba, I’m sure he’ll do it well.

“He has all the ingredients required to take his Shakhtar game to United, a player with extreme quality.”

There’s also the wider issue of how he takes to the Premier League and the pressures of a club like United, but Cardoso doesn’t foresee that being any kind of complication.

“In Ukraine, they play in bad conditions, with the snow, with very bad pitches, but his technical quality meant he was even more effective.

“Fred has a lot of Champions League and Europa League experience. In the last few years, the Ukrainian league hasn’t been as strong but Fred played in it when there was a lot of fight, and could be physical. He succeeded.”

Given that Mourinho has expressed frustrations with some of the trappings of the modern professional – with a few veiled criticisms of Pogba in that regard – this is another area where Fred could be “perfect” for his new boss.

“He knows very well what it means to be a professional,” Cardoso explains. “First of all, they’re going to get a lad who is a great man, lovely to be around. He has a way about him that everyone will love. He’s not only humble, he’s always very happy, very relaxed. Everyone will like him.

He’s a boy who’s not going to create a single problem. “Fred is a family guy. He has his girlfriend. You don’t see him out much, he’s a lovely guy. Very relaxed life.

“He is always trying to get better. At the end of training, he would always be one of the ones staying behind to work on technical aspects of his game, free-kicks – like that goal against Roma in the Champions League. He’s always looking to be better.”

It seems he has all the qualities required to make United – and Pogba – better.

Follow the Independent Sport on Instagram here, for all of the best images, videos and stories from around the sporting world.

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US weather: Forked lightning fills the sky in Florida

Dramatic forked lightning lit up the Florida sky as a line of thunderstorms passed through the area.

As storms moved over Alabama and the western Florida panhandle on Sunday evening, a resident captured the stunning moment.

Local man Matt Oz shared footage online, writing on Twitter of the “unreal” lightning he had witnessed near Perdido Key, Florida.

“Like spiderwebs across the sky”, Mr Oz wrote.

Earlier that same day, the National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning for a swathe of Alabama after gathering storms dumped more than 1.55 inches (xxx) over the course of an hour.

Ultimately, weather forecasters cancelled the warning as the storms migrated offshore.

But residents across multiple states still testified online to astonishing light shows in the sky.

A National Weather Service meteorologist based in Mobile, Alabama called the display “unreal”.

By Tuesday morning, a grey blanket of clouds had massed in the sky above Pensacola Beach, Florida.

Powerful thunderstorms were expected to continue moving across Alabama – which borders Florida and sits along the Gulf of Mexico – bringing prolific lightning and heavy rain.

Space: See stunning timelapse of thunderstorms over US


Residents were urged to seek shelter indoors until the storms passed.

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Chinese and Russian hackers 'targeting South Korea ahead of US-North Korea summit'

‘We expect this targeting to continue at an increased pace’

Hackers from China and Russia are targeting South Korea with cyber espionage attacks ahead of the summit between the US and North Korea, a leading security firm has claimed. 

The foreign ministry and financial institutions were identified as potential targets by, US cyber security firm FireEye. 

The company’s analysts noted the timing of the attacks and said they expected the intensity of the operations to increase in the build up to the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un.

“South Korea has frequently been the target of cyber espionage. Though the biggest threat is North Korea actors. [FireEye] believes that China- and Russia- [based hackers] also target South Korea,” Ben Read, a cyber espionage analyst at the firm, told The Independent.

“With the heightened attention to inter-Korean relations in the lead up to a potential Trump–Kim meeting, we expect this targeting to continue at an increased pace.”

Scheduled to take place on 12 June in Singapore the leader are expected to discuss the denuclearisation of North Korea.

It will be the first meeting between a sitting US president and leader of North Korea. 

Some experts have suggested that a formal end to the  Korean War – more than six decades after the 1950-1953 conflict – could be declared. 

Although an armistice was signed, no peace treaty has ever been signed to formally end the war. 

The two hacking groups identified by the FireEye researchers were TempTick and Turla, both of which are suspected of being state-sponsored operations. 

TempTick has previously been involved in attacks on Chinese dissident organisations, as well as Japanese public and private sector institutions. It has been active since 2009.

The earliest known attacks linked to the group known as Turla are from 2006.

FireEye researchers noted: “They consistently target governments worldwide in search of information that can inform Russian government decision making.”

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Rohingya refugees facing 'crisis on top of crisis' as world looks the other way, says David Miliband

Rohingya refugees living in crowded conditions in Bangladesh face an “unprecedented” threat from an imminent monsoon that should sound alarm bells among the international community, David Miliband has warned.

The former UK foreign secretary has completed a two-day visit to Bangladesh to see the border camps at Cox’s Bazar, and in an interview with The Independent said 700,000 displaced Muslims from Myanmar faced “a natural crisis on top of a clearly man-made one”.

The UN has said Myanmar’s Rohingya appear to have been victims of a “textbook case” of ethnic cleansing, since the scale of violence in the region shocked the world in August 2017.

But Mr Miliband’s call to action comes at a time when international focus on the Rohingya crisis has waned. The US under President Donald Trump has cut its refugee resettlement programmes by three-quarters, he notes, while the UK has been so “systematically diverted by the Brexit trauma” as to limit its ability to make diplomatic interventions.

“The danger here is that people forget about this crisis,” he said. “Because a country next door has admitted them, the rest of the world thinks that it isn’t their problem.”

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, has invited his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, to attend the G7 meeting in Quebec this week, and Mr Miliband – who now leads the International Rescue Committee (IRC) charity – said it was an opportunity for politicians to “provide answers to anger rather than just articulating anger”.

Clouds are now gathering over the bamboo and tarpaulin-covered shacks that make up most of the Cox’s Bazar camp network. When the monsoon comes, it will bring up to four months of heavy rain, turning the camp’s makeshift highways into rivers and, aid agencies fear, causing widespread mudslides where the landscape has been completely denuded of trees.

The IRC has been working to set up mobile healthcare units for when the camp infrastructure inevitably falters, and the UN has distributed 80,000 “tie-down kits” – hammers, nails and rope so refugees can literally tie down their makeshift homes.

But with a gap between funding and what would be needed to protect a “uniquely vulnerable” population, Mr Miliband said there is only so much they can do.

“You can predict a monsoon but you can’t predict a cyclone,” he said. “Obviously Bangladesh has a whole history of securing and protecting its own population at the time of cyclones, but it has never had to do that for this number of refugees.”

On his visit to the camps, Mr Miliband met children traumatised by what they had witnessed, as well as families who still had relatives back in Myanmar and who feared for their safety.

“One woman told me her uncle couldn’t leave with them because he is too old. She just said, ‘He is going to die, and I’m never going to see him again.’ It really is a tragic and traumatic situation.”

Mr Miliband said that since he left British politics in 2013, three years after he lost a fight for the Labour party leadership against his brother Ed, the IRC has grown to the point where it provided assistance to 27 million people last year – of which he is “immensely proud”.

He says it is nonetheless up to governments to ultimately take action in crises like the one facing the Rohingya, adding: “Humanitarian aid can staunch the dying but it takes politics to stop the killing.”

Progress on a political solution in Rakhine has stalled since the new flare-up in violence last year, when the fighting distracted from what could have been a breakthrough report by an independent commission chaired by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

The UK has “a very good record” in terms of financial aid to the Rohingya, Mr Miliband said, but like other countries has suffered from a “tragic hacking back” of programmes to take in refugees.

Britain has also failed to make significant diplomatic inroads with the government of Aung San Suu Kyi in spite of its long-standing and close ties to both her and Myanmar as a country.

Mr Miliband said the UK appeared to have “other things on our plate”, adding that during his time in government, British clout in Myanmar was “substantially magnified, augmented and supported by our membership of the European Union”.

“Around the world people are wondering what is the future of UK foreign policy,” he said. “And they are clear that bilateral [UK-Myanmar] foreign policy can never make up for an absence of multilateral foreign policy.”

Mr Miliband’s own family came to the UK as refugees from Nazi-occupied Belgium, and, in appealing to the “conscience of the world” to step up and help displaced people, he said there were “important parallels” to be drawn between the contemporary refugee crises and those of the early 20th century.

“There’s a basic humanity that depends on empathy,” he said. “In some ways it is important that we hold onto that idea – that it could be me.”

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13 best gluten-free BBQ foods

Is there anything that says British summertime quite like a barbeque? With all the lovely weather we’ve been having recently (not to mention a spate of bank holidays), the season is already well underway. But what about if you or one of your guests has coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance? You might think it’s easy as picking up some gluten-free bread but gluten has a way of finding its way into all sorts of foods-it’s used a filler in both burgers and sausages, as well as being a thickener in sauces like ketchup.

However, don’t panic! It doesn’t mean that those who can’t eat gluten can’t enjoy a barbeque. As someone who has been gluten-free for several years, I decided to test out the range of gluten-free BBQ foods now on the market You’ll find plenty of meaty products-but also some of the other staples you’ll need for a gluten-free BBQ, such as the best baps, ketchup and side dishes. From spicy kebabs to BBQ bundles, I fired up the grill and whittled it down to thirteen of the best….

Butcher’s Selection 8 Minted Lamb Kofta Kebabs: £4, Asda

These juicy minted lamb kofta kebabs were a huge hit with me- as well as several non-gluten free taste-testers! Made from 78% lamb, and a mix of rice flour, mint and other spices; they are perfect for those who like plenty of flavour without too much spice.

The kebabs come in packs of eight and are a little smaller than some of the other gluten-free products; so whilst this makes so this makes them great for snacking, you’ll probably find you need more than one to satisfy your hunger. If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, Asda also makes these kebabs in two more flavours: Indian flavour and Mexican. Overall, these will bring a bit more variety to your barbeque and are proof alone that gluten-free in no way means taste-free.

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Mediterranean Style Block: £2.50, Violife

When you’re gluten-free, options are limited already. So for those who are also vegan or dairy-free, it can feel impossible at times! Violife’s Mediterranean block is a dream on the bbq and is a great alternative to the usual boring salads or veggie burgers on offer.

The block is very similar in texture and appearance to halloumi, but whilst it doesn’t quite match up to it in terms of taste (it doesn’t replicate the flavour palate of the greek cheese but does taste incredibly cheesy and rich) it melted beautifully in a matter of minutes. 

Unlike most vegan cheeses, it didn’t disintegrate into a gooey mess but kept its hard exterior on the outside whilst being a deliciously ‘cheesy’ mixture on the inside. I don’t know how Violife manages to do it, but this is a little block of vegan magic.

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Beef, Bacon and Cheese Burger:£7.00 (pack of 2), James of Shepperton Butchers

Recently crowned 2018’s best speciality burger at the Q Guild of Butchers BBQ awards, this rich and velvety burger is almost the size of two regular ones! You might well struggle to finish it-not only is it supersized but the patty is stuffed with smoked bacon and Monterey Jack cheese; providing a delicious ‘melt in the middle’ texture. At £3.50 each, these burgers aren’t cheap but they’ll certainly add the wow factor to your barbeque and, after tasting them yourselves, you’ll be left in no doubt as to why they’re award-winning. Currently available for delivery across South West London.

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Cheese&Onion Baps: £1.75 (pack of 2), Wheat Free Bakery

We all know gluten-free bread can be a bit hit and miss. Not only do we have to hold our breath that we won’t end up with a holey loaf, it alters significantly in terms of taste and texture. A favourite in the coeliac community is Wheat-Free Bakery; a dedicated bakery for gluten-free folks which offers everything from doughnuts to pizza bases. 

I tested a range of their rolls but the ‘cheese and onion’ baps came out on top- a nice alternative to the regular rolls on the market. Other than being slightly dry (an inevitable drawback of gluten-free food), these baps fared extremely well in the taste test; the cheesy topping added to the flavour and the fact they come in small packs of two is great if you’re the only gluten-free person in your family.

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BBQ FIsh Box: £55, The Cornish FIsh Monger

The Cornish Fish Monger offer sustainably sourced fish from local fishermen in Cornwall and South Devon. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to some barbeque foods, their BBQ fish box is gluten-free and packed with a great selection of fresh fish and seafood.

Inside our box, was four weighty salmon fillets; plaice; scallops and mackerel-everything you need for a fish-themed barbeque. It’d have been nice to have some cooking ideas included (cooking mackerel on a grill was a new one for me!) but the fish was incredibly fresh and noticeably different in both taste and size compared to the usual kind we find in the supermarket.

At £55, it’s not cheap but given the variety of fish, the company’s comment to fresh, local and sustainable options and the fact it’s delivered all to your door; I still think this is a great option for those who aren’t meat lovers or are looking for a healthier BBQ alternative.

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Asda Extra Special 2 Wagyu Beef Burgers: £4.00, Asda

Wagyu beef is known for being the priciest of beef varieties (due to the way the cattle-in this case, Scottish pedigree- are reared and fed) which is what makes Asda’s burgers (at only £4 for two) even more special.

The fact these burgers were 90% meat with very little filler was evident in just how incredibly satisfying these were. Flavoured with just a sprinkle of black pepper, Asda’s wagyu beef burgers are a great value option for meat-lovers.

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Ultimate BBQ Hamper: £65, Ross and Ross

This hamper is perfect for foodies who like to get creative and put their own twist on BBQs. It’s crammed literally with everything you need to marinade, cook and serve a variety of meats. Our huge hamper (which certainly lives up to its ‘ultimate’ title) came with a variety of rubs (our favourites being Cajun and jerk) three different jams (Habanero Pineapple, Hot Smoky Chilli Chipotle and Sweet Chilli and Lime) two rapeseed oils (Original and Spicy), BBQ Salts and several condiments such as beetroot ketchup and hot sauce. At £65 the hamper is expensive, but it’s literally everything a BBQ master will need this summer.

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Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries: £2.99, Strong Roots

Each barbeque needs a few side dishes to pick at whilst the meat is sizzling, and these oven-baked sweet potato from Strong Roots get my vote. Gluten-Free and Vegan, these ultra-crispy fries contain 86% sweet potato, sunflower oil and only a handful of other ingredients. They’re much healthier than regular chips too-since they are a source of fibre and much lower in saturated fat. A healthy, delicious side-dish.

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Heck Gluten-Free Family Favourite Sausages:£4.00, Ocado

Ask any coeliac for their go-to sausage brand, and they’ll most probably answer Heck. Known for their extensive range of gluten-free (and often dairy-free) sausages and burgers, the family favourite pack is the first of two entries in our round-up today.

At £4.00 for a pack of ten, this option is perfect for the whole family (and believe me, gluten-lovers definitely won’t be able to tell these come with a ‘free-from’ label). Their high meat count (85% in this case; but leaner varieties go up to 95%) creates an incredibly moreish and meaty sausage that grills perfectly.

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BBQ Box: £30.00, Eversfield

Can’t be bothered to head to the supermarket with a shopping list? Eversfield offers a cost-effective and hassle-free solution with it’s organic, grass-fed BBQ box being delivered to your door. Enclosed were spicy chicken wings (a personal ‘hoorah!’ item for me; since it’s rare to find these gluten-free), beef burgers, pork sausages, lamb koftas and chicken thighs and drumsticks. The chicken wings sizzled beautifully and were a great combination of organic meat, herbs and spices; whilst the juicy lamb koftas also went down a storm.

At £30.00, this box offers both exceptionally high-quality meat and exceptional value. If you don’t have time to shop around, I’d recommend ordering this box today.

Buy now

Mr Organic Italian Ketchup: £2.49, Waitrose

Everyone knows condiments are key to livening up a plain burger or hot dog- but many can be thickened with gluten (which is why it’s so important to check labels!). Mr Organic’s Italian Ketchup is completely gluten-free, organic and vegan. Containing 80% tomatoes (over 30 Italian, sustainable grown go into each bottle), it’s packed with flavour and avoids the chemical aftertaste of some ‘free from’ condiments. Instead of adding lots of thickeners, it relies on the freshness of natural ingredients and would be a great compliment to anything on your barbeque.

Buy now

Zesty Chicken Burgers: £4.00, Heck

These high-protein, low-fat (only 2.2g per grilled burger) chicken burgers are a fantastic option for health-conscious guests (or perhaps those who aren’t huge red meat lovers). A combination of 85% British chicken, pea flour, lemon zest and watercress; Heck’s chicken burgers are zesty, light but, despite their calorie count, still feel hearty and flavourful. 

Buy now

Golden Era Ancient Grain Beer: £2.49, Beer Hawk

Finally, it’s worth giving a mention to drinks. There’s nothing quite like a beer in the sunshine whilst flipping burgers; but of course, regular varieties are made with wheat. New to the gluten-free beer market this year is Golden Era; which unlike many gluten-free beers is naturally free-from: uses a mix of grains quinoa, buckwheat, millet and liberty hops. The result is a refreshing, light bodied beer, which is 4% ABV and free from any additives or preservatives.

Buy now


Providing 10/10 in the taste department, Asda’s juicy lamb koftas get my best pick this time. However, there are still many other options worthy of a mention. If you’re a bit of a foodie, Ross and Ross’s ultimate BBQ hamper is a great way to get creative on the grill and experiment. Violife’s Mediterranean block offers a fantastic vegan option whilst James of Shepperton’s beef, bacon and cheese burger is also a must-try.

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Kate Spade death: Designer found dead in her New York apartment in apparent suicide, police say

Kate Spade, one of America’s most successful and admired fashion icons, has been found dead in her New York apartment in what police are said to be treating as an apparent suicide.

Police confirmed the 55-year-old Spade, who was born Katherine Brosnahan, had been found unresponsive at her home on the city’s Park Avenue. Reports said she had been found by her housekeeper, who then alerted officers. A note was said to have been recovered from the scene.

“Upon arrival, officers discovered a 55-year-old female unconscious and unresponsive,” the New York Police Department said in a statement, adding she was pronounced dead at 10.26am. “Emergency medical services responded and pronounced the aided female deceased. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing.”

Spade, whose original company was bought last year by Coach for $2.4bn, created a fashion sensation in the 1990s, with a line of iconic handbags that became almost ubiquitous. At one point, she had more than 140 retail shops in the US and 175 around the world.

Spade, who was born Katherine Brosnahan in Kansas City in 1962, was named America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories in the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s awards in 1996. She studied at Arizona State University.

Fans and members of the fashion industry were quick to post tributes on social media as news of her death on Tuesday spread.

PREMME co-founder Nicolette Mason said: “Heartbroken to hear about Kate Spade. I hope she can be remembered for her legacy of creating a world of whimsy and making simple things feel special and beautiful. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health, please know you don’t have to do it alone – 1-800-273-8255.”

Fashion designer Kate Spade explains why she took nine years out of the industry before launching Frances Valentine

New York Times Styles reporter Matthew Schneier tweeted that finding out about Spade was “awful news”.

Fans of the brand began posting pictures of their favourite handbags. Chelsea Clinton wrote: “My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it.”


The Times said Spade’s husband was at the scene. A police spokesman did not know the whereabouts of her 13-year-old daughter. Spade was said to be worth $200m.

Spade met her husband, Andy Spade, in 1986 while she was working at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle in Manhattan. Together, they were featured in the magazine as part of a photo story on couples in love

While at the magazine, Spade identified what she believed was a gap in the market for a stylish but affordable handbags.

In 1999, she told the Boston Globe the image she was seeking was something that was both “timeless” and “more personal, less serious”.

She said she wanted her bags to “assume the personality of the wearer, not the reverse”.

A spokeswoman for Kate Spade New York said in a statement that “while Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand”.

It added: “Kate will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time.”

(Getty) Spade was said to be worth $200m

After selling their original company in 2006, the Spades launched a new fashion brand called Frances Valentine, which sells footwear and accessories.

Spade told reporters she was so committed to the new brand she felt ready to change her surname  to Valentine.

Tapestry Inc, the handbag company formerly known as Coach, eventually bought the Kate Spade brand in May 2017. 


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255 and the Crisis Text Line is 741741.


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Rate of Americans OK with pornography the highest since 2011, poll says

June 5 (UPI) — The percentage of Americans morally OK with pornography is at its highest level since Gallup first began measuring moral perceptions of porn in 2011.

Forty-three percent of Americans now believe pornography is “morally acceptable,” poll results released Tuesday indicate. That is a seven-percentage-point increase from last year and the highest level since 2011.

Gallup attributed part of that leap to a “sizable change” in attitudes among Democrats. Fifty-three percent of Democrats told Gallup they find pornography morally acceptable.

The emergence of adult film star Stormy Daniels, who has said she had a sexual encounter with President Donald Trump in 2006, may have given the porn industry a sense of credibility among more Americans, Gallup speculated. Trump has denied any encounter took place.

Researchers said Americans have become more liberal in their views on the behavior of others. This year, Gallup found record rates of permissiveness this year on several issues, including birth control, divorce, gay or lesbian relationships and polygamy.

Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey was conducted by telephone May 1-10 with a random sample of 1,024 adults 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. It has a 4 percent margin of error.

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Kate Spade: fashion designer found dead in New York

The handbag and fashion designer Kate Spade has been found dead in New York in an apparent suicide at her home, according to law enforcement officials.

Officials say the body of the 55-year-old businesswoman was found by housekeeping staff inside her Park Avenue apartment at about 10.20am on Tuesday. They say she left a note at the scene. The officials were not authorized to divulge details of the investigation and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

It is not known when she died, and the city’s medical examiner will perform an autopsy. Tributes to the designer and her signature jaunty but practical bags began flooding on to social media almost immediately after the news became public, many from women who recalled poignantly how her distinctive style had brightened their youth.

Spade created a line of sleek handbags in the early 1990s that created a smash on the world fashion scene.

Her brand, Kate Spade New York, has more than 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the US and more than 175 shops internationally. She sold the last of her shares in that concern in 2016 and launched a new fashion brand called Frances Valentine. She changed her name to Katherine Noel Frances Valentine Brosnahan Spade, she said in an NPR interview this year.

Spade, who was born in Kansas City, Missouri, launched her company with husband Andy in their New York apartment in 1993. She walked away from the company in 2007, a year after it was acquired from the Neiman Marcus Group for $125m by the company then known as Liz Claiborne Inc.

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, paid tribute to the fashion designer via Twitter.

“My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it. Holding Kate’s family, friends and loved ones in my heart.”

Chelsea Clinton

My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it. Holding Kate’s family, friends and loved ones in my heart.

June 5, 2018

Clinton also retweeted a post that said: “A reminder that ‘success’ does not equal happiness. Depression does not care about your age, status or bank account.”

The future designer studied at Arizona State University, where she was majoring in journalism but also working at a department store, where she met her future husband and business partner Andy Spade, in 1983. They moved to New York in the mid-80s, where Kate started her career as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine. She also began designing her own handbags and in 1993 launched Kate Spade Handbags. With their compact and simple but jaunty styles, often in bright colors, they were a swift hit and she began garnering awards.

The trade association Council of Fashion Designers of America website says in a profile of her: “She saw a need for practical, stylish handbags and decided to create a smart, well-edited collection. She and Andy began the company Kate Spade … the company grew to hundreds of stores internationally.”

She expanded into footwear, glasses, perfume, cosmetics and, later, home decor and homewares.

Spade started her company based on six shapes of bags that she thought every working woman needed. It created a smash.

“I grew up in the midwest, where you have to have it [a fashion item] because you like it, not because you’re supposed to have it,” she explained to the Associated Press in a 2004 interview. “For our customers, fashion is in the right place in their life. It’s an adornment, not an obsession.”

She won multiple awards from the CFDA and was named a “giant of design” by House Beautiful magazine as well as being inducted into America’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

Kate and Andy had a daughter in 2005. They sold control of the Kate Spade business in 2006, although the brand itself endured. Coach, now known as Tapestry, bought the Kate Spade brand last year for $2.4bn, seeking to broaden its appeal.

She is survived by her husband and daughter.

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at

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