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Charles Krauthammer, prominent conservative voice, has died

Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and pundit who helped shape and occasionally dissented from the conservative movement as he evolved from "Great Society" Democrat to Iraq War cheerleader to denouncer of Donald Trump, died Thursday.

He was 68.

His death was announced by two organizations that were longtime employers, Fox News Channel and The Washington Post.

Krauthammer had said publicly a year ago he was being treated for a cancerous tumor in his abdomen and earlier this month revealed that he likely had just weeks to live.

"I leave this life with no regrets," Krauthammer wrote in The Washington Post, where his column had run since 1984. "It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended."

Sometimes scornful, sometimes reflective, he was awarded a Pulitzer in 1987 for "his witty and insightful" commentary and was an influential voice among Republicans, whether through his syndicated column or his appearances on Fox News Channel. He was most associated with Brit Hume's nightly newscast and stayed with it when Bret Baier took over in 2009.

Krauthammer is credited with coining the term "The Reagan Doctrine" for President Reagan's policy of aiding anti-Communist movements worldwide. He was a leading advocate for the Iraq War and a prominent critic of President Barack Obama, whom he praised for his "first-class intellect and first-class temperament" and denounced for having a "highly suspect" character.

Krauthammer was a former Harvard medical student who graduated even after he was paralyzed from the neck down because of a diving board accident, continuing his studies from his hospital bed. He was a Democrat in his youth and his political engagement dated back to 1976, when he handed out leaflets for Henry Jackson's unsuccessful presidential campaign.

But through the 1980s and beyond, Krauthammer followed a journey akin to such neo-conservative predecessors as Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, turning against his old party on foreign and domestic issues. He aligned with Republicans on everything from confrontation with the Soviet Union to rejection of the "Great Society" programs enacted during the 1960s.

"As I became convinced of the practical and theoretical defects of the social-democratic tendencies of my youth, it was but a short distance to a philosophy of restrained, free-market governance that gave more space and place to the individual and to the civil society that stands between citizen and state," he wrote in the introduction to "Things That Matter," a million-selling compilation of his writings published in 2013.

For the Post, Time magazine, The New Republic and other publications, Krauthammer wrote on a wide range of subjects, and in "Things That Matter" listed chess, baseball, "the innocence of dogs" and "the cunning of cats" among his passions. As a psychiatrist in the 1970s, he did groundbreaking research on bipolar disorder.

But he found nothing could live apart from government and the civic realm. "Science, medicine, art, poetry, architecture" and other fields were "fundamentally subordinate. In the end, they must bow to the sovereignty of politics."

Ever blunt in his criticisms, Krauthammer was an "intense disliker" the liberal columnist E.J. Dionne told Politico in 2009. And opponents had words for him. Christopher Hitchens once called him the "newest of the neocon mini-windbags," with the "arduous job, in an arduous time, of being an unpredictable conformist."

He was attacked for his politics, and for his predictions. He was so confident of quick success in Iraq he initially labeled the 2003 invasion "The Three Week War" and defended the conflict for years. He also backed the George W. Bush administration's use of torture as an "uncontrolled experiment" carried out "sometimes clumsily, sometimes cruelly, indeed, sometimes wrongly. But successfully. It kept us safe."

And the former president praised Krauthammer after hearing of his death.

"For decades, Charles' words have strengthened our democracy," George W. Bush said in a statement. "His work was far-reaching and influential — and while his voice will be deeply missed, his ideas and values will always be a part of our country."

Krauthammer was sure that Obama would lose in 2008 because of lingering fears from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and foresaw Mitt Romney defeating him in 2012.

But he prided himself on his rejection of orthodoxy and took on Republicans, too, observing during a Fox special in 2013 that "If you're going to leave the medical profession because you think you have something to say, you betray your whole life if you don't say what you think and if you don't say it honestly and bluntly."

He criticized the death penalty and rejected intelligent design as "today's tarted-up version of creationism." In 2005, he was widely cited as a key factor in convincing Bush to rescind the Supreme Court nomination of the president's friend and legal adviser Harriet Miers, whom Krauthammer and others said lacked the necessary credentials. And he differed with such Fox commentators as Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham as he found himself among the increasingly isolated "Never Trumpers," Republicans regarding the real estate baron and former "Apprentice" star as a vulgarian unfit for the presidency.

"I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully," he wrote in August 2016, around the time Trump officially became the Republican nominee. "I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied. He lives in a cocoon of solipsism where the world outside himself has value — indeed exists — only insofar as it sustains and inflates him."

Trump, of course, tweeted about Krauthammer, who "pretends to be a smart guy, but if you look at his record, he isn't. A dummy who is on too many Fox shows. An overrated clown!"

Krauthammer married Robyn Trethewey, an artist and former attorney, in 1974. They had a son, Daniel, who also became a columnist and commentator.

The son of Jewish immigrants from Europe, Krauthammer was born in New York City and moved with his family to Montreal when he was 5, growing up in a French speaking home. His path to political writing was unexpected. First, at McGill University, he became editor in chief of the student newspaper after his predecessor was ousted over what Krauthammer called his "mindless, humorless Maoism."

In the late 1970s, while a psychiatric resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, a professor with whom he had researched manic depression was appointed to a mental health agency created by President Jimmy Carter. Krauthammer went, too, began writing for The New Republic and was soon recruited to write speeches for Carter's vice president and 1980 running mate, Walter Mondale.

Carter was defeated by Reagan and on Jan. 20, 1981, Reagan's inauguration day, Krauthammer formally joined The New Republic as a writer and editor.

"These quite fantastic twists and turns have given me a profound respect for serendipity," he wrote in 2013. "A long forgotten, utterly trivial student council fight brought me to journalism. A moment of adolescent anger led me to the impulsive decision to quit political studies and enroll in medical school. A decade later, a random presidential appointment having nothing to do with me brought me to a place where my writing and public career could begin.

"When a young journalist asks me today, 'How do I get to a nationally syndicated columnist?' I have my answer: 'First, go to medical school.'"


AP Television Writer David Bauder contributed to this report.

Koko the gorilla used smarts, empathy to help change views

Koko the gorilla, whose remarkable sign-language ability and motherly attachment to pet cats helped change the world's views about the intelligence of animals and their capacity for empathy, has died at 46.

Koko was taught sign language from an early age as a scientific test subject and eventually learned more than 1,000 words, a vocabulary similar to that of a human toddler.

She became a celebrity who played with the likes of William Shatner, Sting, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Williams and Mr. Rogers. At her home preserve, where she was treated like a queen, she ran around with Williams' eyeglasses and unzipped Rogers' famous cardigan sweater.

In so doing, Koko showed the American public that a giant ape didn't have to be scary but wanted to be tickled and hugged.

The Gorilla Foundation said the 280-pound (127-kilogram) western lowland gorilla died in her sleep at the foundation's preserve in California's Santa Cruz mountains Tuesday.

Koko was the not the first animal to learn sign language and communicate, but through books and media appearances she became the most famous. Yet there was debate in the scientific community about how deep and human-like her conversations were.

Koko appeared in many documentaries, including a 2015 PBS one, and twice in National Geographic. The gorilla's 1978 National Geographic cover featured a photo that the animal had taken of herself in a mirror.

"Koko the individual was supersmart, like all the apes, and also sensitive, something not everyone expected from a 'king kong' type animal that movies depict as dangerous and formidable," Emory University primate researcher Frans de Waal said in an email Thursday.

"It changed the image of apes, and gorillas in particular, for the better, such as through the children's book 'Koko's Kitten' that may young people have grown up with. To view apes as nice and caring was new to the public and a big improvement."

Koko watched movies and television, with her handlers saying her favorite book was "The Three Little Kittens," her favorite movies included the Eddie Murphy version of "Doctor Doolittle" and "Free Willy," and her favorite TV show was "Wild Kingdom."

For her 25th birthday, she asked for and received a box of rubber snakes. In 1996, she even asked to be a mother. Despite attempts by her keepers to introduce male partners, Koko never became a mother. Instead, she had a series of kittens as pets.

The first was named All Ball, a gray and white tail-less kitten, given to Koko for her birthday in 1984. Other cats followed after All Ball's death, but researchers reported that the gorilla kept "mourning" the original cat years later.

Koko's real name was Hanabi-Ko, Japanese for fireworks child. She was born July 4, 1971, at the San Francisco Zoo.

Francine Patterson was working on her doctoral dissertation on the linguistic capabilities of gorillas and in 1972 started to teach Koko sign language. Patterson and biologist Ronald Cohn moved Koko to their newly established preserve in 1974 and kept teaching and studying her, adding a male gorilla in 1979.

In 2004, Koko used American Sign Language to communicate that her mouth hurt and used a pain scale of 1 to 10 to show how badly it hurt.

"Koko represents what language may have been 5 million years ago for people," Cohn said in 1996. "That's the time that gorillas and humans separated in evolution."

Other scientists, such as Herbert Terrace at Columbia University, who raised and taught sign language to a primate named Nim Chimpksy (a play on the name of the linguist Noam Chomsky), argued in scientific and popular literature that most of Koko's conversations and those of other primates were "not spontaneous but solicited by questions from her teachers and companions."

"Scientists have often complained about possible overinterpretation of Koko's sign language utterances and the lack of proper documentation of what she has said when and how," deWaal said in an email, adding that "coaching and interpretation by the people around her" may have altered her messages at times.

But the science, deWaal said, was "irrelevant to Koko's pop-image. ... Koko's passing is the end of an era, and a genuine loss."

Koko frequently asked to see people's nipples, a habit that led to controversy more than a dozen years ago, when two former caretakers said they were fired for refusing to bare their breasts to the gorilla. The women settled with the foundation in 2005.

Video shows Koko grabbing for Williams' chest area and Shatner's groin.

Williams, another San Francisco Bay area legend, met Koko in 2001 and called it a "mind-altering experience." The two held hands and tickled each other in a widely shared video.

"We shared something extraordinary: Laughter," he said. He called it "awesome and unforgettable." Williams killed himself in 2014.

Patterson later said she didn't plan on telling Koko about Williams' death, but the gorilla overheard conversation and then later "mourned" the actor by going silent and sullen.

Koko knew about death, primary researcher Patterson said in 2015, relaying in The Atlantic a conversation Koko had with another caretaker:

"The caregiver showed Koko a skeleton and asked, 'Is this alive or dead?' Koko signed, 'Dead, draped.' 'Draped' means 'covered up.' Then the caregiver asked, 'Where do animals go when they die?' Koko said, 'A comfortable hole.' Then she gave a kiss goodbye."


Borenstein reported from Washington.

France's presidential palace hosts electronic music show

The courtyard of the French presidential palace was converted into a giant dance floor for one evening on the country's Music Day.

The Elysee Palace hosted an unprecedented electronic music show on Thursday that 1,500 people who registered on the presidency's website got to attend for free.

Guests could enjoy food and alcohol-free beer while listening to five French acts. They included electro artists Kavinsky and Busy P, who are regarded as global ambassadors of the house music genre known as French Touch.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, made a brief appearance to shake hands with spectators.

Since its first edition in 1982, the Music Day Festival has evolved into an evening of outdoor concerts at cultural sites and on street corners across France.

Family: Kate Spade's father dies on eve of her funeral

The father of fashion designer Kate Spade died on the eve of her funeral, according to a statement released by her family shortly before her service began Thursday in her hometown of Kansas City.

The family said 89-year-old Earl Brosnahan Jr. had been in ill health before passing away Wednesday night at his home. The statement said he was "heartbroken over the recent death of his beloved daughter."

Kate Spade was found dead by suicide in her New York City home on June 5. She was 55 and had a 13-year-old daughter. Her husband said she'd had depression and anxiety for many years.

Mourners flocked to a Kansas City church shortly before her funeral, many carrying her iconic purses.

Spade was working as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine when she launched her company with her husband Andy Spade in 1993.

Coach, now known as Tapestry, bought the Kate Spade brand last year for $2.4 billion. Kate and Andy Spade recently had started a new handbag company, Frances Valentine.

Andy Spade said earlier this month that his wife had long suffered from depression and anxiety, but that she had been seeing a doctor regularly and was taking medication.

He said he and his wife had been living separately in the 10 months before her death but saw each other or spoke every day. He said they were not legally separated and never discussed divorce.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or a Kansas City animal shelter.

Fox News Channel chides rivals for not airing Trump speech

Fox News Channel is not content simply to televise President Donald Trump at a campaign-style rally. The network is compelled to point it out when its rivals don't.

Fox's onscreen message during Trump's speech on Wednesday night is the latest example of how formerly little-noticed news judgment decisions can become political issues in themselves.

Fox carried the entirety of Trump's address to a crowd in Minnesota, pre-empting most of Tucker Carlson's prime-time show. MSNBC stuck with its regular lineup, streaming Trump's speech online and airing clips from it later news coverage. CNN also showed its regular lineup as producers monitored the speech for news.

During the speech, Fox aired an onscreen message that said: "Trump rally live only on Fox News, other networks ignore presidential rally."

For Fox viewers who constantly hear that the "mainstream media" dislikes the president, the message could drive home the notion that only Fox has their backs. Yet it could also reinforce a statement for which Carlson received criticism last week, when he told his viewers that stories on other news outlets were not to be believed.

It's an example of Fox appealing explicitly to viewers who support the president, said Tom Bettag, a veteran network news producer who now teaches journalism at the University of Maryland.

"I'm not sure that it plays to the average person, who would be inclined to say 'don't tell me what to watch, don't tell me what to think. I can make up my own mind,'" Bettag said. "But I don't think they're trying to appeal to a general audience."

MSNBC and CNN declined to comment on Thursday. A Fox representative noted that the president's address was particularly newsworthy on the same day the president reversed course on a policy of separating families that cross the border illegally, and just after his summit with North Korea. When Barack Obama was president, interest groups would occasionally criticize Fox for giving less airtime to his events than his rivals did.

News organizations have also received criticism from Trump opponents for giving the president too much airtime, or reporting things that he says that are demonstrably false. Cable news networks reliably televise White House press secretary Sarah Sanders' daily briefings live, even as they become contentious and some critics say shed little light on the news.

Bettag said he didn't believe Fox's rivals would be persuaded to televise events that they otherwise might not have for fear of those decisions becoming fodder for critics.

"Being attacked by Fox is a little bit like being attacked by Trump," he said. "Being told by Fox that your news organization is terrible, that's not the worst thing in the world for the 80 percent of people who are not Fox viewers."

The Latest: Hundreds attend funeral for designer Kate Spade

The Latest on funeral services for fashion designer Kate Spade (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

Hundreds of mourners braved drizzling rain to attend the funeral for fashion designer Kate Spade in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

Many of those attending the Thursday church service carried her iconic purses.

Her family released a statement shortly before the funeral began, saying her father had died the night before. The statement said 89-year-old Earl Brosnahan Jr. had been in failing health and was "heartbroken" after his daughter's suicide.

The 55-year-old mother was found dead in her New York City home on June 5. Her husband says she'd had depression and anxiety for years, and that she'd been seeing a doctor.

A high school classmate said Thursday that Spade was "incredibly kind" and had a memorable laugh.


3:50 p.m.

The family of fashion designer Kate Spade says her father died on the eve of her funeral.

The family released a statement Thursday saying Earl Brosnahan, Jr. died Wednesday night at his home in Kansas City, Missouri. The family says he was 89 and had been in failing health.

The statement says he was "heartbroken over the recent death of his beloved daughter."

The statement was released as a funeral began for his daughter Thursday afternoon at church in Kansas City, her hometown. Kate Spade was found dead by suicide in her New York City home on June 5.

She was 55 and had a 13-year-old daughter. Her husband, Andy Spade, says she had depression and anxiety for many years.


11:13 p.m.

Fashion designer Kate Spade is being buried in Kansas City, where she was born.

Services for Spade are planned for 3 p.m. Thursday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church. That's where her grandparents wed.

Spade was found dead by suicide on June 5 in her New York City home. She was 55 and had a 13-year-old daughter.

Spade was working as an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine when she launched her company with husband Andy Spade in 1993. Andy Spade says she had depression and anxiety for many years.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or a Kansas City animal shelter.

Kate Spade’s father, Earl F. Brosnahan dead at 89

Earl F. Brosnahan Jr., the father of late fashion designer Kate Spade, has died, according to a family statement to ABC News.

>> Read more trending news 

Brosnahan, who went by his middle name, Frank, was 89 and in failing health.

“He had been in failing health of late and was heartbroken over the recent death of his beloved daughter,” the statement said.

Brosnahan’s death comes after Spade died of suicide in New York City June 5. Her funeral was held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Directors Guild says industry is still mostly white and male

A new study by the Directors Guild of America finds that despite high-profile releases like "Get Out" and "Wonder Woman," film directors remained overwhelmingly white and male among the movies released last year.

The DGA examined all 651 feature films released theatrically in 2017. It found that among those films to make at least $250,000 at the box office, 12 percent of directors were women and 10 percent were people of color.

Those figures represent almost double the number of female directors in 2013, according to the DGA, but a downturn of 7 percent for minority filmmakers.

DGA President Thomas Schlamme said the results revealed that "discriminatory practices are still rampant across every corner of the feature film business." He added that improved diversity in indie filmmaking is a "misconception."

Demi Lovato sings about addiction struggles on 'Sober'

Demi Lovato celebrated six years of sobriety in March, but her new song indicates she may no longer be sober.

The pop star released "Sober " on YouTube on Thursday, singing lyrics like: "Momma, I'm so sorry I'm not sober anymore/And daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor."

Lovato tweeted a link to the song with the words "My truth."

The singer-actress struggled with an eating disorder, self-mutilation and other issues, entering rehab in 2010. She has spoken out about her battles with drugs and alcohol over the years, and she's become a role model for young women and men who have faced their own issues.

Representatives for the 25-year-old singer didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.



Demi Lovato's "Sober":

Abloh's historic debut at Vuitton is a big draw in Paris

The debut Louis Vuitton collection by Virgil Abloh, the first African-American to head a major European fashion house, drew stars of all stripes to Paris for his rainbow-themed menswear show.

Kanye West was there with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, who had returned to Paris for the first time since she was tied up and robbed at gunpoint during an October 2016 jewelry heist. Model Bella Hadid weathered a prevailing hot spell behind shades, while Rihanna and Naomi Campbell arrived for the big event of Paris Fashion Week at the last minute.

Here are some highlights from Thursday's spring-summer menswear shows:


"It is a big, big day," Bella Hadid said as she took her seat in the yellow section of Louis Vuitton's multicolored set.

"It's great," chimed in Rihanna, who rocked a hip, white LV jumpsuit.

It was clear by the mood at the show that expectations for artistic director Abloh's debut were at stratospheric levels.

And Abloh did not squander his moment. There was deep and thoughtful symbolism throughout the 56 multicolored looks.

White dominated the first designs. The hue, which signifies purity or new beginnings, also inspired Abloh's first main fashion venture, the Milan-based house Off-White.

On Thursday, it was the base color for sheer T-shirts, LV fitted jackets and loose pleated pants that were accessorized with broken white chains that hung from bags and dragged on the floor. All of the models displaying the garments were black.

Colors then flourished.

A fluorescent yellow breast-plate top began a leitmotif of cage-like garments, such as orange ribbed vests and fluorescent side bibs.

Abloh literally went over the rainbow for the show's best looks, which channeled "The Wizard of Oz." A black and white jacquard double-breasted tailored jacket had an image of Judy Garland on the back.



Abloh's Louis Vuitton debut was recognized as a history-making moment for fashion.

American football player Victor Cruz, 31, who has African-American and Puerto Rican roots, told The Associated Press: "I'm happy to be alive and be part of this, because this hasn't happened before in my generation."

Cruz, who arrived with Hadid, said having an African-American designer leading a European heritage house for the first time was "opening the door. People now have to pay attention to minorities and the culture that we are shaping for ourselves."

"This forces them to pay attention to us now," he continued. "Pay attention in a real way, and not just inviting us to their shows. There are more doors opening to us now."



"Confusion" and age-old drama reigned in the styles of Rick Owens' spring-summer ode to the Tower of Babel.

Set outside against the art deco columns of Paris' Palais de Tokyo, his show featured machines spitting mood-setting smoke out across the constructed geometric stage. The accomplished designs themselves followed this architectural theme.

Crisscross patterns — as seen in a torn vest silhouette or in a graphic print — were ubiquitous on looks that often capped gargantuan, 90s-era black pants.

Much like the Biblical tower that Owens' used as a touchstone for the 40 looks, the weight of the silhouette seemed visually to carry down from the torso to solid legs.

The pants, which were sometimes adorned with studs or imagined in geometric panels, were highly artistic in their play on proportion.

Three-dimensional tent structures adorning torsos added an eccentric edge, as did billowing white coats in multiple layers that carried an ecclesiastical-meets-sci-fi air.



The age of email doesn't seem to have left a mark on the fashion industry's antiquated system for extending invitations.

Season after season, gasoline-guzzling couriers crisscross Paris to hand-deliver elaborate invites to fashion insiders.

Top houses vie to see which will come up the funniest or most imaginative one.

The invitation to Rick Owens' menswear show on Thursday arrived in the shape of a black cotton mouth mask that fastened around the ears.

The Yoshiokubo label sent out an invite to its "Bank Robbery" show that was fashioned as a thick wad of pretend $500,000 bills.



Loose summer vibes were in the breeze at the open-air Issey Miyake presentation.

Flowing silhouettes of cotton jersey — hybrids between T-shirts and shirts — led the eye to baggy printed pants inspired by sunlight.

The sun theme continued in woven jackets. The zigzag patterns that evoked summer rays were made using a computerized jacquard fabric.

It was a reminder why Issey Miyake is known as the house of techno-fabrics.

Some jackets looked businesslike or preppy — a fitting reference for the show venue, Paris' Sorbonne university.

"The boundaries between work, leisure, privacy have become blurred. One can work everywhere. A park, a cafe, a library or at home," the show notes pointed out.

This fact was certainly not lost on the myriad fashion writers, bunched up after the show with coffees, working to meet deadlines.

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