'Superman' actress Margot Kidder's death ruled a suicide

"Superman" actress Margot Kidder's death has been ruled a suicide, and her daughter said today it's a relief to finally have the truth out.

Kidder, who played Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve's Superman in her most famous role, was found by a friend in her Montana home on May 13.

At the time, Kidder's manager, Camilla Fluxman Pines, said Kidder died peacefully in her sleep.

A statement released by Park County coroner Richard Wood said she "died as a result of a self-inflicted drug and alcohol overdose" and that no further details would be released.

Maggie McGuane, Kidder's daughter by her ex-husband Thomas McGuane, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that she knew her mother died by suicide the moment authorities took her to Kidder's home in Livingston, a small town near Yellowstone National Park.

"It's a big relief that the truth is out there," she said. "It's important to be open and honest so there's not a cloud of shame in dealing with this."

Kidder's death is one of several high-profile suicides this year that include celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade.

McGuane noted that Montana has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation and she urged people with mental illness to seek help.

"It's a very unique sort of grief and pain," McGuane said. "Knowing how many families in this state go through this, I wish that I could reach out to each one of them."

Kidder struggled with mental illness much of her life, and it was made worse by a 1990 car accident that left her in debt and led to her using a wheelchair for almost two years.

Kidder and Reeve starred in four Superman movies between 1978 and 1987.

She also appeared in "The Great Waldo Pepper" with Robert Redford in 1975, Brian De Palma's "Sisters" in 1973 and "The Amityville Horror" in 1979.

She later appeared in small films and television shows until 2017, including "R.L. Stine's the Haunting Hour."

She received a Daytime Emmy Award as outstanding performer in a kids' series in 2015 for that role.

Kidder, a native of Yellowknife, Canada, was a political activist who was arrested in 2011 in a Washington, D.C., protest over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada's oil sands.

Her final years were troubled by conflicts with people who were down on their luck that she took into her home.

Between August 2016 and her death in May, authorities were called to her house 40 times on reports of people trespassing, theft and other disturbances, according to police logs released to the AP under a public-records request.

The calls include responses by ambulances five times in seven months, including at the time of her death.

Joan Kesich, a longtime friend who found Kidder's body, said Kidder was fearless and always spoke the truth, regardless of the consequences.

"In her last months, she was herself — same kind of love, same kind of energy," Kesich said.

"The challenges that she had were very public. I want what I know about her to be out there because it was glorious. She was really a blazing energy."

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.
Lifeline: 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz
What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
Healthline: 0800 611 116
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2000 file photo, actress Margot Kidder, who dated former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, arrives for his funeral at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. Kidder's daughter says the Superman actress' death has been ruled a suicide. Maggie McGuan told The Associated Press Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, that she knew her mother died by suicide when she was brought to Kidder's house in May 2018, and that it is a big relief to have the truth out. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
In this Oct. 3, 2000 file photo, actress Margot Kidder, who dated former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, arrives for his funeral at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. Kidder's daughter says the Superman actress' death has been ruled a suicide. Source: 1 NEWS

Kiwi firefighter battling worst wildfire in California's history says team 'not under any illusions' of the extreme danger

A Kiwi firefighter bracing for his first day battling the worst wildfire in California's history says his team are under no illusions the conditions they're entering are "extreemly danergous".

Field liaison officer for the US deployment of New Zealand firefighters, Wipari Henwood, said he expected tough 12-hour-plus days fighting the blaze in the Californian mountains.

"Just arriving in this heat it has been pretty tough, but I'm sure we'll get acclimatised over the next few days," he said.

"Definitely out on those mountain ranges it's pretty high altitude out here working on some of that terrain, really steep country.

"So if you're going to have to fight the fires at the same time, yep it's going to be tough long days."

Mr Henwood is one of about 40 firefighters from New Zealand who will join an Australian contingent of firefighters sent to help the Americans.

He said the work schedule would be two 14-day shift patterns, up to 16-hours max, with two days break in between.

In the northern Californian city of Redding from which Mr Henwood was speaking it was 41C today.

"We're not under any illusions, these fire conditions are extremely dangerous, but in saying that, we've been well prepared for the job," Mr Henwood said.

"The systems that they've got in place are the best, so safety zones, escape routes, look outs, everything like that. So if things start to go the wrong way, the obvious option is to evacuate the area as soon as possible."

It is projected that the 18 separate fires across the West Coast US state will continue to burn for the duration of August.

But despite the gruelling schedule they face, Mr Henwood said morale among the Kiwi firefighters was not an issue.

"Just being in camp is enough to do that. You don't go walking down the streets of the camp here without every single American coming to thank you for coming to help," he said.

"You know, if you're walking down the street it's the same thing, it's pretty humbling.

"We're pretty luck to get the opportunity to come here, there's a lot of people back home who missed out on coming."

The largest wildfire ever recorded in California has needed just 11 days to blacken an area nearly the size of Los Angeles — and it's only one of many enormous blazes that could make this the worst fire season in state history.

Some 14,000 firefighters from as far away as Florida and from here in New Zealand are struggling to curb 18 fires in the midst of a sweltering summer that has seen wind-whipped flames carve their way through national forest land and rural areas, threaten urban areas and incinerate neighbourhoods.

California is seeing earlier, longer and more destructive wildfire seasons because of drought, warmer weather attributed to climate change and home construction deeper into the forests.

The flames, which had burned 1,184 square kilometres, were raging in mostly remote areas and no deaths or serious injuries were reported but 75 homes were destroyed.

The blaze that broke out July 27 initially spread quickly because of what officials said was a perfect combination of weather, rugged topography and abundant brush and timber turned to tinder by years of drought.

Wipari Henwood spoke from Redding to TVNZ1's Breakfast. Source: Breakfast


US to impose sanctions on Russia over nerve agent attack on ex-spy in England

The United States will impose sanctions on Russia for its use of a nerve agent in an attempt to kill a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

British health officials say despite the precautions, the risk of harm is low. Source: Breakfast

The State Department says today the sanctions will be imposed on Russia because it used a chemical weapon in violation of international law.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, in the British town of Salisbury in March.

Ms Skirpal and her father, a former Russian spy, were poisoned in Salisbury,England in March. Source: Breakfast

Britain has accused Russia of being behind the attack, which the Kremlin vehemently denies.

Since the March attack, two other British nationals with no ties to Russia have been poised by the substance.

Following a 15-day congressional notification period, the sanctions will take effect on or around August 22, according to a statement from the State Department.

Trump’s failure back up claims from US intelligence agencies came as he met President Putin in Helsinki.
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Source: 1 NEWS