Paris

Notre Dame cathedral’s 8,000-pipe organ has escaped undamaged from the flames that engulfed the building last week.

Pascal Quoirin, a specialist who restored the Notre Dame organ in 2017, has checked the instrument and says it did not suffer any damage in the blaze that destroyed most of the roof.

Quoirin said “after two hours spent examining the instrumental part, I did not notice any damage that could have been caused by the fire.”

According to Quoirin, the thermometer inside the organ showed that the temperature did not rise above 17 degrees Celsius (63 Fahrenheit) on the day of the fire, ensuring no damage to the electronic components or pipes.

Quoirin recommends protecting the instrument with a waterproof case, to dusting it and playing it regularly during the restoration work.

Source: Fox News World

France’s most powerful administrative court has refused the demands of Syria-based French women to be repatriated back to French soil with their families.

The Council of State rejected the calls on Tuesday in a short statement explaining that a French judge couldn’t make a binding decision on the issue as it involves “negotiations with foreign authorities or intervention on a foreign territory.”

The court said it “rejects the demands for repatriation made by French nationals and for their children, currently in Syria.”

At this month’s G-7 ministers’ meeting in Paris the issue of how to deal with suspected extremists and their families from Western countries who go to Syria was a bone of contention. The U.S. has called for countries to take back their citizens and put them on trial, if necessary, but European allies have largely refused.

Source: Fox News World

The man in charge of the restoration of the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral says he has appointed professional mountain climbers to install temporary tarps over the building to offset potential rain damage.

With showers set to hit the French capital this week, the architect-in-chief said he had to rush the installation of the protective covers.

Speaking to BFM TV station, Philippe Villeneuve said “the highest priority is to protect the cathedral from the rain to come.”

He said the installation should start Tuesday.

Notre Dame isn’t expected to reopen to the public for five or six years, according to its rector, although French president Emmanuel Macron is pushing for a quick reconstruction. Investigators think the fire was an accident, possibly linked to renovation work.

Source: Fox News World

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pledging to help France rebuild the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral.

Abe stopped in France Tuesday as part of his tour of Europe and North America.

Speaking alongside French president Emmanuel Macron, Abe said through a translator he “was deeply saddened by the damage inflicted to the World Heritage” building.

He said the Japanese government “will spare no effort to bring its cooperation” in the reconstruction.

Macron and Abe will discuss the agenda for the upcoming Group of Seven and Group of 20 leaders’ summits that France and Japan will respectively host this year.

In their statement at the Elysee palace, they said they will also talk about boosting economic growth through free trade, and address issues including North Korea and plastic waste in ocean.

Source: Fox News World

Nathalie Loiseau, who leads French president Emmanuel Macron’s party in the May European Union parliament elections, is facing criticism after a report that she featured on a list alongside far-right candidates at a student’s election 35 years ago.

Mediapart reported the Former European Affairs minister appeared in sixth position on the candidate list of UED — a students’ union linked to far-right movement GUD — during elections held in 1984 at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, also known as Sciences Po.

Loiseau, who has focused on the fight against nationalism, told Mediapart she should have been more careful. She said “if I had identified people from the GUD on this list, obviously I would have refused to appear on it. I regret to have been associated with these people.”

Source: Fox News World

Dozens of public housing advocates are protesting outside the gutted Notre Dame in Paris to demand that France’s poorest be remembered after donors pledged $1 billion to rebuild the cathedral and its destroyed roof.

Around 50 people from a French homeless association gathered Monday with placards reading “1 billion in 24 hours.” They chanted slogans directed at Bernard Arnault, the CEO of luxury group LVMH, who last week pledged 200 million euros ($226 million). Some chanted “Notre Dame needs a roof, we need a roof too!”

Paris police monitored the peaceful protest but didn’t intervene.

In addition to Arnault’s pledge, another billionaire, Francois Pinault, and his son pledged 100 million euros for the reconstruction effort from their company, which owns the Christie’s auction house and is the main shareholder for Gucci.

Source: Fox News World

With French police suicides on the rise, officials are expressing shock and anger after some yellow vest protesters encouraged police to kill themselves.

Radical protesters have clashed with police nearly every weekend for five months on the margins of largely peaceful yellow vest demonstrations for economic justice.

On Saturday, Associated Press reporters heard some protesters in Paris shouting “Kill yourselves!” at police firing tear gas and rubber projectiles and charging the crowd to contain the violence.

Police unions denounced the protesters’ call, which prompted indignation online. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner called it a “disgrace.”

Police unions held silent protests Friday after two officers killed themselves last week. Unions say police ranks have seen 28 suicides so far this year, compared to 68 over all of 2018.

Source: Fox News World

Displaced by a massive fire, Notre Dame Cathedral’s Paris parishioners are gathering to celebrate Easter in another church and to pray for a speedy reconstruction of their beloved monument.

The fire that engulfed Notre Dame during Holy Week has forced worshippers to find other places to attend Easter services. The Paris diocese invited them to attend Easter Mass on Sunday at the grandiose Saint-Eustache Church on the Right Bank of the Seine River.

Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit will lead the service. Other Catholics from around France and other countries who wanted to mark Easter in Notre Dame are also expected to attend.

Notre Dame isn’t expected to reopen to the public for at least five or six years, according to its rector, although the French president is pushing for a quick reconstruction. Investigators believe the fire was an accident.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the yellow vest protests in France (all times local):

2 p.m.

Protesters have set small fires and police have fired tear gas on the sidelines of yellow vest demonstrations in the French capital.

The Paris police headquarters said authorities detained 126 people by early afternoon and carried out spot checks of more than 11,000 people trying to enter the capital for Saturday’s protests.

Police fired tear gas amid tensions at a march of several thousand people from France’s Finance Ministry toward the Place de la Republique plaza in eastern Paris. Barricades were set ablaze at one spot, and branches set on fire elsewhere. Firefighters quickly responded to extinguish the flames.

The march was one of several actions around Paris and other French cities Saturday.

The protesters are angry at high taxes and economic injustice, and are largely peaceful. Some are also frustrated that the effort to save fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral is eclipsing the yellow vest movement’s demands.

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10:15 a.m.

French yellow vest protesters are marching anew to remind the government that rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem the nation needs to solve.

Multiple protest events are planned around Paris and other cities Saturday for the 23rd weekend of the yellow vest movement against wealth inequality and President Emmanuel Macron’s leadership.

One group wants to march on the presidential palace despite bigger-than-usual police presence. Another is aimed at showing yellow vest mourning over the Notre Dame blaze while also keeping up pressure on Macron.

Many protesters were deeply saddened by the fire at a national monument. But many are angry at the $1 billion in Notre Dame donations that poured in from tycoons while their own demands remain largely unmet and they struggle to make ends meet.

Source: Fox News World

France’s yellow vest protesters are still a force to be reckoned with as they hold their 23rd straight weekend of demonstrations since the movement started in November. Here’s a look at their movement:

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WHO THEY ARE

The movement started among provincial workers camped out at traffic circles to protest a hike in fuel taxes, sporting the high-visibility vests all French drivers must keep in their cars for emergencies.

It quickly spread to people across political, regional, social and generational divides angry at economic injustice and the way President Emmanuel Macron is running France. At its height, a quarter of a million people marched around France, and polls suggested more than 80 percent of French people supported the movement.

Its numbers have dwindled as Macron has addressed some concerns — and as violent troublemakers have hijacked peaceful protests and trashed treasured monuments and police have responded in force. The movement notably attracted extremists from the far right, and now increasingly from the far left, and those exhibiting anti-Semitic views.

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WHAT THEY WANT

At first, they wanted an end to the fuel tax hike. The wish list swiftly mushroomed.

Most of the demands focus on social justice: lower taxes on workers and pensioners, higher taxes on the rich, more public spending to help the working class.

Many want to make it easier for the public to mount national referendums. Some want more action to save the planet. Some want mass nationalization of French corporations, or even full-on revolution. And every week, crowds demand that Macron step down.

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WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAYS

Macron caved quickly to their first demand, scrapping the fuel tax rise. He offered 10 billion euros in tax cuts or other gestures for pensioners and workers.

He doesn’t want, however, to re-introduce a wealth tax, is cool to the idea of national referendums — and has no plans to quit his job.

His government launched a national debate aimed at addressing the protesters’ concerns, traveling the country for town hall meetings and collecting complaints online. He’s expected to announce the resulting government measures next week.

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WHY IT’S ENDURING

The hard-core protesters say Macron still doesn’t get it. They see the highly educated former investment banker as a president of the rich, and out of touch with the struggles of taxpayers who help sustain the world’s No. 5 economy. The hard-liners are also pushing for early elections — Macron’s term isn’t set to expire until 2022.

His performance this week as fundraiser-in-chief for fire-gutted Notre Dame Cathedral sharpened the anger. Some prominent yellow vest voices are indignant that billionaires quickly offered fortunes to rebuild the landmark cathedral, arguing they should pay more taxes instead.

Source: Fox News World


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