Notre-Dame cathedral: Firefighters tackle blaze in Paris – BBC News

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Media caption There were gasps from the crowd at the moment Notre-Dame’s spire fell
A major fire has engulfed the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, one of France’s most famous landmarks.
The 850-year-old Gothic building’s spire and roof have collapsed but the main structure, including the two bell towers, has been saved, officials say.
Firefighters are still working to contain the blaze as teams try to salvage the artwork stored inside.
President Emmanuel Macron called it a “terrible tragedy”. The cause of the fire is not yet clear.
Officials say it could be linked to the renovation work that began after cracks appeared in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable.
Paris prosecutor’s office said it had opened an inquiry into “accidental destruction by fire”. A firefighter was seriously injured while tackling the blaze. Follow our live updates In pictures: Blaze at Notre-Dame
Visibly emotional, Mr Macron said the “worst had been avoided” and vowed to launch an international fundraising scheme to rebuild the cathedral.
How did the fire spread?
The fire began at around 18:30 (16:30 GMT) and quickly reached the roof of the cathedral, destroying its stained-glass windows and the wooden interior before toppling the spire.
Some 500 firefighters worked to prevent one of the bell towers from collapsing. More than four hours later, fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the main structure had been “saved and preserved” from total destruction. The massive cost of restoring Notre-Dame
Sections of the cathedral were under scaffolding as part of the extensive renovations and 16 copper statues had been removed last week.
Deputy Paris Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said the building had suffered “colossal damages”, and teams were working to save the cathedral’s remaining artwork.
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Media caption The fire department said a major operation was under way
Historian Camille Pascal told French broadcaster BFMTV that “invaluable heritage” had been destroyed, adding: “Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre-Dame. We can be only horrified by what we see”.
How have people reacted?
Thousands of people gathered in the streets around the cathedral, observing the flames in silence. Some could be seen openly weeping, while others sang hymns or said prayers.
Several churches around Paris rang their bells in response to the blaze, which happened as Catholics celebrate Holy Week.
Interactive Notre-Dame cathedral fire
Because of the fire, Mr Macron cancelled a speech on TV in which he was due to address the street protests that have rocked France for months.
Visiting the scene, the president said the cathedral was a building “for all French people”, including those who had never been there.
“We’ll rebuild Notre-Dame together”, he said as he praised the “extreme courage” and “professionalism” of the firefighters.
A symbol of a country
Analysis by Henri Astier , BBC World Online
No other site represents France quite like Notre-Dame. Its main rival as a national symbol, the Eiffel Tower, is little more than a century old. Notre-Dame has stood tall above Paris since the 1200s.
It has given its name to one of the country’s literary masterpieces. Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is known to the French simply as Notre-Dame de Paris.
The last time the cathedral suffered major damage was during the French Revolution. It survived two world wars largely unscathed.
Watching such an embodiment of the permanence of a nation burn and its spire collapse is profoundly shocking to any French person. Read more from Henri
Facts about Notre-Dame The church receives almost 13 million visitors each year, more than the Eiffel Tower A Unesco World Heritage site, it was built in the 12th and 13th centuries Several statues of the facade of the Catholic cathedral were removed for renovation The roof, which has been destroyed by the blaze, was made mostly of wood Read more about the treasures of the cathedral
What has been the international reaction?
The Vatican expressed “shock and sadness,” adding that it was praying for the French fire services.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered her support to the people of France, calling Notre-Dame a “symbol of French and European culture”.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a tweet : “My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral”.
Also on Twitter, US President Donald Trump said it was “horrible to watch” the fire and suggested that “flying water tankers” could be used to extinguish the blaze.
In an apparent response, the French Civil Security service said that was not an option as it might result in the collapse of the entire building.

Alabama abortion law passed: Alabama just passed a near-total abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest one week after controversial Georgia abortion law – CBS News

The Alabama State Senate just passed a near-total abortion ban in a 25 to 6 vote. The legislation provides no exceptions for rape or incest.

The bill now heads to Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican. If she signs it, the bill will become law. Up until Tuesday she has withheld public comment on the legislation.

The legislation — House Bill 314, “Human Life Protection Act” — bans all abortions in the state except when “abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk” to the woman, according to the bill’s text. It criminalizes the procedure, reclassifying abortion as a Class A felony, punishable by up to 99 years in prison for doctors.

It’s the latest in an onslaught of state-level anti-abortion measures that activists hope will be taken up by the Supreme Court and potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protects a woman’s right to the procedure. Abortion rights advocates have promised to challenge the controversial legislation if Governor Ivey signs the bill into law.

“We will not stand by while politicians endanger the lives of women and doctors for political gain,” wrote Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, in an email to CBS News following the vote. “Know this, Governor Ivey: If you sign this dangerous bill into law, we will see you in Court”

The legislation will take effect six months Governor Ivey gives the bill her signature.

Alabama state lawmakers also compare abortions in the U.S. to the Holocaust and other modern genocides in the legislation, prompting Jewish activists and abortion rights groups to rebuke the legislation as “deeply offensive.”

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Based on the amount of bone present at the right time of surgical treatment, the implant can be put at the exact very same time or inside a second procedure 5-6 months later. Oral implants may be the optimal option for missing teeth. Subperiosteal implants comprise a metal structure that’s set up along with the jaw bone listed below the gums.

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Nebraska principal reportedly bans candy canes, says ‘J shape’ stands for Jesus | Fox News

Principal bans candy canes claiming the ‘J’ shape stands for ‘Jesus.’

An elementary school principal in Nebraska was reportedly placed on leave after telling teachers to avoid decorating their classrooms with Christmas-themed ornamentations so as not to offend those who don’t celebrate the holiday.

The principal at Manchester Elementary School, identified by Fox affiliate KPTM as Jennifer Sinclair, sent out a memo earlier this week with guidelines as to what is considered appropriate for classroom decorations and assignments.

Teachers were reportedly told that generic winter-themed items, such as sledding and scarves, and the “Frozen” character Olaf, were acceptable.

Decorations that included Santa, Christmas trees, reindeer, green and red colored items and even candy canes were not acceptable for the elementary school.

The candy canes, according to KETV, were prohibited because Sinclair deemed them to have religious significance. “Historically, the shape is a ‘J’ for Jesus. The red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection,” she reportedly wrote. “This would also include different colored candy canes.”

“I feel uncomfortable that I have to get this specific, but for everyone’s comfort, I will,” Sinclair reportedly wrote in the memo.

The Elkhorn School District, which did not immediately return Fox News’ requests for comment, told KPTM in a statement that “the memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school.”

The district’s policy states that “Christmas trees, Santa Claus and Easter eggs and bunnies are considered to be secular, seasonal symbols and may be displayed as teaching aids provided they do not disrupt the instructional program for students.”

Sinclair was reportedly placed on administrative leave as of Thursday morning.

CNN legal analyst Areva Martin accuses David Webb of ‘white privilege’ before learning he’s black | Fox News

It was a rough day for author and CNN legal analyst Areva Martin, as she accused Sirius XM radio and Fox Nation host David Webb of ‘white privilege’ during a segment on a radio program before he broke the news to her that he was actually black. The embarrassing moment occurred during a discussion about experience being more important than race when determining whether or not someone is qualified for a particular job.

It was a rough day for author and CNN legal analyst Areva Martin on Tuesday.

Martin accused Sirius XM radio and Fox Nation host David Webb of “white privilege” during a segment on a radio program before he broke the news.

“Areva, I hate to break it to you, but you should’ve been better prepped. I’m black,” Webb said.

The embarrassing moment occurred during a discussion about experience being more important than race when determining whether or not someone is qualified for a particular job.

“I’ve chosen to cross different parts of the media world, done the work so that I’m qualified to be in each one. I never considered my color the issue, I considered my qualifications the issue,” Webb said.

“That’s a whole, another long conversation about white privilege, the things that you have the privilege of doing, that people of color don’t have the privilege of,” said Martin – who also hosts CBS’ “Face the Truth.”

A dumbfounded Webb asked, “How do I have the privilege of white privilege?”

Martin responded, “David, by virtue of being a white male you have white privilege.”

The Fox Nation host then explained that he was actually black.

“I stand corrected,” Martin said.

Webb scolded Martin for running with an “assumption” and she then blamed her team for providing inaccurate information.

“That’s actually insulting,” Webb said.

“It is and I apologize,” Martin replied. “I was given wrong information.”

Martin’s spokesperson declined a request for comment.

Dame June Whitfield, star of Absolutely Fabulous, dies aged 93 – BBC News

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Dame June Whitfield – celebrated for her comic roles in BBC sitcom Terry and June and cult favourite Absolutely Fabulous – has died aged 93.

The London-born actress was a regular fixture on TV and radio for six decades, starring in Carry On films, Hancock’s Half Hour, and even Friends.

At 89, she appeared in EastEnders as Sister Ruth, a nun with a secret about Kat Moon. At 92, she was made a dame.

Her agent said she died peacefully on Friday night.

Tributes to her long and successful career in comedy are being made on Twitter.

Julia Sawalha, who played her strait-laced granddaughter in Absolutely Fabulous, said Whitfield had been a “great source of inspiration” to her as a young actress but was “far too humble to accept my adoration”.

Thank you #damejunewhitfield,for teaching me my craft with such grace and dignity.I always wanted you to know how in awe of you I was, however, you were always far too humble to accept my were a great source of inspiration to me. Bye-bye Gran.🙏🏻💕

— Julia Sawalha (@JuliaSawalha1)

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Fellow Ab Fab actress Joanna Lumley told ITV news she was “heartbroken to lose such a darling friend”, who would “always have a most special place in my heart”.

She said she would never forget “her sensational talent, humour and her generosity”.

Jane Horrocks, who played the ditzy character Bubble in the comedy, said her former co-star was a “wonderful lady”, who was “versatile, funny and generous”.

Impressionist Rory Bremner called Whitfield the “go-to comedy actress for three generations”.

RIP June Whitfield- go-to comedy actress for 3 generations, from 60s radio to 70s, 80s, even 90s TV. Always graceful & elegant with a real comic glint in her eye & (absolutely) fabulous timing.

— Rory Bremner (@rorybremner)

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TV producer Jon Plowman, who worked on Absolutely Fabulous, said there was “no-one with a better ability to just ‘place’ a line, always an act of utter precision”.

Very sad at the news of the death of the wonderful June Whitfield . There was no-one with more warmth or a better ability to just “place” a line ,always an act of utter precision. Hit after hit! Take it from Here Terry and June Absolutely Fabulous over seven decade. A great loss

— JON PLOWMAN (@bimpsonbun1)

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Comedian Miranda Hart recalls a touching encounter with Whitfield who responded to an appeal for sponsorship for Edinburgh Festival early on in her career.

So very sad. I once sent a letter to many actors as a budding (I mean desperate) comedy actor to ask for sponsorship for the Edinburgh Festival. Dame June replied. Fifteen years later when I met her she had all my letters and the notes of the show she sponsored. I cried then too.

— Miranda Hart (@mermhart)

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And broadcaster Danny Baker said Whitfield was “formidable, dependable, inimitable. A rock. A gem.”

Shane Allen, controller of BBC Comedy, described Whitfield as “the North Star of British comedy”.

“Her spectacular career is unparalleled in its longevity, with seven decades of being a key element in numerous high profile and successful shows. She was the go-to female comedy performer of her generation and was always in demand from the cream of British comedy.”

Among those clamouring to work with her were Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd, Ronnie Barker, Benny Hill, Bob Monkhouse and Tommy Cooper.

Two days before her death, BBC Surrey broadcast what turned out to be her final interview, in which fellow showbusiness veteran David Hamilton visited Dame June at her home to talk about her life and career.

We will replay what has sadly turned out to be #JuneWhitfield’s final interview, given to David Hamilton, as a tribute to a truly wonderful actress, Sunday 12-1pm. This was the special trailer June and David recorded to promote the programme.

— BBC Surrey (@BBCSurrey)

Obituary: A star in her own right

Dame June Whitfield was a constant presence in British post-war comedy.

Often playing the female stooge to some of Britain’s most famous entertainers, she called herself “a comic’s tart”.

But after six decades on radio and television, she established herself as a star in her own right.

The actress always said she was “very bad at getting round to things”.

But from her early radio appearances in the 1950s, through to her scatty antics on Absolutely Fabulous, she featured in more than 1,300 radio and television shows.