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Paris authorities to remove scaffolding from collapsed spire of Notre-Dame cathedral

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Paris authorities will begin the delicate task of removing scaffolding from the collapsed spire of Notre-Dame cathedral in coming weeks after a devastating fire in April, a charity said Monday.

The 850-year-old church’s spire was clad in scaffolding when it came crashing during the huge blaze on April 15.

The cathedral’s roof was also destroyed in the inferno, although the vast majority of the most-sacred artefacts and valuable items inside were saved.

Shortly after the fire, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to complete a painstaking renovation of the gothic masterpiece within five years.

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But that cannot begin until “essential” work takes place to secure the structure, the Notre-Dame Foundation charity said in a statement.

“One of the most complex aspects of the work at the moment is removing the scaffolding, which includes 50,000 tubes which reached over 800 degrees Celcius (1472 degrees Fahrenheit)” during the fire, charity head Christophe-Charles Rousselot told AFP.

“A similar structure will be installed, as well as cranes, in order to start cutting down (the scaffolding) in very delicate conditions,” the charity statement said.

Dismantling the scaffolding is expected to take four months, Rousselot said.

Notre-Dame hosted its first mass after the inferno earlier this month, with priests and worshippers donning hard hats to protect themselves against possible falling debris.

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Wealthy donors have handed over millions of euros to restore the church, including French luxury goods rivals Bernard Arnault and Francois-Henri Pinault, who have pledged 200 and 100 million euros ($228 million and $114 million) respectively.

The full amount needed to restore the cathedral is not yet known, the Notre-Dame Foundation said.


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75 years ago: When atomic scientist Leo Szilard tried to halt dropping bombs over Japan

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As this troubled summer rolls along, and the world begins to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the creation, and use, of the first atomic bombs, many special, or especially tragic, days will draw special attention.  They will include July 16 (first test of the weapon in New Mexico), August 6 (bomb dropped over Hiroshima) and August 9 (over Nagasaki).   Surely far fewer in the media and elsewhere will mark another key date:  July 3.

On July 3, 1945, the great atomic scientist Leo Szilard finished a letter/petition that would become the strongest (virtually the only) real attempt at halting President Truman's march to using the atomic bomb--still almost two weeks from its first test at Trinity--against Japanese cities.

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‘Insane’: Park ranger shoots unarmed man through his heart and then handcuffs his dead body

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A ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park tased and then fatally shot a man during a New Mexico traffic stop and then handcuffed his lifeless body.

Charles "Gage" Lorentz was traveling March 21 from his work site in Pecos, Texas, to his family's home in southwest Colorado when he detoured at the national park to meet a friend, and that's where he encountered National Park Ranger Robert Mitchell, reported KOB-TV.

The ranger stopped the 25-year-old Lorentz for speeding on a dirt road near the park's Rattlesnake Springs area, and Mitchell's lapel video shows him ordering Lorentz to spread his feet and move closer to a railing.

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Former Trump administration official refers to a renowned Black scholar as ‘some criminal’

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President Donald Trump's former Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to renowned Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. as "some criminal" in an interview with The New York Times Magazine.

Sessions, one of Trump's earliest supporters who was later fired after years of attacks from the president, is currently attempting to reclaim his old Senate seat in Alabama. Sessions has desperately tried to tout his Trumpist credentials on the campaign trail, even as the president has waged a campaign aimed at sabotaging his primary bid.

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