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French President Macron vows to rebuild Notre-Dame following fire

The Thaiger & The Nation



French President Macron vows to rebuild Notre-Dame following fire | The Thaiger
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The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris has suffered a colossal fire that even caused the Gothic spire of the historic church to crash to the ground as firefighters battled to get the blaze under control. 400 firefighters battled to control the blaze and at least save the building’s iconic front towers. They finally gained the upper hand as midnight approached in Paris.

“We can consider that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved” said the Paris fire brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet in an AFP report.

Macron says “the worst had been avoided” in a fire that looked like it would engulf the entire building. He says that France is in shock over the damage to a building described as the “soul of the nation”.

On early inspection the blaze appears to have destroyed the roof of the 850 year old world heritage landmark. After the first few hours Parisians watched in horror as the church’s Gothic spire collapsed.

The fire came at a time when the Christian faithful were preparing to celebrate Easter, later this week.

The cause of the blaze has not yet been confirmed confirmed. The cathedral was undergoing restoration work at the time which fire fighters speculate could be linked to the blaze.

But already French prosecutors say the fire is being treated as an “involuntary” fire indicating that foul play has been ruled out at this stage.

Historians expressed disbelief at the collapse of much of a building that has been a symbol of France for 850 years and has withstood time, world wars and French revolutions.

French President Macron vows to rebuild Notre-Dame following fire | News by The Thaiger

The Notre-Dame spire was being renovated before last night’s fire

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

South Korea reverses reopening amid new Covid-19 outbreaks

Jack Burton



South Korea reverses reopening amid new Covid-19 outbreaks | The Thaiger

Less than a month after relaxing physical distancing requirements on May 6, South Korea is restoring the measures in the greater Seoul area, including Incheon and Gyeonggi provinces, until at least June 14, as new flare-ups of Covid-19 emerge across the metropolitan region. Its daily tally jumped to 79, the highest since early April.

Making the announcement yesterday, South Korea’s Health Minister said the measures are meant to curb the spread preemptively so in-person classes can resume normally for students. South Korea reported 79 cases in the 24 hours ending midnight Wednesday, the highest single-day daily increase since April 5. Nearly 90% of the new cases were from local transmission, according to health officials.

Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s deputy director said in a briefing yesterday that, as most of the recent patients are young people, none of their cases is severe so far.

“3 weeks since the first case linked to Itaewon nightclubs was discovered earlier this month, the infections have spread mainly via high-risk spaces such as bars, karaoke lounges, restaurants, religious establishments and big workplaces”

At least 7 workers at a call centre in central Seoul have been confirmed with the disease as of yesterday with all of the employees and their contacts undergoing testing. 82 people with ties to a logistics center in Gyeonggi province have tested positive since the first case there was identified on Monday.

The mayor of Bucheon, a satellite city of Seoul, said in-person classes will be suspended again except for high school seniors, and that high-risk communal spaces will be allowed restricted operations only. In a Facebook post yesterday, the mayor cautioned against coronavirus blame game.

“Coronavirus is nobody’s fault, and getting sick is no cause for blame.”

The health minister said in a Central Disaster Management Headquarters meeting Thursday that the lack of safety precautions in the workplace seems attributable for the outbreak at the logistics centre.

“Virus countermeasures such as wearing face masks and taking leave when feeling sick do not appear to be have been followed at the said facilities.”

Health officials launched inspections at logistics facilities across the country after the Bucheon outbreak to locate on Thursday another such centre in Goyang, a city north of Seoul, with an infected employee. The Goyang center has since been shut down.

The KCDC likewise underscored the need for tighter measures to reduce physical contact in workplaces.

“Installing partitions at cafeterias, or stationing desks a safe distance apart from each other are examples of such efforts”

Experts are divided over prospects of the fresh outbreaks evolving into a second wave. An infectious disease expert at Seoul’s Hallym University Hospital said in a Facebook statement that the virus trend appears to be “taking an ominous turn.”

“Had a similar development taken place in fall or winter, I would have said ‘the next wave’ was highly probable. Based on common understanding of respiratory viruses such as the common cold, a cascade of patients such as that witnessed in late February is not likely this time, I would say. But then again, this is an unknown virus that majority of people don’t have immunity against. Nothing can be said with certainty.”

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Korea Herald

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Murdoch closes all his regional and local newspapers in Australia

The Thaiger



Murdoch closes all his regional and local newspapers in Australia | The Thaiger

Australia’s largest media group, News Corp, has ditched its 100 local and regional newspapers, blaming the collapse of the businesses on a collapse advertising, migration of advertisers online, all made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.

News Corp, owned by Rupert Murdoch, announced on April 1 it was stopping printing of around 60 community newspapers “temporarily”. The collapse will cause the loss of hundreds of jobs. 76 papers are moving online-only by the end of June. The other 35 Murdoch-owned titles are closing down permanently.

News Corp Australia’s executive chairman Michael Miller said the permanent changes has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, “which had impacted the sustainability of local publishing”.

Globally there has been a inexorable trend of falling readerships and migration in advertising revenue to more nimble and targeted online platforms, partly fuelled by the rise of Google and Facebook – themselves able to deliver news quickly, efficiently and mostly free.

“(The drop in) print advertising spending, which contributes the majority of our revenues, has accelerated its decline. Consequently, to meet these changing trends, we are reshaping News Corp Australia to focus on where consumers and businesses are moving.”

Although “hundreds” of jobs will be lost, New Corp hope to keep on 375 journalists who will “continue covering community and regional news”. About 1,200 people were believed to be employed in News Corp’s Australia’s regional and community division.

Papers in nearly every state and territory will be impacted by the decision, including dozens in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

The media wire service AAP will be losing down within weeks unless a last minute buyer turns up to save it from closing its doors.

“After 85 years of operation, AAP is set to close on June 26 with about 500 people out of work as a result. While most news consumers might not be greatly aware of AAP, they would be amazed to know that great chunks of the news they read and listen to originates from AAP stories.”

Murdoch closes all his regional and local newspapers in Australia | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

World’s coronavirus focus shifts from Europe to the Americas

The Thaiger



World’s coronavirus focus shifts from Europe to the Americas | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Out of nowhere, Brazil now has the world's third highest number of cases -

The focus of the world’s coronavirus pandemic has shifted in the past month, from Europe epicentres to the Americas, both north and south. Russia, too, has become a growing problem as the pandemic spreads from other European continental regions. In order, the US, Russia and Brazil are now the top three nations with the most cases.

In the US, at least 102,107 people have died from Covid-19, according to The toll is almost twice the number of Americans lost during the entire Vietnam War.

The first known virus-related death happened on February 6 but, since then, an average of nearly 900 Americans have died every day. New York State, alone, has more cases than any other country, except Russia.

The US President Donald Trump continues to downplay the pandemic insisting that the country continue to re-open, and deflecting any blame for his administration’s late response to threats of the pandemic coming to the US.

World's coronavirus focus shifts from Europe to the Americas | News by The Thaiger


In China authorities have identified only 2 new Covid-19 patients yesterday, according to the country’s National Health Commission. Both cases were imported – one in Shanghai and the other in China’s southeastern province of Fujian. China has dropped to the 14th highest number of cases after leading the way in the first month of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Authorities in China have confirmed 82,995 Covid-19 patients to date, with 73 cases still active.

Brazil has now reported a total of 414,661 coronavirus cases as of midday, Thai time. Another 1,086 coronavirus-related deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours, according to the country’s health ministry, taking the national toll to 25,598. The ministry said 20,599 new cases were also confirmed in the past day.

At the start of May there were only 92,000 cases in the South American country with cases now creating a major public health headache for the country. The issue of lockdowns and restrictions has become highly politicised in Brazil with the President Jair Bolsonaro deflecting all responsibility for the coronavirus crisis, casting blame on mayors, governors, an outgoing health minister and the media.

In South Korea authorities have identified 79 new novel coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since April 5. 68 of the latest cases were locally transmitted, the majority in the capital Seoul.

The South Korean Health Minister says 54 of the patients identified yesterday were traced to an IT and logistics centre in Bucheon, a satellite city 25 minutes from Seoul.

“It’s possible that the Bucheon cases are linked to a cluster identified in Itaewon, a popular nightlife district in Seoul, but the investigation is ongoing.”

4,150 people connected to the latest Bucheon cluster are now under quarantine. 83% of them have been tested, the rest will be tested today, according to authorities.

Russia now has a total of 414,661 cases. Meanwhile the “Head of coronavirus information” has suggested that global anxieties over the Covid-19 pandemic is “misplaced”, his latest controversial statement after saying the infection “would kill as many people as it needs to”.

Alexander Myasnikov, a television doctor, was appointed in April to the role of informing Russians about coronavirus treatment and prevention and to battle “fake news” about Covid-19. After earlier describing Russia’s reported low death rate a “Russian miracle,” Myasnikov responded last week to the rising cases and deaths saying “those meant to die will die”.

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