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Watch Live Coverage as firefighters work to cease the Notre Dame Cathedral fire



Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt / AFP-Getty Images

A fast-moving fire consumed Notre-Dame Cathedral on Monday in a massive blaze that devastated the Parisian landmark, an unfortunate loss for the city and for the world.

Flames reportedly began in the early evening burst rapidly through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.

A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area. Parisians watching from the other side of the River Seine gasped as the spire folded over onto itself and fell into the inferno.

President Emmanuel Macron said the whole nation was moved. “Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn,” he tweeted.

At around 1930 GMT, nearly three hours after the fire started, a Fire Department spokesman said the next 90 minutes would be crucial in seeing if the blaze could be contained.

“Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building,” said witness Jacek Poltorak, watching the fire from a fifth-floor balcony two blocks from the southern facade of the cathedral, one of France’s most visited sites.

Firefighters tried to contain the blaze with water hoses and cleared the area around Notre-Dame, which sits on an island in the River Seine and marks the very center of Paris. Witnesses said the whole island, the Ile de la Cite, was being evacuated.

The French Civil Security service, possibly responding to U.S. President Donald Trump’s suggestion that firefighters “act quickly” and employ flying water tankers, said that was not an option as it might destroy the entire building.

“Helicopter or plane, the weight of the water and the intensity of dropping it at low altitude could weaken the structure of Notre-Dame and cause collateral damage to surrounding buildings,” it tweeted.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May said their thoughts were with the French people. Merkel called the cathedral a “symbol of France and our European culture”.

The Vatican said the blaze had caused “shock and sadness” and said it was praying for the firefighters.

The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, featured in Victor Hugo’s classic novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year.

For live coverage, click here.

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Black Student Awarded $725k in Lawsuit against Neo-Nazi Follower



AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The first black woman to serve as American University’s student government president celebrated Friday after a lawsuit win in federal court against a neo-Nazi website manager who launched an online hate movement against her.

A federal judge awarded Taylor Dumspon, 22, approximately $725,000 after The Daily Stormer blog founder Andrew Anglin failed to respond to her lawsuit.

Dumpson was named student government president in 2017. The historic moment on AU’s campus amassed the attention of dozens of white supremacists, including Anglin, who directed his followers to troll Dumpson via social media after hearing the news, and a suspect who hung nooses with bananas containing racist messages on the university’s campus.

Here’s a breakdown of Dumpson’s settlement:

  • $101,429.28 for compensatory damages
  • $500,000 for punitive damages costs
  • $124,022.10 for attorneys’ fees and costs.

The judge is also said to have placed a restraining order against Anglin, his Moonbase Holdings limited liability company, and Brian Andrew Ade for internet harassment.

“This ruling should send a strong message to other white supremacists that they can and will be held accountable for hateful activity that constitutes unlawful discrimination, no matter whether it occurs online or in the real world,” said Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The organization represented Dumpson in the case.

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Walmart Employees Call for the Corporation to Cease Profiting of Gun Sales



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Enraged Walmart employees are demanding the retail giant revoke its firearm sales following the back-to-back mass shootings at locations in El Paso, Texas and in Dayton, Ohio’s downtown district. The senseless killing sprees took the lives of over 30 victims and caused dozens of critical injuries.

The aftermath has left thousands of the corporation’s employees on edge, including, Thomas Marshall, a manager in Walmart’s San Bruno, California, e-commerce office, who took the initiative to organize a massive walkout on Wednesday. Marshall also requested his associates sign a petition, calling for the retailer to refrain from selling guns and ammunition.

“We have one demand, and that is all. We value Walmart and our fellow associates, but we are no longer willing to contribute our labor to a company that profits from the sale of deadly weapons,” the petition reads.

“We would like to see Walmart take a unified and public stance against guns and gun violence. We urge our leadership to cease the sale of all firearms and ammunition, ban the public open and concealed carry of weapons on company property and in all stores, and cease WALPAC donations to NRA backed -A/A+ politicians.”

Marshall’s petition has garnered nearly 60,000 signatures and continues to rapidly climb. While the courageous manager fears his job is in jeopardy, he intends to ramp up his protest by sending the petition directly to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

McMillon released a statement Wednesday, expressing his grief over the shootings. He ordered violent video games to be removed from all of the stores shelves but failed to address the elephant in the room –– gun distribution.

“We’ll be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses, and will act in a way that reflects our best values and ideals, focused on the needs of our customers, associates and communities,” he wrote.

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Eric Garner Supporters Disrupt Cory Booker’s Speech during Democratic Debate



The second Democratic debate in Detroit got real heated real quick. Just moments into Cory Booker’s speech, the presidential candidate was instantly disrupted by a rowdy group of protesters, bringing attention to the brutal killing of Eric Garner.

On July 17, 2014, Garner died after being put in an aggressive chokehold by New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo. The incident went viral and catalyzed a national movement against police brutality and racial discrimination.

Five years later, on Tuesday, the Staten Island grand jury has voted not to indict Pantaleo, causing an uproar among the Black Lives Matter organization and the victim’s family.

While the protest may have inconvenienced Booker’s moment to impress America, the timing was perfect in the eyes of the hecklers to call out the injustice they believe has occurred. ‘Fire Pantaleo!’ they chanted in unison, demanding for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio who has also thrown his hat in the 2020 election to terminate the officer effective immediately.

Booker chose to take the high road and showed his support on Twitter for the protest.

‘To the folks who were standing up to Mayor de Blasio a few minutes ago – good for you,’ he said.

‘That’s how change is made.’

De Blasio also responded, stating the issue would be resolved in 30 days but did not confirm whether the police officer would be fired.

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