National and international news headlines of the week

Mason Liagre, News Editor

Fire collapses Notre Dame Cathedral spire

In a disaster that has many across the world reeling, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire Monday during renovations, causing its spire to collapse. The fire was deemed an accident by Parisian authorities, with no foul play currently suspected. The building caught fire Monday evening and burned through the night before firefighters put out the blaze early Tuesday morning. A section of the roof collapsed in addition to the narrow spire being claimed by the blaze. The two rectangular towers were damaged but remain intact.

Efforts to restore the structure have already been announced. A handful of French billionaires have made monetary contributions, including Bernard Arnault, one of the world’s richest men with a net worth of over 91 billion dollars. His organization pledged 200 million euros, equivalent to 226 million U.S. dollars, calling the Notre Dame Cathedral “an integral part of the history of France.”

Though the immediate focus is on the structural integrity of what remains of the building, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that efforts are being organized to rebuild the structure with a goal of completing the repairs in five years. However, conservation and history experts have estimated that the project could take decades due to the unavailability of materials such as wood and stone and the intricacy of the stained glass.

An early look at the 2020 presidential election

Though the presidential election of 2020 is still a long way off, plans are already being laid for the campaign that has become an arduous, drawn-out process in America.

A number of Democratic candidates have announced that they will be running in 2020 as the party seeks to oust President Donald Trump. Prominent figures include Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.

Sanders competed with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in the last presidential election but failed to secure it. He will continue on his platform of taking back power from the billionaire class. Sanders recently released 10 years of his tax returns in an act of transparency that Democrats have long been seeking from Donald Trump. The results reveal him to be a part of the one percent he often decries, due to his income from book sales and his job as a U.S. senator.

In response to this, Sanders said “These tax returns show that our family has been fortunate. I am very grateful for that, as I grew up in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck and I know the stress of economic insecurity. That is why I strive every day to ensure every American has the basic necessities of life, including a livable wage, decent housing, health care and retirement security.”

He continues, “I consider paying more in taxes as my income rose to be both an obligation and an investment in our country. I will continue to fight to make our tax system more progressive so that our country has the resources to guarantee the American Dream to all people.”

Beto O’Rourke is a Texan congressman who also emphasizes the “grassroots” nature of his campaign, with many small donors. His platform is still coalescing but its focuses include environmentalism and healthcare.

Elizabeth Warren has a history in politics, being Massachusetts’ senior U.S. Senator since 2013. She is economically left-wing, supporting unions and antitrust laws.

Another popular candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination is Kamala Harris, who is campaigning on a platform of criminal justice reform and defending the middle class. She currently serves as a senator representing California.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump will be attempting to keep his position for a second term. The only Republican to declare a campaign against him so far is Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts. He has supported gay marriage, is pro-choice and has described himself as fiscally conservative. For a time period he was a member of the Libertarian Party.

Severe weather patterns expected across much of U.S.

Continuing storms and tornadoes will threaten an estimation of approximately 100 millions of Americans across a swath of land stretching from Illinois to Texas and Oklahoma. Dangerous precipitation, high winds, and possible tornadoes are expected. The threat will extend from late Wednesday, April 17 to Saturday, April 20.

Last weekend saw similar weather patterns; over three dozen tornadoes occurred. Such storms can be highly destructive and even deadly; nine deaths and more injuries were reported due to last weekend’s weather.

Michigan is out of the predicted path of dangerous weather. For the rest of the week mild wind and showers as well as moderate temperatures can be expected.