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As the Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames early on Monday evening, devastated Parisians gathered on the banks of the Seine and wept, while dazed tourists looked on aghast.
With the world reeling at the devastation of a landmark beloved across the globe, politicians and luxury goods billionaires pledged to donate to a fund to rebuild the 12th-century cathedral.
But precious architectural features of the building were reportedly burned beyond recovery in the devastating blaze.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron warned the fire could continue burning for days, saying “the battle is not yet totally won”.
The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions. Many of its religious artefacts — including a crown of thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus Christ — are said to have been preserved by brave firefighters who risked their lives to recover them.
The exact cause of the blaze was not known, but the Paris fire brigade said the fire is “potentially linked” to a six million euro ($9.48 million) renovation project on the church’s spire, and its 250 tons of lead.
The Paris prosecutors’ office earlier ruled out arson and possible terror-related motives, and said it was treating the fire as an accident.
NOTRE DAME BURNS: A TIMELINE
Smoke and flames fill the sky as a fire burns at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Picture: Philippe WojazerSource:AP
6.50 PM LOCAL TIME: This is when the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral is believed to have started, apparently originating in the roof. Within minutes, witnesses say, thick smoke and flames were leaping into the sky. A spokesman for the cathedral said those inside recognised the fire alarm, which went off almost immediately, because they had practised a fire drill just days before.
7.40 PM: Fire spreads to the tallest spire of the cathedral.
7.53 PM: As horrified onlookers watch on, the cathedral’s tallest spire collapses.
7.59 PM: French President Emmanuel Macron says he is rushing to the scene, cancelling a scheduled television appearance to discuss yellow vest protests.
8.07 PM: Large parts of the roof begin to collapse, alarming terrified witnesses gathered to watch the fire, according to Reuters.
8.25 PM: Authorities evacuate the Il de la Cite, the island in the river Seine where the burning cathedral is located.
11.10 PM: Firefighters are able to successfully save the two main towers, but reports emerge that one has been seriously injured as they battled the blaze.
11.42 PM: Mr Macron declares, “We will rebuild Notre Dame”, in a televised address, and says the “the worst has been avoided” but warns the fire could go on for “several days”.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, left, and French President Emmanuel Macron arrive at the cathedral on Monday. Picture: Philippe WojazerSource:AP
12.00 AM: As midnight approaches, the 400 firefighters on the scene manage to get control over the destructive fire.
12:05 AM: Prosecutors’ initial investigations suggest the fire started accidentally, ruling out fears of arson or terror links.
4.00 AM: A spokesman for French firefighters announces the fire is under control but only partially extinguished.
CATHEDRAL’S MEDIEVAL INTERIOR ‘FOREST’ DESTROYED
Wooden latticework inside the 12th-century cathedral is said to have been fuel for the destructive fire. A spokesman for Notre Dame told reporters on the ground that the flames were consuming the historic woodwork, which dates back hundreds of years and has a rich history.
The wooden framework is primarily oak and dates back to the original framework first built for the cathedral. The trees used for Notre Dame’s frame were cut between 1160 and 1170, and make up the oldest parts of the structure.
The beams used were old growth — about 300-400 years old — so they were tall enough for the buildings high, vaulted ceilings.
The framework in place at the time of the fire dated back to the year 1220, according to the Notre Dame website. The internal “forest” structure was so named “because of the large number of beams that had to be used to set it up, each beam coming from a different tree”, which was harvested from a nearby wooded area.
It’s estimated the workers felled 13,000 trees to make up the internal latticework, with the strong oak beams holding up a roof of heavy lead tiles. The site notes that the original internal forest of woodwork in the choir section has been replaced, suggesting it may have previously been destroyed by a fire.
The historical oak interior is suspected to have fuelled the destructive fire.Source:Supplied
The interior latticework of Notre Dame is affectionately dubbed ‘the forest’.Source:Supplied
A French cultural heritage expert says France no longer has trees big enough to replace the beams.
Bertrand de Feydeau, vice president of preservation group Fondation du Patrimoine, told France Info radio the wooden roof was built with beams more than 800 years ago from primal forests.
He said the cathedral’s roof could not be rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire because “we don’t, at the moment, have trees on our territory of the size that were cut in the 13th century.” He said the restoration work would have to use new technologies to rebuild the roof.
The oak beams are said to be completely destroyed.Source:Supplied
The cathedral is home to countless other priceless artefacts of significance to Catholics, other Christians and lovers of art.
The Rose Windows are immense and elaborate stained glass, overlooking the three main wings of the cathedral. Dating back to the 13th century, the windows are reported to have survived the fire.
Shocking photos from inside the cathedral show the smouldering roof. Picture: Philippe WojazerSource:AFP
The Rose Window in Notre Dame. Picture: Mike BatterhamSource:News Corp Australia
A series of 76 four-metre tall paintings depict the New Testament’s Acts of the Apostles, including the crucifixion of St. Peter and the conversion of St Paul. These paintings date from 1630 to 1707 and were created by members of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture.
Other treasured artefacts inside include what is believed to be the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ, a fragment of the True Cross and one of the Holy Nails.
Catholics believe the sacred thorns were worn by Jesus while he was crucified.
COULD FIREFIGHTERS HAVE DONE MORE?
Is there anything firefighters could have done to control the blaze that tore through Paris’ historic cathedral sooner?
Experts say the combination of an 850-year-old structure, heavy timber, soaring open spaces and a lack of sophisticated fire-protection systems left firefighters with devastatingly few options once the flames got out of control.
“Very often, when you’re confronted with something like this, there’s not much you can do,” said Glenn Corbett, a professor of fire science at John Jay College.
Fire hoses looked overmatched — more like gardening equipment than firefighting apparatus — as flames raged across the cathedral’s wooden roof and burned bright orange for hours. The fire toppled a 91-metre spire and launched baseball-sized embers into the air.
While the cause remains under investigation, authorities said the cathedral’s structure — including its landmark rectangular towers — had been saved.
Smoke and devastation inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Picture: Philippe WojazerSource:AP
A cathedral spokesman said the wooden structure supporting the roof was gutted by the blaze. Picture: Philippe WojazerSource:AFP
Some factors that made Notre Dame a must-see for visitors to Paris — its age, sweeping size and French Gothic design featuring masonry walls and tree trunk-sized wooden beams — also made it a tinderbox and a difficult place to fight a fire, said US Fire Administrator Keith Bryant.
With a building like that, it’s nearly impossible for firefighters to attack a fire from within. Instead, they have to be more defensive “and try to control the fire from the exterior,” said Mr Bryant, a former Oklahoma fire chief and past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
“When a fire gets that well-involved, it’s very difficult to put enough water on it to cool it, to bring it under control,” Mr Bryant said.
And while there’s a lot of water right next door at the Seine River, getting it to the right place is the problem, he said. “There are just not enough resources in terms of fire apparatus, hoses to get that much water on a fire that’s that large.”
Paris’s narrow streets make it difficult to manoeuvre large ladder fire trucks, so European fire departments don’t tend to have ladders as big as those in the United States, he said.
Other landmark houses of worship have taken steps in recent years to reduce the risk of a fire.
St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, built in 1878, installed a sprinkler-like system during recent renovations and coated its wooden roof with fire retardant. The cathedral also has at least four fire inspections a year.
Washington National Cathedral — built in 1912 with steel, brick and limestone materials that put it at less risk of a fast-moving fire — is installing sprinklers as part of a renovation spurred by damage from a 2011 earthquake. It holds fire inspections every two years, but DC firefighters visit more often to learn about the church’s unique architecture and lingo — so they’ll know where to go if there’s a fire in the nave, or main area of the church, for instance.
“It’s really important for us to make sure that those local firefighters are aware of our building and our kooky medieval names that we use for all the different spaces and that they know where to go,” said Jim Shepherd, the cathedral’s director of preservation and facilities.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the New York Archbishop who often visited Notre Dame while studying in Europe, saw significance in the fact that the fire broke out at the beginning of Holy Week, when Christians there and around the world prepare to celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“Just as the cross didn’t have the last word, neither — for people of faith in France — will this fire have the last word,” he said.
EA and BioWare have suffered two major failures due to the focus on games as a service in just two years, with Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem. It appears that the second take on Dragon Age 4 is being influenced by the same mentality.
Video games go through several iterations through development and it’s normal that the final product doesn’t resemble many of the ideas that were worked on during the development cycle.
It appears this was the case with Dragon Age 4 as well, since the fourth instalment was originally going to be set in Tevinter Imperium, would focus on a group of spies and heists they would perform. The info came from Jason Schreier once again, who posted a lengthy article on the game’s development history, present and future.
The game is currently being worked on under the codename Morrison, while the version with spies in Tevinter was codenamed Joplin and it was dropped as BioWare moved the development team to help out with the mess that was Mass Effect: Andromeda.
It wasn’t going to be a game as a service apparently and following the return of a part of the team to work on Dragon Age once again, the project was dropped and worked on Morrison commenced. While nothing is set in stone just yet, the game is almost guaranteed to follow the games as a service model at this point.
This goes against the statement Casey Hudson made in late January of 2018 and EA did not comment on Kotaku’s inquiry. It remains to be seen whether Dragon Age 4 will indeed be ruined by focus on microtransactions or if Hudson’s words will ring true and the “continued storytelling after the main story” will be all there is to recurring revenue.
BiowareDragon Age Inquisition was a step up from DA2, but will DA4 also drop the ball?
Considering we are talking about EA here, it is hard to imagine they will manage to stick to just selling story-focused DLC, but then again, it was hard to imagine they would drop loot boxes from Star Wars Battlefront 2 as well. Let’s just hope they get the memo before Dragon Age 4 gets ruined as well.
Also, someone at BioWare seems to really have a thing for American rock singers that died at the age of 27.
As promised, Bungie have shown some love to the pre-Forsaken Arc subclasses and today’s Destiny 2 update gives them a much-needed boost. That’s barely everything as the update adds new Exotic catalysts, tweaks drop rates and a bunch more.
Titan Striker’s Code of the Juggernaut buff duration is up from 10 to 16 seconds and it increases weapon damage by 25 per cent in PvE and 20 per cent in PvP.
Hunter Arcstrider’s Way of the Warrior has a combination blow whose bonus melee damage can be stacked 3 times, while Warlock Stormcaller’s Attunement of Conduction boasts a chain lightning melee that chains up to five times.
When it comes to Destiny 2’s existing weapons, Bungie reduced PvE damage of the Wardcliff Coil against bosses and vehicles, and added a timer to the Last Word’s Fan Fire perk.
Among the changes are the drop rate increases in the Last Wish Raid and Dreaming City, and the same goes for Lore Books in Cayde’s Stash, Dreaming City and Tangled Shore.
With this Destiny 2 update, Bungie have added four new Exotic weapon catalysts that will be dropping in Nightfall, strikes and the Crucible. The dev wrote that these are Prospector, Rat King and Hard Light for Nightfall and strikes, while the Suros Regime is reserved for the Crucible.
Xur’s inventory now offers randomly rolled perks for armour, while his fated Engrams now have a chance to reward Forsaken Exotics.
Destiny 2 players will see an increase in reward drops in Gambit Prime and The Reckoning, where the latter has been tweaked to ensure that Tier 2 and Tier 3 boss kills always have a chance to award a Gambit Prime Weapon.
Similarly, some Reckoning weapons can drop as match completion rewards in Gambit Prime and Bungie ensured that the chances for weapon drops increase with each successive match you’ve played without getting one.
Destiny 2 – Xur
As usual, there’s quite a few other tweaks and changes, all of which can be found in Destiny 2’s official 2.2.1 patch notes here.
A valedictorian’s speech will usually leave us feeling inspired and proud of our friends’ hardwork and amazing achievements, but this one valedictorian speech had everyone in tears.
When he was announced as the valedictorian, Griffin Furlong revealed a secret nobody was expecting. During his valedictorian speech, Furlong revealed a heartbreaking yet inspiring story of how he was homeless all through school.
He lost his mother to cancer and raised in a homeless shelter together with his brother.
Despite his unfortunate life, Furlong never misses a class and even graduated from First Coast High School at the top of his class with a perfect GPA. With his simple message of never giving up, Furlong’s speech took the internet by storm when he talked about how he lost his mother at a very young age and had been homeless since he was 7 years old.
As life is already hard for him, Furlong continued to endure numerous hardships on his way to become the class valedictorian.
All his life, Furlong lived with the 4-word motto of ‘just never give up”.
In front of more than 500 graduates who mostly had no idea about his struggles, Furlong clearly mentioned that ‘giving up is not an option” before starting his valedictorian speech and said that he was able to accomplish what he did by having a purpose.
Furlong told the crowd that he made the grades he did because he has everything to lose. When others thought he had a normal life, he was constantly hopping from one shelter to another and went to bed hungry so many times.
That made him even more determined to work hard for a better future.
“I can’t even count the number of sleepless nights I spent alone on a cold plastic mattress. I cried, internally hoping that my life would soon wash away so I would not have to bear the hardships of a seemingly evil world.”
“I never gave up, no matter how bad I wanted to. To everyone sitting here before me, do not live a life without purpose. Deep down inside you know you have something to show. So whether you realize it or not, never make excuses, especially when you have a loving family able to give you what you need and want.”
Furlong and his girlfriend, Avery McCall. She must be so proud of him!
American actor Richard Gere did such an amazing job starring as a homeless man on a film set in Midtown back in 2014, that a sweet lady was totally oblivious to who he was and bought him a bag of food.
Richard is a hugely successful actor with an estimated net worth of almost $100 million, and has starred in hit films such as Pretty Woman and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.
His transformation on set was so convincing, that nobody recognized the then 64-year-old on the streets of New York as he munched on a burger from a trash can dressed in worn out, grubby clothes.
Credit: New York Post
Wandering around just outside Grand Central Station, he drank from a brown bag in front of oblivious commuters, sporting a scruffy look with unkempt facial hair and a ski cap.
Credit: New York Post
He was actually in character for the movie “Time Out of Mind” and was astonished when the kindhearted woman bought a bag of food for him.
He didn’t tell her who he really was and smiled and accepted the food graciously.
Credit: New York Post
She wasn’t the only one he fooled, however.
Speaking to the New York Post, 44-year-old Mizan Rahman, who sells newspapers on Park Avenue near East 42nd Street, said, “I saw him. He looked like a natural homeless guy. He didn’t seem like he was acting. He was an excellent homeless man.”
When Richard stuck his hand in the trash to look for food, Mizan was convinced.
Credit: New York Post
“He was putting his hand in the trash. He looked like a real homeless guy finding something . . . like the homeless men I see in many different places,” he said.
The generous lady was reportedly a French tourist named Karine Gombeau, according to the New York Post.
Credit: New York Post
Her sweet gesture moved Richard, the movie’s director Oren Moverman said.
“He was very touched . . . He said, ‘Ya know, she was like an angel’. He was in character, so obviously he was feeling like a guy who lives on the street,” Oren said.
“When she came over, he said he felt like an angel gave him a gift,” Moverman said.
Ubisoft are known for their war on toxicity in video games but their measures sometimes go over the top and sometimes they just look plain silly. Such is the case with The Division 2 where players can’t use the word “Assault” in loadouts.
Censorship on this word comes from the first three letters found in “assault” and if your chat filter is on, the word could potentially show up as seven asterisks. If it’s off, then you’re off the hook unless you try putting the word in the name of one of your loadouts.
As you can imagine, the community found this hilarious and immediately suggested not-so-serious workarounds such as naming the loadout “Butt-ault” or “Behind-ault”, but Ubisoft are still to respond on the matter.
One Reddit user posted a link to a list of bad words that are censored in The Division 2, which yielded both “butt” and “ass” in the results so “Behind-ault” will probably be the only way to name that loadout. Enthusiasts of rifles with wooden butts might find themselves at a linguistic disadvantage here as well as those who love their donkeys.
On a somewhat more serious note, the list of censored words mostly contains slurs and sexual references you would normally expect in a chat filter, but it also has some terms we genuinely had to google to see why they are offensive. As it turns out “chilli dog” has a meaning other than the delicious fast food.
The aforementioned people who don’t consider their donkeys something that should be censored may change their mind as any references to punching said animals are also censored. In all honesty, yours truly had no idea what either of those two terms actually meant until Ubisoft’s bad words list reached me. Urban Dictionary might need to thank Ubisoft for the additional traffic.
On an actually serious note, the word “kike” is also listed as offensive due to it being a slur to Jewish people, so if your name is Enrique, you would do well to avoid using your nickname in any Ubisoft games. It is currently unknown how harsh a punishment Ubisoft might issue for using that nickname, but it could help you avoid a major headache, like the one Enrique had with Sony.
The bad word list also sometimes doesn’t make sense due to The Division 2 being rated M for mature and True Sons faction members sometimes yell “F— the Division” off the top of their lungs.
Ubisoft have revealed The Division 2 gameplay along with the most important info which fans were hoping was and that is the release date for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. Ubisoft revealed that sequel is going to launch 15 March 2019.
Terry Cook is a disciplinary artist that works predominantly with watercolour, but also enjoys working with acrylics, inks, balloons, robotics, and anything else he can get his hands on! In an ongoing series entitled Balloons! Cook combines two passions, balloon sculptures and birds. He adds:
I am obsessed with birds (Mostly British and European) and have been since I was a child. Each sculpture takes a couple of hours to make and then more time on top of that to photograph them in a fitting location. I am passionately against careless discard of balloons (or any rubbish for that matter) and never ever leave these in the wild. I still have all the deflated balloons used from the different projects, and intend on keeping them until I can think of something cool to do with them.
To see more artwork from Terry check him out at the links below!