News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Notre Dame, Libya, and the Boston Marathon

Notre Dame on fire
Getty Images
Apr 16, 2019


The Story

Yesterday was a tough day for history

What happened?

All that history...

Exactly. It's a landmark piece of architecture that was built starting in the 12th century at the proposal of the city's bishop. It took about 200 years to finish and is one of the most famous medieval Gothic cathedrals in the world. That's in large part because of its architecture.

Can the cathedral be repaired?

French officials are hoping so, since it looks like the main structure was saved. Two prominent French families pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to help rebuild the cathedral. Notre Dame was damaged in the 16th century and again during the French Revolution in the 18th century. Thanks to renewed attention after Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," it was ultimately restored. Firefighters have rescued some of the art and relics, like the crown of thorns we mentioned above.

Now I just want to keep everything safe forever.

You and us both. This isn't the first time a UNESCO world heritage site – with significance to many – has been damaged or destroyed. Many also mourned as religious monuments were destroyed in Syria and Iraq in recent years. And dozens of other sites remain in danger due to things like flooding and erosion from rising sea levels.


An estimated 13 million people visit Notre Dame each year – making it one of the most visited landmarks in the world. And a national symbol of France abroad. French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral because it's "what the French expect" and "what our history deserves."


What people are watching…

Libya. The UN says that at least 146 people were killed there this month. The country is split between rival governments: the UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in the western capital of Tripoli and military leader Khalifa Hifter in the east. Hifter is backed by the UAE, France, and Egypt, who see him as a strongman who could confront terrorism and bring stability to the country. Earlier this month, he launched an offensive to seize control of the capital. The death toll is mounting, and there are concerns that this could lead to the worst violence since the start of the 2011 civil war. Meanwhile, the US and Taliban are reportedly set to have women join their peace talks in Qatar this month. The Taliban – which ran most of Afghanistan in the '90s – has long been known for its strict implementation of Islamic law, and its brutal repression of women. Now, the group reportedly says it's open to inclusion – a potential positive step as the US and Taliban try to end the 17-year-war in Afghanistan.

What still has people on edge…

Measles – aka the highly contagious and potentially deadly virus that can be prevented with a vaccine. The World Health Organization says that the number of reported cases went up about 300% in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period last year. The US is one of the many countries reeling from the crisis – and is on pace for its worst measles outbreak in 25 years.

What to say when you hear Tiger Woods is getting a medal…

Everyone else gets the Mueller report. The Justice Department says it'll release the report to lawmakers and the public on Thursday. But don't place your bets on what's in the report just yet – a lot of it could be redacted. Because, you know, legal reasons and classified info and stuff like that. In other news hitting DC, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is officially running against President Trump for the 2020 GOP nomination.

What to say after finishing everything on your to-do list before noon…

Well this is a good feeling. Yesterday, people more fit than you ran the Boston Marathon. For the men, Kenya's Lawrence Cherono came in first by two seconds. For the ladies, Ethiopia's Worknesh Degefa placed first. She apparently ran the last 20 miles alone, probably while listening to Celine Dion's "All By Myself." Speaking of people winning at life, this year's Pulitzer Prize winners were announced yesterday. The Wall Street Journal won for its investigation into hush payments to women claiming to have an affair with President Trump. The South Florida Sun Sentinel won for its reporting of the Parkland shooting, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette won for its coverage of last year's synagogue shooting. Reuters photographers got a prize for their pictures of migrants traveling from Central America to the US. And next up on your reading list: "Amity and Prosperity" by Eliza Griswold and "The Overstory" by Richard Powers.

What to say when you can't wrap your head around the latest fashion trends…

Somebirdy help.

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