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Fire Ravages Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris; Interview with Kobi Karp, American Institute of Architects, on Notre Dame's History; Massive Fire Damages Notre Dame Cathedral. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired April 16, 2019 - 00:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. Great to have you with us, you're watching CNN coverage of the devastating fire at the Notre Dame cathedral. I'm John Vause at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

Police say the fire is under control but there is much to be done to determine how this fire began and exactly how much damage has been done to this renowned cathedral. Firefighters have been working since early Monday evening to put out the flames and save whatever they can of the Paris landmark.

Early reports say the fire started in the attic and spread through the wooden structure, causing major damage. The spire of the central cathedral collapsed late Monday and the roof was largely destroyed. Authorities say the twin towers that make up the building's facade are safe.

Fire officials say one firefighter was seriously injured. The mayor of Paris tweeted, "Major art pieces and religious relics have been saved, including the crown of thorns believed to be worn by Jesus at his crucifixion."

French president Emmanuel Macron is calling for international fundraising efforts to rebuild.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): The Notre Dame of Paris is our history, our literature, our imagination. It's a place where we lived all our great moments, our epidemics, our wars, our liberation. It is the epicenter of our lives. It's the benchmark from which distances start and from which we measure ourselves from Paris.

It appears in so many books, so many paintings, it is a cathedral that is the one of all French men and women, even those who have never come here. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: President Emmanuel Macron there.

Max Foster, my colleague, was actually in Paris.

Max, when Emmanuel Macron says this was the benchmark that we measure our distance and our lives, he was actually quite literally correct. This is a benchmark where they distance from Paris to wherever they go out throughout the world.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly and anyone that has had the pleasure of coming to Paris before, this is one of the first places that you come to a tourist route. Very eerie, not only because we are so early in the morning but because all the roads around here have been closed off to allow the emergency services to get in there and do their work.

Obviously the sun will be coming up now. And this is the first sense that we really have of the full extent of the damage as seen from the outside. Of course, we don't have the spire anymore; that's the most dramatic element. But also we can't really get a full sense of the damage to the roof, although Nic Robertson is with me.

And you've seen some video of the inside. Just describe what you saw.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The video shows the firemen's hoses playing on structure inside the cathedral itself. The man who shot it told me there was about a foot of water on the floor inside the cathedral. He pointed the camera up at the ceiling and you see places at the tops of the columns, where some of the brickwork, the masonry along the inside of the roof, the main body of the cathedral, had collapsed and crashed down.

You could see signs of damage and at times you could see embers falling from above.

But standing outside here tonight, most the work we've seen the firefighters doing has been on the outside, inspecting the building.

FOSTER: So how would you describe the damage?

Obviously we've lost the spire, the front, the iconic frontage is still there.

So would you say the interior is burned out?

And the you've lost whatever was very high up.

ROBERTSON: In the main section of the cathedral, in the many long body, there seems to be damage. Although I could see the darkness of the video some pews. In one of the naves it appeared -- and I think we'll have to look at this more closely later, particularly when we get feedback from the firefighters -- as if there were elements inside the nave that hadn't been touched. There are candles that tourists would've lit in the afternoon yesterday were still there. What we do know is there has also been lost overnight this famous roof

known as the forest because it took so much wood to make it. And with the wood being so old and so dry, this is what the experts have been telling us over last few hours, it caused it to combust and burn so quickly and so intensely.

FOSTER: Is it true to say that no one was even injured in this instance?

What do we know?

ROBERTSON: Not quite, one firefighter was seriously injured. That happened around midnight when they were still trying to bring that blaze into control. It was only, I was say, maybe about three or four hours ago now that we actually learned that the blaze had been brought under control.

But even after that the firefighters were still --


ROBERTSON: -- their hoses were still playing on the cathedral, inside the cathedral. So it was under control, the fire was not in any sense out at that stage.

FOSTER: Effectively, they're inside, using water to get rid of all of those burning embers and douse the whole space, is that right?

ROBERTSON: Yes, obviously the firefighters' real concern is you have an intense fire; it gets into the woodwork and if you don't douse everything, then it could read a further field (ph) would be the fire could rekindle itself.

There's a lot of firefighters still here; in the last hour or two hours I've seen some of the fire trucks leaving. But the amazing thing when they leave is even now when there is a tiny crowd here but earlier when there were more people, every time a fire truck left, there was a huge round of applause from the Parisians standing here, applauding them for the work they've done overnight.

FOSTER: OK, Nic, we're going to talk about that video, into the system, so we can show it to you. Thank you for that.

The Vatican making a statement to the horrific scene here in Notre Dame.

It wrote, "In France and in the world we express our closeness to the French Catholic and to the French Catholics and the people of Paris. We pray for the firefighters and for all those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation."

Let's bring CNN religion commentator Father Edward Beck.

How are you feeling today, Father?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Well, a little discouraged, Max. It's a hard day. It's a beautiful sacred spot. I don't know if you've been there but I've been there a few times.

It's a place of prayer. I remember what that organ sounds like. I remember what those bells sound like when they toll. And those beautiful stained glass windows, it is really a majestic edifice and to see it totally destroyed, it's certainly disheartening.

FOSTER: Is it symbolic because so many people associate with it or because of its place in Catholic history?

BECK: Well, it has, of course, such a long history and it took so much centuries to build. And so many restorations and so many renovations. And there are a hundred parishes around Paris. So this is the mother parish. This is the cathedral, this is the seat of the archbishop of Paris. So not only does it have that long history but it is the mother church of Paris.

And, as you know, many tourists go there and yet it's also its own community, its own parish. People have their children baptized there. So I'm thinking of those people who actually did have their children baptized, who had the dead have a funeral there, those who were married there, it's a special significance.

We tend to think a lot of cameras and people just going as a tourist. But it really is a worshiping community as well. And you have feel for those people who have a real connection in history to that cathedral.

FOSTER: I can't even imagine how the feelings will go into the Easter weekend here. This would normally be a focal point for prayer, for the whole Catholic community here in Paris.

BECK: Remember, yesterday was Passion Palm Sunday, when we read the passion of Christ. Interestingly, one of the relics that was saved was the crown of thorns and very symbolic of the passion of Christ.

And we move throughout this week Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. And Holy Saturday at that liturgy in every Catholic Church around the world, there will be a fire lit in the church, not a destructive one.

The fire represents the renewal, the presence of Christ as light in the darkness. And so I can't help but miss the symbolism that, out of these ashes, something new gets born. And the message of this week is that it doesn't end in death. It doesn't end in destruction, that, for the Christian faith, three days later, there was a rebirth, a renewal, a resurrection.

And as you heard today president Emmanuel Macron said they are going to rebuild this cathedral, so a word of renewal and restoration.

FOSTER: They were rebuilding because it was in quite a state on some of the facades, a lot of work being done here.

Any talk within the church about how that was being handled and how this fire might have been started? BECK: I have not heard any inside talk of how it may have been started. But it's (INAUDIBLE) restorations in that church for many, many years, many restorations. And there's much damage was done to that cathedral. So it's not unusual that they would be working there.

It's possible that a workman just set it on fire by mistake. It's possible --


BECK: -- that it was just some kind of human error. We don't know that yet.

But no matter what the reason, the fact that something so beautiful can be totally destroyed, I think, is a reminder is that nothing lasts, it's all ephemeral and it passes. And yet what's really about the cathedral it that gathered community, the people who came there.

And they will still come, whether there's an edifice or not. They will gather because the church, the real church, is the people of God, not the brick and mortar, beautiful as it is. But that does not necessarily last.

FOSTER: Interesting as well and quite heartening to see how the entire religious community rallied around very quickly, the Church of England, for example, in the U.K. but also Islamic communities all expressing their sympathies for the church because they've all got a Notre Dame in their own religions which they can relate to and somehow be able to relate to this because, if it happened to them, it would be equally as horrifying.

BECK: Most definitely, I think sacred places are very important because they localize the sacred for us. Sometimes we need a place to go to, to encounter the divine. And if you walk into that Notre Dame cathedral, those flying buttresses, the stained glass windows, the sound of that organ it lifts you up out of yourself, as do many other religious edifices.

So I think, yes, others can identify because if something similar of theirs was destroyed, they would be as distraught as many of us are. And so I think it's really been great the way people have come together and that people have gathered outside of the cathedral in prayer, in singing, even those who may not be that religious because they can empathize and sympathize with what has been lost.

FOSTER: Absolutely, Father Beck, thank you very much indeed.

Also many tourists of course here in Paris and as news spread on social media and mainstream media, people did flock down here yesterday to look in shock at what was happening to this iconic structure in the center of Paris.

At the moment, a lot of the areas are closed off; people are starting to come down again but as you can see, the police being brought down to manage the crowds but also to allow the fire services to do their job. This was the scene amongst the crowds yesterday.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): As you can see it that there could be (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE) unbelievable. And even for me, it's (INAUDIBLE) for the French, it's due the symbol of Paris. You know, I can't think of the skyline of Paris without the spire of Notre Dame. You know, we can just collapse. It's one 1,000 years of my history, of our national identity which is burning. It's awful. You know, I'm sorry to be so emotional but it -- there are not words to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was having a regular coffee with my colleague from Holland (ph) who visited me this morning. And so the smell that something is burning and something is going wrong. And I teach in a restaurant but then the bartender told us that apparently the Notre Dame is on fire. So (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was (INAUDIBLE) and as we were going up, we saw lots of smoke billowing out from the middle of the city. And I looked over and we heard people talking about Notre Dame.

And so we were getting multiple text messages from family, just asking about what was going on, if we were safe and just trying to figure out what was happening. We then found out about the fire there. I then took some photos and we were just like very confused because earlier that day we actually gone to Notre Dame and were standing in front of it and everything was (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's amazing (INAUDIBLE). Everybody crying on the -- it's very sad because Notre Dame de Paris is the symbol of Paris and the symbol of France. This church (INAUDIBLE) for everybody (INAUDIBLE) symbol of freedom, a symbol of fraternity (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw it in the beginning from the building behind (INAUDIBLE) when I realized it's Notre Dame cathedral (INAUDIBLE) terrifying. It's such a crazy moment because for us it's a very important building, very (INAUDIBLE) monument. So it's very heartbreaking.






VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. The fire destruction at Notre Dame is a dark moment for the City of Light. For hours, flames ravaged this historic cathedral. Hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze; at least one has been seriously hurt. While officials say the worst has been avoided, they add the cathedral

has suffered colossal damage. The iconic spire collapsed within an hour of the fire taking hold. The roof has been gutted. French president Emmanuel Macron said the historical landmark which has stood for 800 years will be rebuilt.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): I am announcing it tonight. We will rebuild this cathedral together. The project we will have for years to come.

Starting tomorrow, our national donation scheme will be start that will extend beyond our borders. We will appeal to the greatest talents. We will rebuild Notre Dame because that is what the French expect. That is what our history merits and this is our deep destiny.


VAUSE: Joining us now from Miami is Kobi Karp, an award winning architect and expert in architectural history.

Kobi, just what we know at this point in terms of what has been destroyed and what is still standing.

The question is, how much of the existing building can be saved?

And how much will need to be rebuilt?

KOBI KARP, ARCHITECT: There are lots of existing building has been, to my regret, substantially burned away. What we are going to have available for us is the masonry restructure which was originally built and created the foundation upon, which Notre Dame church was built upon.

The cathedral itself, all the masonry walls shall remain and stone finishes are there intact. So substantial amount of the foundation and the structure shall remain intact.

VAUSE: The Notre Dame we see today is not the Notre Dame of the 12th century. The stone has been discolored over the years because of time and pollution.

Do they restore the cathedral to one which is familiar to us?

Or will this restoration be true to the original design?

Because the specifications still survive to this day.

KARP: That's a very good question. That's what we deal with every day. Whether we restore it, to what point. Probably the thought process will be to restore it to this day, meaning to --


KARP: -- April 14th, to that point in time. This is what most people will see; this is what people want to come back and represent. That is a step of departure. And it's the most critical point of arrival. And that's what we will try to restore to.

VAUSE: This building has a long history of renovations and rebuilding. This is a monument to persistence So done right, the restoration will become part of the cathedral's living history.

But what would be an example of getting this restoration wrong?

KARP: Well, that's a very -- hopefully, when we get it restored and done correctly in today's time, in our civilization today, we are lucky enough to have material and labor that's being able to restore and bring back to life the structure to the way it was substantially yesterday.

A lot of it will be brought back to the way it was originally. We do have the ability to do that. Hopefully will be able to bring it back to the point where this will never happen again.

VAUSE: When they restore the Sistine Chapel, the ceiling, the colors were too bright and people complained.

KARP: Yes. And that's a very good point and this is what we want to avoid. We want to bring it to a point of reality and to a point of where people who walked in yesterday feel at home. And that's what it's about.

VAUSE: I guess maybe this will also be a long chance to install a working fire alarm and sprinkler system. It's incredible to think that there is 13 million visitors a year who visit this cathedral and they didn't seem to have a working sprinkler system, which means, in some ways, it's a potential death threat.

KARP: It is a serious issue. And it brings you to think, John, what could happen tomorrow. If this happened in Paris in what is one of the greatest monuments that we have built as a civilization, it can happen anywhere in the world, from the Far East, to the Middle East to Europe. And God forbid it happens again someplace else.

So bringing a proper fire suppression system and a life safety alarm system, which we have today, certainly is a critical element in any sort of preservation and restoration we embark on today in all buildings, public and private.

VAUSE: It's important to know that buildings have been burned to the ground and destroyed and then rebuilt; the White House, for example. And it's all just part of the history. OK, Kobi, good to see you. Thank you very much.

KARP: Good to be here. Thank you very much.

VAUSE: The fire at Notre Dame was a global moment of loss shared in silence, watched live on television, triggering an outpouring of sadness and grief on social media. From singer Cher, who tweeted, "I'm praying for Notre Dame." She included a prayer emoji to show that she was praying. Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who reached deep into his bag of cliches to tweet, "Today we are all Parisians."

We have a real Parisian with us now, CNN anchor Cyril Vanier.

Good to be with you and thank you for being with us. You had no choice really but it's good to have you with us.

What does Notre Dame actually mean to the people in Paris?

Is this part of the fabric of their lives?

Do they go there regularly?

Is it someplace they identify with?

Or is this just another old building, another money turner that brings in the tourists?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: No, no. No, I disagree with that second characterization.

No, it is very much part of the tapestry of living in Paris because this was one of the special things about living in a city as old as Paris, with as many landmarks. The city's been built around these landmarks for hundreds of years. So it's not like you have to take the train to see something pretty, put on a postcard and just remember it.

No, you walk past Notre Dame to go to work, you drive by the Eiffel Tower. I used to go to work, et cetera. Notre Dame sits by the (INAUDIBLE), which is the main police building where you do all your administrative matters and by the -- many administrative buildings. So you will always see that building as you just progress throughout your day in Paris.

(INAUDIBLE) people. Just sort of becomes part of the background. You almost become blase about it.

VANIER: You do. And I do think Parisians -- I myself was guilty of that, that you become not complacent but you take it for granted to some extent. That said, when it's taken away from you -- and I think that's we saw over the last 24 hours; that's why we saw people gather singing those songs and prayers and everything, that's when Parisians realize they are emotionally attached to their city and to those landmarks.

VAUSE: Kenneth Clark had a landmark documentary series, "Civilization," from 1969 and Clark is one of the great historians of our time. He begins his documentary series by standing in front of Notre Dame.

And he asked this question, "What is civilization? I don't know. I can't define it in abstract terms yet.

[00:25:00] VAUSE: -- "But I think I can recognize it when I see it. And I am looking at it now."

At that point he turns and he's looking directly at the cathedral.

In terms of pure symbolism is Paris Paris without Notre Dame?

VANIER: Paris is blessed with enough monuments that are probably a number of monuments, not just Notre Dame, that can lay claim to represent Paris to a large extent. But yes, there will be a lot lost. It's part of the cityscape. It's one of the most recognizable buildings you see as you travel along the River Seine.

As I said, you walk in front of it almost daily, for some Parisians. And I want to show a picture because -- I want to put up an aerial shot of Notre Dame and I'll show you, John, this is a building that is enmeshed in the city.

If you look at this, Notre Dame out to me. You can still with the towers but get my point. This is part of the city. You can't take it out. It's part of the fabric of Paris. And in that respect, I do believe that Paris wouldn't quite be the same without it.

VAUSE: It's like the "L.A. Story," when Steve Martin says of Los Angeles, this is a historic area. Some of these buildings are 50 years old. It's a little bit different to that.

At there's something special about these old buildings. They represent continuity and not everything has to come to an end. That's why it's been so special that it's still there for 800 years It survived World War I and World War II, mostly intact. During the French Revolution they used it as a warehouse and a storage area.

Hundreds of the books, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," which takes us through the crappy conditions it was in. That started a major renovation. And now we have these images from inside, of the damage.

We see the altar is still standing. The French president said this fire left regions with an internal trembling.

Is that internal trembling kind of a sadness?

That the damage done to Notre Dame, this was a piece of history and it's been so severely damaged on their watch?

Not saying they're to blame for it --


VAUSE: -- and it's survived all these years and look at it now.

VANIER: It's a good point. I think it's a very consequential moment, especially for this French president, for Emmanuel Macron, because he sees himself as the custodian of this hundred-years long history, He sees himself as the next French king. And every French president, I think, to some respects, sees himself as the next leader of France, down that line of succession, Emmanuel Macron even more so than some.

You can tell by the way speaks, from the historical references and from some of the things he's done since the beginning of his presidency. And it's not a surprise that when he says that France is going to rebuild Notre Dame, he said it's our destiny.

How many people use that word?

There is lyricism there. But that is very much the type of president that he is.


VAUSE: -- aware of the place --

(CROSSTALK) VAUSE: -- he wants to be associated with that --

VANIER: Yes, and he sees that as I think the seat of French power, history, the arts, culture, France's power on the world stage. Even today it's built on those things.

VAUSE: This is a cathedral; it is a place of worship. One French historian said God died in the 1960s but they have a very special spot for their cathedrals and their churches.

VANIER: It's interesting, France a very secular country today and yet you saw people crying when they saw the church burn.

VAUSE: It's part of the history, part of the fabric of their society,

Cyril, thank you, good to see you.

When we come back we'll have much more on the fire of Notre Dame including a look at the priceless treasures inside the landmark cathedral.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[00:31:36] MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Max Foster in Paris as the sun comes up over Notre Dame Cathedral, we get a full sense, we're starting to get a full sense this hour of the damage to the roof.

Firefighters at work inside, but outside, media and lots of members of the public started to come down here to look on. Lots of police, as well, not that there's any major threat to people here, but they do need to keep the roads free for the fire services and also just to make sure people don't crowd, presumably, out and cause some problems that way. Obviously, many tourists in Paris at the best of times.

We're getting this first this first look there at some of the damage inside the building as firefighters say the fire is under control. It started on Monday evening, spread very quickly through the church's wooden infrastructure, particularly the roof.

The cathedral is very distinctive spire collapsed, which was really the big moment that shocked so many people around the world. The roof is completely destroyed -- most of it, at least. But authorities say the two iconic bell towers at the front of the church do appear to be safe.

No word yet on what caused the blaze. But initial calls reported a fire in the attic. There were workmen at the scene, of course. But there are no injuries reported, so we don't actually think there's anyone that was particularly close to the fire when it went off.

We want to share a drawing that's making the rounds on social media. An architect, an artist from Ecuador sketched the Quasimodo character from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" hugging. She says right now the world is embracing Notre Dame.

Now, just last week, for the first time in just over a century, construction workers actually removed several religious statues from the top of the cathedral. So they were saved. A 100-meter-high crane lowered the copper statues representing the 12 apostles and four evangelists onto a truck. The statues were sent to southwestern France as part of a $6.8 million renovation project on that cathedral spire, which of course, suffered last night.

Let's head to Los Angeles. CNN's European affairs commentator, Dominic Thomas, is there.

When you first started seeing these images come through, what went through your mind, Dominic?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Well, I grew up in Paris, Max. And for me, there were these two iconic structures. You know, and they're both related, in many ways.

One was the Eiffel Tower, built at the end of the Nineteenth Century to be a symbol of French technological progress at the height of colonialism. And alongside that, Notre Dame Cathedral, which until the Eiffel Tower was built, was the tallest structure in Paris, built also to demonstrate or sort of make a strong statement when it was commissioned at the end of the 12th Century, some seven centuries prior to the -- to the Eiffel Tower. That it would be the symbol of economic and political and a kind of cultural message to -- to France and to Europe.

And in many ways, it has way exceeded that initial kind of plan. I's very much a structure that was built to be there over time that is visited by so many million people a year, and not just because it's a religious site, but because it's just this absolutely incredible example of gothic architecture.

And so I watched it in, you know, a sort of deep despair, seeing what was -- what was happening there.

[00:35:12] FOSTER: Obviously, people who go inside always affected by it. But particularly Catholics. For many tourists, though, the front of the building is still recognizable, and that's going to be heartening as the sun comes up over Paris this morning.

FOSTER: Yes, it will be. I mean, it's so interesting, because the scaffolding was, of course, behind that. I mean, this is a very large structure, you know, covering almost the same space as a -- as a football field.

And yet, the front area, it was only a few years ago that the scaffolding finally came down and revealed this kind of pristine lights and structures that over time had been polluted, impregnated with dirt and kind of car fumes. And it looked almost sort of unreal just to see it in that particular state.

And so what you see behind there, of course, is the area that has suffered this major devastation. And that contained those gothic vaults made out of this sort of wood that had been taken from the forest and that is actually irreplaceable.

And so that's the sort of tragedy, you're right. It is kind of hidden behind it almost like a Hollywood movie set. But it's that history. It's not just the art objects that were potentially threatened. It's everything that was -- that was represented in that iconic structure that -- in what is essentially a very sort of horizontal city. You see Notre Dame from just about everywhere in the city. And if you get any kind of elevation, you can see it from a very long way off.

FOSTER: Where you are, people affected. You had seen members of public life, as well as religious figures coming out in the United States, expressing their concern straightaway, which really shows there was a connection with the United States and many parts of the world with this particular building. Because when they think of Paris, they think of the tower, of course, first, but they always think of Notre Dame, probably, second, don't they?

THOMAS: Well, I mean, it's funny, because Notre Dame gets more actual visited and gets more foot traffic than the Eiffel Tower. But yes, I think that internationally, the Eiffel Tower is the ultimate, you know, iconic symbol.

But when you go to Paris and you walk around and you cross from the left bank to the right bank or head over to the Marais neighborhood from the historic St. Germain Quarter. You can't avoid either seeing Notre Dame or passing by this particular structure.

And I think that that international appeal was not lost on President Macron. When President Macron talked about rebuilding and launching an international campaign, he's appealing to kind of the ways in which this structure, to which this experience for so many people that have traveled with their families or over time to Paris have seen this.

And, you know, I kept rethinking of, of course, the role that Viktor Hugo played and the way his 1831 novel was subsequently transformed into film. And that even the story evolved through print culture to film culture and so on. And Viktor Hugo saying that, you know, that these edifices, like great mountains, are the work of centuries. And Notre Dame perfectly encapsulates that message that Viktor Hugo

understood so well, at a time when the authorities were critical of medieval structures and wanted to sort of clean up the city and remove them. And he fought for them. And the building has survived in its multilayered forms and stands there today.

FOSTER: Emmanuel Macron, you just mentioned him. We heard Cyril talking about him earlier on. Actually, quite a test to his leadership right now. For those that aren't aware of what's going on in French politics, just explain how he's trying to assert himself and how, actually, the nation will be looking at him for his response, presumably when he comes down here today.

THOMAS: Yes, they will be. And he's -- he's already been there once, along with the prime minister. So they've made a very important gesture to go there.

This is a president who sort of really came out of nowhere, in many ways. You know, only 25 percent of people voted for him in the first round, which means that an awful lot of people did not.

The French political landscape changed dramatically, and he has been embroiled for the past several months in -- in this standoff, really, with the yellow jackets over resistance to some of his policies, his environmental policies.

And French society is going through a broad range of transformations. And I think that this is going to be an opportunity, not only for Emmanuel Macron to bring together a city that has, since the attacks of 2015, been traumatized by these -- these kinds of events and disruption to society. And -- and so on.

[00:40:03] FOSTER: We'll have to leave it there. Thank you very much for bringing your insight. A huge test of everyone here in Paris.

But actually, remarkable to see people jogging, as they always do, around the Cathedral today. So life's starting to get back to normal as we assess the damage here.

After the break, we'll find out what else is going on around the world for you.


[00:45:00]JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody.

Our top story this hour. Fire has gutted Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The blaze broke out Monday and lasted hours. Authorities say it is now under control. At least one firefighter was seriously hurt.

French President Emmanuel Macron is pledging to rebuild and says he's launching a global fundraising effort.

The cathedral's main bell towers and facade were saved, but as you see here, the spire and roof collapsed into the flames. And now to what may be ahead for Sudan's ousted leader. Sources tell

CNN Omar al-Bashir and two other former senior figures will be charged with corruption and the deaths of protestors.

This comes as domination continue around the clock outside the army headquarters. Protestors are demanding a quick transition to a civilian government.

And Reuters's investigative report on the massacre of 10 Muslim Rohingya men in Myanmar has a Pulitzer Prize.

The two reporters who found the mass grave in Rakhine state and investigated the killings were arrested in December of 2017. They've since been sentenced to seven years in prison for violating Myanmar's colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. WORLD SPORT is next. You're watching CNN.