Tuesday morning news: April 16, 2019


Fire engulfs Notre Dame cathedral » A catastrophic fire engulfed the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday.

AUDIO: [Sound from Notre Dame]

As the cathedral’s centuries-old 300-foot spire crumbled into the flames, there was an audible gasp from the streets below.

AUDIO: [Sound from Notre Dame]

The 12th-century cathedral is home to invaluable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.

French President Emmanuel Macron called the fire a “terrible tragedy,” but said “we will rebuild this cathedral together.”

AUDIO: [Ave Maria]

Just before midnight, onlookers, still gathered in nearby streets began praying and singing.

AUDIO: [Ave Maria]

Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet offered some good news last night saying, “We now believe that the two towers of Notre Dame have been saved,” along with the “main structure.”

The fire started during a renovation project. Arson was not suspected. Officials say they’re already investigating what they called… “involuntary destruction by fire.”


Mueller report to be released Thursday » The Department of Justice says it will likely release special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report on Thursday.

The report is almost 400 pages long, but portions of it will be redacted.

Former federal prosecutor David Weinstein explains that’s because much of the information “was presented to a grand jury.”

WEINSTEIN: And none of us are on the grand jury release documents. In addition, some of the information is going to relate to people who have not been charged, and as a result of Department of Justice policy, no information is made public about those uncharged individuals. 

Mueller sent the report to Attorney General William Barr last month. Barr then sent a four-page summary to Congress saying Mueller found no evidence of Russian collusion within the Trump campaign. Mueller did not reach a conclusion about possible obstruction of justice on the part of the president.

Democrats are demanding to see the entire, unredacted report.


President Trump doubles down on Omar feud » President Trump escalated his feud with Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and House Speaker Pelosi on Monday.

He tweeted that the speaker has “lost all control of Congress.” That, after Pelosi criticized the president over the weekend for spreading a video showing Omar talking about the creation of the group known as CAIR—The Council on American-Islamic Relations.

AUDIO: CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something.

The video was heavily edited with scenes from the 9/11 attacks and purported to show Omar being dismissive of them.

Pelosi and other Democrats say the video twisted Omar’s remarks and politicized 9/11. But White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders doubled down on the president’s comments during an interview on Fox News.

SANDERS: For her to talk about it in such a dismissive way is frankly disgusting and abhorrent, and I’m glad the president is calling her out. 

President Trump also tweeted that Omar has made anti-Semitic and—quote—“U.S. HATE statements.”

Democrats accuse Trump of inciting violence after Omar said she’s received death threats over the past few days. Speaker Pelosi has asked the Capitol Police to ensure Omar’s safety.


Sudanese military faces pressure to transfer power » In Sudan, the military council now in control of the country is facing pressure from all sides to transfer power to a civilian government. On Monday the African Union—a group of 55 countries—gave the council 15 days to hand over power to a “civilian-led political authority.” Meantime, thousands of protesters continue their sit-in at military headquarters in Khartoum. WORLD Africa reporter Onize Ohikere has more.

AUDIO: [Sound from Sudan] 

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: The Last week’s coup began when the protest movement convinced the military to force President Omar al-Bashir out of office.

But protesters reacted with anger when the the country’s defense minister announced a military council would govern for two years.

The council now says it will install a limited civilian government, naming a prime minister and Cabinet, but not a president.

But leaders of the protest movement want a full civilian government and other changes. They’re also demanding that al-Bashir and his allies face justice for crimes they committed under his brutal regime.

The military won’t say where it’s holding al-Bashir. And the council says it will not extradite him to face international charges of genocide and other crimes.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere.


Actress, husband plead not guilty in college admissions scam » Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli are pleading not guilty to charges they paid a half-million dollars in bribes as part of a college admissions scam.

The pair are among 50 people accused of making illegal payouts to get their children into elite schools.

Prosecutors last week hit more than a dozen parents with money laundering conspiracy charges on top of the mail fraud conspiracy charge they already faced.


Aretha Franklin, Capital Gazette among Pulitzer winners » Aretha Franklin has posthumously received a Pulitzer prize.

MUSIC: [You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)]

The Pulitzer board gave Franklin a special citation as judges praised the Queen of Soul “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture.” Franklin is the first woman to receive the honorary Pulitzer.

Also on Monday, the board honored several newspapers for coverage of mass shootings. Among them, Maryland’s Capital Gazette, which won a special citation for its courage in the face of a massacre in its own newsroom. The Pulitzer board also gave the paper an extraordinary $100-thousand dollar grant to further its journalism.

The Associated Press won in the international reporting category for shedding light on the humanitarian horrors of Yemen’s civil war. And the board honored the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal for delving into President Trump’s finances and hush-money scandals involving alleged affairs.


(Benoit Moser/BSPP via AP) This photo provided Tuesday April 16, 2019 by the Paris Fire Brigade shows fire fighters heading to the burning Notre Dame cathedral, Monday April 15, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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