Wednesday morning news: April 17, 2019


French president wants cathedral rebuilt within 5 years » AUDIO: [Sound of Notre Dame concert]

Hundreds of people gathered once again in the streets of Paris on Tuesday, praying and singing in the shadow of the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral.

Hundreds of firefighters doused the blaze for 12 hours before the flames finally flickered out.

French President Emmanuel Macron, heard here through an interpreter, addressed the nation Tuesday.

MACRON: We will build the cathedral of Notre Dame even more beautiful, and I want for this to be done within the next five years. We can do this. 

Notre Dame’s twin medieval bell towers were spared, as were many of the priceless artifacts. Officials said a frantic rescue effort saved the monument’s “most precious treasures.”

Historian Andrew Smith with University College London said he was especially worried about Notre Dame’s ornate windows.

SMITH: This is, you know, 12th, 13th century architecture, beautiful devotional work. Those windows which depict Biblical scenes in the north are meant to be saved, so far appear to be safe, but it’s going to be days and weeks ‘til we see how much can really be preserved. 

Many of the artifacts are blackened or burned and will require painstaking restoration.


Democrats expand probe of Trump finances » House Democrats have taken new steps to dig into President Trump’s finances. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has details.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The House Intelligence and Financial Services committees jointly issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank and several other financial institutions.

The New York Times reports that Democrats demanded documents “related to possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe.”

They’re looking for any possible financial ties to the Trump family.

Eric Trump, the president’s son and a leader in the Trump Organization, called the subpoena—his words, “an unprecedented abuse of power.”

Meantime, the president’s attorneys are warning financial institutions not to hand over the president’s financial records.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.


Asylum seekers who show credible fear not eligible for bond » The Department of Justice has announced a shift in policy on detainment of asylum seekers.

Migrants who are detained can no longer ask a judge to be released on bond while their asylum cases are pending. That’s true, even if they show they have a “credible fear” of returning to their home country and face removal. They will have to wait in detention until their case is adjudicated.

Attorney General William Barr made the decision on Tuesday. He has the authority to overturn prior rulings made by immigration courts, which fall under the Justice Department.

Barr’s ruling takes effect in 90 days. It doesn’t affect asylum-seeking families or unaccompanied minors.


Sen. Bernie Sanders releases 10 years of tax returns » Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the early Democratic presidential frontrunner has released 10 years of his long-anticipated tax returns.

During his first presidential bid four years ago, Sanders released just one year of tax returns, for 2014.

The senator’s tax documents reveal that he and his wife Jane are millionaires, thanks in part to Sanders’ earnings from his book Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.

SANDERS: Pretty good book, you might want to read it! It was a bestseller, sold all over the world and it made money. So if anyone thinks that I should apologize for writing a bestselling book, I’m sorry, I’m not going to do it. 

That from a Fox News town hall event on Monday in Pennsylvania.

Sanders’ campaign said he paid a 26 percent effective tax rate in 2018.

He’s now challenging President Trump to release his tax returns.


Frmr. governor launches GOP primary challenge to Trump » And President Trump now has his first Republican primary challenger.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld announced his White House bid in a campaign video on Tuesday.

AUDIO: A better America starts here. Bill Weld for president. Join us. 

Weld has blasted President Trump as being too unstable to lead, adding that he’s put the country in “grave peril.”  

The 73-year-old is fiscally conservative but socially liberal. He was a candidate for vice president in 2016 on former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson’s Libertarian ticket.


NC Senate passes protections for babies who survive abortions » The North Carolina Senate has passed a bill requiring doctors and nurses to provide medical care to babies who survive attempted abortions.

The Republican-drafted bill states that babies who survive abortions should have the same protections as all other newborns. Medical professionals who withhold care from those infants, could face felony charges and steep fines.

The measure now moves to the House for debate and an expected vote today.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has criticized the measure through a spokesperson, raising expectations that he would veto it if it reaches his desk.


Church arson suspect charged with hate crimes » Prosecutors have filed new hate crimes charges against a man accused of torching three historic African American churches in Louisiana. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has that story.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: 21-year-old Holden Matthews pleaded not guilty Monday to starting the church fires. They burned over several days starting March 26.

Prosecutors said investigators found evidence on his cellphone linking him to the crimes, including photos of the fires in their early stages.

Matthews belongs to a band playing so-called “black metal.” That’s a genre of music with Satanic, anti-Christian themes that’s been linked to church arsons in the past.

The new charges against Matthews fall under state hate crime law. But federal prosecutors are reportedly considering filing their own hate crimes charges as well.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.


(AP Photo/Francois Mori) A fire fighter makes his way on a balcony of Notre Dame cathedral Wednesday, April 17, 2019 in Paris. 

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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