Massive fire engulfs beloved Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
PARIS (AP) — A catastrophic fire engulfed the upper reaches of Paris' soaring Notre Dame Cathedral as it was undergoing renovations Monday, threatening one of the greatest architectural treasures of the Western world as tourists and Parisians looked on aghast from the streets below.
The blaze collapsed the cathedral's spire and spread to one of its landmark rectangular towers, but Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the church's structure had been saved after firefighters managed to stop the fire spreading to the northern belfry. The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world's most famous tourist attractions, immortalized by Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."
The exact cause of the blaze was not known, but French media quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire is "potentially linked" to a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the church's spire and its 250 tons of lead. The Paris prosecutors' office ruled out arson and possible terror-related motives, and said it was treating it as an accident.
Flames shot out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks in the world. Hundreds of people lined up bridges around the island that houses the church, watching in shock as acrid smoke rose in plumes. Speaking alongside junior Interior minister Laurent Nunez late Monday, police chief Jean-Claude Gallet said "two thirds of the roofing has been ravaged." Gallet said firefighters would keep working overnight to cool down the building.
Late Monday, signs pointed to the fire nearing an end as lights could be seen through the windows moving around the front of the cathedral, apparently investigators inspecting the scene.
Trump ups his attacks with Mueller report due Thursday
WASHINGTON (AP) — The president isn't waiting. As Washington counts down the final hours until publication of the redacted special counsel report — now expected Thursday — Donald Trump stepped up his attacks Monday in an effort to undermine potential disclosures on Russia, his 2016 campaign and the aftermath.
He unleashed a series of tweets focusing on the previously released summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's conclusions — including a crucial one on obstruction of justice that Trump again misrepresented — produced by Attorney General William Barr.
"Mueller, and the A.G. based on Mueller findings (and great intelligence), have already ruled No Collusion, No Obstruction," Trump tweeted. "These were crimes committed by Crooked Hillary, the DNC, Dirty Cops and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!"
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders repeatedly tried to make the same case on TV talk shows on Sunday. But the political battle is far from finished over the special counsel's investigation of Russian efforts to help Trump in 2016 and whether there was cooperation with his campaign.
Democrats are calling for Mueller himself to testify before Congress and have expressed concern that Barr will order unnecessary censoring of the report to protect the president. The House Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, is poised to try to compel Barr to turn over an unredacted copy as well as the report's underlying investigative files.
AP journalists win Pulitzer for coverage of Yemen civil war
NEW YORK (AP) — A team of three Associated Press journalists won a Pulitzer Prize in international reporting Monday for their work documenting torture, graft and starvation in Yemen's brutal civil war.
Reporter Maggie Michael, photographer Nariman El-Mofty and video journalist Maad al-Zikry spent a year uncovering atrocities and suffering in Yemen, shining a light on a conflict largely ignored by the American public.
In a series of stories, they told of how famished people in parts of Yemen were reduced to eating leaves to stay alive while corrupt officials diverted international food aid.
Their reports documented civilian casualties of a U.S. drone campaign, drew attention to the presence of child soldiers on the front lines and showed evidence of torture by both Houthi rebels and U.S.-backed forces . For one report, Michael managed to interview seven torture victims while they were still being held prisoner.
Their images and stories, gathered at times under dangerous conditions, made a difference.
Loughlin, Giannulli plead not guilty in college bribery scam
BOSTON (AP) — "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that they paid $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California.
The couple is among 50 prominent parents, athletic coaches and others charged in a sweeping college admissions bribery scam that has embroiled elite school across the country, such as Stanford, Georgetown and Yale.
Loughlin and Giannulli filed court documents Monday waiving their right to appear for an arraignment and entering not guilty pleas to the two charges against them. The judge granted their requests, meaning they will not have to show up at Boston's federal court to be arraigned.
Thirty-three wealthy parents were charged last month in what authorities have called the biggest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department. They are accused of paying admissions consultant Rick Singer to rig standardized test scores and bribe college coaches and other insiders to get their children into selective schools.
Loughlin and Giannulli are charged with paying bribes to have their daughters designated as crew recruits to USC, even though neither of them is a rower. Authorities say Loughlin and Giannulli helped create fake athletic profiles for the teens by sending Singer photos of their teens posing on rowing machines.
Support strong for Guaidó in devastated Venezuelan oil city
MARACAIBO, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has met obstacles at nearly every turn since he declared presidential powers in a bid to end socialist President Nicolas Maduro's rule, and his visit to this once-thriving oil center was no different.
He was forced to take a boat to outmaneuver police roadblocks and reach throngs of supporters waiting to hear him speak in the sweltering heat in Maracaibo, a city now infamous for its blackouts.
Security forces had blocked the bridge across Lake Maracaibo just as Guaidó arrived on Sunday. Undeterred, the 35-year-old opposition leader and his entourage boarded a private boat and sped off across the water.
While Guaidó has gained backing from the United States and some 50 other nations, Maduro remains firmly entrenched nearly three months into the struggle for control of Venezuela. Guaidó has been stripped of his immunity and faces the looming threat of arrest — something he warned would be a "big mistake."
"It would only deepen the crisis," Guaidó told The Associated Press as the boat crossed the choppy waters. "The consequences would only hurt the regime."
Kenya's Cherono wins men's Boston Marathon in sprint to tape
BOSTON (AP) — Two-time Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa turned onto Boylston Street with a sliver of a lead, leaning in front of two other runners with the finish line in sight.
Unfortunately for him, one of them was the fastest man in the field.
Lawrence Cherono needed every bit of his speed to outkick Desisa in a sprint to the tape on Monday, passing him just steps away from the finish line to win the 123rd Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 7 minutes 57 seconds.
Desisa, who won in 2015 and 2013, the year the race was overshadowed by a bombing at the finish line, eased up after realizing he was beaten and finished 2 seconds back. Kenneth Kipkemoi was third, another 8 seconds behind, one of seven Kenyans in the top 10.
"It was no man's race to win," said Cherono, who had won in Seville, Prague, Honolulu and twice in Amsterdam but never in a major marathon before. "I kept on focusing. And at the end, I was the winner. I'm so grateful, so happy."
Jonathan Wolman, Detroit News editor, former AP exec, dies
Jonathan Wolman, who over more than 45 years in journalism served as editor and publisher of The Detroit News and previously worked as a reporter, Washington bureau chief and executive editor at The Associated Press, died Monday in Detroit. He was 68.
His family told the News that Wolman died of complications from pancreatic cancer.
Wolman had been editor and publisher of the News since 2007, running the newspaper during a financially challenging period that included staff layoffs, a cutback to only two days a week of home delivery, and a relocation from the massive headquarters building that it had occupied for nearly a century.
However, Detroit — even as it careened into and then out of bankruptcy in 2013-14 — has survived as one of a shrinking number of U.S. cities with more than one major daily newspaper. The News has a joint operating agreement with its rival, the Detroit Free Press, in which the newspapers consolidate business operations while fielding separate editorial staffs.
"Jon came to Detroit at a time of incredible uncertainty, not only for the News, but for the industry," said the News' managing editor, Gary Miles. "He was a steadying, calming influence who put a priority on the big picture: the accuracy and fairness of our news report."
2020 Democrats raising less money as donors sit on sidelines
WASHINGTON (AP) — The crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates is showing early signs of money trouble as donors sit on the sidelines to see how the contest unfolds, signaling a drawn-out primary battle lies ahead.
The Democratic campaign comes into greater focus on Monday as declared White House hopefuls report their first quarter fundraising totals. Early glimpses provided by some of the more than one dozen declared candidates show that Democrats are raising less money than they have in previous cycles and are coming up short against the campaign bank account President Donald Trump is building.
Democrats collectively raised about $70 million since January, according to the candidates who have already released their fundraising totals. That's less than the $81 million Democrats raised during the same period in 2007, the last time the party had an open primary, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. And it pales in comparison with the $30 million Trump raised during the first quarter.
"There is no question that the numbers are not at the level that they were with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 by a long shot," said Tom Nides, a Clinton adviser and longtime fundraiser. "Am I worried? No, I'm not worried. But I'm a little bit concerned."
One of the hurdles for Democrats is that there are so many candidates competing for cash. That has encouraged some larger donors to take their time before backing a candidate, said Rufus Gifford, a Democratic donor who was Obama's finance director.
US measles count up to 555, with most new cases in New York
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. measles cases have surged again, and are on pace to set a record for most illnesses in 25 years.
Health officials on Monday said 555 measles cases have been confirmed so far this year, up from 465 as of a week ago.
While 20 states have reported cases, New York has been the epicenter. Nearly two-thirds of all cases have been in New York, and 85% of the latest week's cases came from the state. Most of the New York cases have been unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities.
The 2019 tally is already the most since 2014, when 667 were reported. The most before that was 963 cases in 1994.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children get two doses of measles vaccine, which is 97% effective.
HBO looks beyond 'Game of Thrones,' maybe back to a prequel
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When the last drop — or gallon — of blood is shed and an exultant victor has ascended to the Iron Throne, viewers may be split over how HBO's fantasy saga ended but they'll be joined in deprivation.
"What do you do without 'Game of Thrones?'" will be the lament heard after the May 19 finale, said media analyst Larry Gerbrandt. The question is even more critical to the pay-cable channel, which soared on dragon's wings with its hugely popular, eight-season adaptation of George R.R. Martin's novels.
Keeping subscribers on board means more than another hit, even one as globally dazzling as "Game of Thrones" proved to be. But it's where HBO can start to protect its brand and position, observers say, an effort both demanded and compounded by an increasingly congested small-screen landscape and the expectations of the channel's corporate owner since 2016, AT&T.
"I think they need a prestige show on this level to remain HBO," Bill Carter, a media analyst for CNN and former reporter for The New York Times. But "more than ever, it's really hard to find a hit show and to break through in this marketplace."
The channel is well into the hunt for a worthy successor, with one possibility an untitled prequel to "Game of Thrones" created by Martin and Jane Goldman and starring Naomi Watts. Set to begin shooting a pilot in June, it's among several potential "Thrones" spinoffs being weighed, with discussions at HBO about "how many is too many," said programming chief Casey Bloys.