Daily News Roundup

June 27, 2019

Thursday, June 27

Early investigation has found no evidence to suggest a fire that gutted large parts of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was criminal with an electrical malfunction or smouldering cigarette being looked at as a possible cause.

In a statement, the prosecutor’’s office said several hypotheses about the cause of the April 15 blaze would be further investigated in a new probe.

They also announced the opening of a judicial investigation led by three judges for “involuntary degradation by fire through manifestly deliberate violation” of security rules or simple imprudence.

The target of the investigation is “X,” meaning anyone or any entity suspected.

The 13th-century cathedral was under renovation at the time of the fire and scaffolding crisscrossed the back of the edifice where the spire was once located.

The fire tore through the roof, destroying the spire which toppled in flames and vast sections of the interior.

It has left the crippled monument, once a major tourist attraction, barricaded to the public and the faithful.

In the preliminary investigation, judicial police examined more than 1,200 clues and heard testimony from around 100 people.

“If certain deficiencies, by which the size of the disaster could be the consequence, were made clear, the investigations have not thus far allowed us to determine the causes of the fire,” the prosecutor’s office said.

As the detective work continues, workers are taking on what officials have said is one of the most complex operations — cutting down the 50,000 tubes of scaffolding erected for the initial pre-fire renovation.

The tubes reached more than 800 degrees Celsius during the fire, according to a statement by the Notre Dame Foundation.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants the renovations completed in five years in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, but numerous experts question whether the deadline is realistic.

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There have been plenty of additives mixed into coffee over the years, including turmeric, beetroot and even broccoli, but will cauliflower surpass them all?

At this year’s Hort Connections conference in Melbourne, the fruit and vege industry has been introduced to the cauliflower latte, which is made using roughly 7 grams of cauliflower powder.

Fresh Select CEO and farmer, John Said, told ABC Rural the idea stemmed from the CSIRO’s project last year to create a broccoli coffee — a quirky brew which made international headlines.

“Broccoli latte was a great story, a bit of a novelty to create awareness on what is possible,” he said.

“Our thinking was that cauliflower is a bit more creamier and it’s colour is similar to milk, and it wouldn’t look like a green coffee.

“In my opinion it’s got a creamier characteristic to it, it takes the bitter-edge off the coffee, but it does remind you that you are consuming cauliflower as a vegetable.”

At the Horticulture Innovation exhibit where the unique coffees were being made this week in Melbourne, the baristas were not able to keep up with demand, running out of cauliflower powder, “which is pretty good feedback”, according to Mr Said.

“This ability to include a vegetable powder into some of the mainstream products we all purchase and consume is a great step forward in increasing the consumption of vegetables and trying to eat healthier without even knowing we’re eating healthier,” he said.

“So if we put 7 grams of cauliflower powder in a latte, you’ll get a daily serve of what you should be eating in vegetables.”

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As a heatwave gripped large parts of western and central Europe, locals were encouraged to stay indoors to escape the heat with other safety measures including a reduction in speed limits on some German areas.

The new speed limits on some stretches of the autobahn have been imposed by the transport ministry in Germany’s eastern Saxony-Anhalt state.

This was done, said the ministry, as a precaution against heat damage to the roads.

Authorities have warned that temperatures could top 40C in parts of the continent over the coming days as a plume of dry, hot air moves north from Africa.

The transport ministry in Saxony-Anhalt state said it has imposed speed limits of 100 km/h or 120 km/h on several short stretches of highway until further notice. Those stretches usually have no speed limit.

In Paris, authorities banned older cars from the city for the day as a heatwave aggravates the city’s pollution.

Regional authorities estimate the measure put into place Wednesday affects nearly 60 per cent of vehicles circulating in the Paris region, including many delivery trucks and older cars with higher emissions than newer models. Violators face fines.

Around France, some schools have been closed because of the high temperatures, which are expected to go up to 39C in the Paris area later this week and bake much of the country, from the Pyrenees in the southwest to the German border in the northeast.

French charities and local officials are providing extra help for the elderly, the homeless and the sick this week, remembering that some 15,000 people, many of them elderly, died in France during a 2003 heatwave.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe cited the heatwave as evidence of climate destabilisation and vowed to step up the government’s fight against climate change.

About half of Spain’s provinces are on alert for high temperatures, which are expected to rise as the weekend approaches.

The northeastern city of Zaragoza was forecast to be the hottest on Wednesday at 39C, building to 44C on Saturday, according to the government weather agency AEMET.

Northern Italy has also been hit Turin expected to reach 42 deg and Rome around 40 deg.

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