At Easter mass, Parisians pray for Notre-Dame’s swift restoration

A choir perform during a Mass in tribute to the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral at the Saint Eustache church in Paris on Easter Sunday, on April 21, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 21 April 2019
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At Easter mass, Parisians pray for Notre-Dame’s swift restoration

  • “We will rise up again and our cathedral will rise up again,” the archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, said at the service
PARIS: With no cathedral to go to, hundreds of Parisians gathered for Easter Sunday mass at the smaller Saint-Eustache catholic church on the city’s right bank, and prayed for the swift restoration of Notre-Dame after its devastating fire.
The archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, began the service by drawing a parallel between the planned reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, celebrated every year by Christians at Easter.
“We will rise up again and our cathedral will rise up again,” he told the congregation, which included the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and the head of the Paris fire service, General Jean-Claude Gallet.
The mass had originally been scheduled to be held at Notre-Dame, whose spire was destroyed and its roof gutted in Monday’s blaze as rescuers put their lives at risk to salvage the rest of the centuries-old cathedral and its priceless artefacts.
Half way through the mass, Gallet received a minute’s applause from the congregation in tribute to the 400 firefighters who extinguished the blaze, and was then handed a bible that survived the fire.
“We wish to reunite with the faithful, to pray together, hoping that Notre-Dame of Paris is revived as quickly as possible,” said Annie le Bourvellec, a charity worker, as hundreds of worshippers queued outside Saint-Eustache, one of Paris’s biggest churches, ahead of the mass.
Kimon Yiasemiees, a construction litigation expert from Washington D.C., expressed a similar sentiment.
“It is a tragedy, but in any tragedy, you have to look for a hope of renewal,” he said. “And it just shows me that, not only the French people, but people around the world are really in tune to Notre-Dame and to Paris...”
President Emmanuel Macron pledged this week that France would rebuild the cathedral in five years and that the French people would pull together to repair their national symbol.
The destruction of one of the France’s best-loved and visited monuments prompted an outpouring of sorrow and a rush by rich families and corporations to pledge around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) for its reconstruction.

($1 = 0.8891 euros)


Philippines’ Duterte loses patience, orders trash shipped back Canada

Updated 22 May 2019
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Philippines’ Duterte loses patience, orders trash shipped back Canada

  • Canada says the waste, exported to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014, was a commercial transaction not backed by the Canadian government
  • Canada has since offered to take the rubbish back

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered his government to hire a private shipping company to send 69 containers of garbage back to Canada and leave them within its territorial waters if it refuses to accept the trash, his spokesman said on Wednesday.
“The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nation,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told a media briefing.
Canada says the waste, exported to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014, was a commercial transaction not backed by the Canadian government.
Canada has since offered to take the rubbish back and the two countries are in the process of arranging the transfer.
But Canada missed a May 15 deadline set by Manila to take back the shipment, prompting the Philippines to withdraw top diplomats from Canada last week.
“Obviously, Canada is not taking this issue nor our country seriously. The Filipino people are gravely insulted about Canada treating this country as a dump site,” Panelo said.
The Canadian embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Philippines has made several diplomatic protests to Canada since a 2016 court ruling that the garbage be returned.
The consignments were labelled as containing plastics to be recycled in the Philippines but were filled with a variety of rubbish including diapers, newspapers and water bottles.
The issue is not the only one to strain ties between the two countries.
Last year, Duterte ordered the military to cancel a $233 million deal to buy 16 helicopters from Canada, after Ottawa expressed concern they could be used to fight rebels.