Nation and World briefs for April 19

Police official: Short-circuit likely caused Notre Dame fire

PARIS — Paris police investigators think an electrical short-circuit most likely caused the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, a police official said Thursday, as France paid a daylong tribute to the firefighters who saved the world-renowned landmark.

ADVERTISING


A judicial police official told The Associated Press that investigators made an initial assessment of the cathedral Wednesday but don’t have a green light to search Notre Dame’s charred interior because of ongoing safety hazards.

The cathedral’s fragile walls were being shored up with wooden planks, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak by name about an ongoing investigation.

Investigators so far believe the fire was accidental, and are questioning both cathedral staff and workers who were carrying out renovations. Some 40 people had been questioned by Thursday, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

The police official would not comment on an unsourced report in Le Parisian newspaper that investigators are looking at whether the fire could have been linked to a computer glitch or the temporary elevators used in the renovation work, among other things. The prosecutor’s office said only that “all leads must be explored.”

Commission: New NAFTA would deliver modest economic gains

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s new North America trade agreement would give the U.S. economy only a modest boost, an independent federal agency has found.

The International Trade Commission said Thursday that Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement would lift the U.S. economy by 0.35%, or $68.2 billion, and add 176,000 jobs six years after it takes effect. That’s barely a ripple in a $21 trillion-a-year economy and a job market of almost 151 million people.

The commission’s analysis is required by law and is expected to kick off a contentious congressional debate on the regional trade pact designed to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

NAFTA tore down most trade barriers between the United States, Canada and Mexico, leading to a surge in regional trade. But critics, including Trump, said the pact encouraged manufacturers to pull out of the United States, relocate to low-wage Mexico and ship products back across the border duty free.

The revised version, signed by the three countries last year but awaiting approval by each of their legislatures, is designed to encourage factories to move back to the United States. For instance, one provision says that in order for a car to quality for duty-free treatment under the agreement, 40% of its content must be produced in North American factories where workers earn an average of at least $16 an hour — that is, not Mexico.

Shortages hit Cuba, raising fears of new economic crisis

BAUTA, Cuba — Just after 8 a.m., Pura Castell got in line behind about 100 other people waiting for a chance to buy frozen chicken legs. For two hours she leaned on her cane watching people leave the state-run market with their 5-pound limit.

The chicken ran out at 10 a.m. while the 80-year-old Castell still had 20 people in front of her. She returned the next morning, but no chicken. Then, relief. A neighbor told her that chicken had arrived at the government store that distributes heavily subsidized monthly food rations. Her household of three was due three pieces, either thighs or drumsticks.

“I’ve taken care of myself my whole life,” said Castell, a retired janitor. “I don’t just sit on my hands. I’m worn out but I walk all over town.”

After two decades of relative stability fueled by cheap Venezuelan oil, shortages of food and medicine have once again become a serious daily problem for millions of Cubans. A plunge in aid from Venezuela, the end of a medical services deal with Brazil and poor performances in sectors including nickel mining, sugar and tourism have left the communist state $1.5 billion in debt to the vendors that supply products ranging from frozen chicken to equipment for grinding grain into flour, according to former Economy Minister José Luis Rodríguez.

Stores no longer routinely stock eggs, flour, chicken, cooking oil, rice, powdered milk and ground turkey, among other products. These basics disappear for days or weeks. Hours-long lines appear within minutes of trucks showing up with new supplies. Shelves are empty again within hours.

For school shooting survivors, trauma has no time limit

PARKLAND, Fla. — Alex Rozenblat can still hear the cries of a wounded boy calling for help as she hid from the gunfire that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year.

Talking to therapists at the school in Parkland, Florida, didn’t help. Each session had a different counselor, and she found herself rehashing traumas she had already expressed. She would rather turn to her friends, who understand what she went through.

“There is slight pressure to get better as quickly as you can, and since it’s been a year, everyone thinks that you are better,” the 16-year-old said.

The mental health resources after a school shooting range from therapy dogs and grief counselors at school to support groups, art therapy and in-home counseling. But there is no blueprint for dealing with the trauma because each tragedy, survivor and community is different. Many survivors don’t get counseling right away — sometimes waiting years — making it difficult to understand the full impact.

The struggle is getting them to seek help in the first place. In the two decades since the Columbine High School massacre, a network of survivors has emerged, reaching out to the newest victims to offer support that many say they prefer to traditional therapy.

St Patrick’s suspect previously arrested at other cathedral

NEW YORK — A college philosophy teacher arrested after entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral carrying two cans of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters had also been arrested at a New Jersey cathedral this week and had booked a Thursday flight to Rome, the New York Police Department said.

Marc Lamparello, 37, is facing charges including attempted arson and reckless endangerment after his arrest Wednesday night at the New York City landmark, said John Miller, the New York Police Department’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.

It happened just days after Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was ravaged by a fire that investigators said Thursday was most likely electrical. Miller would not discuss anything Lamparello told investigators after his arrest but stressed that there “doesn’t appear to be any connection to any terrorist group or any terrorist-related intent here.”

Before going to St. Patrick’s on Wednesday, Miller said, Lamparello booked a $2,800 ticket on a 5:20 p.m. Thursday flight to Italy. Asked if Lamparello indicated what he planned to do in Rome, Miller said, “I’m not going to get into that right now.”

Lamparello remained in police custody Thursday and had not been arraigned.

Kodak Black arrested on drug, gun charge at Canadian border

LEWISTON, N.Y. — Kodak Black was arrested on drug and weapons charges as the rapper tried to cross from Canada into the United States near Niagara Falls, law enforcement officials said Thursday.

Black, whose legal name is Bill Kapri, was driving two other people in a Cadillac Escalade with temporary California registration across the Lewiston-Queenston International Bridge at 7:20 p.m. Wednesday, according to New York state police. It was unclear where the men in the Escalade and a second car were headed, but Black had been scheduled to perform that night in Boston, about 400 miles (640 kilometers) east.

The men told border agents that they had marijuana and firearms, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in an emailed statement. State police, who were called in, said that Black was found to have marijuana, and a loaded Glock 9mm pistol was discovered in the vehicle. No one in the car had a permit for the pistol.

ADVERTISING


The 21-year-old rapper from Miramar, Florida, was arrested on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Black, who also faces a charge in South Carolina of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct on allegations he raped a woman after a 2016 concert, was arraigned in a town court and remanded to county jail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.