Notre-Dame, Columbine, Beyoncé: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning,

We’re covering the updates from Notre-Dame, the Trump administration’s latest move to discourage immigration, and a security threat in the Denver area.

Investigators in France are looking for the cause of the fire that ravaged the 850-year-old cathedral. So far, they are treating the disaster as an accident.

Fundamental safeguards — like firewalls or a sprinkler system — were absent by choice, to avoid altering the cathedral’s design or heighten risk by introducing electrical wiring to the most vulnerable part of the building: a network of ancient wooden beams, known as the forest, that supported the roof.

On Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron called for unity and vowed to swiftly restore the structure. “We will rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral, more beautiful than ever, and I want this to be finished in five years,” he said. “We can do it, and we will mobilize to do so.”

Go deeper: “It’s our roots, our history, our civilization.” Notre-Dame is the heart of France because it combines the secular, the sacred and the profane, our former Paris bureau chief writes.

Closer look: By amazing luck, many copper sculptures on the cathedral’s spire were removed for restoration just days before the blaze. The rooster that topped the spire — an unofficial symbol of France — was found in the debris.

Another angle: A crowdfunding campaign for three black churches in Louisiana that were destroyed by arson collected more than $750,000 after being shared widely on social media after the Notre-Dame fire.

An order issued by Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday would keep thousands of asylum seekers in jail indefinitely as they await resolution of their requests. The move aims to deter immigrants fleeing violence and poverty from asking for legal status in the U.S.

The order, which goes into effect in 90 days, is almost certain to be challenged in court.

Side effects: Record-breaking numbers of arrivals and increasing arrests are adding to the immigration court backlog and contributing to wrongful deportations. The spouse of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan was among them.

President Trump’s rejection of a bipartisan resolution was the second time in a month that he has blocked legislation passed by Congress. A rebuke of Mr. Trump’s support of Saudi Arabia,the measure would have forced an end to U.S. military involvement in the civil war in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians.

Mr. Trump, who has long spoken out against American involvement in foreign conflicts, declared Yemen different. “Peace in Yemen requires a negotiated settlement,” he said.

News analysis: Mr. Trump doesn’t bother with the old-fashioned idea that a president should at least pretend to be a leader for all, our chief White House correspondent writes. In appealing to his base, “he is speaking to his people, not the people.”

The shrinking ice leaves behind altered landscapes, changing the water that people depend on and disrupting natural communities, habitats and ecosystems.

Our journalists traveled to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska to see how glacial melting is affecting the natural world.

Why it matters: Researchers are studying which organisms thrive amid the changes — and what could be lost.

The Times ran public images of workers near a New York City park and a day of surveillance camera footage through a commercially available facial recognition service. It cost less than $100 and was all completely legal.

We’ve deleted the data, but the experiment, part of our Privacy Project, highlights just how easy it is to secretly monitor people.

Threat in Denver area: An intense search was underway in Colorado after law enforcement officials said an 18-year-old woman who was “infatuated” with the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 was armed and “extremely dangerous.” Many schools in the area were closed, just days before the anniversary of the attack.

Apple vs. Qualcomm is settled: The companies agreed to end their long-running legal battles over billions of dollars in smartphone profits.

Indonesia vote: President Joko Widodo was leading by a comfortable margin in early, unofficial returns today.

Mueller report: A redacted version of the special counsel’s report is expected to be released Thursday morning. Here’s what to expect.

Surprise Beyoncé album: The singer today released “Homecoming,” a live-album version of her performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival last year.

No royal baby pictures: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex plan to skip the ritual photo opportunity when their newborn arrives, further straining ties with the British tabloids.

In sports: The New York Islanders have advanced to the second round of the N.H.L. playoffs after sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins. Here are the rest of Tuesday’s hockey scores, as well as the results from the N.B.A. playoffs.

52 Places traveler: In his latest dispatch, our columnist reflects on the mistakes he’s made in his first three months on the road.

Late-night comedy: Jimmy Fallon said, “The race for 2020 is underway, and a new poll found that Bernie Sanders is now leading Joe Biden by 29 percent to 24. You can tell Joe Biden is stressed: He spent the day giving himself a massage.”

What we’re reading: This report from our archives. “The New York Times was inside Notre-Dame in 1853 for Napoleon III’s wedding,” writes Tina Jordan, our Books columnist. “The description includes ermine, jewels, lavish drapes of gold-lace-trimmed crimson velvet, ‘festoons of flowers’ and chandeliers filled with thousands of wax tapers.”

Cook: Comfort is a bowl of roasted cauliflower soup.

Watch: Claire Denis’s new film, “High Life,” is in theaters. She chatted with another director, Barry Jenkins, about anxiety and depicting black lives on film.

Go: For once, our critic found an opera frustratingly short. If you’re looking for a quick musical fix, check out Huang Ruo’s “Bound” at the Baruch Performing Arts Center.

Eat: At Niche, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Shigetoshi Nakamura specializes in a ramen that has been slow to catch on locally (there’s no soup). Read our review.

Smarter Living: If you intend to punish misbehaving children, it should be consistent and in small doses. Pick your battles, because big punishments don’t always translate to better behavior. Look for ways to remove a privilege temporarily — like no screens for two days — and establish clear expectations for improved behavior.

And there’s no reason to put premium gas in a car that doesn’t need it. Check your owner’s manual.

The comedian Hannah Gadsby and the Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks are among those taking the stage at the flagship TED Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, this week.

TED has become a household name since its inception 35 years ago, and speakers have racked up billions of views online.

But what was the first conference like?

It was 1984, in Monterey, Calif. Steve Jobs brought the first Apple Macintosh. Lucasfilm showed 3-D graphics. And a Sony executive gave a musical demonstration of the compact disc.

The designers Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks organized the gathering around the convergence of technology, entertainment and design — TED. Mr. Wurman welcomed attendees to “the dinner party I always wanted to have but couldn’t.

Financially, it flopped. There wouldn’t be another for six years. But backstage, Mr. Marks recalled recently, he saw Nicholas Negroponte — a co-founder of the M.I.T. Media Lab — exchanging numbers with the musician Herbie Hancock and thought: “This works. This is a good thing.”

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Inyoung

Thank you
Chris Stanford helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and James K. Williamson provided the break from the news. Jake Lucas wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is the start of a two-part series about abortion.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Ones trying to make fetch happen (4 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Images of climate change taken by Josh Haner, a photographer for The Times, will go on display at Photo London, an international photography fair, May 16-19.

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