Google Searches for Notre Dame 7 Times Higher Than Sri Lanka in Wake of Tragedies

A comparison in Google Trends showed that people searched more for Notre Dame and Christchurch than Sri Lanka.

The Notre Dame fire last week received seven times more searches on Google than the Sri Lanka attacks on Easter Sunday that killed nearly 290 people and injured 500 more.

RELATED: Sri Lanka Gov’t Says Unknown Islamist Group Behind Attacks, Imposes Curfew

According to data retrieved from Google Trend by Al-Jazeera, it was revealed that search interest was seven times more for keywords “Notre Dame” compared to “Sri Lanka.”

A major fire broke out at the medieval Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15 afternoon. The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo's classic novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, attracts millions of tourists every year. No deaths have been reported in the Paris fire incident.

Within 24 hours of both incidents, the Notre Dame fire recorded between five to nine times more search interest than Sri Lanka attacks.

The searches for Sri Lanka outnumbered Notre Dame only in India, Indonesia, and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Data on Notre Dame (red) and Sri Lanka (blue) searches. | Photo: Google Trend

One of the main reasons behind more interest in Notre Dame was the "closer to home" appeal for people from the Western hemisphere.

"Conversely, in India, Sri Lanka is 'closer to home' and that why it was reflected more prominently in India's search trends," Al-Jazeera’s SEO analyst Gabriele Kahlout said.

"We see this pattern all the time. When news of the Ethiopian Airlines crash broke out, Google Trends reported that people in America were mainly searching for American victims of the crash."

According to the Trends, France, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, and Brazil had 90 percent more searches for Notre Dame than for Sri Lanka.

Also, a comparison between Sri Lanka and New Zealand's Christchurch carried out by teleSUR showed that within 24 hours of both incidents, Christchurch was searched more times and by more countries than in the case of Sri Lanka.

Data on Sri Lanka search within 24 hours of the attacks. | Photo: Google Trends
Data on Christchurch search within 24 hours of attacks. | Photo: Google Trend

Even though New Zealand does not belong to the Western hemisphere, it constitutes mostly English speaking white population which appeals to the Western audience much more than a non-white inhabitant island of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan government Monday accused an Islamist militant group  National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) for the bombings and imposed emergency all over the country which gives police and the military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders, which will go into effect at midnight Monday, the president's office said.

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France To Launch International Contest To Rebuild Notre-Dame Spire: PM

Paris: France will invite architects from around the world to submit designs for rebuilding the spire of Notre-Dame cathedral that was destroyed in a devastating blaze, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Wednesday.

The goal is "to give Notre-Dame a new spire that is adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era," Philippe told reporters a day after President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral "even more beautifully" within five years.

Thousands of Parisians and tourists watched in horror on Monday as flames engulfed a monument that has symbolised Paris for nearly a millennium, toppling the spire and gutting a large part of the roof.

No sooner had firefighters extinguished the flames than pledges of donations towards rebuilding it began to pour in.

Within 24 hours, the pledges had reached more than 800 million euros ($900 million), with French business magnates and corporations jostling to outshine each other with displays of generosity.

Rebate debate

But the slew of announcements raised eyebrows in France, with some leftist politicians arguing that the ultra-rich could best help protect the country's cultural heritage by fully paying their taxes -- or helping the "human cathedral" of people in need.

The huge tax breaks available on the donations also caused some unease, prompting Francois-Henri Pinault, the billionaire CEO of the Kering luxury goods empire, to announce he would forfeit his rebate.

"The donation for Notre-Dame of Paris will not be the object of any tax deduction. Indeed, the Pinault family considers that it is out of the question to make French taxpayers shoulder the burden," Pinault said in a statement.

Pinault had led the pledges of donations starting Monday night with a promise of 100 million euros.

Billionaire Bernard Arnault and his LVMH luxury conglomerate, Total oil company and cosmetics giant L'Oreal also each pledged 100 million euros or more, while US tech giant Apple said it would give an unspecified amount.

French corporations are eligible for a 60-percent tax rebate on cultural donations.

The government said Wednesday that number would remain unchanged, but increased the rebate on individual donations for Notre-Dame of up to 1,000 euros to 75 percent. Bigger private donations would qualify for the standard 66 percent rebate.

Rebuilding for 2024 Olympics

On Tuesday evening, Macron set out an ambitious timeline for rebuilding the cathedral, an enduring symbol of Paris that had survived revolutions and wars throughout the ages.

"We will rebuild the cathedral even more beautifully and I want it to be finished within five years," Macron said in an address to the nation, in which he hailed how the fire had shown the capacity of France to mobilise and unite.

In a sign of the monument's resilience, the copper rooster that topped its spire was found Tuesday in the rubble from the partly collapsed roof, "battered but apparently restorable" according to a spokesperson for the culture ministry.

The walls, bell towers and the most famous circular stained-glass windows at France's most visited tourist attraction also remain intact.

But the floor of the nave was left covered in rubble and scorched beams from the fallen roof.

Macron's announcement of a five-year timeframe indicates he wants the reconstruction to be completed by the time Paris hosts the Olympic Games in 2024.

But some experts have warned a full restoration could take longer, with one of the biggest tasks involving replacing the precious oak "forest" of beams that held up the roof.

"I'd say decades," Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral, told AFP.

Germany, Italy and Russia are among the countries to have offered expertise.

In France, meanwhile, political parties continued to observe an unofficial truce after months of mutual finger-pointing over the violence that has marked the "yellow vest" protest movement.

Macron said the dramatic fire had brought out the best in the country, showing the French to be "a nation of builders".

The bells of French cathedrals will sound at 1650 GMT on Wednesday, exactly 48 hours after the fire started.

'Long, complex' investigation 

Investigators trying to determine the cause of the blaze are questioning workers who were renovating the steeple, an operation suspected of accidentally triggering the blaze.

The police have already spoken to around 30 people from five different construction companies.

Public prosecutor Remy Heitz has said the investigation threatened to be "long and complex".

Meanwhile, work to secure the cathedral continued Wednesday.

Junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said Tuesday that although "some weaknesses" had been identified, overall the building was "holding up OK".

  • Published in Culture

Everything Would Have Collapsed: Fire Chief On Trump's Notre-Dame Advice

Paris: As Notre-Dame in Paris burned, US President Donald Trump tweeted some advice to French firefighters.

"Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!"

So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!

ut doing that would have brought the ancient cathedral crashing down, French fire chiefs told news agency AFP on Tuesday.

"Everything would have collapsed," said Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Bernier, a fire chief who speaks for the national civil defence organisation and who described the suggestion as "risible".

Releasing even one load from a Canadair water bomber used to fight forest fires on Notre-Dame would be "the equivalent of dropping three tonnes of concrete at 250 kilometres per hour" on the ancient monument.

"It would have been like bowling with the cathedral... the two towers might have fallen."

"It was technically impossible, undoable and most of all would have been utterly useless" to douse the flames from the air, Bernier added.

In fact, dropping a 6,300-litre load from a Canadair water bomber would have put the lives of firefighters and anyone in the area at risk, he added.

"Neighbouring buildings would have been hit by flying blocks of hot stone, and the whole area would have had to be evacuated."

'Might have tumbled'

With more than 500 firefighters already at the scene - many within the building - that would have been impossible.

Even using a helicopter to drop 1,500 litres of water would have left only the towers standing, Bernier insisted.

"The nave would have collapsed, the flying buttresses would have gone," he said.

"If a plane had been used the whole of the structure might have tumbled."

Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Plus of the Paris fire brigade said that "everything was against" the first firefighters who had to battle the French capital's evening rush-hour to get to the scene on Monday.

"Time and the wind was against us and we had to get on top of it fast. We had to make a rapid choice... and the priority we gave ourselves was to save the two bell towers, and both were saved," he added.

"Imagine if the woodwork in the belfries had been weakened, the huge bells would have collapsed" and that might have brought the towers down.

"That was really our fear," said the senior officer, who acts as the fire brigade spokesman.

"From the beginning, there was always the possibility that the whole structure might collapse."

While armchair critics have suggested more could have been done to slow the fire, tough choices had to be made, said Plus.

"With a part of the roof already in flames it was no longer saveable," he said.

Robot helps save nave

"So we put our efforts into protecting the two belfries and getting our people into the interior to save the works of art inside.

"Once we saw that the spire would fall we got our people out and concentrated our efforts on the exterior," he added.

Plus said a robot was sent into the building after the firefighters were evacuated to hose the interior of the building to "lower the temperature of the nave".

Experts credited this with helping save the cathedral's organ and its spectacular rose windows from the worst of the flames.

The fire chief said the next few days will be spent making sure the fire has been well and truly extinguished and that "the structure is stabilised".

"We have teams with laser equipment who are checking the structure for movement. They will be checking the whole of Notre-Dame - from the towers and the vaulted ceiling to the walls to assess their fragility."

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Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on fire (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Smoke and fire is seen leaping from the top of Notre Dame, the iconic Paris cathedral. Videos shot by people show the blaze engulfing the spire between its bell tower.
The fire broke out in the cathedral on Monday afternoon, a Paris fire department confirmed, adding that a major operation to tackle the fire is underway.

Smoke billowing from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

The causes of the incident remain unknown so far.

The Medieval cathedral is one of the main attractions of the French capital, seeing 12 million tourists a year.

RT : en feu. Speechless.

The incident took place as the jewel of the Gothic architecture was undergoing a major overhaul costing € 11 million ($ 12.43 million), with the renovation works being expected to be finished around 2022.

Last week, 16 bronze statues representing 12 apostles and four evangelists from the New Testament were lifted off the spire of the cathedral by crane. Some scaffolding can now be seen close to the flames leaping out near the cathedral’s spire.

Here's a live feed from Notre Dame of the cathedral on fire, from an eyewitness in Paris: doesn't look good!

The spire itself was made of wood and covered with lead has long been in a bad shape as the elements of the construction dating back to the mid-nineteenth century have been damaged by weather, pollution and time.

The cathedral was being built from 13th to 15th century.





  • Published in Culture
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