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Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Fire, Worker Claims it Was “Deliberately” Started

Media reports claimed fire linked to “renovation” work.

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The famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is on fire, with one worker claiming that the blaze was deliberately set.

The roof of the historic building has completely collapsed.

“The cause is not yet clear, but officials say it could be linked to renovation work,” reports the BBC.

However, TIME columnist Christopher J. Hale tweeted, “A Jesuit friend in Paris who works in #NotreDame told me cathedral staff said the fire was intentionally set.”

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Hale deleted the tweet within minutes after it attracted attention.

The Saint Sulpice church in Paris was deliberately set on fire earlier this year, although media reports downplayed the story.

As we reported earlier, anti-Christian attacks in France are on the rise while attacks against Jewish symbols have also risen by 74 per cent.

According to a group that studies hate crime attacks against Christians, February was the worst month for attacks on Christian churches since they began collecting data.

According to Ellen Fantini, anti-Christian attacks are being minimized despite representing the largest share of hate crimes.

Also take note of the names of those who were celebrating the fire by reacting with ‘smiley faces’ on Facebook.

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Protesters Beg Trump: “Please Liberate Hong Kong”

Demonstrators display banners asking for U.S. intervention.

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After flying American flags and waving Pepe banners, protesters in Hong Kong are now carrying signs asking President Donald Trump to “liberate” them.

The image shows protesters displaying signs that say ‘President Trump – Please Liberate Hong Kong – Defend Our Constitution’ and ‘President Trump Please Liberate Hong Kong!’

Demonstrators have been flying British flags and American flags for weeks, but their latest icon appears to be Pepe the frog, a meme associated with the far-right and more moderate Trump supporters.

Now they’re calling for Trump to directly intervene.

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Trump has tried to stay neutral on the whole issue, asking that the crisis be de-escalated and that both sides come to an agreement without further violence.

While protesters assert that their demonstration against further encroachment on the region by Beijing is organic, China claims that the U.S. is covertly encouraging a color revolution.

As we previously reported, tens of thousands of China’s People’s Armed Police (PAP) troops are massing inside a sports stadium just a few kilometers away from Hong Kong.

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Chinese Banks Activate Contingency Plans to Prepare For Hong Kong Bank Run

But say they have plenty of cash to deal with demand.

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Chinese banks have activated contingency plans to prepare for a possible bank run by protesters in Hong Kong but say they are confident they can deal with any problems.

As we reported yesterday, activist leader Chen Haotian called on fellow protesters to target Chinese banks by simultaneously withdrawing all their money.

A viral post also appeared on the Hong Kong version of Reddit encouraging demonstrators to withdraw their money and convert it to U.S. dollars in order to sabotage Beijing’s financial autonomy.

In response, Bank of East Asia, DBS, OCBC Wing Hang Bank, and Hang Seng Bank have all reportedly activated contingency plans and are monitoring large withdrawals.

However, the banks, seeking to avoid a panic, all assert that they can deal with any planned bank run, arguing that Chinese New Year season is much worse.

HSBC said it “has sufficient supply of banknotes” to deal with demand.

“I don’t think it will be a problem,” George Leung Siu-kay, an adviser to HSBC, told the South China Morning Post.

OCBC Wing Hang Bank also said that Friday was a “normal banking day” and that no problems were encountered.

Hong Kong residents are allowed to withdraw from HK$20,000 (US$2,548) to HK$40,000 from ATMs.

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Analyst: Hong Kong Protests Will be Settled or “Crushed” Before October 1

Endgame drawing near.

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Strategist David Roche says the months long protests in Hong Kong will be settled or “crushed” before October 1, the 70th anniversary of China’s National Day.

Roche said the crisis was a huge issue for China’s economy because “any intervention (from Beijing) to Hong Kong will be immediately, umbilically, linked to what happens to trade talks and international relations globally.”

The analyst also predicted that the escalating crisis in Hong Kong would negatively impact trade talks between the U.S. and China, noting that Beijing was already irritated by the U.S. telling them “how to run their country.”

As we reported earlier this week, pro-independence political activist Chen Haotian called for a run on Chinese banks to take place today, encouraging Hong Kong citizens to withdraw all their money.

Tens of thousands of China’s People’s Armed Police (PAP) troops are also massing inside a sports center just a few kilometers away from Hong Kong.

Beijing asserts that the protests are part of a color revolution aimed at sabotaging Chinese influence over the territory, although protesters insist this is not the case.

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