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In our news wrap Wednesday, it has been one year since fire gutted Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The pandemic has halted reconstruction work, but French President Emmanuel Macron vowed it would continue. Also, the world’s 20 richest countries are freezing all debt payments for poorer nations to allow them to spend more on health care and vulnerable populations amid COVID-19.
In the day's other news, Wall Street swung lower again, as oil prices fell and banks warned of billions in loan defaults caused by the pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 445 points to close at 23504. The Nasdaq lost 122 points, and the S&P 500 gave up 62.
California will make pandemic relief payments of $500 apiece to 150,000 migrants who are living in the state without documentation. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said today that they do essential work and pay millions of dollars in taxes. Almost 40 percent of the money will come from private contributions. The migrants are not eligible for federal payments.
The world's 20 richest economies are freezing debt payments owned by poorer countries during the pandemic. The G20 nations announced it today. The moratorium covers payments totaling $20 billion. It is aimed at helping African countries spend more on health care and vulnerable populations.
Today marked one year since fire gutted Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. But now COVID-19 has halted reconstruction work. Plans to remove 250 tons of scaffolding have been delayed.
But French President Emmanuel Macron pledged again today that the huge project will be done on schedule.
Emmanuel Macron (through translator):
I promised we would rebuild Notre Dame within five years. We will do everything we can to respect that delay. The building work is, of course, at a halt at the moment because of the health crisis. But it will resume as soon as possible.
Tonight, the giant bell in the church's south tower rang out, joining a nightly applause for health workers who are treating pandemic victims.
Back in this country, about 50 vehicles piled into each other on a Chicago expressway, after a winter storm left the road iced over. At least 14 people were taken to hospitals from the scene. Illinois State Police closed the expressway's southbound lanes for three hours to clean up.
And in the Democratic presidential campaign, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. She was the last of his major rivals to do so. Warren said that Biden will restore America's faith in good, effective government.
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