Paris's Notre-Dame Cathedral Was Saved from Total Devastation, According to Fire Officials

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

People around the world watched in horror on Monday, April 15 as the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France was consumed by flames. The fire, which French prosecutors say was likely started by accident, destroyed the building's roof, spire, and parts of the interior. But despite the intensity of the blaze, 400 firefighters were able to put it out and save the structure from total devastation, CNBC reports. Now, French President Emmanuel Macron is vowing to rebuild Notre-Dame, and donations are already flowing into the country.

The cathedral's facade and famous twin bell towers are still standing following Monday's fire. The interior also fared better than photographs of the inferno would suggest. Bernard Fonquernie, an architect who worked renovations of Notre-Dame in the 1980s and 1990s, told The New York Times that the stone vaulting inside the church acted as a firewall and protected parts of the church from damage. The famous stained glass South Rose window—which dates to 1260—remains intact, as does Notre-Dame's Great Organ, though it may be water damaged. The structure's roof, also known as "the forest" due to the amount of timber used to build it in the 13th century, suffered the worst of the fire.

Many of the priceless relics and artworks inside the church were also salvaged, including the crown of thorns the Catholic Church believes Jesus wore during his crucifixion. After Notre-Dame caught fire yesterday, firefighters, policemen, and municipal workers formed a human chain to remove treasures from the building as quickly as possible.

French firefighters work to extinguish the flames at Notre-Dame Cathedral. Here, the spire has already collapsed, but the main stone structure and bell towers were saved.
French firefighters work to extinguish the flames at Notre-Dame Cathedral. Here, the spire has already collapsed, but the main stone structure and bell towers were saved.
Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images

Paris prosecutors are operating on the theory that the fire was started accidentally, and they've launched an investigation into the exact cause of the tragedy. In the meantime, President Macron tweeted yesterday that France will rebuild Notre-Dame over the coming years.

It's not clear what the cost of the damage is, but France is already receiving money to fund the restoration: More than 400 million euros (or $452 million) has been raised so far. Prolific donors include some of France's richest citizens: Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault pledged 100 million euros, and Bernard Arnault, the CEO of luxury group LVMH, pledged 200 million euros.

[h/t CNBC]

The IRS Launched an Online Tool to Track Your Stimulus Check

Jeff Fusco/Stringer/Getty Images
Jeff Fusco/Stringer/Getty Images

Once you confirm that you're one of the Americans eligible to receive a stimulus check from the government, your next step is figuring out when you'll get it. Starting this week, the first of the Economic Impact Payments will be sent either by mail or through direct deposit. If you're still waiting for your money to arrive, this new tool from the IRS lets you track where your check is in the process.

As CNET reports, the Internal Revenue Service launched Get My Payment to make it easy for the public to check the status of their stimulus payments online. To use the portal, select Get My Payment and enter the personal information requested, such as your address, Social Security number, and date of birth.

If the information you submit is correct, the tool will tell you the type of payment you can expect to receive and if it's been sent out. The first group of people to get their checks are those who already have a bank account on file with the federal government, low-income families, and individuals receiving priority.

After updating you on your check's status, the Get My Payment tool allows you to change your payment method to direct deposit if it isn't already the default. For this, you'll need even more information, possibly including your tax returns from the previous two years. Opting for direct deposit is the fastest way to get that government check into your bank account. If you want to know how much money to expect and whether you qualify in the first place, this explainer should clear things up.

[h/t CNET]

Tax Day for Americans Will Be Pushed Back to July 15

Enterline Design Services LLC
Enterline Design Services LLC

On Friday morning, less than a month before the American tax filing deadline of April 15, treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin announced via Twitter that Tax Day will be pushed back by three months—to July 15, 2020—in order to allow individuals and businesses dealing with the physical, financial, and logistical repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic some extra time to get their financial matters in order.

While the date change applies to all American individuals, businesses, and organizations—and no interest or penalties will accrue during this time—Mnuchin, in a second tweet, did suggest that anyone who has completed their taxes submit them now "to get your money."

No further details were given, though we're sure a more detailed statement will be coming as, at the time of publication, even the IRS's site still noted April 15 as the deadline.

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln created the first income tax as a way to cover Civil War expenses. Calculating what you owed was a lot easier back then: It was a 3 percent flat tax on all incomes above $800. But it wasn't until 1913, with the passage of the 16th Amendment, that Congress formalized a nationwide income tax. Originally, Tax Day was March 1; a few years later, it was pushed back to March 15.

In 1955, revisions to the tax code moved the date back again to April 15, though there have been some exceptions. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, Americans got a few extra days to file because Tax Day cannot fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. But why did it move from March 1 in the first place? The IRS claims it needed more time to process returns, but tax experts believe that an increase in refunds for the middle class meant the agency wanted to hold onto its money longer and collect interest.

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