What’s news? Catalyst News picks the top 5 stories that made headlines this week

By Sharee Ratten | @Sratten_RMIT

Photo by: Wired, PBS, UPI.com, EuroSport, Okavango Diamond

1.   Fire ravages Notre Dame Cathedral

Tourists and locals watched as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France was engulfed by fire on Monday evening (6.50 p.m. Central European Time).  

The building’s spire and roof collapsed and the upper walls and windows were badly damaged. While many artworks were evacuated, a significant number of treasures were damaged and lost.

The fire sparked global reaction from citizens, politicians, celebrities and high-powered magnates.

French President Emmanuel Macron launched an international fundraising campaign for the Cathedral to be rebuilt. Mr Macron said he hopes the works will be finished within an ambitious five year timeframe.

Within twenty-four hours, more than $1 billion has been donated to the fundraiser. The cause of the incident is being investigated by French authorities but is currently being treated as an accident.  

2.   #FreeBritney trends on social media

Britney Spears’ stay in a mental health facility has sent the ‘#FREEBRITNEY’ tag trending on social media after it was alleged the singer is being held against her will.

The hashtag trend was sparked when an anonymous source appeared on the podcast, Britney’s Gram, and said “it was reported that Britney Spears checked herself into a mental facility at the end of March. We have information that that might not be true. Please listen to this and spread this far and wide”.

Britney Spears’ mother Lynne is currently engaged in social media, ‘liking’ comments supporting her daughter.

3.   Ecuador reports cyber attacks following Assange arrest

Ecuadorian news has reported the country has been the victim of 40 million cyber attacks since last week’s arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Javier Jara, a spokesperson for Ecuador’s telecommunications ministry, told Agence France Presse the cyber attacks came from groups linked to Julian Assange, mainly from the U.S., Brazil, several European countries and Ecuador itself.

Assange was arrested last week and charged with one count of conspiring with former Army analyst Chelsea Manning to break into government computers to obtain confidential documents of national and military importance.

Assange has denied the charges, claiming he published the documents in the public interest.

4.  Tempers flare for Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters

Novak Djokovic played a heated match against Philipp Kohlschreiber and struggled to a 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory in the Monte Carlo Masters.

The world number one player has been criticised for losing his temper on-court, smashing his racquet and throwing another into the crowd after losing a number of serves.

“I lost my serve four games in a row in the second set, and that hasn’t happened too many times in my life,” Djokovic said.

“There were lots of ups and downs. It was not the prettiest of matches,” he said.

Djokovic will now play against American Taylor Fritz in the third round of the tournament.

5.  Largest blue diamond in Botswana discovered

A rare blue diamond weighing more than 20 carats (4 grams)  had been unveiled by the Okavango Diamond Company in Botswana.

It is estimated the gemstone was formed between 500 million and 3 billion years ago.

The jewel is the largest blue diamond ever discovered in the country which is rich in the natural resource, accounting for approximately half of government revenue.

Blue diamonds are incredibly rare, making up less than 0.02 per cent of mined diamonds worldwide.

The Okavango Diamond will be on display in the coming months and is expected to be sold at the end of the year.

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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