Apr 22, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen
1 big thing: The warning of Notre Dame

Photos clockwise from upper right: La Fenice opera house; The Gran Teatro de Liceo de Barcelona; The Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building; The Notre Dame fire (All via Getty)

Notre Dame was hardly the first European gem consumed by fire, and authorities are increasingly warning that it won't be the last.

Why it matters: These civilizational achievements are also key sources of revenue in old Europe, the AP reports.

  • "Tourism in Britain and France alone amounts to about 7% of their Gross Domestic Product, good for around 150 billion euros and 170 billion euros (around $170 billion and $190 billion) a year."

The big picture: "A 2015 study by the German engineering giant Siemens showed that Scotland had about 10 damaging fires a year, while England lost at least a dozen listed buildings a year. Germany has seen 70 such buildings destroyed since 2000."

  • "In 1985, the tower of Luxembourg’s main cathedral caught fire and burned down."
  • "In 2004, a fire in the Duchess Anna Amalia library in Weimar, Germany, caused an estimated 80 million euros ($90 million) in damage."
  • "In Italy, the historic La Fenice opera house in Venice was destroyed by fire in 1996, and a year later, that happened at Turin’s Sindone Chapel of the Holy Shroud."

Between the lines: As with Notre Dame, many "fires happen during restoration work," including the Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building and Barcelona's opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu.

The bottom line: "As state funding dries up, governments are increasingly looking for private donors to renovate major monuments."

  • "In Italy in recent years, Tod’s luxury shoes sponsored the Colosseum face-lift, while the Fendi fashion house helped the Trevi Fountain in Rome and Diesel backed improvements for the Rialto bridge in Venice."

Go deeper:

  • "Preserving the Sistine Chapel Is a Never-Ending Task. See Stunning Behind-the-Scenes Photos of What It Takes" (ArtNet)
  • "Britain's Houses of Parliament are often referred to as crumbling and are scheduled to undergo renovations in the mid-2020s. The oldest part of the estate, Westminster Hall, was built in 1099 and remains in use today." (NBC)
Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Luca Bruno/AP

A view of the Rialto bridge in Venice, Italy.

  • National governments are increasingly looking for private donors to renovate major monuments, prompting Diesel brand to back improvements for the Rialto bridge.
2. What you missed
  1. Samsung is officially delaying the $2,000 foldable smartphone after some reviewers' devices failed in just days. Details.
  2. Herman Cain is withdrawing from consideration as a member of the Fed's Board of Governors, a week after claiming he wouldn't back down.
  3. The Supreme Court will hear cases on whether sexual orientation and gender identity should be protected from workplace discrimination. Go deeper.
  4. Social Security's costs are projected to begin exceeding its income in 2020, according to an annual report from the trustees of Social Security and Medicare. Details.
  5. 1 🎧 thing: Axios' Dan Primack speaks with actor Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of a nonprofit called Thorn that's using technology to eliminate the online spread of child pornography. Details.
3. 1 fun thing
Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Elizabeth Warren is with Daenerys, not Cersei, in the battle for the Iron Throne of Westeros, the senator revealed ahead of last night's Game of Thrones episode.

  • "Dany believes fiercely in her right to rule, but she despises what ruling means in the world she’s grown up in."
  • "She doesn’t want to be a slave owner or a dictator — and she definitely doesn’t want to become her murderous father."
  • "She states her mission clearly in season seven: 'I’m not here to murder. All I want to destroy is the wheel that has rolled over everyone both rich and poor, to the benefit of no one but the Cersei Lannisters of the world.'"
  • Meanwhile, "Cersei is a lot more honest about wielding power than most: 'I don’t care about checking my worst impulses ... I don’t care about making the world a better place. Hang the world.'"

The bottom line: 2020 candidates looking to get Game of Thrones hooks only have 4 episodes left.

P.S. Warren’s latest big 2020 idea: A $640 billion student loan debt cancellation, funded by a tax on the rich.

Mike Allen