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Notre Dame's altar surrounded by charred debris. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Notre Dame was 30 minutes from collapse last night, but today she stands, far more intact than we'd expected after yesterday's fearsome fire.

The latest: French President Emmanuel Macron said, "We will rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral within 5 years and "it will be more beautiful than before." There's already been $680 million pledged, including a few huge chunks from wealthy French families.

Photo: Christophe Petit Tesson/AFP/Getty Images

Between the lines: "Experts say the combination of a structure that’s more than 850 years old, built with heavy timber construction and soaring open spaces, and lacking sophisticated fire-protection systems led to the quick rise of flames," the AP reports.

There'll be a tense wait to see if certain priceless artifacts survived the flames.

  • Saved: The crown of thorns, the tunic of Saint Louis, the twin bell towers, the rose windows, the Great Organ, rooftop statues representing the 12 apostles and 4 evangelists.
  • Lost: Notre Dame's wooden latticework roof called "The Forest," made of hundreds of oak beams cut from trees between 1160 and 1170, and the spire, built in the 19th century amid a renewed restoration effort.
  • Unconfirmed: The Gallery of the Kings, which includes statues sculpted in the 13th century and later beheaded in 1793; relics of St. Denis and St. Genevieve, which were held in the spire; a nail believed to have been used in the crucifixion; a piece of wood believed to be a piece of the cross.

The bottom line: "We're all just dumbfounded. It's more than miraculous, it's heroic,' vicar general Philippe Marsset said, per the AFP.

Before and after
Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Above: People attending mass at Notre Dame last year, and the same view today.

Below: The heart and transept at Notre Dame last year, and the same view today.

Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.