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Electrical short-circuit may have caused Notre Dame fire

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Paris prosecutors are investigating if an electrical short-circuit caused the fire that ripped through Notre Dame Cathedral, world media quote a judicial source as saying.

The prosecutors are not excluding any hypothesis at this stage. This is not their only line of inquiry, French officials have said.

Paris prosecutors have been investigating what could have turned the Gothic masterpiece into an inferno. At least 40 employees at the Paris landmark have been questioned so far.

On Wednesday, the prosecutor’s office said that in addition to interviews, forensics teams and the central laboratory for the police department had been able to access some areas of the site and begin inspections. Officials are continuing to pursue the theory that the cause of the fire was accidental but have not ruled out other scenarios at this stage, the prosecutor’s office added.

The fire devastated large parts of the 850-year-old building before it was finally extinguished after a nine-hour battle.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he wants Notre Dame rebuilt in five years, but experts warned it may take decade or two to repair.

Donations toward the restoration have poured in from across the globe; the total raised so far for the reconstruction of the Gothic masterpiece has topped 800 million euros, including gifts of tens of millions of euros from some of France’s wealthiest families.

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Macedonia

North Macedonia, Serbia sign memorandum of cooperation to facilitate digitalization

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North Macedonia’s Ministry of Information Society and Administration and Serbian Government’s  Office on Information Technologies and Electronic Administration have signed a memorandum of cooperation to promote innovation and drive digital transformation.

Minister of Information Society and Administration, Damja Mancevski underlined the importance of digital transformation in improving the every day’s life of the citizens, by use of simple tools to access the services needed.

“The Government is committed to transparency, improving efficiency in public service delivery, accountability in the work of institutions. Therefore, we decided to change and upgrade the wib-sites of the Government and all Ministries. That’s how we put in motion our pledges set out in the Public Administration Reform Strategy, in an effort to secure accessibility of all institutions,” Mancevski said.

Serbia’s Jovanovic said the Memorandum of Cooperation aims to facilitate digital transformation. The Memo is a result of good cooperation between the Prime Ministers of Serbia and North Macedonia, Ana Brnbic and Zoran Zaev. Furthermore, it reflects the visible results of Serbian Government in terms of digitalization of public administration and launch of ‘Serbia digitalizes’ project.

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Macedonia

SDSM: Mickoski evades party leader meeting

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The ruling Social Democrats blamed the leader of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party of trying to block reform drive and hurt the country. “Hristijan Mickoski is running away from party leader meeting,” the SDSM said on Friday.

“He objects the census, yet he doesn’t want to sit at the table and talk. Mickoski wants the country’s population to remain officially uncounted for early two decades. The country does not  keep track of its population for 18 years. He follows in the footsteps of VMRO-DPMNE’s criminal wing. Mickoski is against justice. He is against rule of law and non-selective justice. He remains adamantly opposed to the ‘equality before the law’ principle. Mickoski is running away from talks on public prosecution law,” the Social Democrats said in a statement.

The ruling party claims Mickoski is allegedly making a push for snap election, but actually, he doesn’t want to talk about electoral code, because he knows he will be defeated.

“SDSM will not allow destructions. SDSM stands firm against any attempt to hinder the progress and reform drive. Any attempt to harbor Nikola Gruevski will fail, any attempt to cover for Gruevski’s wrongdoing will fail,” the ruling party said.

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Macedonia

North Macedonia, South Korea establish diplomatic ties

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South Korea has formally established diplomatic relations with North Macedonia, Yonhap news agency quotes the Seoul-based foreign ministry as saying on Thursday.

Ambassador to the United Nations Cho Tae-yul signed the joint communique with Sanja Zografska Krsteska, North Macedonia’s charge d’affaires at the U.N. on Thursday, the ministry said.

North Macedonia is the 191st country to have established formal ties with South Korea.

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