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fireThe cathedral of Notre-Dame, a gothic masterpiece which survived Hitler`s plans to blow up Paris, as well as a 2016 attempted bombing attack, last night suffered immeasurable damage from a huge fire.

During the thirty years I lived in Paris, Notre-Dame was a reassuring daily companion, soaring over the turbulence of the modern-day capital, on the Isle de la Cite, one of the two islands in the middle of the River Seine, in the very heart of Paris.

 James Mayor talks to Adrian BridgeThe wine industry takes the lead in mitigating climate change: James Mayor talks to Adrian Bridge, CEO of Taylor`s Port, about the Climate Change Leadership Conference

The ancient city of Porto is home to an important new initiative to mitigate the effects of climate change. The Porto Protocol was launched in July 2018, at a summit with Barack Obama as keynote speaker, establishing an innovative platform for the wine industry to share environmental best practices.

eiffeltowerLess than a month after President Emmanuel Macron welcomed world leaders in Paris for a moving commemoration of the centenary of the Armistice which concluded World War 1, Paris was this weekend again the scene of horrific urban violence, a sad backlash against a model of society that no longer appears to be working, writes james Mayor.

duoroterracesSome things are not invented, they just happen. Think of Isaac Newton who, if he hadn`t found himself standing next to an apple tree one day, might never have discovered gravity. And so it was with Port wine.

Under the reign of Louis XIV, during one of their many disputes with the English, the French restricted the import of English goods into France, provoking the English king, Charles II, to retaliate by forbidding the import of French wines into England.

popefrancisTowards the close of the Pope`s recent visit to Ireland, the equivalent of a bomb exploded in the Catholic church. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former papal nuncio to Washington (the Vatican`s equivalent of an ambassador), published a letter claiming that the Pope had let the Boston prelate, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, accused of sexually abusing seminarians, off the paedophile hook.

Vigano went as far as demanding the Pope`s resignation to permit the Catholic church to exit a “conspiracy of silence”. We will never know what the Pope`s exact thoughts were on learning of this letter, but these can probably be summarized as “holy shit”.

MadonnaAll over the world today people are celebrating their birthdays. With a great planetary puff, hundreds of thousands of people are blowing out millions of candles, maybe even in North Korea.

If these birthday people live in Portugal their cakes are likely to be intensely eggy, covered in a sugary white glaze and decorated with berries, orange and fig, so that they resemble a particularly festive skiing resort.

portugalAs Portugal heads into a sizzling weekend, with historically high temperatures forecast and a possibility the European temperature record of 48º C will be broken, Europe`s new favourite country should seize the opportunity to ban fossil fuel exploration, reinforce the already strong Portugal brand and contribute to climate change leadership.

Let`s take a look at the evidence. 2017 went on record as one of the three hottest years of modern times. Now, in early August 2018, Europe is in the middle of a scorching heat wave, and not just Southern Europe but Northern Europe too.

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