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900 years of history gone in minutes: Fire engulfs Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. Fire engulfs the historic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Parisians are watching on in horror as a fierce blaze engulfs one of its most iconic landmarks: the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Firefighters are have been battling to save the 12th Century Gothic building, after the fire broke out in the early afternoon, local time.

The wood and lead spire has collapsed, as has the roof, and flames are now in one of the rectangular towers. A Notre Dame spokesman says the church’s entire wooden interior is in flames.

The cause of the fire unknown at this point, though local authorities are investigating if renovation work on the cathedral’s spire was a factor in starting or spreading the blaze.

The buildings and streets around the cathedral have been evacuated, but thousands of people have gathered in the area, observing the flames in silence. Some could be seen openly weeping, while others sang hymns, the BBC reported.

Deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Gregoire, says the fire started in the spire, and that first responders are trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral.

On Thursday, 16 religious statues were removed from the peak for the first time in over a century to be taken for cleaning as part of a 6 million-euro ($A9.5 million) renovation, and therefore escaped the blaze.

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France’s civil security agency says “all means” except for water-dropping aircraft were deployed to tackle the fire, as dumping water on the building from the air could cause the whole structure to collapse.

President Emmanuel Macron is treating the fire as a national emergency and is at the scene.

The French capital’s police department says there have been no deaths, and there has been no mention of injuries.

2. Children of Australian ISIS terrorist reunited with their grandmother.

The children of Australia’s most notorious terrorist Khaled Sharrouf have been reunited with their grandmother in a refugee camp in Syria.

Karen Nettleton has made it to the al-Hawl camp in northern Syria where those fleeing Islamic State’s last enclave at Baghouz, mainly women and children, ended up.

Among them are a heavily pregnant Zaynab, 17, Hoda, 16 and Humzeh, 8, as well as Zaynab’s two toddler daughters.

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Mrs Nettleton has not seen her grandchildren since 2014. She has made two previous trips to Iraq to find her grandchildren, to no avail.

Sharrouf was killed in an air strike in September 2017, along with his two older sons, Abdullah, 12, and Zarqawi, 11.

The children’s mother, Mrs Nettleton’s daughter Tara, died of medical complications in 2015.

Mrs Nettleton has been negotiating with Australian and Kurdish officials to get the youngsters home but it has been frustrating going.

“We don’t get a yes or no answer. All they’ve said is that once we get to Turkey, they’ll give us all the help that they can, our medical, dental, physio, anything that we need,” Mrs Nettleton told ABC TV’s Four Corners program.

“We weren’t the ones that chose to come here in the first place,” Zaynab told ABC TV.

“I mean we were brought here by our parents. And now that our parents are gone, we want to live. And for me and my children I want to live a normal life just like anyone would want to live a normal life.”

Her sister Hoda, who was 11 when she was taken out of Australia, told Four Corners: “I didn’t know I was in Syria until after we crossed the borders and I heard people speaking Arabic.

“I asked my Mum where we were. And she told me we were in Syria. I started crying.”

3. Israel Folau has 48 hours to respond to Rugby Australia or face the sack.

Wallabies superstar Israel Folau has two days to respond or face the sack after being served with a breach notice by Rugby Australia over his controversial social media posts.

RA CEO Raelene Castle said the RA integrity unit had deemed Folau had committed a “high level” breach of the players’ code of conduct which warranted termination of his contract.

Israel-Folau
Image: Getty.
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"Israel has 48 hours to accept the sanction or have the matter sent to a code of conduct hearing," Castle said.

Folau remains stood down by RA over his religiously-motivated posts last week proclaiming hell awaits "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters".

Asked if Folau was being punished for his religious beliefs, Castle said "this is not a religious discussion, this is a discussion around the employee-employer relationship."

Castle said Folau had been unapologetic about the posts and his stance when she met with him last Friday.

"That left us with no option but to move forward to the position that we've taken," Castle said.

He had been warned, formally and repeatedly about social media expectations after he made similar posts about a year ago.

"It was made clear to Israel in writing and verbally when I met with him last year that any social media posts or commentary that in any way were disrespectful to people because of their sexuality would result in disciplinary action," Castle said.

"Despite this Israel has chosen to ignore this warning."

Castle said there had been no additional clauses about social media use inserted in Folau's latest contract.

"It's very disappointing from my perspective because I had a very direct and specific conversation with himabout the expectations that I had," Castle said.

"He accepted that conversation, he said that he understood that conversation, he shook my hand at the end of that and said he was very clear, and yet he has gone off and done this."

Earlier on Monday, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika told reporters that Folau's "disrespectful" comments would make it impossible to pick him in the national team, which is preparing for this year's World Cup in Japan.

"Getting out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team's about," Cheika said on Monday.

"When you play in the gold jersey, we represent everyone in Australia - everyone. Everyone that's out there supporting us. We don't pick and choose."

Asked if he would be comfortable taking the field again alongside Folau, Wallabies and NSW Waratahs captain flanker Hooper said: "In this current state and being here and talking about this as a rugby player, it makes it hard, it makes it difficult.

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"You take your friends warts and all, and your teammates," Hooper added.

Cheika said he didn't think the issue would rear its head again after the controversy of last year's tweets and Rugby Australia's subsequent talks with Folau.

He had tried unsuccessfully to contact him for an explanation.

"We had a discussion at the end of the last time and made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that if that's what he wants," he said.

"I felt that I needed to talk to him about why, and I haven't had that chance as yet. I'm sure I will in the future at some stage when it settles down for him a little bit.

"I made the calls and left the messages. There's no beef."

Folau told reporters after attending his church on Sunday that he stood by his posts and was prepared to walk away from the game for the sake of his faith.

Waratahs CEO Andrew Hore said his players, one of who is Folau's brother John, had been briefed on Monday.

4. Jacinda Ardern jumps to highest popularity levels following her response to the Christchurch mosque shootings.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has jumped to her highest popularity levels ever after widespread praise for her handling of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

jacindaardern
Image: Getty

In the first major poll taken since the March 15 terror attack, Ardern's rating as preferred prime minister has risen to 51 per cent of surveyed New Zealand voters.

Her nearest rival, opposition and National Party leader Simon Bridges, was at 5 per cent in the 1 News Colmar Brunton poll - one of the country's two major media-run polls - released on Monday.

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In February, the same survey had Ardern at 44 per cent, compared to Bridges on 6 per cent.

Meanwhile, her Labour Party was at 48 per cent, compared to 45 per cent two months ago, and National on 40 per cent.

The 38-year-old prime minister received significant praise both across New Zealand's domestic political spectrum and internationally for her compassionate leadership style after the attack left 50 dead.

Her government has since also banned a wide-range of semi-automatic weapons, with swiftly passed legislation almost unanimously supported by Kiwi lawmakers.

The poll was conducted between April 6 and April 10, surveying 1009 voters. It has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent at a 95 per cent confidence level.

5. The DNA of Kathleen Folbigg's babies will be analysed for the inquiry into her murder conviction.

Decades-old DNA from the children of serial killer Kathleen Folbigg, including frozen organ tissue, has been analysed for an inquiry into her convictions, with nothing found in their genes that could explain sudden death.

"The commonest and most plausible genes which cause sudden death in infancy are not present in this family," Professor Jon Skinner told the inquiry on Monday.

Counsel assisting, Gail Furness SC, said a multidisciplinary panel of experts conducted genomic sequence testing on the babies' samples using technologies that had emerged since their mother's NSW trial in 2003.

Ms Furness said the results of genetic-related investigations at the time were normal and did not indicate the need for further testing - but significant advances have since been made.

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Folbigg was jailed for at least 25 years after she was convicted of killing her four babies - Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura - in the decade from 1989.

They died aged between 19 days and 19 months.

The 2019 inquiry is focused on medical advances and new research including into three or more infant deaths in the one family attributed to unidentified natural causes.

Material available for genetic testing included blood spots from each child taken at birth and kept at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, and tissue samples fixed in glass and wax block slides and held at the coroners court.

Kidney, liver, skin, skeletal muscle and heart tissue samples frozen at -80C from Patrick's autopsy in 1991, formalin-immersed brain tissue from Laura's autopsy in 1999 and a recent DNA sample from Folbigg herself were also produced to the inquiry.

Ms Furness said the expert reports from Sydney and Canberra found "no known pathogenic - capable of causing disease - or likely pathogenic variants in genes that could explain unexpected death" in any of Folbigg's four children.

Dr Alison Colley told the inquiry: "I think it's very important we started with a hypothesis-free (perspective) which means we were looking at all possibilities, all genes that could cause catastrophic events or infant demise".

The panel of clinical geneticists and genetic pathologists agreed they would have liked to have had a DNA sample from the father of the babies, Craig Folbigg, who refused to supply one.

But Professor Edwin Kirk said: "In the end, it didn't make any difference."

Dr Michael Buckley added: "We didn't identify any variant in the children that we were concerned about, that appeared to have been inherited from Craig, and the interpretation didn't hinge on his clinical sample".

Mr Folbigg has engaged lawyers to cross-examine his ex-partner when she testifies in the week from April 29. The 51-year-old did not take the stand at trial.

Her evidence will be limited to her personal diaries, which included comments such as baby Sarah who "left, with a bit of help" and Laura being "a fairly good-natured baby" which "saved her from the fate of her siblings".

Ex-NSW District Court chief judge Reginald Blanch QC, who is presiding over the inquiry, will prepare a report on its results for the NSW governor.

6. 'He loved being a dad': Tributes roll in for the young father-of-two found dead Tasmania over the weekend.

A young father found dead from a gunshot wound on the side of a rural Tasmanian road is being remembered as a loving parent.

Police are treating the death of Jarrod Turner, 22, as suspicious and have urged anyone with information to come forward.

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It is believed he was with several people he knew before he died.

Mr Turner's body was found in the early hours of Sunday morning at Colebrook Road in Richmond, about 25 kilometres north of Hobart.

Tributes have flowed on social media, describing Mr Turner as one of a kind.

"(He) loved being a dad and absolutely did anything and everything he could to make sure they (his kids) were healthy and happy," Tyler-Lee Ayre O'Hehir wrote on Facebook.

Police on Monday searched several homes and an extensive area around where Mr Turner's body was found, collecting hundreds of pieces of evidence.

"We are still investigating why he was in the area and how he got to be in that area," Det Insp Rossiter said.

"We are aware that there are people in the community that know something about this that haven't come forward.

"No matter how small, for something this serious we need you to call us."

A post-mortem has been undertaken but police haven't released details.

The search for the gun involved in the shooting is ongoing.

"This is a tragic and unfortunate incident that's deeply affected the family," Det Insp Rossiter said.

Colebrook Road between Franklin Street and Fingerpost Road was reopened to the public on Monday after being closed for most of the day.

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