Tag Archives: Government finance

Singapore Airways to chop 4,300 jobs attributable to pandemic

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Singapore Airways Group says it should get rid of 4,300 jobs as a result of “lengthy street to restoration” for the worldwide aviation business battered by the coronavirus pandemic

SINGAPORE — Singapore Airways Group mentioned Thursday it should get rid of 4,300 jobs as a result of “lengthy street to restoration” for the worldwide aviation business battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The group mentioned in a press release it should lower the positions throughout Singapore Airways, regional arm SilkAir and finances unit Scoot.

After considering a recruitment freeze, pure attrition and the take up of voluntary departure schemes, it mentioned the precise variety of laid off employees will probably be solely about 2,400 in Singapore and abroad.

The group mentioned it’s in a weak place in comparison with different airways because it doesn’t have a home market that will be the primary to see a restoration. To stay viable, it mentioned its airways will function a smaller fleet on a decreased community within the coming years.

“This determination was taken in gentle of the lengthy street to restoration for the worldwide airline business as a result of debilitating impression of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pressing want for the group’s airways to adapt to an unsure future,” it added. The corporate mentioned it has begun talks with Singapore-based unions to finalize the association.

Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung mentioned in a Fb submit that the retrenchment was inevitable with air journey decimated by the pandemic, and that the overwhelming majority of affected employees are foreigners. He pledged the federal government will work with commerce unions and business companions to assist the affected employees discover new jobs or transit to different industries.

The Singapore Airways group in July reported a 1.12 billion Singapore greenback ($820 million) internet loss for the three months to June, its largest quarterly loss. It has mentioned it expects to function at underneath half its capability till subsequent yr.

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Oil value dives as OPEC, Russia fail to agree on output reduce

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OPEC and key ally Russia have didn’t agree to chop oil manufacturing to comprise the drop within the value of crude

VIENNA —
OPEC and key ally Russia didn’t agree Friday on a reduce to grease manufacturing that might have contained the plunge within the value of crude brought on by the brand new coronavirus outbreak’s huge disruption to world enterprise.

The value of oil fell sharply in worldwide markets consequently, with the worldwide benchmark plunging 9.4%, down by a 3rd because the begin of the 12 months.

Whereas cheaper oil will translate into extra reasonably priced vitality for customers and companies, it hurts producing nations and corporations, 1000’s of employees have already been laid off within the U.S. oil patch.

The unraveling of the talks in Vienna additionally underscores the restricted energy of the cartel to affect world vitality markets, in contrast to its heyday within the 1970s. The US just lately turned the world’s greatest oil producer and retains on pumping at full capability.

The 14 OPEC nations had wished to chop output by 1.5 million barrels a day, or about 1.5% of world manufacturing. OPEC nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran say they want non-member allies like Russia to take 500,000 barrels of that reduce on themselves.

Russia, nevertheless, proved reluctant and OPEC Secretary Basic Mohammed Barkindo of Nigeria stated Friday that the assembly had been adjourned.

“On the finish of the day, there was the overall painful resolution of the joint convention to adjourn the assembly,” Barkindo stated. He stated casual talks would proceed as a result of the state of affairs was pressing.

“The numbers are clear: the demand destruction is actual,” he stated.

Barkindo stated “one or two” non-OPEC nations on the talks Friday had been reluctant to comply with the proposed cuts.

Russia and different non-OPEC nations have been working with the cartel lately and agreed on earlier cuts. Nonetheless, Russia can tolerate low oil costs higher than Saudi Arabia can and seems reluctant to slash output of its essential revenue-making export.

Whereas Saudi Arabia can produce oil cheaply, it wants $83.60 per barrel to stability its state funds, in response to the Worldwide Financial Fund, as it’s nearly solely depending on oil income. Russia wants solely $42.40 a barrel.

Analysts say OPEC might wrestle to maintain oil costs from falling additional, notably as the total impression of the virus outbreak on the worldwide economic system has but to be understood.

“There’s nonetheless an excessive amount of uncertainty concerning the quantity of demand destruction,” analysts at analysis agency Petromatrix stated in a observe to traders.

The unfold of the coronavirus has sharply lowered air journey and thus the demand for gasoline, whereas trade in China, the world’s second largest economic system, has been severely disrupted by means of shutdowns and journey restrictions. German airline Lufthansa stated Friday it and its subsidiaries will scale back their capability over the approaching weeks to as little as 50% of the extent earlier than the coronavirus disaster began.

Some economists assume the worldwide economic system might shrink within the first quarter for the primary time because the monetary disaster, sapping demand for vitality.

The worldwide benchmark for crude oil fell $4.72 to settle at $45.27 a barrel on Friday. It had been buying and selling over $50 in latest days, and is down from $69 as just lately as early January, earlier than the outbreak.

The U.S. benchmark WTI plunged $4.62, or 10.1%, to settle at $41.28 a barrel. With oil beneath $50 a barrel, U.S. producers, together with oil giants resembling Exxon, are scaling again drilling as their earnings get hit. The oil patch has already been shedding hundreds of jobs and struggling by means of a surge of bankruptcies, and decrease costs will exacerbate these issues.

Barkindo stated OPEC was decided to keep away from a repeat of the large market droop that started in 2014, when the cartel held off manufacturing cuts with a purpose to not lose market share to a resurgent U.S. oil trade. That led to a fall within the value of oil from over $100 a barrel to beneath $40 by 2015.

Even when OPEC and its allies agree on a manufacturing reduce within the coming days or even weeks, analysts say costs are unlikely to rise a lot. That is as a result of the worldwide economic system is slowing quickly. But in addition as a result of the the U.S., which isn’t a part of OPEC and in contrast to Russia doesn’t cooperate in its output choices, has ramped up lately, flooding the market and maintaining costs down.

———

McHugh reported from Frankfurt, Germany. AP Enterprise Author Cathy Bussewitz contributed from New York.

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As mortgage charges drop, the trick is discovering a home

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Wall Road’s anxiousness over the Trump administration’s commerce battle with China might herald decrease mortgage charges for homebuyers, however a power scarcity of homes on the market will hold costs excessive.

Buyers fearful that the commerce battle might sharply gradual international financial development have been shopping for bonds, sending the yield on the 10-year Treasury notice to its lowest degree since October 2016.

The common fee on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which tracks the trajectory in 10-year Treasurys, fell this week to three.60%, its lowest degree since November 2016, based on Freddie Mac. It was 3.75% final week. A 12 months in the past the speed stood at 4.59%.

If the slide in bond yields continues, the typical fee on the benchmark 30-year residence mortgage might fall under 3.5%, housing economists say.

Decrease mortgage charges give homebuyers extra buying energy, which might entice them to go house-hunting.

However with the provision of houses on the market down 15% since December, gross sales are lagging final 12 months’s tempo. The provision scarcity is more likely to restrict any surge in gross sales.

“Demand can decide up, but when the provision doesn’t decide up it simply means costs can be accelerating larger,” stated Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Nationwide Affiliation of Realtors. “Provide has been a serious bottleneck.”

Additionally, homebuyers might not be proof against Wall Road’s jitters a couple of slowing economic system, which might make them really feel uneasy about shopping for a house.

“Given {that a} house is a serious expenditure, folks have to be assured about financial prospects over the lengthy haul,” Yun added.

Buyers have sought out security in U.S. authorities bonds this week because the commerce dispute between Washington and Beijing escalated once more. President Donald Trump introduced a brand new 10% tariff set to enter impact subsequent month on Chinese language imports that have not already been hit with prior tariffs. China retaliated by permitting its foreign money, the yuan, to weaken towards the U.S. greenback.

On Wednesday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury touched its lowest degree in practically three years, falling as little as 1.60% from 1.74% late Tuesday, earlier than climbing again to 1.72%. It was above 3% in late November.

The unfold between the 10-year Treasury yield and the typical fee on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has traditionally been about 1.7 proportion factors, stated Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at First American Monetary.

Meaning, if the bond yield for 10-year Treasurys drops again to 1.60%, the typical fee on a 30-year mortgage might drop as little as 3.3%, although 3.54% is extra possible, she stated.

At bond yields’ present ranges, Yun expects the typical fee on the 30-year mounted fee mortgage to drop to round 3.4% and even 3.3%.

Such low charges might spur a pickup in residence mortgage refinancing. The final time common weekly long-term mortgage charges have been under 3.5% was three years in the past.

The scarce provide of houses in the marketplace has saved costs rising this 12 months. The median gross sales worth of a beforehand occupied U.S. residence climbed 4.3% in June from a 12 months earlier to $285,700. By comparability, wage development has averaged about 3%.

The pattern has held again residence gross sales, which have been down 2.2% over the 12 months that resulted in June. Gross sales of newly constructed houses jumped 7% in June, however by way of the primary half of the 12 months have solely risen 2.2% from a 12 months earlier, regardless of such constructive traits as a strong job market and falling mortgage charges.

Decrease charges could show irresistible for would-be homebuyers, particularly these struggling to maintain up with rising residence costs. The value for a beforehand occupied U.S. residence climbed 4.3% in June from a 12 months earlier, based on NAR.

“It definitely will assist to make housing extra reasonably priced, clearly, as mortgage charges come down,” Kushi stated. “The problem can be will of us have one thing to purchase?”

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San Francisco curbs waste with public bogs, ‘poop patrol’

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The sidewalks surrounding Ahmed Al Barak’s nook market in one in every of San Francisco’s roughest neighborhoods are stuffed with cardboard, used syringes and homeless individuals who have nowhere protected to go at evening.

However Al Barak says it is an enchancment from a yr in the past, earlier than town posted a transportable bathroom throughout the road from his enterprise within the metropolis’s Tenderloin district.

He now not often sees folks relieve themselves in broad daylight, and he doesn’t see as a lot feces and urine on the streets. In his opinion, it is the one vibrant spot in a metropolis the place taxes are too excessive.

“We used to have a catastrophe right here. I used to name town on a regular basis to come back and clear, as a result of they do not know the place to go,” he mentioned, recalling one lady particularly who shrugged at him in a “what are you able to do?” gesture as she squatted to pee.

San Francisco began its “Pit Cease” program in July 2014 with public bogs within the metropolis’s homeless-heavy Tenderloin, after kids complained of dodging human waste on their approach to college. At this time, the staffed bogs have grown from three to 25 areas, and this system has expanded to Los Angeles. In Might, the bogs in San Francisco recorded almost 50,000 flushes, all logged by attendants.

The situation of San Francisco’s streets has been a supply of embarrassment to metropolis leaders, and cleansing up shouldn’t be low cost. The town obtained almost 27,000 requests for feces removing in the latest fiscal yr, though not all are human.

Mayor London Breed final yr introduced the formation of a particular six-person “poop patrol” workforce the place every cleaner earns greater than $70,000 a yr.

Advocates say steam cleansing requests have dropped in areas surrounding a few of the public bogs. The mayor signed a price range Thursday that features greater than $9 million for the Pit Cease bogs this yr, up from $5 million final fiscal yr. San Francisco will add seven new bogs in a metropolis the place a one-night rely of homeless folks grew 17% previously two years.

The bogs every value a median of $200,000 a yr to function, with a lot of the cash going to staffing and overhead.

A number of the bogs are everlasting fixtures, whereas others are portables with two bogs which can be trucked out and in. The stops have receptacles for used syringes and canine waste. Attendants who’re paid town’s minimal wage of $16 an hour examine after each use and knock on doorways to ensure persons are not doing medicine or different illicit exercise. The bogs should shine or they don’t open.

The staffing is what makes a rest room a Pit Cease, and the work is normally achieved by males popping out of jail after many years behind bars.

The “practitioners” stand guard at a few of society’s bleakest intersections of poverty, habit and psychological sickness, says Lena Miller, founding father of nonprofit Hunters Level Household and its spinoff, City Alchemy, which staffs the Pit Stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They stop overdoses, break up fights and greet regulars, she says.

“Actually what we’re doing is we’re creating this area the place folks know that they will stroll into it, and it will scent good. It’ll look good,” Miller mentioned. “There will not be trash in every single place, and so they’re protected. And I feel that makes all of the distinction on the planet.”

Nelson Butler was a 19-year-old Los Angeles gangster when he went to jail for 30 years for killing an individual. Butler was launched final yr from San Quentin State Jail, scared and apprehensive and in want of a job. He went to work at a Pit Cease.

Technically, his job was to forestall drug use within the bogs and ensure homeless folks did not arrange camp.

“The fact is I am a safety guard. I used to be a babysitter, I used to be a social employee, I used to be a counselor. I did quite a lot of issues that was not essentially within the scope of my job description, however that is my group,” Butler mentioned. “So my thought was, if I noticed any individual that wanted assist, that is why I am there — to assist.”

Homelessness has surged all through California, and cities are struggling to open extra bogs. Officers are contemplating including port-a-potties and particular loos designed by town of Portland, Oregon, and increasing hours of restrooms in authorities buildings.

Sacramento, which is in a county the place a one-night rely of the homeless elevated 19% in two years, tried a Pit Cease however stopped after a number of months as a result of it value an excessive amount of.

Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin initially thought the stops too expensive, however he now understands that having somebody to observe over the bogs has its upsides. Los Angeles noticed a 16% enhance over a yr in its one-night rely of homeless, to 36,000.

“I heard from everybody, from folks affiliated with legislation enforcement, from individuals who reside within the neighborhood, from homeless advocates, from people who find themselves homeless themselves, that it is essential to have a workers to ensure they keep clear and freed from destruction or abuse,” he mentioned.

Down the road from Ahmed Al Barak’s nook market is Aref Elgaali’s Z Zoul, a Sudanese cafe. The general public rest room by his eatery has helped, he says, however it closes too early, and there must be many extra of the bogs.

“Why to not have on this nook one and that nook one and the opposite nook one? That may resolve quite a lot of issues for the folks right here in San Francisco,” he mentioned.

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G-20 talks finance tactics for trade war, digital disruption

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Financial leaders of the Group of 20 gathered Saturday to brainstorm ways to adapt global finance to an age of trade turmoil and digital disruptions.

The central bank governors and other financial regulators meeting in this southern Japanese port city also flagged risks from upsets to the global economy as Beijing and Washington clash over trade and technology.

Asked if other financial leaders attending the meetings in Fukuoka were raising concerns over the impact on global markets and trade from President Donald Trump’s crusade against huge, chronic U.S. trade deficits, especially with China, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said no.

Trump and members of his administration contend that the ripple effects of the billions of dollars in tariffs imposed by Washington on Chinese exports over the past year are creating new business opportunities for other businesses in the U.S. and other countries.

But Mnuchin acknowledged that growth has been slowing in Europe, China and other regions.

“I’m hearing concerns if we continue on this path there could be issues. There will be winners and losers,” he said.

The G-20 officials were expected to express their support for adjusting monetary policy, for example by making borrowing cheaper through interest rate cuts, in a communique to be issued as meetings wrap up on Sunday.

Their official agenda on Saturday was focused on longer-term, more technical issues such as improving standards for corporate governance, policing cyber-currencies and reforming tax systems to ensure they are fair for both traditional and new, online-based industries.

Ensuring that governments capture a fair share of profits from the massive growth of businesses like Google and Amazon has grown in importance over the many years the G-20 finance chiefs have been debating the reforms aimed at preventing tax evasion and modernizing policies to match a financial landscape transformed by technology.

One aim is to prevent a “race to the bottom” by countries trying to lure companies by offering unsustainably and unfairly low tax rates as an incentive.

Mnuchin said he disagreed with details of some of the proposals but not with the need for action.

“Everyone, we are now facing a turning point,” Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso told the group. “This could be the biggest reform of the long established international framework in over 100 years.”

Some European members of the G-20, especially, want to see minimum corporate tax rates for big multinationals. France and Britain have already enacted stop-gap tax systems for digital businesses, but they are not adequate, said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

“For the time being there is no fair taxation of this new economic model,” Le Maire said, adding that the hope is to have an agreement by the year’s end.

The issue is not confined to the wealthiest nations. Indonesia, a developing country of 260 million with more than 100 million internet users, is also struggling to keep up.

“The growth has been exponential but we cannot capture this growth in our GDP as well as in our tax revenue,” said Indonesian Finance Minister Mulyani Indrawati.

Mobile banking, big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing are among many technologies that are expanding access to financial services for many people who in the past might not have even used banks.

But such innovations raise questions about protecting privacy and cybersecurity, Aso said.

“We need to stay vigilant against risks or challenges,” Aso said.

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is hosting the G-20 for the first time since it was founded in 1999. The venue for the annual financial meeting, Fukuoka, is a thriving regional hub and base for start-ups.

The G-20 groups include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

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Notre Dame fire was a warning bell. But will Europe listen?

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Its a thin line where the patina of age on Europes countless monuments gives way to the onset of neglect. Like with so many loved ones, all is assumed to be fine, until suddenly its not.

In the wake of the fire last week that gutted Notre Dame, questions are being raised about the state of thousands of other cathedrals, palaces and village spires that have turned France — as well as Italy, Britain and Spain — into open air museums of Western civilization.

If even an iconic building like Notre Dame could not be protected from devastation, if such a potent symbol of France had to scramble for maintenance funds, that lays bare a culture of apathy that can undermine a shared history as well as the multibillion-dollar tourism industry upon which much of Europe depends.

We are so used to our outstanding cultural heritage in Europe that we tend to forget that it needs constant care and attention, Tibor Navracsics, the European Unions top culture official, told The Associated Press.

Some say the wake-up call, not just for Europe but the whole world, rang in Paris.

Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovicis, head of the Europa Nostra heritage foundation, said it was as if Notre Dame decided to set itself on fire to ring the alarm bell. As if she wanted to sacrifice herself for the cause.

Devastating fires have robbed mankind of its knowledge, art and treasures since the famed library of Alexandria in northern Egypt burned down in ancient times. Prior to Notre Dame, the last global warning came when Brazils Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most important cultural institutions in South America, burned down in September.

Unfortunately, the fire in Notre Dame is just one of many examples, said Navracsics.

Experts look at the near-endless list of fires at historical sites in Europe and wonder why officials so often dont learn before its too late. Data on such fires is limited, because monuments are so varied. Some were accidents, others arson.

There are no exact statistics, said Didier Rykner of Frances La Tribune de lArt, but added that France sees several fires every year in historic buildings, which is already way too much.

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.

Every year, theres lightning or something else that destroys a tower or a roof, Juan Antonio Herráez, who is in charge of preventive conservation at Spains Cultural Heritage institute, told the AP.

In 1985, the tower of Luxembourgs 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 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 Turins Sindone Chapel of the Holy Shroud.

And all too often, fires happen during restoration work.

The Glasgow School of Arts Mackintosh Building was gutted by fire last year for the second time in four years as it neared the end of a multimillion-pound (dollar) restoration project.

In Spain, the Gran Teatre del Liceu — Barcelonas opera house — was destroyed almost entirely in 1994 by a fire caused by spark that fell on a curtain during routine repair work.

Experts say whats lacking is the constant attention and regular maintenance that could help avoid the need for major restoration work, but that costs money. The problem has been exacerbated by the austerity budgets many European nations adopted after the 2008 financial crisis and during Europes subsequent debt crisis.

After austerity cuts, Rykner said, you need some drastic restorations that either you dont do, or you do them badly or cheaply. And it can lead to fires.

Herráez wants officials to shift their focus to prevention instead of only reacting to building disasters.

Reparation or restoration should be seen as the failure in conservation, he said. We would be spending money in maintenance but we will be minimizing potential future damages.

Navracsics echoed that thought.

We should never forget that theres also a cost to non-action, a lack of maintenance or a lack of prevention, he said.

The problem is that prevention is practically invisible but grand restorations can be a boon for the politicians cutting the ribbons.

The fire at Notre Dame had barely been doused when two of Frances richest men, rival billionaires, stepped up with flashy, competing donations of hundreds of millions of euros to rebuild the Paris cathedral. Notre Dame donations now stand at over 1 billion euros (1.12 billion) — or about three years of Frances national restoration budget.

This massive outpouring of donations grates on those who have begged for years for a few thousand euros to restore a local but valuable monument.

You have seen that, now, the money is not the problem, said Quaedvlieg-Mihailovicis. There is a lesson. Could we not invest smaller amounts, and not just for the biggest and the most iconic monuments?

The EU itself has allotted 4.7 billion euros (5.28 billion) for restorations in the 2014-2020 financial budget on top of what individual nations do.

As state funding dries up, governments are increasingly looking for private donors to renovate major monuments. In Italy in recent years, Tods 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.

We do need to invest more, but this is a shared responsibility for governments, businesses and citizens across Europe, said Navracsics.

Nations will reap the benefits of such spending for years to come. 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.

Some say world-renowned monuments like Notre Dame are the driving force behind such tourism and deserve more respect.

Cultural heritage is a gold mine. You cannot exploit it and then just leave the mine and go to another one. It is something you really have to cherish, said Quaedvlieg-Mihailovicis.

Aritz Parra in Madrid, Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless in London, Colleen Barry in Milan, Sylvie Corbet and Sam Petrequin in Paris all contributed

Read and watch all Associated Press coverage of the Notre Dame fire at

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Notre Dame fire was a warning bell. But will Europe listen?

[ad_1]

Its a thin line where the patina of age on Europes countless monuments gives way to the onset of neglect. Like with so many loved ones, all is assumed to be fine, until suddenly its not.

In the wake of the fire last week that gutted Notre Dame, questions are being raised about the state of thousands of other cathedrals, palaces and village spires that have turned France — as well as Italy, Britain and Spain — into open air museums of Western civilization.

If even an iconic building like Notre Dame could not be protected from devastation, if such a potent symbol of France had to scramble for maintenance funds, that lays bare a culture of apathy that can undermine a shared history as well as the multibillion-dollar tourism industry upon which much of Europe depends.

We are so used to our outstanding cultural heritage in Europe that we tend to forget that it needs constant care and attention, Tibor Navracsics, the European Unions top culture official, told The Associated Press.

Some say the wake-up call, not just for Europe but the whole world, rang in Paris.

Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovicis, head of the Europa Nostra heritage foundation, said it was as if Notre Dame decided to set itself on fire to ring the alarm bell. As if she wanted to sacrifice herself for the cause.

Devastating fires have robbed mankind of its knowledge, art and treasures since the famed library of Alexandria in northern Egypt burned down in ancient times. Prior to Notre Dame, the last global warning came when Brazils Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most important cultural institutions in South America, burned down in September.

Unfortunately, the fire in Notre Dame is just one of many examples, said Navracsics.

Experts look at the near-endless list of fires at historical sites in Europe and wonder why officials so often dont learn before its too late. Data on such fires is limited, because monuments are so varied. Some were accidents, others arson.

There are no exact statistics, said Didier Rykner of Frances La Tribune de lArt, but added that France sees several fires every year in historic buildings, which is already way too much.

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.

Every year, theres lightning or something else that destroys a tower or a roof, Juan Antonio Herráez, who is in charge of preventive conservation at Spains Cultural Heritage institute, told the AP.

In 1985, the tower of Luxembourgs 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 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 Turins Sindone Chapel of the Holy Shroud.

And all too often, fires happen during restoration work.

The Glasgow School of Arts Mackintosh Building was gutted by fire last year for the second time in four years as it neared the end of a multimillion-pound (dollar) restoration project.

In Spain, the Gran Teatre del Liceu — Barcelonas opera house — was destroyed almost entirely in 1994 by a fire caused by spark that fell on a curtain during routine repair work.

Experts say whats lacking is the constant attention and regular maintenance that could help avoid the need for major restoration work, but that costs money. The problem has been exacerbated by the austerity budgets many European nations adopted after the 2008 financial crisis and during Europes subsequent debt crisis.

After austerity cuts, Rykner said, you need some drastic restorations that either you dont do, or you do them badly or cheaply. And it can lead to fires.

Herráez wants officials to shift their focus to prevention instead of only reacting to building disasters.

Reparation or restoration should be seen as the failure in conservation, he said. We would be spending money in maintenance but we will be minimizing potential future damages.

Navracsics echoed that thought.

We should never forget that theres also a cost to non-action, a lack of maintenance or a lack of prevention, he said.

The problem is that prevention is practically invisible but grand restorations can be a boon for the politicians cutting the ribbons.

The fire at Notre Dame had barely been doused when two of Frances richest men, rival billionaires, stepped up with flashy, competing donations of hundreds of millions of euros to rebuild the Paris cathedral. Notre Dame donations now stand at over 1 billion euros (1.12 billion) — or about three years of Frances national restoration budget.

This massive outpouring of donations grates on those who have begged for years for a few thousand euros to restore a local but valuable monument.

You have seen that, now, the money is not the problem, said Quaedvlieg-Mihailovicis. There is a lesson. Could we not invest smaller amounts, and not just for the biggest and the most iconic monuments?

The EU itself has allotted 4.7 billion euros (5.28 billion) for restorations in the 2014-2020 financial budget on top of what individual nations do.

As state funding dries up, governments are increasingly looking for private donors to renovate major monuments. In Italy in recent years, Tods 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.

We do need to invest more, but this is a shared responsibility for governments, businesses and citizens across Europe, said Navracsics.

Nations will reap the benefits of such spending for years to come. 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.

Some say world-renowned monuments like Notre Dame are the driving force behind such tourism and deserve more respect.

Cultural heritage is a gold mine. You cannot exploit it and then just leave the mine and go to another one. It is something you really have to cherish, said Quaedvlieg-Mihailovicis.

Aritz Parra in Madrid, Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless in London, Colleen Barry in Milan, Sylvie Corbet and Sam Petrequin in Paris all contributed

Read and watch all Associated Press coverage of the Notre Dame fire at

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