Grenfell Tower flammable cladding also in Germany


This 22 June 2017 video from Britain is called Cladding Removed For Testing On Three Barnet council high rises.

Another video from Britain used to say about itself:

Krishnan Guru-Murthy Challenges Former Tory [Conservative] Minister Over 74 Falsified Building Fire Inspections

26 June 2017

Former Tory Party Housing and Fire Minister Brandon Lewis is challenged by Krishnan Guru-Murthy over his record with at least 74 tower buildings failing safety standards that were passed as safe when he was minister.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Inhabitants of flat in Wuppertal moved out due to flammable façade cladding

Today, 18:08

In the German city of Wuppertal people are moved out of a building. The façade of the building is of the same material as at Grenfell Tower in London, which completely burnt out two weeks ago.

After the fire in the tower block, which killed at least 79 people, all apartment buildings in Germany are being checked. The evacuation in Wuppertal is the first result of this.

What The Grenfell Fire Could Teach Trump. The Trump administration has been loosening health and safety regulations since Day One. By Dave Jamieson, Arthur Delaney in the USA.

Cuba, Havana flowers and street photographs


Flowers, 15 March 2017

This photo shows beautiful flowers on a tree on the hill in Casablanca, a suburb of the Cuban capital Havana; where we were on 15 March 2017. As I wrote, after Casablanca we went to the old city center.

This video says about itself:

La Habana Vieja is the proper name for the central neighborhood Old Havana in Havana, Cuba. If you visit Havana for the first time, this is where need to go. If you’ve visited before, you probably still want to return – even if only to sip a cold beer in the shade and watch the hustle and bustle of the streets.

Everything was filmed in April 2016.

Major sights in this video:

Castillo del Morro Castle and Lighthouse (seen from our balcony)

La Cabaña Fortress (seen from La Habana Vieja)

Castillo de la Real Fuerza

El Templete

Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis on Plaza de San Francisco

Catedral de San Cristobal

Plaza Vieja (including Factoria Plaza Vieja, Cervezas y Maltas)

Hotel Ambos Mundos (Hemingway Hotel) on Calle Obispo

Plaza de Armas (where I got the Obama poster for my birthday)

La Floridita (where Hemingway and us had delicious daiquiris)

La Bodeguita del Medio (where Hemingway hung out, but we didn’t)

Parque Central

Payret Cinema and Capitolio

Prado (Paseo de Marti) street

Museo de la Revolucion

Memorial Granma

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana

The song in the video is “El Pescador” by Bruno Bassi of Los Hermanos – from the royalty-free music website http://GoSoundtrack.com. Their collection is available via a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Havana sign, 15 March 2017

This photo from the city center shows a sign, celebrating Havana’s 497th birthday. Still three years until the big 500 years celebration.

Havana car and bike taxi, 15 March 2017

In old Havana, there are several means of transport.

Havana cars, 15 March 2017

From these vintage cars …

Havana cars, on 15 March 2017

Havana bike taxi, 15 March 2017

to these bike taxis…

Havana empty bike taxi, 15 March 2017

Havana bike taxi, on 15 March 2017

Havana boats, 15 March 2017

to these boats.

This video says about itself:

26 August 2014

In this film you will get an impression of what there is to see in the Calle Obispo.

It`s the number one shopping street of Havana Vieja. This is the place where girls are shopping and meet their friends. You can buy a lot of things here, eat something or go to the hairdresser. … The street has dilapidated buildings but also well maintained and beautifully decorated houses.

Havana clothes, 15 March 2017

Clothes hang out to dry from various windows in old Havana.

Havana clothes, on 15 March 2017

Havana drainpipes, 15 March 2017

People are at work putting new drainpipes underground.

Havana children, 15 March 2017

While the pipes are still above ground, Havana children use them in play.

Havana children, on 15 March 2017

Cuban birds and Havana buildings


Turkey vulture, 15 March 2017

15 March 2017. After seeing hummingbirds and doves on the Zapata peninsula in Cuba, we left that day for Havana. This photo shows a turkey vulture flying near a lake providing drinking water for Havana.

We had arrived there at 13:30. Cattle egrets, snowy egrets and great egrets.

Common gallinule. House sparrow.

Two ospreys flying. One lands on a small tree in the water.

Havana, 15 March 2017

We arrive in Havana, and go first to Casablanca suburb. From the hill, there is a fine view of Havana harbour and the old city centre behind it.

Havana, on 15 March 2017

Havana, Cuba, 15 March 2017

On the Casablanca hill, a singing northern mockingbird. A cattle egret flying past.

We went downhill, to the city centre.

Stay tuned!

Rosa Parks’ home in Berlin, saving it from destruction by Detroit’s mayor


This video from the USA is called The Rosa Parks Story.

The mayor of Detroit in the USA not only threatens a graffiti artist with fifteen years in prison for graffiti art.

There is also this.

By Mary Papenfuss from the USA:

04/10/2017 03:27 am ET

What Is Rosa Parks’ House Doing In Berlin?

Detroit planned to demolish the home, so now it’s in artist’s yard in Germany.

If you want to visit the home where civil rights legend Rosa Parks lived, you’ve got a trip ahead of you — all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. That’s because her home is in the backyard of an American artist living in Germany.

It seems like back-of-the-bus treatment for the black woman who had the guts in 1955 to refuse to give up her seat to a white man in Alabama and go to the back of the bus. Instead, she gave birth to the civil rights movement.

Why is her home in Berlin? Short answer? Detroit planned to destroy it.

When Parks’ niece Rhea McCauley found out, she purchased the home for $500 and cast around for ways to save it. She reached out to artist Ryan Mendoza, who happened to be in Detroit at the time. Though they both appealed to Detroit’s mayor to protect the building, they said he had no interest. So they dissembled the home, packed it in shipping containers, transported it to Germany, and put it back together in an expensive operation that took several months, reported Deutsche Welle.

“It is something that is precious,” McCauley told The Associated Press. “It is priceless, yet it is being mistreated. That’s what I saw and that’s how it felt. So when I met Ryan and he said, ‘Let’s bring it to Berlin and restore it,’ I said yes.”

Mendoza, who was born in New York, is stunned that Germany ended up with what he considers a treasure. “The Rosa Parks house should actually be a national monument and not a demolition project,” he told Deutsche Welle.

“The basic question, the fundamental question I ask myself: ‘Is the house worthless or is the house  priceless?’ For the American institutions so far the house has been deemed worthless,” he told Agence France-Presse. “It was put on a demolition list; that’s not a detail.”

Mendoza believes it’s apt that the house stands in a country that tore down a wall, and has left a nation planning to build a wall.

Hundreds of people turned out to see the official unveiling of the home in Berlin last week. The interior still needs some work, but Mendoza has installed a sound exhibit for the home including a telephone interview with Parks.

McCauley said she hopes one day the U.S. will “grow up” and ask for its treasure back.

Saudi autocracy destroying country’s historic buildings


This video says about itself:

Armored vehicles attacking Al-Awamiyah – Feb 23, 2016

The Saudi security forces have attacked farming areas today Tuesday 23 Feb 2016 in Awamiyah; Eastern province in KSA, and killed a young Bahraini person (Ali Abdullah) and injured many others.

The security authorities in KSA confirmed the death of Ali Abdullah and repeated their usual justification in such circumstances by claiming Ali was wanted by the police.

Today’s events increased the tension in the Eastern province which is already very high after the execution of Shaikh Nimr Alnimr on 2nd Jan 2016.

Angry protestors replied by blocking the roads by burning tyres. Black smoke was seen in the sky.

The Saudi absolute monarchy is not only destroying beautiful historic homes and other buildings as part of their war on Yemen. They are also destroying the beautiful historic homes and other buildings of their own country. Not with warplanes, like in Yemen; but destruction is destruction.

From Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain in the USA:

ADHRB and UN Experts Urge Saudi to Halt Planned Demolition of Historic Awamiyah Neighborhood

Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula. Having experienced political turmoil in its Eastern Province associated with the Arab Spring in 2011, Saudi Arabia’s state practice is presently characterized by human rights abuses including widespread torture, arbitrary detention, censorship, and arbitrary execution. Read more here.

5 April 2017—Today, the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on poverty, cultural rights, and housing called on the Government of Saudi Arabia to immediately halt the planned demolition of the historic Mosawara neighborhood in the Eastern Province town of Awamiyah. The rapporteurs warned that the demolition may result in the forced evictions of many of the neighborhood’s 2,000 to 3,000 residents and may exacerbate an existing housing crisis, leading to a further increase in housing and land prices. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain strongly agrees with the UN experts and calls on the Saudi government to immediately halt and cancel all plans to carry through with the demolition.

The Mosawara neighborhood is an historic quarter in the town of Awamiyah with a rich history and significant cultural heritage. The neighborhood’s architecture is unique: it is a walled village with mosques, farms and farmers markets, Shia places of worship, and businesses. According to Karima Bennoune, the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, “the planned demolition would erase this unique regional heritage in an irreversible manner.” Despite its significance, the Saudi government is planning to redevelop the area into a commercial and service zone. Philip Alston, the Rapporteur on extreme poverty expressed concern that in the process of moving residents from the area, the government would “remove people from the areas where they live and work, resulting in loss of livelihood and difficulty in securing housing.” In this way, the redevelopment may worsen an existing housing crisis that is exacerbated by increasing housing and land prices.

The government is planning to move ahead with the redevelopment plan despite housing concerns and the concerns of the neighborhood’s residents. The experts noted that, “the demolition has been announced without any meaningful consultation with the residents, without having considered less damaging alternatives, or adequate[ly] informing them about the demolition plans.” The government has also pressured the residents to leave their houses and businesses, including by cutting the power to the neighborhood and refusing to allow charities to help elderly and sick residents.

“The Saudi government’s actions towards Mosawara and its residents are demonstrative of its high-minded approach to development. Though the plan for the neighborhood will surely harm hundreds of Saudis, the government seems not to care for their well-being,” states Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain. “Authorities must immediately halt the planned demolition and re-evaluate any development scheme, so as to place the needs and welfare of its citizens at the forefront of any future moves.”

Authorities’ demolition of Mosawara’s cultural heritage is emblematic of the kingdom’s view of cultural heritage sites. The Saudi government has embarked upon the concerted demolition of ancient landmarks, archaeological heritage, and cultural sites since before the kingdom was founded. Since 1925, the al-Saud family has overseen the destruction of tombs, mosques, and historical artifacts in Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, al-Khobar, and Awamiyah. It has destroyed sections of two cemeteries where family members and companions of the Prophet Muhammad were buried. The destruction encompasses secular as well as religious sites. During the government’s project to expand the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi authorities destroyed 10,000 properties in Mecca, including 126 mosques and whole neighborhoods. As a result, the government has destroyed more than 90 percent of the country’s landmarks.

The planned demolition of the Mosawara neighborhood despite local concerns is illustrative of the Saudi government’s approach to historic and cultural sites. The destruction of the neighborhood will not only erase a unique historic area and a symbol of the region’s past, but has the potential to have significant detrimental effects on the residents of the neighborhood. The demolition may entail the forcible eviction of hundreds of residents and increase the level of poverty in the town. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain therefore calls upon the Saudi government to immediately halt and cancel the planned destruction of the neighborhood and to re-evaluate its development standards so as to protect culturally and historic significant sites.