Calais refugees attacked with rubber bullets

This video from London, England says about itself:

Developers board up new Banksy criticising Calais ‘Jungle’ teargas treatment

25 January 2016

Banksy has created a new artwork criticising the tactics used in The Jungle refugee camp in Calais – but it was covered up with wood shortly after developers discovered it. The latest mural was drawn opposite the French Embassy in Knightsbridge, west London, and depicts the young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears streaming from her eyes as a can of CS gas lies beneath her. The artwork includes an interactive QR code which, when scanned, links to a video of teargas and rubber bullets allegedly used in a police raid on migrants and refugees in the camp on January 5.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

French cops ‘use rubber bullets on Calais refugees

Thursday 4th February 2016

FRENCH police are using tear gas and rubber bullets against refugees living in the notorious Jungle camp outside Calais.

Manchester-based Refugee and Asylum Participator Action Research (Rapar), which has visited the camp to deliver vital humanitarian aid, released evidence of the attacks yesterday.

The camp contains 6,000 refugees living in appalling conditions of mud and squalor. Refugees in the Jungle sent some of the visiting groups photographic evidence of the injuries inflicted by police, including pictures of spent baton rounds.

Rapar member Rhetta Moran said: “Mohammed, an Afghan father of a toddler girl, sent Rapar photographs of rubber bullet wounds that he described as sustained by Calais refugee camp residents.”

Labour MEP Julie Ward has visited the camp, where French riot police tried to prevent her from getting in.

She said: “The use of tear gas, rubber bullets and physical force, such as I experienced, is insupportable when dealing with people who are dispossessed.

“The refugees should be protected from the extreme right-wing who lurk on the fringes of the camp, and vulnerable camp inhabitants should be given the humanitarian assistance they need.”

London-based Umjum Mirza, an assistant branch secretary of train drivers’ union Aslef, also visited the camp.

“We need to learn the lessons of history and let the refugees into Britain immediately,” he said.

Imperialist Cecil Rhodes, anti-imperialist Oliver Tambo statues in England

This 2015 video series from Oxford University in England is called Why must Rhodes fall?

By Keith Flett in London, England:

A tale of two statues

Monday 1st February 2016

History collides in north London

DISCUSSION about the statue of British-born imperialist Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University and what should be done about it, if anything, continues despite Oriel College’s decision to keep it.

Statues surely exist to be taken down — most often in the context of wider movements for social change. Otherwise one might think that a statue of Rhodes serves to remind us of Britain’s inglorious imperial past. It is undoubtedly something that David Cameron would prefer us to forget, assuming he ever knew much about it in the first place.

Cecil Rhodes was the son of a Bishop’s Stortford vicar who packed him off to South Africa at the age of 17 as he had been a sickly child. Reverend Francis William Rhodes thought that the South African climate would be good for the young Rhodes’s health, and this at least was correct.

Rhodes’s ancestors had been brick manufacturers. They were, in short, part of the industrial class that built early British capitalism, if you like, from the bottom up.

They owned substantial areas of land including some in north London such as Tottenham Wood and areas of Muswell Hill.

I went to school in the same area of north London in the 1970s at Alexandra Park Comprehensive School. It was a school with a left-wing reputation, although perhaps not quite as well-known as the nearby Creighton School where the head teacher was Molly Hattersley, at that time the distinguished partner of Roy Hattersley.

Alexandra Park School was on the corner of Alexandra Park Road and Rhodes Avenue — named to mark the Rhodes family’s holdings in the area. Cecil Road is nearby.

This being north London in the 1970s we knew well enough who Cecil Rhodes was and the role he had played in the development of British imperial endeavour in Africa. But we thought little of the matter beyond that.

Street names that recall Britain’s imperial past are hardly unusual but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

The African National Congress had emerged as the leading force opposing the apartheid South Africa of which Cecil Rhodes had helped to lay the foundations.

One of the leaders of the ANC was Oliver Tambo who fled South Africa in the early 1960s, partly to evade arrest by the apartheid government but primarily to make sure that the work of the ANC could continue in exile.

In due course he made his way to London, the centre of the old imperial power.

Money was short but Muswell Hill at that time was not the area of super-expensive property it now is.

Tambo and his wife lived in a house in Alexandra Park Road, with other ANC sympathisers living nearby.

His house was less than five minutes’ walk away from Rhodes Avenue.

As the struggle against apartheid intensified and Tambo became an international figure, Nelson Mandela visited Muswell Hill and the local Tottenham MP Bernie Grant was also a visitor.

After Tambo’s death in 1993 the story of his north London years became increasingly well known. In 2007 a bust of Tambo was erected on Albert Road recreation ground, again just a few minutes’ walk from his old home and from Rhodes Avenue.

Imperialism and the man that helped to end its rule in South Africa are marked within a few hundred yards of each other in Muswell Hill.

Whatever the fate of the Oxford Cecil Rhodes statue, the bust of Oliver Tambo continues to stand proud.

Keith Flett is secretary of Haringey TUC.

This video from London, England issays about itself:

6 December 2008

Tribute to Oliver Tambo in Albert Road Recreation Ground & Play Area by ex members of the Anti Apartheid movement in the UK.

Ex-Calais ‘jungle’ refugees welcomed in London

Supporters arrive in Kings Cross, London, England to welcome four Syrian refugees arriving from Calais

From the Bailiwick Express in Jersey, Channel islands today:

Syrian refugees reunited with families in London after landmark legal case

9 hours ago

Four Syrian refugees who won a landmark legal case to come to Britain from “The Jungle” in Calais have been reunited with their families in London.

Relatives, some carrying babies and young children, smiled as they were let through to greet their loved ones for the first time in months behind closed doors at King’s Cross station.

Around 100 people, many holding home-made banners or balloons with the words “refugees welcome” scrawled on them, descended on the station to welcome the arrivals.

The refugees – three teenagers and a 26-year-old man with severe mental health issues – travelled to the UK after a British court ruled on Wednesday that they should be immediately brought across the Channel from the makeshift refugee camp in northern France.

Before they arrived, the brother of one of the refugees told the Press Association he could not wait to be reunited with his younger sibling, who he has not seen for nearly two years.

Ahmed, who is not using his real name in order to protect his brother’s identity, said: “The first thing I’m going to do is hug him and not let him go.

“He is the youngest in my family and I haven’t seen him in a long time.

“It is hard to describe how happy I felt when I heard the court’s ruling yesterday. It was really, really amazing. It was everything I was waiting for.”

Their arrival follows a pioneering legal case in which lawyers used human rights legislation to argue the four refugees should be immediately brought to Britain and their asylum claims processed here – effectively bypassing the French authorities.

They argued that conditions in the sprawling camp were “intolerable” and that bureaucratic delays in France meant their cases should be handed over to the UK, where they all have relatives legally living.

Ahmed said his brother, who has seen other refugees die trying to make the perilous journey from Calais to Britain, was so bowled over by the court’s decision he was in disbelief.

He said: “He was in huge disbelief. He could not believe it was actually going to happen.

“A lot of people in Calais said ‘this is not going to work’. He just felt like he was in a dream. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He is in shock – but in a good way.”

After enduring years of fighting and bombs, Ahmed, 26, fled his hometown of Daraa in 2014 and travelled across Europe to Britain.

He hid in the back of a freezing cold lorry carrying tomatoes to make the final leg of the journey from Calais to Dover.

He left his brother with his parents, but as the fighting intensified his brother also decided to make the dangerous journey across Europe and to be reunited with his brother in Britain.

Arriving first in Turkey and then crossing through European countries he did not even know the name of, his brother eventually ended up in Calais last October.

But conditions at “The Jungle” were so bad he considered turning back to Syria.

Ahmed, who now lives in London with his wife, two year-old daughter and newborn son, was sporadically in touch with his brother by phone.

He told the Press Association: “There were times when he would say ‘I want to go back to Syria’.

“My brother didn’t imagine he would be living in such conditions in a European country. He was shocked.

“He thought he would find safety.

“That was how desperate he got, it was so unbearable in Calais. But I told him to be patient.”

Ahmed, who was a driver in Syria, said he is grateful to be in Britain and ecstatic his brother will be reunited with him here.

He said his brother hopes to return to the studies which the war in Syria so brutally interrupted.

Ahmed said: “He wants to be a lawyer so he can help people like the way people helped him.”

Oona Chaplin, who stars in Game Of Thrones and is Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter, has been to Calais several times and thrown her support behind the campaign to bring the Syrians to Britain.

She said: “My heart swells at the thought of these three families coming together again after all they have been through.

“These kids are now our precious teachers, we must all learn with them the art of compassion, kindness and forgiveness, so that we can heal these wounds together.

“May all children everywhere in the world feel the spark of hope that has been ignited with this reunion.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Young Syria refugees given warm welcome

Friday 22nd January 2016

THREE children and a teenager from Syria whom a court ordered be brought to Britain from Calais’s refugee camp arrived last night in London to a welcome rally from supporters.

Refugees Welcome campaigners assembled on Kings Cross Square in the late afternoon to cheer on the boys and the 19-year-old man.

“The current situation, in which refugees are relying on the help of thousands of volunteers from the UK, is intolerable,” London2Calais spokesman Syed Bokhari told the Star.

“By refusing to offer a proper procedure to apply for asylum in the UK, the British government is directly responsible for the refugee crisis in Calais and the deaths of people like 15-year-old Masud, who died just last week.

“Masud was on our list of contacts and would have had the right to apply for asylum in the UK.

“It is time to hold the government accountable for its human rights violations.”

Britain ‘poised to open door to thousands of migrant children’. David Cameron considering calls by charities as Jeremy Corbyn, who on Saturday visited refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk, urges emergency steps: here.

Over 140 new plant species discovered by Kew Gardens scientists in 2015

This 5 June 2015 video from England says about itself:

Carlos Magdalena, Kew Gardens – People of London

22 January 2015

There are thousands of species at Kew; here are a few important ones …. Kew Gardens‘ Carlos Magdalena.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Why this year’s bumper harvest of new plant species has exciting implications

More than 140 species new to science were uncovered by researchers at Kew Gardens in 2015

Lewis Smith

Sunday 27 December 2015

A three-metre orchid, a 45-metre tree and 25 types of acanthus were among the new species of plants and fungi discovered in the past year by Kew scientists. More than 140 species new to science were uncovered by researchers at the botanic gardens in 2015, twice as many as the previous year, raising hopes that new types of medicines, essential oils and crops will be developed.

The discoveries were made across the world as botanists sought to catalogue and study unknown plants and fungi, and to determine their chemical properties. Among the most exciting are 22 new species of trees and shrubs in the myrtle family. They were identified in Brazil’s coastal rainforest, and have potential for use in medicines, perhaps as antiseptics or diuretics, and by the aromatherapy industry.

Several of the finds have potential uses in agriculture, including a type of sweet potato found in Bolivia. It was one of 18 new species belonging to the Ipomoea family – familiar to British gardeners as morning glory. The new sweet potato is unlikely to be grown as a crop in its own right, but it could be cross-bred with the commercial species to create new varieties that might be more disease-resistant or able to grow in drier or wetter areas. Specific genes might also be transferred to create genetically modified strains.

Other discoveries likely to interest commercial growers include five that are relatives of the custard apple, or sugar apple, and ylang-ylang, another important source of essential oils; these were unearthed in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The largest and heaviest discovery of the year was a tree, Gilbertiodendron maximum, which grows 45m high and has a 1.4m-diameter trunk. It grows only in Gabon and was one of eight rainforest giants located in the Cameroon-Congolian region.

Six new orchids were described by Kew researchers, including a 3-metre slipper orchid, Selenipedium dodsonii, from Ecuador. It was identified from a specimen taken from the wild decades ago and stored unnoticed in a US herbarium.

Five new species of toadstool, discovered in Europe and North America, are believed to play a vital role in the survival of some conifer forests by supplying nutrients in return for carbohydrates.

Researchers identified 25 new acanthuses, more than any other family of plants this year, while in Mozambique a small patch of land described by botanists as “highly threatened” by a French petroleum company yielded an astonishing 36 previously unknown species.

Dr Martin Cheek, a senior scientist at Kew, said finding new plants is vital. “They could be important to our survival. If we wipe them out they aren’t going to be of any help.”

Bird news from London, England

This video from Scotland says about itself:

Lesser Redpoll & friends

20 February 2012

Redpolls at the (woodland setting) feeders of SWT Reserve Loch of the Lowes were a big surprise on our visit. We had never seen them there before.

From the London Bird Club in England on Twitter today, about the London Wildlife and Wetlands Trust nature reserve:

Shelduck, 71 Shoveler, 23 Siskin, 11 Redwing, 3 Redpoll, Chiffchaff

The chiffchaff is special, as most birds of this species migrate south in autumn.