Monthly Archive: March 2015

Calais updates: the evictions have started

LATEST: Tioxide Jungle threatened with eviction Tomorrow Wednesday 1 April. The police came today (Tuesday 31st) to the camp situated on the land around the Tioxide chemical plant to tell the occupants that they will be evicted tomorrow morning at 6AM. The police in Calais often forewarn people of evictions in the hope that they will leave voluntarily in advance and make their job easier.

OTHER RECENT UPDATES FROM CALAIS MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: (NB: See this earlier post for a call-out to go to Calais and background on the situation as the French state authorities try to forcibly shift over 1000 people to the area around the new Jules Ferry day centre outside of the town.) The evictions have started At the moment we are getting a lot of questions about when the evictions are going to happen or start. Lets be clear, they started a long time ago. Just because the police have not gone into the jungles and squats and destroyed them in a big violent media spectacle, they have been happening and will continue for a long time.

They started when the plans for the new day centre were announced. They continued when they announced that everybody has no choice but to move to the land outside the centre, and no other living spaces will be tolerated. They continued when many people claiming asylum in Calais were re-homed to other cities in order to reduce the numbers of people on the ground.

They continued when daily police violence and arrests increased dramatically over the last few weeks, making sure that people were tired and exhausted and with no energy left to face the police. They continued when they Offi and the police continue to visit living places, counting down the days until the police are coming, making sure people feel like they have no choice but to go.Psychologically and physically harassing people into moving to a place they don t want to go is an eviction. Maybe this has not been an eviction that makes for a good news report the way you write them, there are no dramatic photos, but it is an eviction none the less.Last week (as we have said before) the women from the Women s House were moved, against their wishes, to a new house inside of the day centre.

Over the weekend everyone from the camp Tioxide and the Afghan jungle in Bois Debruille moved to the new day centre. They did not do this by choice. They did this under threat of arrest, violence, and destructions of their homes.

Picture: meeting in Tioxide jungle by Loup Blaster The eviction of the Women s House The evictions have already started. Eviction is not just the moment when the police come to the jungles and squats and kick people out through a physical confrontation, but it begins way before. The women s house Victor Hugo is a good example of this.

The eviction on the 25th of March happened in a subtle way. The women and children living within Victor Hugo did not want to leave, but instead have been forced to move to the Jules Ferry Day Centre. They were evicted under the threat of violence.

This imposed and non consensual arrangement has happened without considering the wishes, opinions, needs or safety of the women living in the Victor Hugo house. The media have supported this by talking about the eviction in terms of moving out , therefore this violence has been ignored and made invisible. This forced relocation is an example of how the state controls movement and physical bodies and how it perpetuates and reproduces violence against women.The house of Victor Hugo for women and children began as a No Border squat which lasted for almost one year before it was handed over to the association Solidaire, who continued to live and work with the women for almost another year.

Now the residents of Victor Hugo have been forced to move to the Jules Ferry Day Centre. This centre is isolated, far from the city and crossing points, and will reduce the possibility of women being able to cross independently and safely. Visitors will also not be allowed into the centre, especially anyone who is not part of an official association.

This segregation is a deliberate cutting of ties, connections and friendships between the women of Victor Hugo and the associations and activists who have been supporting them. Isolation is one of the first steps towards control and violence. A statement on the evictions My name is Alpha, from Mauritania.

To say the truth, the situation that the emigrants are going through at the moment is horrible. On one hand the police, on the other hand the locals in Calais who are not welcoming, who are fascist, racist towards us, who say whatever they want to us. After all that, comes the forest that they have given us, 10 kilometres from the centre of town.

We cannot do so many kilometres each day to come to our meetings with the Secours Catholique association, etc. the forest is not only not maintain, but there is a factory next to it which pumps out toxins. We are scared of catching illnesses like lung cancer by breathing in these toxins.

And more, this land is home to wild animals, like wild boar, snakes, scorpions, dangerous animals. After all that, this is hunting territory. You can find cartridges used by the hunters, so we are scared to get hit by lost bullets.

It is an area controlled by mafia, and from 6 o clock onwards we are scared of finding ourselves corned by wrongdoers.

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All charges against South Asian trucker involved in 2012 collision …

RCMP Constable Adrian Oliver THE law firm representing trucker Harjit Singh Lotay on Thursday informed the media, including The VOICE, that all charges that he was facing in the November 13, 2012 collision between his 2006 freightliner tractor and RCMP Constable Adrian Johann Oliver s 2010 Crown Victoria Interceptor have been stayed by Crown. Oliver died in the crash, while Lotay was injured. Brij Mohan & Associates noted: Like Cst.

Oliver, Mr. Lotay had also just completed a 12 hour shift and Mr. Lotay has not been able to work since that fateful day of the collision between Mr.

Lotay s truck and a speeding police car. The firm added: To further compound Mr. Lotay s difficulties he is being currently sued by Canada for the loss of Cst.

Oliver s police car, and for the cost of equipping a new police vehicle. Lotay and his lawyer Brij Mohan will be holding a press conference on Tuesday to speak of this development. LAST November, The VOICE reported: Transport truck driver Harjit Lotay, who was in a November 2012 crash that killed Surrey RCMP Constable Adrian Oliver who was driving an unmarked police cruiser that slammed into Lotay s semi-tractor at the 148th Street and 64th Avenue crossing in Surrey, is being sued by Canada s attorney general.

A civil suit filed in B.C. Supreme Court claims that Lotay made a negligent driving manoeuvre that resulted in his vehicle crossing into the path of the RCMP vehicle. There are also other allegations.

The suit seeks special damages from Lotay and his employer Heaven Transport for the police cruiser and expenses for fitting up a replacement vehicle. But no claims have been proven in court. Back in December 2012, Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy, Officer in Charge, Surrey RCMP, had announced that the preliminary investigation indicates, by way of GPS and video evidence, that Constable Adrian Oliver was attempting to locate a recently stolen pick-up truck and that during the course of those efforts, in the moments prior to the collision, he was operating his police vehicle in excess of the posted speed limit, without his emergency equipment activated.

In November 2012, Lotay told the Vancouver Sun newspaper that he was getting ready to make a left-hand turn onto 148th Street from 64th Avenue in Surrey around 5 a.m. on November 13 when an oncoming vehicle drove straight on while signalling a right-hand turn at the green light. He said he attempted to get Oliver out of the cruiser and waited for the ambulance and police to arrive.

Strangely, though Fordy claimed at a press conference that day that the truck driver was not injured, Lotay suffered bruises on his chest and got eight stitches in his arm.

He was treated and released from hospital that night.

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A fast journey through LITHUANIA, LATVIA and ESTONIA

A fast journey through LITHUANIA, LATVIA and ESTONIA June 17,2014 June 17 It is four hours on the road before we cross from Poland into Lithuania. The sky shines on us, then rains on us. Trucks travel this road from the north though it is only one lane each way.

It must be a main track to Poland. As a curtesy, the truck drivers drive partly on the shoulder where possible, giving room for an unmarked third lane in the center. Unnerving!

Something in the air attacks me as it sometimes does…the left side of my face is plugged…eye, ear, nose and gums! Sneeze and sneeze. Argh!

Lithuania flies a flag of horizontal stripes in yellow, green and red. Attractive and strong. The language has changed so that I cannot guess at the meaning of signs anymore.

There are big sized businesses along the road…trucking, warehouses and farm equipment. Farm houses are not new but neat and cared for. Shrubs, birch and farm landscape.

Straw is raked to the pleasant shape of stacks to dry. We enter Panevezys. Oh!

Its gardens! The little yards are full with lines of veggies, curving walkways bordered in pansies and other spring flowers, cherries just beginning to show, tomatoes growing in carefully constructed plastic sheeted green houses and strawberrries are on their way but not nearly ready for eating. Some of the houses are so small and sweet, built of wood and freshly painted but there are also big new homes.

We park ourselves in a church/school complex. A walk takes us to a large town square with theatre, a government building and a church, then as we turn homeward we come to a dear little orthodox chapel of wood, painted blue and white. The graveyard attached is worth wandering for the illustrated stones of soldiers who were killed in 1955 to 1959, pictures of their young faces looking back at us.

June 18 Hmmm. Do you suppose there has been a time change as we have moved from country to country? A man walks beside the camper and we lean out the window to ask him the local time.

Such a nice smile as he pulls out his cell phone to show us. We are an hour behind, our hunch was right. We must make the most of every minute if we want to see the sights and also get into Russia!

These green flat Baltic countries of Lithuania and Latvia are so vulnerable. They are free and working to be included fully in the EU, but have yet to qualify for the euro currency. They are following behind Poland, having received independence a little later.

Putin’s interest in the Ukraine makes them nervous. Are they next? We are headed to Riga, the capital of Latvia.

We need gas. Our credit or debit cards do not work. Their credit card equipment is not up to date.

The station owner drives David to the closest ATM. Solved!..for the time being. In Latvia we are traveling on highway A7, slowly down a little hill into Baiska.

This hill is a bit unusual in this mostly flat land…and it makes a cozy entrance. Historic wood buildings around a square, a small brick home with a flowery window box, a church spire sticking out of the elderberry trees, white with blooms, all add to its coziness. More old wooden homes.

Who built them? What were their dreams? How many families have made their lives in each one?

And more of the pea-patch lots with their garden cabins. We feel that we must miss Riga to keep a schedule. What a shame.

I wanted to take my time through these Baltic countries that I know little about. The more north we travel, the more evergreen trees, mostly red trunked tall pines interspersed with groves of birch, the bark reminding me of North American Indian canoes. Now we travel A1, the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea to our left.

A few other RV’s and campers are sighted today. Perhaps they are Scandinavians exploring to the south. The sea is on one side, lakes on the other.

Rolling hills of sand dunes, formed by higher seas of another time, are now covered in grass and pines. Logging and planting of fir trees is also practiced here. Forests become thicker.

There is also more undergrowth. Alder, cedar, beeches, sand and surf. We are in a national park about 20 miles from Estonia.

Next town, Salacgriva. Its town decoration is a dead tree, painted orange! Pretty good!

The west coast of these countries (east side of the Baltic Sea) has beautiful long sandy beaches. Across the Sea is Sweden, and its shores are rocky. This area is beautiful in flowering lupine and wild roses…lots of parklands.

Aways there are storks pecking at the side of the road…maybe for baby bird food. We drive now on E67 where a road sign tells us to watch for moose. Hedges take the place of fences.

David remarks that Estonia looks like N. Minnesota. We have driven through three different languages today, three countries.

We have bags and bags of money left from many countries! Dramatic forboding clouds, short spurts of hard rain, strong winds. We are in Tallin, trying to follow signs to the Helsinki ferry.

Yikes, we did something wrong in a roundabout…a loud sharp whistle from a mad man who seems in charge. Point. Point.

Point. Grrrrr. Grrrrr.

You cannot come this way! His eyebrows are joined in the center in a definate V, scowling at the stupid American driver. His pointing finger wiggles back and forth.

His few head hairs stand on end, looking electrified! I cannot help laughing. Can it be this serious, I think?

We do make it to the ferry dock to board a ferry leaving for Finland within the hour. Wow! This ferry!

Maybe for those of you who have taken cruises, this may seem normall, but it shocked us old hippies. Huge size, totally commercial. Many bars with live music, many restaurants, many tourist shops…selling anything you want.

Dance classes. Exercise classes. Floor upon floor upon floor.

A zoo! Where can we relax in a quiet spot? We give up the thought and spend the time watching all the crazy activity.

As we approch our destination, there are many small islands. We learn that all the Scandinavians on the boat had been on a shopping spree, mostly for beer! One fellow had filled his truck with beer.

Others had dollies-full that they walked off the ferry. I guess goods are much cheaper across the water in Estonia. BUT Helsinki.

What a beauty! Monumental older buildings in the best of shape. People speak beautiful English.

The city is an example of good choices. It is a pleasure to be here. We have parked at the train station from where we will leave on Friday morning.

Let’s see what we can find out. The biggest question on our minds is where Daisy can be parked while we are gone. No ideas surface.

We need to find an overnight space. It is 11:00 pm and daylight. June 18 We come up with a plan.

We parked last night in a lot by the Olympic Stadium Park. We will stay again tonight and in the morning we will get up at 4:15 am, take the car a short distance to the Crowne Plaza hotel and park it there for three days. From here we will catch a cab to the train station…fast train to St.

Petersburg! Now that we have taken care of all the question marks we take a tram to the train station to buy tickets for the HOP ON/OFF bus, then walk toward Senate Square where we should be able to find a spot where the bus will stop for us. Here in the square there is a very big white Lutheran Cathedral.

A stunning monument and a tourist goal. On our bus tour, a lovely fast moving city reveals itself. Georgeous clothes are displayed in shop windows.

We will be back from Russia to spend time here again, a quest for samples of Finnish design.

At nine we pull out the bed.

4:15 am is very very early for us sleepy-heads.

Trucker Causes Havoc at McDonald’s in Belgium

A truck driver decides to go through McDrive at a McDonald s in Aartselaar, Belgium, destroys the glass fence of the restaurant s terrace and gets himself fired in the process.


Volvo expands XE powertrain packages, introduces …

LOUISVILLE, Ky. Volvo Trucks has expanded its line-up of fuel efficient XE powertrain packages, the company announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The newest XE powertrain package is called the XE super direct drive.

The company claims it improves fuel economy by lowering engine rpms at a given vehicle speed. It is designed for linehaul applications with a gross combination weight rating of 80,000 lbs with a maximum engine torque of 1,850 lb.-ft. What this does is give the drivability back to the driver, said Wade Long, director of product marketing, Volvo.

XE super direct drive also incorporates Meritor s new 2.28 ratio for its 14X tandem drive axle and RPL35 driveline. The company claims a standard 2.47 rear axle ratio with a direct drive transmission equals 1,370 rpm at 65 mph, whereas the Meritor 2.28 rear axle ratio equals 1,265 rpm at the same speed. You can see just in the downspeeding, the 105 rpms from the 2.47 to the 2.28 ratio, that s 1.5% in fuel-efficiency, said Long.

This axle ratio ensures that torque is transmitted evenly through the drivetrain. The XE is currently available in High Torque, Economy, and Adaptive gearing packages to give customers more choice. The new XE super direct drive is going to be available in mid-year 2015, said Long.

Volvo also took time at MATS to introduce its new Adaptive Loading. It s a 6 2 configuration with a forward liftable axle, explained Long. The axle automatically adjusts to load weight changes and offers a 4 2 operation under specific conditions.

The company claims it is ideal with bulk haul where a truck drives fully loaded and returns back empty. It is also ideal for diminishing load applications. For many operations that run empty or lightly loaded much of the time, Adaptive Loading is an innovative way to change the truck s configuration on the fly for maximum efficiency, said G ran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America.

The company claims there are multiple benefits to the product, including improved driver productivity because now, with the push of a button, drivers can raise the tractor s suspension two inches above ride height and speed up drop-and-hook operation. This means less time at shipper and receiver facilities and more time on the road. As well, Volvo said it can lower maintenance costs.

It s simple, said Long. There s less friction on the ground. When the truck is empty, you lift the axle.

When that axle is lifted, we re not using it, it s saving tire wear and it s saving brakes. Adaptive loading is available in VNL and VNM models up to 90,000 lbs GCW. Canadian customers, however, should check local regulations to verify its legality, since 6x2s are generally prohibited here.

In addition Volvo announced its remote diagnostics service will be expanding in order to monitor fault codes on the I-Shift automated manual transmission because according to the company, Vehicle uptime is arguably the highest priority for our customers because trucks benefit their owners only if they are moving.

This service will be available in April 2015.

Mercedes Is Building A Mid-Sized Luxury Pickup World Has Gone Mad

Throw away everything, because Mercedes-Benz is building this. For real. Yes.

Seriously. We didn t spike our coffee this morning. Are you ready for this?

Dr. Dieter Zetsche says they are targeting Latin America, South Africa, Australia and Europe with their luxury pickup, which will be ready before 2020 and they think could be just as successful as the M-Class became after its introduction 20 years ago: We will enter this segment with our distinctive brand identity and all of the vehicle attributes that are typical of the brand with regard to safety, comfort, powertrains, and value. Mercedes-Benz Vans division is responsible for the project, the same people who gave us the Vito and the V-Class.

Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans Volker Mornhinweg had this to add about their upcoming double-cab: As part of our Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global strategy, the pickup is the ideal vehicle for the international expansion of our product range with a newly developed model. We can perfectly serve customers looking for a vehicle that offers a high level of utility and at the same time has the comfort, safety, and design of a Mercedes-Benz passenger car. We will design our brand s first pickup according to this recipe for success.

I hope they lift the interior from the S-Class. An AMG would be nice too! Also, because it s Mercedes you shouldn t be surprised if there s a coupe version of it coming out it the near future.

And then a shooting brake. Holy crap! Shooting brake pickup truck.

Watch out, Stuttgart just went full loco.

Still, when the end of the world gets near, you might as well hit those zombies with a Mercedes pickup…