You are currently browsing the daily archive for September 7, 2007.

French gypsies are the latest group of Roma to find themselves homeless, displaced to allow the development of sites for sports stadiums.  Around 600 Romanian gypsies were cleared from around the Stade de France, in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.  The Rugby World Cup opens there tonight.  As in Greece, central government washed its hands of the decisions, saying that they were made by local authorities.

Several Roma sites were cleared in the preparations for the Athens Olympics and gypsies in the UK lost a High Court battle to remain on a site that was earmarked for the 2012 Olympic Village.  

The UK gypsies were offered an alternative site nearby, and their plight was debated in the UK House of Lords on 17th July 2007.  Gypsies in the UK currently have licences to occupy sites, rather than proper tenancies.  These licences can be terminated at very short notice, leaving the gypsies without the protection that a tenant would normally enjoy.  The law is likely to change in this respect.  The government has indicated that the Housing and Regeneration Bill (likely to be introduced in November 2007) will deal with a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, Connors v UK.  In this May 2004 decision, the Court found that the eviction of Mr Connors and his family, without the requisite procedural safeguards, was a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to protection for private and family life).  It is hoped that the new legislation will  provide more security of tenure for gypsies in the UK.


News of Judicial Review decision:

House of Lords debate:

New legal provisions: Johnson, Chris, ‘Security of tenure for Gypsies and Travellers on local authority sites’, Legal Action Group Bulletin, September 2007




Willy-waving” is apparently what Russia was doing yesterday when 8 Tupolev TU-95 “Bears”, long-range bombers, said “hello” to four RAF Tornado F3s scrambled to meet them. 

Putin is increasingly flexing his scariest muscle – there have been several other encounters recently.  He has restarted long-range bomber flights in response to the failure of other countries to stick by an agreement to scrap the practice, common in the Cold War.  The Tu-95 was a Cold War icon though it was used for surveillance rather than for more aggressive missions.  Weekly forays to the Cuba Peninsula from the far north of Russia were used to demonstrate its enormous range.

The Bear is driven by turbo-prop engines, which sets it apart from other long-range bombers.  Its design was originally derived as long ago as 1945 from the B-29 when several of these USAF bombers were forced to land in Russia, and never left.  Instead the aircraft were stripped down, analysed and documented, and then a new Russian bomber built to a very similar design.

More Info:

Guardian, 7/9/2007, p21

Japanese print of many little boats being tossed around by one big wave 

“The more we run away from temptations, the more they weigh us down and the less we are able to drive them away. 

Suppose a man for some reason dives into the sea: if he knows the art of swimming, what does he does when a great wave comes along?  He ducks under it until it goes past and then he goes on swimming unharmed.  But if he is determined to set himself against it, it pushes him away and hurls him back a great distance and when again he begins to swim forward another wave comes upon him, and if again he tries to swim againt is, again it forces him back, and he only tires himself out and makes no headway.  But if he ducks his head and lowers himself under the wave, as I said, no harm comes to him and he continues to swim as long as he likes.

Those who go on doing their work this way when they are in trouble, putting up with their temptations with patience and humility, come through unharmed.  But if they get distressed and downcast, seeking the reasons for everything, tormenting themselves and being annoyed with themselves instead of helping themselves, they do themselves harm.”

Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings.  Dorotheos was born in Antioch, Syria, in 506 or 508AD.