Immigrant “Detention Center” to be Built in Calais
Sunday March 22nd 2009, 2:14 am
Filed under: news,Nord Pas de Calais,people,politics

From the telegraph:

“The holding centre planned for the port of Calais has been the subject of frenzied claim and counter claim in recent days with the French government publicly denying that it has been given the go-ahead.

Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, was left out on a limb by his French counterpart Eric Besson when Mr Woolas revealed details of the project last week, with the French minister claiming that he had no knowledge of it.

But a letter from the UK Border Agency to the Director of Migration in Paris seen by this newspaper reveals that British and French officials discussed the centre in detail a few weeks ago and agreed “joint action”. It has been costed, given planning permission and a building contract awarded for its construction, according to the letter.

The 500,000 euro (£470,000) detention suite will be similar to the one at Heathrow Airport and contain a number of police cells designed to hold immigrants until they can be deported. It replaces a temporary structure now in place at the port which is barely more than a temporary building.

It will be half-funded by the British with the Calais Chamber of Commerce among those having offered to put up the rest of the money.

The plans are revealed in a letter from Brodie Clark, head of Border Force at the Home Office to Francis Etienne, Director of Migration at the Migration Ministry in France.

The letter says: “I am very pleased to be able to confirm, on behalf of the UK Border Agency our contribution to fund 50% of the 500,000 euros cost estimated by the Calais Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) which will enable work to start.

“I believe that planning permission has been granted and that a building contractor has been chosen through a tendering process run by the CCCI, whom we believe had previously made an offer for funding this facility.

“We look forward to having a purpose built facility that provides a safe, secure and appropriate method of holding clandestines for short periods.”

The plans are an attempt by ministers to stop migrants and the gangs who smuggle them into northern France from continuing their journey to Britain and instead returning them swiftly to their own country. At present, immigrants from Afghanistan, Kurdistan and Africa exploit European law to evade expulsion by trying repeatedly to enter Britain, being arrested and released several times, until they get through.

A senior Labour insider said: “We have to have a process to return these people to their own country rather than just releasing them into the French countryside and this building is the first part of that process.”

It is thought the French initially denied the plans because of fears it could be compared to the notorious Sangatte camp. British officials were baffled by their reaction because it would have been easy to explain that the new centre will be a small detention suite rather than a large residential camp.”

Related: Sangatte, France

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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder: The Church in Audinghen
Thursday December 04th 2008, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Nord Pas de Calais,photos,tips,travel and places,travel tip,weird

the parish church in audinghen france contemporary and ugly
While driving by this monument in the north of France not far from Fort Mahon and Ambleteuse, I let out a little gasp, “ew,” I added. My sweetie responded by saying, “that’s a classified historical monument you’re ewing…some kind of contemporary bit of architecture for a church.”

“THAT’S a church????”

It’s said that you’ll either be enthralled by this church or apalled by it. I seem to fit into the latter category though i want to like it. I’m used to seeing the beautiful cathedrals or village churches scattered throughout France, so once I saw this one near my brother-in-law’s home, I felt like I was no longer in France.

Despite that the Saint Pierre Church in Audinghen is not very old, there is, nevertheless, much history behind its creation. When you travel on the highway between Calais and Boulogne-sur-mer, you’ll notice there are at least five parish churches that look like they have been around for thousands of years…except this one. Why?

Actually, there was an old church in the very exact spot but it was bombed down in friendly fire by the bumbling Royal Air Force during the second world war. As a humane gesture and to make reparations, The Royal Air Force began building a new one in its place and finished it in 1960. I suppose the bell tower is meant to resemble an airplane wing…

tags: , , , ambleteuse,

Friday France Photo: Notre Dame d’Amiens
Friday August 29th 2008, 11:13 am
Filed under: art/culture/design,Nord Pas de Calais,photos,religion

notre dame cathedral in amiens france

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French Couple Fined for Sex Video at the WWI memorial in Vimy

wwi memorial vimy france

I think there might be more visitors to Vimy from now on…

From afp:

“A French couple were given a four-month suspended sentence and made to pay one euro in damages to the Canadian state for making a porn video at a World War I memorial, officials said Wednesday.

The verdict came just six months after another couple were fined for taking nude photographs of themselves at the same memorial at Vimy in northern France, which pays tribute to the 60,000 Canadians who died in the Great War.

In the latest ruling Tuesday by a court in the town of Arras, the married couple in their thirties, who put the video on a paying website, were also fined 500 euros each after they were found guilty of exhibitionism.

The symbolic one euro in damages was ordered because the Canadian state was a civil plaintiff in the case.

“The memorial has been known for a long time as a place where exhibitionism and voyeurism is common,” prosecutor Elise Bozzolo told AFP.

The memorial, two huge pylons that can be seen for miles around, was created in memory of the April 1917 battle of Vimy Ridge, a costly victory for Canada.

The site draws around half a million visitors each year.”


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Friday France Photo: Ambleteuse
Friday July 18th 2008, 11:50 am
Filed under: nature,Nord Pas de Calais,photos,travel and places,travel tip

beach ambleteuse near fort mahon

The beach in Ambleteuse near Fort Mahon in the north of France.