Incredible photos inside the Calais refugee camp as the French military forces people out.

As the Calais Jungle starts to come down, big questions remain.

From the outset, it looked like any other morning in the French port town of Calais.

But as Monday, Feb. 29, began, French police and military began dismantling the southern end of the Calais Jungle, a refugee camp with between 3,400 and 5,600 residents.


The sun rises over the camp. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

By the end of the day, 100 homes in the southern arm of the "jungle" would be reduced to ash and garbage; leaving refugee residents homeless again.

Police officers clear shelters and personal items. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

The Calais Jungle is the most well-known temporary settlement of the current refugee crisis.

Refugees from Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, North Africa, and the Middle East have been converging on Calais for the past year. They are young families, single mothers, young men, and unaccompanied children looking for refuge from violence, war, and poverty in their home countries.

A man rides his bike along a heavily damaged street on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria. Photo by Abdulmonam Eassa/AFP/Getty Images.

For these refugees, this small industrial port city in northern France is meant to be the second-to-last stop on their journey to a new life in the United Kingdom.

A tent belonging to a Sudanese refugee. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

To reach the U.K., they’ll risk stowing away on ferries or climbing aboard trains passing through the "chunnel," an underground tunnel connecting Calais and Dover, U.K. At one point last July, upward of 2,000 refugees were trying to make this trip every single night. With both the French and British closing down their borders, it’s become harder and harder for people to leave Calais.

A man walks by the new purpose-built accommodations near the camp. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

Instead of being a stop on the journey, Calais has become a destination.

More than 3,400 people have settled in the Calais Jungle in the past year, living out of tents or other makeshift shelters.

An aerial photo of the camp in October 2015. Photo by Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images.

Even without running water, heat, or sanitation services, the residents of the Jungle have created a community. There are stores, vendors, a mosque, services, a school — even a theater.

Individuals and families collect firewood. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

Little by little, the residents of the Jungle are finding ways to return to normal lives. Sometimes that’s as simple as a game of handball.

A group plays handball in the camp. Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

While opponents of the Calais Jungle like to cite the figure that young men make up its largest demographic, there are many young families and children living there, too.

The British volunteer group Help Refugees says there are 205 women and 651 children living in the Jungle. Of those children, 423 are unaccompanied.

Children walk with a stroller in a camp in 2015. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

However, the growing Calais Jungle is extremely unpopular with nearby residents and the government.

In an attempt to squelch local resistance and reduce the size of the settlement, the French government has created temporary shelters to house up to 1,500 residents of the Jungle and has proposed bussing the remaining refugees to other reception centers in the country.

A hut camp set up by Doctors Without Borders near Dunkerque shelters around 2,000 migrants and refugees. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

Residents of the Jungle and the aid workers supporting them disagree with this idea.

According to Marta Welander, founder of the Refugee Rights Data Project "[these evictions are] unlikely to provide a viable solution to the current humanitarian crisis on our doorstep."

A group of refugees carry a banner through the Jungle as its cleared. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

Many refugees would rather wait in Calais to see if they can receive asylum in the United Kingdom, where jobs and housing are rumored to be plentiful and accessible. Others have family in the U.K. they could stay with or know how to speak English but not French. Accepting the housing means registering with the French government — something that may affect their ability to seek asylum elsewhere.

So they stay, they wait, and they hope.

A boy stands next to a sign made out of wire. Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

But time, it seems, has run out.

Last Thursday, a French judge upheld a previous judgment allowing police and the military to dismantle the southern portion of the camp, displacing around 1,000 residents who will be required to register with the French government and move into new shelters. Buildings of "cultural and social importance" like the school and theater will be allowed to stay. The people cannot.

Residents wait in line for clothes and aid. Photo by Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images.

Activists supporting the camp were told residents would have days to clear the site. Instead, they were given just one hour.

Agents dismantle shelters. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

As hundreds of soldiers and riot police moved in, some residents challenged them, throwing rocks and bottles. The military responded by firing tear gas.

A police officer throws teargas to clear the area. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

Some defiant residents burned down their tents rather than allow them to be dismantled.

A person watches a hut burn as officers clear the area. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

A small number faced off with the police and were arrested or detained.

An activist is sprayed with a water cannon. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

Officers cleared approximately 100 homes from the seven acre site and plan to return March 1 to continue their work.

Fabienne Buccio, the head of the Calais prefecture, said previously that these cleanup efforts were intended to reduce the size of the camp by half.

Police officers clash with activists and residents during the clearing of the camp. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

While refugees and activists have legitimate reasons to disagree with the government's approach, the homes and dwellings in the Jungle are far from sanitary. There’s no running water, and garbage (plus the rats that come with it) is everywhere. People easily get sick, and health care access is extremely limited. The new settlements the French government has built are heated, clean, and safe — a step up from what residents live in now.

A woman sits next to her tent. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

For those of us with warm beds and running water, it's hard to see why people would want to stay in the Calais Jungle.

But for the residents who live there, the Jungle and the communities they've built within it are all they have. There’s no guarantee that people moving into the new housing will be able to live alongside the friends they’ve created in Calais. For some of them, that means starting over — all over again. And some people aren't willing to do that unless the move is one that lets them start rebuilding their lives in a more permanent space.

A man stands with a banner in the Jungle in 2009. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

The U.K.-based Refugee Rights Data Project surveyed residents of the Calais Jungle in advance of the court decision, asking them where they would go if asked to leave. Of the 460 residents they surveyed, 80% said they planned to stay in Calais or a nearby camp in Dunkirk.

Two men carry their belongings away from the camp. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

"Lieu de vie" is painted on many of the temporary hones in the Calais Jungle. It translates to "place of life."

While it’s essential for refugees to have access to safe, long-term housing and services, it is also important to note the community they have built in Calais.

Residents sit outside a makeshift shelter. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

For people fleeing destruction and poverty, there was life in Calais. It was imperfect, dangerous, and ultimately impermanent, but for some it was the closest to a home they'd had since leaving theirs. Now with its dismantling, they're once again being violently uprooted and facing a future that’s as uncertain as the past they escaped.

A woman pins a French flag onto her makeshift tent in November 2015. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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