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This is Europe: An image of homelessness in Paris |

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“The meaning of the other and love have disappeared from this society. Without money, people do not exist.” – Jean, a 33-year-old homeless man living on the streets of Paris

At least 3,000 people are thought to be living on the streets of Paris this winter, more than half of whom are believed to have been born outside of France.

According to France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), in 2014, the number of homeless adults in the Paris Metropolitan Area had increased by 84 percent in the proceeding decade.

Some of that growth has been attributed to the 2008 financial crisis, some to the large numbers of migrants and refugees making their way to the French capital and some to the failure of salaries to keep up with the rising cost of living, particularly the cost of buying or renting a home.

According to INSEE, 16.1 percent of Parisians – roughly 463,000 people – live below the poverty line, with an average monthly income of 747 euros ($848.65), which is 261 euros ($296.52) less than the poverty threshold.

The result is that having a job no longer offers protection against homelessness. Fifty-year-old Kemal understands this all too well.

He used to be a taxi driver, but health issues led to him losing his job. 

“I have earned salaries of over 2,000 euros ($2,272) in the past, but Paris is an expensive city and I could not pay my debts,” he recalls. “Today, I have lost everything and my health problems will not allow me to dream of a better future.”

Now, Kemal sleeps beneath a shelter made from scraps of plastic in a square on the outskirts of the city.

“But I do not lose hope and I keep working hard every day to improve my life and to be able to earn some money to one day travel to a country with sun every day. The cold and rain is worsening my health condition,” he adds.

“Without money, we do not exist any more in France,” explains Eddy, a 35-year-old homeless man from Tunisia who originally came to France in search of a better life. That dream now lies shattered on the streets of the capital.

But studies have shown that Parisians tend to have more sympathetic attitudes towards the homeless than residents of many other European cities.

According to a 2009 study, 75 percent of French people felt some degree of solidarity with those sleeping on the streets and 56 percent said they could imagine one day being in the same position.

Every night, dozens of volunteers patrol the city’s streets ‘en maraudes’, searching out those in need of a blanket, a paracetamol or just a conversation.

“In Paris, it is impossible to die from hunger. There are so many good organisations providing us with a free meal every day,” says Hicham, a homeless man who is originally from Morocco and carries with him a book that Paris’ City Hall has created listing the social services available to those in need.

But according to campaign group Morts de la Rue, 400 homeless people died across France in 2017. Many organisations believe the real number to be much higher.

“Some ask for money, some for food. Cold is our worst enemy,” explains Nasser, a homeless man originally from Algeria. “But the indifference of the people is an obstacle that is difficult to overcome.

“The solitude of our lives can happen to anyone. The people of Paris need to understand that we just want a smile or a simple ‘bonjour’. That can make a cold day not be hell for us.”

A fan of the writer Victor Hugo and the artist Picasso, Nasser explains: “There is beauty in every corner of our lives, but this society has lost sensibility. Ideas have disappeared and money is making this society blind to love.”

 Across Europe, the far right is on the rise and it has some of the continent’s most diverse communities in its crosshairs.

To the far right, these neighbourhoods are ‘no-go zones’ that challenge their notion of what it means to be European.

To those who live in them, they are Europe. Watch them tell their stories in This is Europe

With thanks to the team and volunteers of Secours Catholique, Medecins Du Monde, Secours Populaire and Association Aurore who helped make this article possible.

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Tiger-Cats claim victory against the Argos to maintain home record on Labour Day

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were at their devastating best against the Toronto Argonauts when the two locked horns on Labour Day at the Tim Hortons Field.

Just like with previous Labour Day fixtures, the Ticats produced a stellar performance with Dane Evans throwing two touchdown passes while Frankie Williams scored on a 67-yard punt return as they claimed a 32-19 victory on Monday. With this vital win, the Ticats extended their Labour Day home record to 7-0.

For players and fans of the Tiger-Cats, games on Labour Day are a lot more special and losing is something the Ticats aren’t used to.

“We know the fans are going to be behind us, we know Toronto is going to be chippy, we know it’s going to be sunny; we know it’s going to be windy. Everything that happened (Monday) we prepared for. There is something extremely special about Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day . . . you can feel it in the air, I can’t put it into words,” said Evans.

After the COVID-19 induced hiatus, the CFL is back in full action and fans can now bet on their favourite teams and just like with online slots Canada, real money can be won. Hamilton (2-2) recorded its second straight win to move into a tie atop the CFL East Division standings with Montreal Alouettes (2-2). Also, the Ticats lead the overall Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1.

In the sun-drenched gathering of 15,000—the maximum allowed under Ontario government COVID-19 protocols—the fans loved every minute of this feisty game. After all, this was the Ticats first home game in 659 days, since their 36-16 East Division final win over Edmonton in November 2019.

The contest between the Ticats and Argos was certainly not bereft of emotions, typical of a Labour Day fixture, as it ended with an on-field melee. But the Argos often found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions with several penalty calls and most of the game’s explosive plays.

Hamilton quarterback Evans completed 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and the two touchdowns while Toronto’s make-shift quarterback Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 attempts for 207 yards. Arbuckle also made a touchdown and two interceptions before eventually being substituted by McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson made an eight-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Rogers late in the final quarter of the game.

“They got after us a bit . . . we didn’t block, or pass protect well,” said Ryan Dinwiddie, rookie head coach of the Argos in a post-match interview. “They just kicked our butts; we’ve got to come back and be a better team next week.”

The Labour Day contest was the first of four fixtures this year between Toronto and Hamilton. The two teams would face off again on Friday at BMO Field. Afterwards, the Tim Hortons Field will play host to the Argonauts again on Oct. 11 with the regular-season finale scheduled for Nov. 12 in Toronto.

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Roughriders looking to bounce back after Labor Day defeat

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In what an unusual feeling for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they would now need to dust themselves up after a 23-8 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in what was a Labor Day Classic showdown in front of a full capacity crowd at Mosaic stadium.

Craig Dickenson, head coach of the Riders, witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get utterly dominated by a more superior team from Winnipeg. Now, he has got a lot of work on his hands getting his team back to winning ways as they visit the Banjo Bowl next.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of now…the jury’s out,” said Dickenson.

Dan Clark, who played centre for the Riders expressed his disappointment in losing what was “the biggest game of the year”.

 “If you lose every other game, you don’t want to lose that one. We’ve just got to take the next step,” said Clark in a report. “There are 12 steps to the Grey Cup left and it’s just about taking that next step and focusing on what Saturday will bring.”

With their first defeat to Winnipeg, the Riders (3-1) now rank second place in the CFL’s West Division, trailing the Bombers by one victory (4-1). However, the Riders will have the chance to even the season series during their trip to Winnipeg this Saturday. With the CFL heating up, fans can now enjoy online sports betting Canada as they look forward to their team’s victory.

The Rider’s offensive line will once again have a busy time dealing with the Blue Bombers’ defence.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played one of the best games of his career two weeks earlier, had quite a stinker against the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic—which is the most anticipated game for Rider fans.

Fajardo had a 59 per cent completion percentage which wasn’t quite indicative of what the actual figure was considering he was at 50 per cent before going on a late drive in the final quarter with the Bombers already becoming laid back just to protect the win.

Fajardo also registered a personal worst when he threw three interceptions, but in all fairness, he was always swarmed by the Bomber’s defence.

While Fajardo has claimed responsibility for the loss and letting his teammates down, many would be curious to see how the team fares in their next game and with less than a week of preparation.

Dickenson is confident that his team would improve during their rematch in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The only challenge now would be the loss of home advantage and dealing with the noisy home crowd, he added.

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Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic

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TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

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