Dutch king heads for Caribbean islands to support post-hurricane aid efforts

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King Willem-Alexander is flying to Curaçao on Sunday to lend support to the mission supplying aid to the hurricane-hit islands of Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The king will be based on Curaçao but will visit the affected islands if possible. He will be accompanied by home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk. Prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters on Friday morning that a large number of Sint Maarten’s 40,000 residents have been deprived of basic necessities. ‘We are trying to get water, food and medicine to the island as soon as we can,’ Rutte said. ‘We have to be quick because the next hurricane, José, is on its way.’ Asked about reports of looting on the Caribbean island Rutte said that the situation is ‘serious’. The authorities are having great difficult carrying out their duties, the prime minister said. Over 100 Dutch soldiers are already on the island and others are on their way to help the security effort.

Source  : DutchNews.nl

Tiger, tiger, burning bright…in the forests of Kazakhstan?

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The Dutch office of the World Wildlife Fund and Kazakh government are planning to release 25 to 30 Siberian tigers into the wilds where tigers once roamed. They will be transferred from the far east of Russia to an area the size of Gelderland, the body said in a press release. Its plan to repopulate an area where the extinct Caspian tiger once lived was announced at the Holland Pavilion at the World Expo in Kazakhstan on Friday. Marco Lambertini, Director General of the WWF, said reintroducing the animal was an “important step in securing the future of tigers in the wild” as well as protecting the natural environment in the Ili-Balkhash region. But before tigers are introduced to an area which has not seen the animals since 1948, bird and potential prey populations need to be restored, and rangers need to be trained to protect the wild animals.

Source  :  DutchNews.nl

Suspect for 14-year-old girl Savannah’s death to stay in custody for another three months

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A gavel in a courtroom.

A boy of 16 held under suspicion of murdering a 14-year-old girl, Savannah, is to remain in custody for another three months, a court ruled on Friday. The boy from Den Bosch, who has not been named, appeared in front of the court in Utrecht for the first time in a private hearing. His parents, and the parents and relatives of Savannah, were also present. He is now suspected of murder, reports the NOS broadcaster, as prosecutors strengthened the charge a week ago after analysing his internet activity. The girl’s body was found in a ditch on an industrial site in Bunschoten, near Amersfoort, on June 4th this year. The suspect was later discovered to have her bank card, identity card and bicycle keys. Two days before Savannah’s body was discovered, another 14-year-old Dutch girl, Romy, was found dead in a nearby nature reserve in Achterveld. A boy of 14 is being held in connection with her murder.

Source  : DutchNews.nl

‘Miserable and inhumane’ Brabant trailer park to be closed down

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A campsite in the province of Noord-Brabant which is permanently lived in by hundreds of people is to be closed down by the local council because conditions in the camp are ‘completely unacceptable’. Local mayor Leny Poppe-de Looff told a news conference on Friday that the state had to intervene, because the Fort Oranje trailer park has been taken over by criminals. The 624 residents, including 123 children, are living in ‘miserable and inhumane’ conditions, the mayor said. The situation at the camp, she told reporters, is untenable and a threat to public order. ‘The filth, the poor condition of the many of the caravans and the fire safety are extremely worrying and unacceptable,’ she said. Last month, some 50 local government inspectors visited the trailer park and found evidence that its residents are involved in growing marijuana, human trafficking and prostitution. In an earlier visit in 2014, local health officials said the park resembled a slum rather than a campsite. The campsite hit the headlines earlier when it became the subject of a reality soap show on SBS6 and questions were raised in parliament about why the local council continued to give people – including many migrant labourers – permits to live there. Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher visited the park shortly before the March general election. He said the park appeared to have been over-run by criminals who should not have the upper hand. Resettled Poppe-de Looff said that an action plan had been worked out together with local and national government officials, the police and the health service. Some of the families would be resettled in ordinary residential areas while other people will be supervised. It will take a year to find everyone new homes and close the camp, she said. Paul Depla, the mayor of nearby Breda, told the news conference there are similar situations at other trailer parks in the Netherlands. 2 Share Share Share Tweet Share

Source :  DutchNews.nl

Dutch police pick up ‘suspicious’ man outside Guus Meeuwis concert

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Eindhoven police on Friday night arrested a 29-year-old potentially radicalised Amsterdammer who was acting suspiciously outside a stadium where singer Guus Meeuwis was in concert. The man was reportedly filming close to the entrance of the Philips stadium when he was picked up at around 20.15. He was taken to a police station for questioning where it transpired that he was already ‘known to the police’ and potentially radicalized, police said in a statement. ‘That, combined with his suspicious behaviour, led to his arrest,’ a police spokesman told website Nu.nl. ‘The police presence was scaled up because he may not have been alone.’ People who attended the concert said later that the event went on longer and that there were no fireworks after the show. The police could not say if this was at the request of the authorities and Meeuwis and his management were unavailable to comment, Nu.nl said Meeuwis is due to give another show at the stadium on Saturday night. As yet, there is no word that it may be cancelled. The arrest comes three weeks after Salman Abedi blew himself up at Manchester Arena in England as people left a concert by Ariana Grande. He killed 22 people and injured over 100 more.

Source :  DutchNews.nl

Eight injured in ‘not-deliberate incident’ with car at Amsterdam railway station

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Eight people were injured in an incident involving a car in front of Amsterdam’s main railway station on Saturday night but police say they do not think the action was deliberate. The black Peugot 307 was apparently parked in a spot where waiting is not allowed, local media said. According to the Parool newspaper, police spoke to the driver and asked to see his licence which he showed them. The man then drove off, hitting several people, and ploughed into a low wall next to an entrance to the metro. A police spokesman said it appeared that the driver may have been taken ill. ‘Of course we are carrying out further inquiries to rule out anything else,’ the spokesman told reporters. Two people are said to be seriously injured and have been taken to hospital. The others were treated at the scene. Eyewitness John Berg said on Twitter the incident was ‘terrifying’. The main area in front of the station was sealed off for a time but train services were not affected and passengers were still able to use the side doors, Dutch railway company NS said. Tram services which terminate at the station’s main entrance were rerouted. By 11pm, the car had been towed away and the station square re-opened to the public.

 

Source:  DutchNews.nl

Electoral council calls for more user-friendly ballot papers

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The electoral council has appealed to the incoming government to commission a new, smaller ballot paper that can be read with a digital scanner. The watchdog said the Parliamentary elections in March showed up the limitations of the current system, with candidates for 28 parties spread out across a folded sheet of paper the size of a tablecloth. At some polling stations the voting papers were wedged into ballot boxes because they were overfull, even though this is against electoral law. The decision to count votes by hand because of fears that electronic counting could be intercepted also made the process long, difficult and prone to mistakes, the electoral council added. It said the government should work on develop a better automatic counting system using scanners to make the process faster and more reliable.

Source :  DutchNews.nl

Children from donor sperm win right to collect fertility clinic doctor’s DNA

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More than 20 children conceived with sperm from a fertility clinic run by the late doctor Jan Karbaat have won the right to have his DNA examined, after a court ruling in Rotterdam on Friday. The judge ruled that samples from 27 items confiscated after Karbaat died in April can be used to make a DNA profile. Karbaat, who died aged 89, has been accused of using his own sperm to father scores of children at the Medisch Centrum Bijdorp, which he ran from the back of his house in Barendrecht, near Rotterdam. ‘Fresh seed’ The clinic was closed in 2009 for failing to meet storage standards and irregularities over paperwork. Many children conceived through donor sperm have raised concerns that ‘fresh seed’ the doctor reportedly said he was fetching, was his own. Twelve children and 10 parents had mounted a court case to try to test their DNA against Karbaat’s, against the will of his widow – who has not spoken publicly but has been represented in court by lawyer Lisette de Haan. Positive matches But, after the last sitting on May 12, Karbaat’s legal son voluntarily gave his DNA to the FIOM bank and allowed people who were registered there to be tested against this. Last week, 18 people conceived through donor sperm from the clinic were confirmed as almost certainly Karbaat’s, reported NRC. The court ruling, however, says Karbaat’s own DNA can be examined from confiscated items – reportedly including a toothbrush, nose hair trimmer and support stockings – but must be sealed. Any plaintiffs will need to start a new case to have their DNA tested against this. Anger and angst Pelle Biesmeijer, a spokesman for the court in Rotterdam, told DutchNews.nl that this is because the FIOM tests happened after the last sitting and – under Dutch law – cannot be considered. ‘The fact that there is this match makes the case stronger,’ he said. ‘In principle, they could start another court case in two weeks. The family of Mr Karbaat could also voluntarily allow his DNA to be tested against theirs.’ Dutch law limits the number of people who can be conceived from one sperm donor to 25, and children have the right to find out their donor’s identity when they are 16. People born with donor sperm from Karbaat’s clinic have told Dutch media about their anger and angst about the doctor apparently ‘unethically’ using his own sperm. 1 Share 1 Share Share Tweet Share

 

Source :  DutchNews.nl

IT, construction and healthcare need more workers: jobs agency

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The shortage of well-qualified  IT, healthcare and construction workers in particular is threatening growth in the three sectors, the government’s job agency UWV said on Tuesday. The construction and healthcare sectors were hard hit during the recession and that led to cuts in training programmes and apprenticeships. Now, however, these sectors are growing, the UWV said in its latest labour market monitor. The number of vacancies in the construction sector has more than doubled in two years, while healthcare vacancies have almost doubled. In particular, the construction sector is experiencing a shortage of skilled carpenters, bricklayers and technicians because so many older workers have now reached retirement age, the UWV said. In healthcare, the biggest shortage is in qualified nursing staff. The number of jobs has grown across all sectors of the economy apart from in financial services and the civil service. The UWV expects the number of people claiming unemployment benefit to drop by 100,000 to 311,000 by the end of next year.

Source :  DutchNews.nl

Dutch senate approves Ukraine treaty; Brussels welcomes ‘important signal’

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As expected, the Dutch senate on Tuesday voted in favour of the controversial EU treaty with Ukraine thanks to the support of the Christian Democrats. Nine of the 12 CDA senators voted in favour of the treaty even though the party was opposed the motion when it was debated in the lower house in February. ChristenUnie senators also went against their MPs in the lower house and backed the treaty. Over 60% of Dutch voters who took part in last year’s referendum on the treaty voted against it. Even though the referendum was advisory, most MPs said the decision had to be respected.

However, in December, prime minister Mark Rutte won the support of the 27 other European leaders for a supplementary declaration to the Ukraine treaty which makes it clear what the agreement actually entails. Rutte has said that if the Netherlands failed to ratify the treaty, it could have serious implications for the stability of Europe. European Commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said after the senate vote that the Netherlands had sent ‘an important signal from the Netherlands and the entire EU to our Ukranian friends.’ ‘Ukraine’s place is in Europe. Ukraine’s future lies within Europe,’ Juncker said in a statement.

Source : DutchNews.nl