Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dutch Development Project in Guatemala Total Failure

A development project, heavily subsidized by the Dutch government in Guatemala has totally failed. In 2007, the Dutch government made available 9 million Euro for the improvement of the harbor in Champerico. The government of Guatemala paid the other 29 million Euro. The work was done by a Dutch company and supervised by a Dutch consultancy office. Nowadays, the harbor is full of sand and boats can longer leave from it. The poverty in the village has increased.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Majority of Dutch: Parliamentary Debate on Budget Undignified

Seventy percent of the Dutch population found the parliamentary debate on the national budget “undignified.” Sixty-two percent considered that the remarks made by Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders to Prime Minister Mark Rutte (Liberals) saying, “Behave normally,” should not be allowed. Sixty-two percent considered that the Prime Minister’s reaction wasn’t adequate. In the same poll, it was found that 49% of the Dutch is against financial support for Greece, while 38% is in favor. Forty percent is in favor of the prohibition of minarets and 45% is against.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Polish Media: Netherlands has become a Hostile Country for Poles

The Polish tabloid Fakt writes that an anti-Polish campaign has been unleashed in the Netherlands. The quality paper Gazeta Wyborcza had as a heading “Why don’t they want Poles in the Kingdom of Tulips?” The weekly Polityka writes: “Our nationals have become a favorite scapegoat for the xenophobes.” Polskie Radio said that not a day passes in the Netherlands without giving information about Polish immigrants - mostly in a negative context. Jan Minkiewicz, an external advisor of the Polish embassy in the Netherlands said, “The Polish government watches what happens in the Netherlands these days very closely.” This started at the end of last year when the Hague Alderman Marnix Norder warned of a “tsunami of Poles.”

Sunday, September 25, 2011

President of Central Bank: Greek Bankruptcy One of our Scenarios

Klaas Knot, the new President of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) said that the bankruptcy of Greece is one of the scenarios the bank works with. He wondered whether the Greeks see the seriousness of the situation. It is doubtful whether their authorities are competent enough and their politicians have enough control over the country. Knot is the first president of a European Central Bank to speak so clearly about a possible bankruptcy of Greece. Such statements are highly unusual for a central banker, the more so as Knot is also a member of the board of the European Central Bank.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Attack with Anti-Tank Weapon on Amsterdam Courthouse

The attack on early Wednesday morning on the Amsterdam courthouse apparently was done with an anti-tank grenade. A large number of windows have been broken and the staircase of the court tower was damaged. Two people were seen leaving the scene after the attack. In 2007, the special security court elsewhere in Amsterdam was also attacked. The Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten (Liberals) said that the attack is “unacceptable and terrible.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

National Budget is Leaked before Official Publication Date

According to plan, the national budget should have been made public last Friday. However, due to a mistake by a computer expert, it was leaked a day before. This led to much criticism of the government by politicians from both government and opposition parties. Minister of the Interior, Piet Hein Donner (Christian Democrat) regretted that this had happened, but said that when something goes wrong, one should not automatically blame the government. Deputy Minister Henk Bleker said that it was very annoying but “the world is not burning.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Imam who Worked in Dutch Jail, Arrested in Madrid

Hasan B., is a 44 year old Islamist who has been working for a long time as an Imam in the Tilburg jail. He has been arrested in Madrid at the request of the Moroccan authorities which has asked for his extradition. In 1985 he was condemned to death in Morocco because of his involvement in the murders of political opponents. The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice confirmed that he had indeed worked in the jail, but as long as he is investigated in Spain, the ministry is not willing to employ him anymore.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shortage of Public Toilets in the Netherlands

Scientists, physicians and the Organization of the Elderly (ANBO) say that there is a major shortage of public toilets. The ANBO tries to convince the train companies and the authorities to install enough toilets in trains and stations. Also in shopping areas, there should be sufficient clean toilets. The Urologist Paul Krik said that hundreds of thousands of people in this way are increasingly isolated because they do not dare to relieve themselves on the street. Many elderly do not drink when they are outside which increases the risks of dehydration.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rotterdam Mayor Disgusted with Riots by Soccer Fans

Before the soccer game Saturday night between Feyenoord in Rotterdam against De Graafschap, there were riots by fans of the home team. They protested against their team’s management. After a demonstration for which the Mayor had given a permit, they stormed a building next door to the stadium. It was only when the police took out their pistols that the hooligans could be prevented from entering the building. “It fills me with disgust,” said Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dutch State Responsible for 1947 War Crimes in Indonesia

The Court in The Hague has judged that the Dutch state is responsible for the damage which the surviving family members have suffered from Dutch war crimes in the village of Rawagede on the island of Java. The Court decided that the state cannot claim statute of limitations despite the fact that the murders took place 64 years ago. On 9 December 1947, Dutch soldiers penetrated the village, searching for an independence fighter who the villagers were supposedly hiding. The Dutch soldiers executed 433 men – almost the entire male population of the village - without process. The Netherlands have never offered apologies or compensation. The commanding officer was not prosecuted.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Senior Banker: Bankruptcy of Greece Unavoidable

Bert Bruggink, Financial Director of the Netherlands’ largest bank Rabobank has said to the Financieele Dagblad daily that the issue is no longer whether Greece will go bankrupt, but only when. It has also become known that the Ministry of Finance is considering the bankruptcy of Greece a distinct possibility.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Intelligence Service: Several Dutchmen Participate in Jihad

Jan-Kees Goet, the acting Head of the Dutch General Intelligence Service (AIVD) said that there are several Dutchmen presently active in the Jihad. In the past two years, tens of Dutchmen have tried to travel to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. A few days ago it became known that a Dutch Somalian is active in the Somalian terror group al-Shabaab. The AIVD said that one risk is that these people attack NATO soldiers in Afghanistan for instance. Another is that they return to the Netherlands with fighting experience and then plan a terrorist attack. The internet plays a crucial role for them in finding their way to terror groups. The AIVD adds that even though society pays little attention to it, there is still a threat of Muslim terrorism.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jewish Community: Prime Minister Should Act against Nazi Law

The Centraal Joods Overleg, (CJO) the umbrella organization of the Dutch Jewish community has expressed its surprise at the attitude of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte concerning the Dutch-German war criminal Klaas Carel Faber. Faber is the most sought-after surviving Nazi war criminal. The basic reason why Germany doesn’t want to extradite Faber is that he is a German national. He however, only got that nationality due to a never-cancelled Nazi law which gave German citizenship to collaborators during the war. Rutte has refused to intervene with German Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding the cancelling of the law.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Politician and Wife Attacked by Two Masked Men

Jelle Hiemstra, a member of the provincial parliament of Friesland for the Freedom Party was manhandled by two masked men. They rang his bell in the evening and when he opened the door, they started to beat him and his wife. Both were wounded and had to be treated by paramedics who arrived by ambulance.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

After Norwegian Murders, Dutch Social Democrats are Afraid

Labor Party Leader Job Cohen has said that after the murders by Anders Breivik in Norway, many Dutch Social Democrats and other leftist Dutch politicians are afraid. He said that many members of his party ask themselves whether such attacks could happen in the Netherlands. Cohen added that no one had considered it possible that in a country such as Norway, such a murderous rampage could happen. He said that this shows that there are extremists everywhere.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Intelligence Warnings about Digital Spying Ignored

The General Intelligence Service (AIVD) had already warned the government and some businesses last year about the risks of digital spying. In its report, the AIVD said that there is a low awareness in the Netherlands of these risks. Recently, due to poor safety of the DigiNotar security certificates, hackers of suspected Iranian government origin have broken into various Dutch computer systems and stole information about Iranian adversaries in the Netherlands of their government. In 2010, spying activities of hackers on Dutch systems had already been observed, among others from China and Russia.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Man Disrupts Concert with Queen Present

On Saturday night, a man climbed onto the podium of the Amsterdam Concert building before a concert was to take place there. Queen Beatrix was sitting in the first row. He pretended to be a speaker introducing the concert and called out that he was a “servant of Allah” or a “prophet of Eliah.” It took security men a couple of minutes to arrive. The man was handed over to the police and the Queen remained seated during the incident.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Prosecution: Parliamentarian was not Prosecuted by Mistake

From a document which the head Public Prosecutor in Maastricht J. Penn-te Strake sent to the Court in Den Bosch, it results that it had been a mistake not to prosecute Dion Graus, who is now a parliamentarian for the Freedom Party. The prosecutor said that there was sufficient proof that in 2002 Graus, during a dinner, had verbally attacked his wife and for a minute tried to strangle her. After he let her loose, he also threatened to put a gun to her head. Graus’ father confirmed to the police that his son had indeed on various occasions threatened his wife, abused her and tried to strangle her. In 2007, the prosecutor didn’t think it was opportune to prosecute Graus at such a late date.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hundreds of Government Websites Not Secure

The security of Dutch government websites can no longer be guaranteed, said Minister of the Interior Piet Hein Donner (Christian Democrat) at a press conference. This involves hundreds of websites including the tax services site. The sites have certificates of security from the Dutch company Dignotar in which the government has publicly stated that it no longer has confidence. The sites have to remain open because other government sites are dependent on them.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Inspectorate: Police Academy Performs Poorly

The Inspectorate of Education stated that the police academy performs poorly both regarding quality of teaching and examining policemen. It is the second consecutive time that the school received such a bad grade from the Inspectorate. It was also stated that the academy barely tests whether the students have enough knowledge in their studies. Rotterdam Mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb has sent a letter to the Parliament to express his concerns. Furthermore, he has sent a list of recommendations to the police academy which he said must be implemented immediately.