Dutch trade minister somber about success of TTIP talks

Turkish news agency publishes list of ‘pro-Gülen’ Dutch groups

Dutch trade minister Lilianne Ploumen has told broadcaster NOS that the ongoing TTIP trade talks between Europe and the US are proceeding with difficulty and without concessions from America, the treaty will not happen. Europe, Ploumen said, had made demands which need to be met before the treaty can become a reality. These include conditions for food safety and both the environmental and social aspects of the treaty. ‘Without concessions from the Americans, I don’t see it happening,’ Ploumen said. Time is running out, given the next round of negotiations is due in October and that the US presidential elections take place in November, she said. Ploumen was reacting to comments made by Germany’s economic affairs minister Sigmar Gabriel who said he felt the talks had failed but that 'no one is really admitting it'. He said that during the 14 rounds of talks so far, neither side had agreed on a single common chapter out of the 27 on the table. 'Many of us in Europe think it is time for a "reset" in trade politics,' Ploumen said. The treaty should be done differently, there should be greater transparency and more effort made to make sure that ordinary citizens understand the advantages, she said.  More >

Dutch 'Gülen list' published by Turkey

Turkish news agency publishes list of ‘pro-Gülen’ Dutch groups Turkish state news agency Anadolu has published an article listing companies and organisations in the Netherlands which it says are allied to the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, blamed by Ankara for the failed military coup last month. Both prime minister Mark Rutte and foreign minister Bert Koenders have criticised Turkey in the past few days for its unwanted interference in the Dutch Turkish community. The foreign ministry said it will make a statement on the list later on Tuesday. The Anadolu list includes schools, cultural institutions and business organisations which it says support Gülen. He has lived in the US for the past 19 years. The Cosmicus college in Rotterdam, the Metis Montessori school in Amsterdam and two primary schools in Amsterdam are included on the list. The schools – De Roos and the Witte Tulp – have both been in the headlines because dozens of parents have withdrawn their children following earlier claims of a Gülen link. It also claims the Sanitas Sanitas Health Centre Foundation in Rotterdam funnels cash to Gülen movement.  More >

Mass cull of 3,000 deer can go ahead

Mass cull of 3,000 deer in Dutch dunes can go ahead, court rules Judges in Haarlem have given the green light to the mass cull of deer in the coastal dune area west of Amsterdam. Noord-Holland province has come up with well-supported arguments in favour of the cull and there is no alternative way of reducing the deer population significantly, the court said on Tuesday. The province wants to reduce the deer population from 3,800 to around 1,000 over a five-year period but animal protection groups had gone to court to have the cull stopped. The province says the large deer population is damaging the dune biodiversity and that the animals cause accidents. Last year there were 61 collisions between deer and cars. Hunters will be allowed to shoot the dear between November and March. In total, 74 were shot dead in two weeks of hunting earlier this year. Anti-hunt group Faunabescherming said after the ruling that it is extremely disappointed and plans to appeal to the Council of State.  More >

More Dutch are human trafficking victims

Turkish news agency publishes list of ‘pro-Gülen’ Dutch groups There was a sharp drop in the number of reports of human trafficking in the Netherlands last year but there is still no reason to be optimistic, national reporter Corrine Dettmeijer said on Tuesday. In total, 1,321 possible victims were registered last year, down 240 on 2014. ‘It is worrying because we have no reason to think there are fewer victims,’ Dettmeijer said. Instead, the reduction is likely to be due to changed police priorities, she said. In particular, the military police now focus on human smuggling rather than trafficking and this could explain the 46% drop in cases identified by them. The figures show that some 66% of the cases are related to the sex industry and the proportion of Dutch nationals being sexually exploited has risen from 35% to 46% over the past year. Dutch nationals account for one third of the victims of some form of sexual exploitation, with Bulgarians, Romanians, Poles and Hungarians also accounting for a large proportion. A quarter of last year's trafficking victims were under the age of 18. ‘Refugees, who are often brought here by people smugglers, are vulnerable to being trafficked so it is important to be extra alert,’ Dettmeijer said. She wants the justice ministry to take steps to make sure that people working with refugees are better able to recognise the signs of human trafficking.  More >

82-year-old cashes in glider gift token

82-year-old cashes in glider flight gift token, 60 years after he lost it An 82-year-old man from Utrecht is cashing in a gift certificate for a flight in a glider, 60 years after it was presented to him, the AD said on Tuesday. Piet van der Weijden was given the gift as a thank you in 1956 after showing a film for the Gooise glider club. At the time he worked in the Camera cinema on the Oudegracht in Utrecht where there were private rooms for hire. When Van der Weijden wanted to cash in the gift, he could not find it, he told the AD. However, while cleaning up his home 60 years later, he found an old wallet with the typed letter about his reward inside it. His nephew helped him get in touch with the gliding club and they have agreed to take him up for his maiden glider flight next week. Van der Weijden told the AD he would like to glide over Utrecht and round the Dom tower best of all, but that he doubted this would be possible. ‘The air strip is in Hilversum and you are totally dependent on thermals and the pilot,’ he said. ‘And I think it is too far away.’ The retired cinema worker has flown extensively in ordinary planes. 'It’s not scary, you know,’ he told the AD. ‘At least I don’t think it is.’ And as for gliding? ‘There is a risk, of course,’ he said. ‘But it is one you have to take.’  More >