Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crime and alcohol under the youth in the Netherlands

Crime among teenagers and young adults in the Netherlands appears to be decreasing.
The justice ministry’s Research and Documentation Centre reports that in 2008, for the first time in years, fewer community service sentences were imposed on minors (between the age of 12 and 18).
For the first time in years, the Centre also recorded a decrease in young adults (between the age of 18 and 24) engaged in criminal activity.
However, the number of young people admitted to hospital for alcohol poisoning has gone up substantially.
Last year, doctors treated 684 young people who had too much to drink. This was an increase of 37 percent compared to 2009, when 500 young people were admitted in connection with alcohol abuse.
These figures feature in the report Alcoholic intoxication among young people in the Netherlands. The report was published on Tuesday by researchers at the University of Twente and a number of hospitals in the main western conurbation of the Netherlands.

Day Opening - May 31

baby

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day Opening - May 29


Humordernaars by Erik Louisse

Love the movie Pulp Fiction...
Love this improvisation of the Dutch comics 'Bassie and Adriaan'. A duo of a clown and acrobat that make silly jokes for children.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Halal Chicken

Dutch halal meat doesn’t make the grade. Apparently a Malaysian delegation visited the country last year to inspect its slaughterhouses and promptly decided to ban Dutch meat imports. “No certifier who takes his responsibilities as a Muslim seriously would accept that meat as halal,” the head of the Malaysian halal authority told the paper.
Malaysia had been importing Dutch chickens, which are stunned with an electric shock before being slaughtered. This is allowed under halal rules, as long the chicken is stunned but not killed. It has to be alive and healthy when its throat is cut. But a recent study found that 20 to 30 percent of poultry didn’t survive the shock. Are we shocked?.)

Day Opening - May 27


http://www.365dagenkunst.nl/2011/a-new-day-a-new-dawn-a-new-life/
By Maritsa van Luttikhuizen

Good morning!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wouldn't want to keep this from you


From: pienfeith.nl

I once saw Pien Feith in a small living room somewhere in Utrecht during a 'huiskamerconcert' (living room concert). She managed to grab my attention and since that day I've seen her growing into a rising star.

Her first cd - Dance on Time - was released in February this year, she was in one of Holland's most famous daily tv-shows several times and performing as a professional artist is her full time profession.

A few year ago she participated in the project 'In a Cabin With'. An interesting concept with several artists that don't know each other and create a cd together. In this 'In a Cabin With' she's the singer of the group Neonbelle (download is free). The music is a dramatic but touching mixture of Massive Attack, the Postal Service and Roísín Murphy (Moloko). A nice way to get to know Pien Feith a bit better.

An American film director found her music via the internet. Although I'm not a fan of this song, she made the sound track for his film 'Trucker'.

Day Opening - May 26

...)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Amnesty International 50 years

As human rights Group international Amnesty International marks its 50th anniversary later this week, here a brief overview of its remarkable history and achievements.
Over the past 50 years the one-man initiative has grown into an international organization with 2.8 million members, donors and supporters. Numbering 300,000 members, the Dutch branch is the world’s biggest. Currently Amnesty is helping 4,500 individual human rights victims.
Benenson
The group’s origins go back to 28 May 1961, when British lawyer Peter Benenson launched a worldwide campaign, ‘Appeal for Amnesty 1961’, with the publication of an article, ‘The Forgotten Prisoners’, in the British newspaper The Observer. In the article, which was reprinted in papers across the world, he called for the release of two Portuguese students who had been sentenced to seven years in prison for raising their wine glasses in a toast to freedom in a bar in Lisbon.
Mission
Amnesty has three founding principles: protection of freedom, protection against any form of arbitrary violence committed or tolerated by any state and banning discrimination. At first, the group focused on helping release prisoners of conscience and rooting out torturre and executions. At present, the group aims to defend all rights mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Annual report

Amnesty’s first annual report was published in 1962. Numbering 25 pages, it described the human rights record of 20 countries. Amnesty’s 2010 report is over 400 pages long, contains reports on 159 countries and discusses a wide range of topics, including torture, capital punishment, refugee issues, impunity, police violence and discrimination.
United Nations
In 1964 the United Nations gave Amnesty International consultative status.
The Netherlands
Amnesty opened an office in Holland in 1968.
Torture
In 1972 Amensty launched its first worldwide campaign for the abolition of torture.
The first full Urgent Action was mounted the following year, on behalf of a Brazilian professor, Luiz Basilio Rossi, who had been arrested for political reasons. Luiz himself believed that Amnesty International's appeals were crucial: "I knew that my case had become public, I knew they could no longer kill me. Then the pressure on me decreased and conditions improved." Since then, the number of countries that torture has dropped by 50 percent, from 75 countries in 1972.
Nobel Prize
In 1977 Amnesty was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "having contributed to securing the ground for freedom, for justice, and thereby also for peace in the world".
Capital punishment
In 1977 Amnesty launched an international campaign against the death penalty. Only 16 countries had completely abolished capital punishment by then. Now 139 countries have.
International Criminal Tribunal
In 1998, 120 countries adopted the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, to prosecute individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Day Opening - May 23

right click

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Will Gaddafi be prosecuted by the ICC?

Will Gaddafi end up in the dock in The Hague? Yes, if it's up to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to decide. "We are almost ready for trial." said Luis Moreno Ocampo at a press conference, announcing that the court is seeking arrest warrants for the Libyan leader and two others.

The ICC's chief prosecutor says Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and the Libyan military intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi are responsible for committing crimes against humanity by persecuting and killing protesters during an uprising which began in mid-February. "The office gathered direct evidence about orders issued by Muammar Gaddafi himself, direct evidence about Saif al-Islam organising the recruitment of mercenaries and direct evidence of the participation of al-Senussi in the attacks against demonstrators."
The chief prosecutor added that his office also documented how the three held meetings "to plan the operations" and Gaddafi used his "absolute authority to commit crimes in Libya." Ocampo is confident he has enough evidence."We have such strong evidence, such direct evidence that we're almost ready for trial," he says.

Ocampo's investigators undertook 30 missions to 11 countries. There they collected over 1,200 documents, including videos and pictures and interviewed more than 50 people.
It is the fastest investigation by Ocampo's office in The Hague so far. The UN Security Council sent him to investigate ongoing atrocities against civilians in late February. The prosecutor was quick to act, convinced he can help prevent further crimes.
He already told the council two weeks ago "crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed in Libya, attacking unarmed civilians including killings and persecutions in many cities across Libya."

Ocampo said he will continue his investigations on "different forms of persecution against civilians, as well as acts of rape and the unlawful arrest, mistreatment and killings of sub-Saharan Africans wrongly perceived to be mercenaries." He added that war crimes charges might also be laid.
In the meantime, it is up to a panel of ICC judges to decide whether or not to issue the warrants. And if they do, Ocampo faces an even bigger struggle: actually getting the Libyans to The Hague. The ICC does not have a police force and Ocampo has already called on states "to prepare for arrests should judges decide to issue arrest warrants. Now is the time to start planning on how to implement possible arrest warrants," he said.
This is not the first time an international war crimes prosecutor has probed Colonel Gaddafi's actions. His name was often mentioned in Freetown, in The Hague and in the courtrooms of the Special Court for Sierra Leone SCSL. With the Sierra Leone tribunal in The Hague wrapping up the case against the former Liberian president Charles Taylor, critics maintain others should also be held accountable for war crimes in West Africa.

The Libyan leader trained Taylor and Sierra Leonean rebels at his World Revolutionary Headquarters camps in the 1980s and allegedly funded the warmongers in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Gaddafi has not been indicted by the court. Its first prosecutor, David Crane, recently hinted that the main sponsors of the tribunal would have cut funding if he had gone after the Libyan leader at the time.
If Ocampo's prosecution bid proves successful Gaddafi might meet Taylor again, but this time in the Scheveningen detention unit.

Day Opening - May 19

purple moon

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ajax or Twente

The most exciting finish in the history of the Dutch premier league is at hand. League leaders FC Twente play their final match of the season against second-place Ajax. With the Dutch league title at stake, and only a single point separating the two teams, we looks ahead to see who’ll be celebrating this Sunday.

Last year it was FC Twente who snatched league glory on the final day of play with a one point lead over Ajax. This year’s head-to-head decider is taking the excitement to fever pitch.
But there are three good reasons why Ajax will finally regain the Dutch league title.

1. Ajax’s successful new coach: Frank de Boer
Frank de Boer took charge at Ajax last December, replacing Martin Jol, who resigned after the Amsterdam club suffered a humiliating Champions League defeat at the hands of Real Madrid. Frank – twin brother of footballer Ronald de Boer – brought about a miraculous change of fortune. His first match as coach resulted in a 2-0 away victory against AC Milan in the Champions League. Since then Ajax have been back on form with their trademark combination of swagger, flair and strikers down the wing. With past mentors like Louis van Gaal and national coach Bert van Marwijk, and the backing of Ajax’s prodigal legend Johan Cruijff, how can De Boer fail?

2. Huge psychological advantage
Ajax has been playing catch-up all season and has been gathering serious momentum in recent weeks. At home, De Boer’s lads have reigned supreme, winning all six competition duels with a goal difference of 14-0. Ajax and FC Twente have clashed 44 times in Amsterdam, with Ajax winning all but ten of these encounters. True, FC Twente defeated Ajax last week to take the Cup, but that victory has only served to make Ajax even hungrier for premier league glory: Amsterdam’s desire to finally grab its 30th national title is stronger than ever.

3. Rock solid defence
Twente may have more talent on the offensive, but this season the Ajax defence has been in a class of its own. At its heart is Belgium’s Jan Vertonghen, a Franz Beckenbauer in the making. Vertonghen is accompanied by his burly compatriot Toby Alderweireld. The Belgians are flanked by Dutch international Gregory van der Wiel and talented young Dane Nicolai Boilesen. With national goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg out of action with a broken thumb, talented second keeper Kenneth van der Meer has the chance to prove himself on Sunday.
With all this going for them, how could the pride of Amsterdam fail? But let’s not forget: FC Twente are in pole position – not to mention being defending champions and Cup winners – and with good reason.

In other words, it’s time to take a look at three reasons why FC Twente will take home the league title once again.

1. FC Twente only need one point
Their one-point lead over Ajax means that FC Twente only need a draw in Amsterdam. And Twente have a coach who knows exactly how to achieve such a result: Belgium’s former top goalkeeper Michel Preud'homme. At the start of the season, many were surprised when this French-speaking Belgian loner took over the Twente reins from successful Englishman Steve McLaren. But last week’s Cup victory is clear proof that Preud'homme is an outstanding coach.

2. FC Twente has stars
A winning team needs a star, and FC Twente has two. One is Costa Rican striker Bryan Ruiz, a key goal scorer whose mere presence is enough to spur his team on to greater heights. And then there’s the phenomenal Theo Janssen, with his sublime insight and killer long shots. Some say the 29-year-old midfielder could have been snapped up by an English or Italian club long ago, if it hadn’t been for his love of alcohol, tobacco and tattoos.
Ajax is sadly lacking in star quality. They had Uruguay’s Luis Suarez but sold him to Liverpool last winter. Moroccan striker Mounir El Hamdaoui acts like a star, but his perceived arrogance has earned him weeks of derision from his own supporters.

3. The better brother
The Netherlands has a rich tradition of football brothers (Van de Kerkhof, Koeman, De Boer, Witschge). Sunday sees a new twist with striker Luuk de Jong playing for FC Twente and his brother Siem on the Ajax front line. But while Luuk is a force to be reckoned with at Twente, midfielder Siem has been moved up front at Ajax for want of better. So the battle of the strikers looks like a clear victory for Luuk... and for Twente.
Will FC Twente hold on to the title or has Ajax’s time finally come again? One thing is sure: one of them will be holding the championship trophy aloft on Sunday afternoon.

Day Opening - May 14

Manorola, Italy, by night

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dutch-Iranian political prisoners in Iran

Dutch-Iranian activist Abdullah al-Mansouri has been in prison in Iran for five years. It is not known how he is or indeed where he is being held. Tensions between Iran and the Netherlands have most likely resulted in the worsening of his situation and the situations of other Dutch citizens who are political prisoners in Iran.

Dutch-Iranian human rights activist Sadegh Nageshkar also fears that the political struggle between Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is bad news for political prisoners.
“The more the power struggle between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad intensifies, the more political prisoners – including al-Mansouri – come under pressure. This is designed to increase the Iranian people’s fears, so that they won’t fight for their rights and freedom.”

Following the execution of Dutch-Iranian woman Zahra Bahrami last January, the Dutch government came under fire for not having done enough for her. MPs are pushing the government to take Iran to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for not allowing Ms Bahrami Dutch consular support.
Mr al-Mansouri’s situation is looking even worse since the regime in Tehran recently started coming down hard on fellow activists from the predominantly Arabic Khuzestan region. Mr Nageshkar says five Arabs from Khuzestan were publically hanged last week.

Besides Mr al-Mansouri, another three Dutch-Iranians are thought to be political prisoners in Iran. The Tehran regime releases very little information about prisoners and the Dutch authorities also decline to give numbers, in order not to interfere with ongoing ‘quiet diplomacy’.
Mr Nageshkar names one of the Dutch prisoners as Saeed Shah Ghale and says he is serving a long sentence. The last of the few reports about Mr Ghale was from 2009. He is being held in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison.

Another Dutch-Iranian prisoner is the Christian, Vahik Abrahamian. He was arrested on 4 September with his wife and ten others during a religious meeting in his house in Hamadan, 350 kilometres west of Tehran. He has not officially been charged but, on television, the group was accused of "attempts to destroy the Islamic state". Last week, it surfaced that his wife, Sonia Keshish Avanessian and two others were freed at the end of April. Kiri Kankhwende from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says one of the reasons Mr Abrahamian has not been released could be his Dutch nationality.
The Iranian authorities are reported to have attempted to obtain the equivalent of 135,000 euros each for the release of the three Dutch-Iranians. CSW contacts in Iran report that Mr Abrahamian may be being used in a further attempt to raise money, but this is by no means certain.
Questions about the fate of Mr Abrahamian have been raised in the Dutch parliament, but the government says it can do little for him at the moment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How cruel was the Slavery

While calls for an apology for the slave trade are growing louder in the Netherlands, a Dutch historian has drawn an unpopular conclusion: overseas slavery was less cruel than people think. Dutch Professor Henk den Heijer believes the cruel image of slavery that has developed over the centuries is too moralistic.
Slaves spent weeks at sea, shoulder to shoulder chained up in the ship’s hold without fresh air. They were beaten and fed poorly. Women were sexually abused and there was no medical care.
“This cruel image formed in around 1800,” says Professor Den Heijer, “during the debate to abolish slavery. You mainly see interviews, books and pamphlets written by people who supported the abolition of slavery and emphasised the bad side of the trade. Those sources have become the standard for its history.”
Doctor at hand
Professor Den Heijer has uncovered a different image by looking in the archive of a shipping company, the Middelburgse Commercie Compagnie (MCC). It was the largest shipping company to transport slaves in the Netherlands in the 18th century with 113 ships. The archive is unique, painting a picture of life on board the ships which took slaves from Africa to America.
The ships’ logs in the archive reveal a different story: on board the ships slaves were treated as well as the crew. A doctor was at hand for both the crew and the slaves and they were fed well. It was logical from a commercial point of view to treat slaves well.
“They were considered to be valuable. A good trader tried to get his slaves to the other side of the ocean in good condition to sell for a good price. Slavery is still morally objectionable, but that does not mean they were abused.”
Slave revolts
Abuse was the exception and officers would be punished by losing pay or being dismissed according to the ships’ logs.
Nevertheless there were slaves who revolted on board. But out of a total of 1500 trips by the MCC, this only happened 53 times. And the situation was probably the same for other counties involved in slavery like Great Britain.
Heated debate
The professor hasn’t had many reactions from his colleagues, but there are heated discussions on internet forums. On a Surinamese site one blogger wrote:
"If people are made into slaves and transported to a foreign continent, if you rob them of their language, culture, family and belief and then you say we have to see it in the light of the time, then there is something wrong with you.”
However, Surinamese sociologist at the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy Aspha Bijnaar says she is open to Professor Den Heijer’ s conclusions.
“It is too easy to say ‘he is trivalising the matter’. I am not able to check his sources myself, but he is a historian and I assume he has good arguments.”
Mr Den Heijer was recently appointed professor at the University of Leiden and is working on a television series on slavery to be broadcast in the Netherlands from September.
(About the slave trade of the Artabs - which went hand-in-hand with Jihad...another article)

Day Opening - May 10

spring...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sex in Pakistan

No sex education at your school in Pakistan? Can’t talk to your parents about it? See a doctor or get a book to learn about sex, says Dr Syed Mubin Akhtar.

But steer clear of quacks, porn sites and prostitutes, he warns.
Sex education can save you from sexual problems and “a life of sin and disease”, according Dr Syed Mubin Akhtar, Pakistani psychiatrist and sex ed author. The problem is that teachers and parents in his country are often too embarrassed to talk about sex.

Books are the best way to fill the information gap, says Dr Akhtar’s. Not surprisingly he’s quick to plug his own book, Sex education for Muslims - one of the few published on the topic in Pakistan.
You can also ask a doctor for advice, says Dr Akhtar. But you’ll need to look for one who’ll respect you’re privacy, he warns – not all doctors in Pakistan will keep your confidential queries to themselves.
Some may also feel too embarrassed to talk about sex. To keep embarrassment to a minimum, girls should go to female doctors and boys to male doctors, he suggests.


Many people in Pakistan think that hakims – traditional herbalists – are a better option for help with sexual problems than doctors, says Dr Akhtar. Even doctors sometimes refer their patients to them, and they’re easy to find.
But hakims have some muddled ideas about sexual matters, according to Dr Akhtar.
“They say that drops of semen coming out is a very serious disease that saps your bones and body strength,” he says. Only when he went to medical school did the doctor find out that such stories were myths.
Some people go to hakims because they think modern medicine is Western and unethical, says Dr Akhtar. “Hakims follow an old type of medicine,” he argues. “What type of houses would we have if we still built them like people did a thousand years ago?”

Friends and parents aren’t usually great sources of information on sex in Pakistan, says Dr Akhtar. “Friends are often not educated themselves, and parents would be shocked if you brought it up with them.”
You won’t learn much about normal sex from porn movies either, he reckons. “They show abnormal sex most of the time.”
You might be tempted to go to a prostitute to experiment with sex and get in some practice, the doctor says, but it’s not something he would recommend. “You may catch diseases and get feelings of guilt and fear. And of course it’s a sin in Islam.”
Porn is the most google word in Pakistan and Day Opening November 21 2009 is the most 'read article' here on Internations...

Day Opening - May 9

An aurora

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day Opening - May 6

View from the Montserrat (church) in Bogota, Columbia. Many pilgrims walk all the way up...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In Columbia

Yesterday, Wednesday we flew to Panama City with Copa Airlines Columbia. Fantastic flight and Panama an interesting city, one skyscraper after the other. We stayed in a nice comfortable 5 star hotel but due the time not able to visit the Panama Canal. Today we flew with Copa Airlines Columbia to Bogota. And again a full service flight. Copa Airlines is not a huge airlines but one of the best I ever flew with, and that are many...
Even with and 1 1/2 flight you get food, drinks and water. Do you want a whiskey sir?.)
Anyway, we are in Bogota Columbia. Safe and well and enjoy a very nice hotel in the centre.
Both the people in Panama and Columbia, so far, are incredible helpful and nice. And Columbia changed with 10 years ago. It's safe!

Day Opening - May 5

Brickell, Miami (here I lived from 2000-2002

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

From Miami to Panama and to Bogota, Columbia

Today we will fly to Panama and leave 5 beautiful days in Miami behind us. A short stay (1 night) in Panama City to visit the Panama Canal and tomorrow allready on our way to Bogota, Columbia for the last part of our trip. Next posting is from there.

Day Opening - May 4

44

Hair in Avanos

HAIR MUSEUM OF AVANOS

The Hair Museum of Avanos is a bizarre installation crafted by Turkish potter Chez Galip. The way the idea of this museum came to be is truly a unique story. 30 years ago, Chez Galip had a close friend who had to leave the town Avanos, and this made him very upset. To leave him something to remember her by, the woman left Galip with a piece of her hair.
Today the Hair Museum of Avanos features the hair of over 16,000 woman who have visited this one-of-a-kind hair haven. Each piece of hair a woman leaves behind also features an address to identify the piece.
Entrance to the Hair Museum of Avanos is free, and if you happen to be traveling to Turkey, it’s a site you can’t miss.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hamas and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood condem the 'illegal killing of Osama Bin Laden'

The news of the killing of al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden has been received with mixed feelings in the Middle East. In many countries where al-Qaeda is active, the news has been received with a sigh of relief, but there were no open signs of rejoicing. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda sympathisers lament the great loss for the Islamic Jihad.

No official comment has been heard yet from Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden’s homeland, but a senior sheikh, known to be close to the ruling family, appeared on Al-Arabiya satellite TV condemning bin Laden as ruthless killer who tainted the name of Islam. He encouraged good Muslims to show their satisfaction about his killing.

In Yemen, which has been fighting al-Qaeda for more than a decade, a spokesman for the presidency, who preferred to remain anonymous, welcomed the attack on bin Laden and expressed the hope that his death would bring an end to terrorism.
But, al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, based in Yemen, lamented the loss of the spiritual leader of Jihadists throughout the world. The organisation told AP that it does not trust US President Barack Obama and that it would wait for independent confirmation of the sad news from Mujahidin brothers in Pakistan. The al-Qaeda spokesman in Yemen said a detailed statement would be made later on the plans of the organisation and the future of Jihad.

Omar Baker, the Syrian pro-Jihad Muslim fundamentalist who was expelled to Lebanon from London five years ago, expected young Muslims in Europe to carry out revenge attacks in Europe. He said that “the region has lost a great leader, I am sad that we have lost bin Laden, but also happy that he attained his wish of dying as a martyr.”
There was a high state of alert in the Iraqi capital Baghdad where security and police leaders fear retaliatory attacks and bombings after the killing of bin Laden. Iraq is the third country where al-Qaeda is widely active and responsible for hundreds of bloody attacks on both civilians and military personnel.
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan seized the opportunity to call upon the country’s Islamist Taliban rebels to learn a lesson and stop the violence. He called the killing of Osama an important event for his country.

Israel also expressed its satisfaction at the death of bin Laden. Both president Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu consider it a great victory for democracy and the fight against terrorism worldwide. Meanwhile 
On the internet, fierce battles have been going on since the early morning between friends and foes of bin Laden via websites where al-Qaeda has a considerable influence and following. But many participants also reject bin Laden, arguing that he is an American-made puppet who was killed by the same guys who made him because he wasn’t needed any more. We will have to wait a little longer for responses from other mainstream Islamist movements and political figures in the region.
 

Day Opening - May 2

Port of Miami bridge