Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Protesters demanded the festival should close down within 24 hours. The demonstration was small, but the threat was large... The organisation behind it was the FPI, a radical Islamic group notorious for attacks on cafés and Christian churches. The group led the storming of the Danish embassy in the wake of the cartoon controversy.
The Dutch cultural institute is one of several venues taking part in the festival. Its Japanese and French counterparts promptly closed their doors in response to the protests, but as yet the Erasmus House is still open.
For the Dutch it’s particularly sensitive in the run up to next week’s visit by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to the Netherlands. Last week the Indonesian ambassador in the Netherlands lashed out at anti-Islam Geert Wilders and his supporters, but was eventually forced to make an apology after Mr Wilders kicked up a fuss. As the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant points out, the FPI anti-gay protest does nothing to ease the tension.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Thirty years ago a group of anarchists, mostly students, called krakers (squatters) set the social tone in Dutch society, especially in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. The aim was to occupy empty properties. In 1980, at the coronation of Queen Beatrix, riots took place in the city center. It always has been a controversial subject, because of the lack of houses compared to the demand.
On the 1st of October a law will be active, which forbids squatting. The punishment for breaking the law (or property, so to say) will be one year of detention, or two when resisting clearing the property.
Doing some investigation on the subject, it seriously struck me that about 10% of the world's population is currently squatting. In most of the countries it is illegal, but still, if you think of the building of houses on plots of others, or on public property, it suddenly is more realistic.
So in the next couple of years either the jails will be inhabited by punkers and alternative students or there will remain a form of tolerance?
No, this picture has not been photoshopped!
Meanwhile, oldfashioned peaceful protests returned within Dutch society. Last weekend a group of squatters put up their tents and had a sleepover in front of the National Monument in the center of Amsterdam...
Is this law the end of a period of domestic terrorism or of a cultural legacy?
Most columnists in Turkey wrote about it, you can read some of them here, here and here. They blame the Islamists, the National Islamists, the nationalists etc. In the end, it were Turks attacking Turks and foreigners. But it doesn’t matter who and what. What matters is that the attackers are still free. And the fact that the French, Dutch and German newspapers published it online before the Turkish did, shows a trend of denial. How much damage is done in terms of PR? A lot. But who cares as long as the current government clouds the masses with all kind of political and economical propaganda?! And the more you talk about it and blame 'the other' the more damage will be created for Turkey as an intolerant country regarding religion, nationality and ethnicity.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
The police in Swindon England started a hunt for an unknown 'idiot' who has painted his/her pink cat and then threw the animal over a fence.
I think the person was tired of his/her cat and to make sure that the cat got the attention needed, painted it pink...
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Fortunately, most of the accidents did not involve other vehicles. In these cases, officers crashed into lamp posts or steered their car into a ditch.
Still, Dutch police Commissioner Jan Stikvoort denies that his men and women are particularly accident prone. "They're no road hogs," he adds. But they could do with a bit more training. And that's exactly what they're going to get. All Dutch police officers will be sent on a special training programme, including extra driving lessons and virtual testing with car simulators. “The training has already started,” Mr Stikvoort says, “and the number of accidents is going down.”
Do you accept a ticket from a officer of the Dutch traffice police in the future?
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Ian Fleming’s famous protagonist was based on resistance fighter Peter Tazelaar, who worked for MI6 in Nazi-occupied Holland. The two had a lot in common: not only did they both carry out dangerous missions, but they were both notorious womanisers.
British historian, Keith Jeffery spent four years researching the archives of Her Majesty’s Secret Service to write an 800-page book on the history of MI6.
Apparently the Goldfinger scene in which Sean Connery as Bond swims to shore after being dropped from a boat wearing a dry suit is based on true life. Mr Tazelaar swam to Scheveningen Beach in November 1941, removed his dry suit and walked into Scheveningen’s exclusive Kurhaus hotel smartly dressed with a sprayed-on air of alcohol about him.
Peter Tazelaar was knighted in the Order of William for his bravery, the highest and oldest Dutch honour. The story of the spy is also told in the Dutch film “Soldier of Orange”. Film buffs will be glad to hear that Ian Fleming’s character Q was also based on a real person.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Medical tourism is on the rise, especially since the recent global financial meltdown. Though economies and individuals are struggling, medical needs remain.
Some of us are not able to afford expensive healthcare procedures in our own countries. Other nationals who enjoy a socialized healthcare system sometimes have to endure long waiting lists, though the need for a procedure is imminent.
These undesirable situations leave many looking for affordable, quick healthcare options, and Turkey has been quickly becoming a hotspot on the medical tourism map. Here's why.
- Turkey welcomes about 160,000 to 200,000 medical tourists per year.
- There are over 30 medical facilities and organizations in Turkey accredited by the Joint Commission International.
- Turkey is expecting to receive about one million medical tourism patients by 2015.
Reason #1: The Quality
Turkey has applied for European Union induction. This means that standards are being raised in all sectors, especially in healthcare.
The Joint Commission International (JCI) is the global governing body responsible for issuing accreditation and certificates to medical facilities that uphold their high quality standards. Carlo Ramponi, Managing Director of the European branch of the JCI, states that Turkey boasts the largest number of accredited organizations in Europe.
Several Turkish doctors at these institutions have been trained in the US or in the UK, and many hospitals have affiliations with hospitals in other countries. A couple of these well-known partnerships include Acibadem Healthcare Group and Harvard Medical International, and Anadolu Medical Center and John Hopkins Medicine International. Istanbul Memorial Hospital, the first Turkish hospital to be recognized by JCI, enjoys membership of the American Hospital Association.
Reason #2: Location
Turkey enjoys a close proximity to Europe, especially compared to other medical tourism destinations in Latin America or Asia. For example, a flight from London to Istanbul is less than four hours. An English medical tourist heading to Bangkok will sit through an 11-hour flight, if it's direct. From New York, travelers are looking at about 10 hours in the air to Turkey, compared to 20 hours with connections to Bangkok.
Even Turkish Airlines is making it easier for travelers, offering a 25% discount for medical tourists from the US and a 10% to 20% discount for European visitors.
Reason #3: Price
The price of several surgeries and medical procedures in Turkey are on par with the costs found in South East Asia and Latin America, and much lower than those in Western countries.
Health in Turkey, part of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, provides a helpful chart comparing the cost of various medical procedures in 11 different countries. Based on their report, a hip replacement would cost $45,000 in the US or $15,000 in England, compared with under $11,000 in Turkey. A bone marrow transplant is four to eight times more expensive in the US and three to six times more costly in England. Considering cosmetic procedures, the National Center for Policy Analysis lists the price of a rhinoplasty in Turkey at $1,500, compared with $3,500 in the UK or $4,500 in the US.
All things considered, Turkey is certainly a viable option for those looking for inexpensive medical attention without sacrificing quality.
(Photo courtesy of MedicalTourism Magazine)
Monday, September 20, 2010
"The visit by mayors of settlements like Har Adar and Kiryat Arba is extremely sensitive," says Ralph Pans managing director of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), which helped organise the trip. Mr Pans says the association did not want to take sides in the Middle East conflict by organising a trip in which mayors from Israeli settlements took part.
He also said it was strange that the Israelis hadn’t informed the association who was coming. It was only later that the VNG learnt from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs that six mayors from settlements were in the delegation.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has expressed its disappointment. In a declaration it said it was wrong to allow irrelevant political considerations to stop the trip. According to the ministry this undermines direct dialogue between local governments, reports Ynetnews.com, the English-language website of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot.
One of the mayors due to visit was Oded Revivi from the Efrat settlement. Mr Revivi says by calling the visit off the Netherlands is trying to draw the borders of Israel, and called this improper interference.
The row does not appear to have damaged the generally good relationship between the Netherlands and Israel. Spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry Yossi Levy says the Netherlands remains “a true friend of Israel”.
In the meantime, the Netherlands host Hamas leaders for years...
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
"In New York, I will talk to heads of governments, a group of American people, industrialists, thinkers, politicians and decision-makers, have a dialogue with one of the American universities, and talk to the media," state media quoted him as saying.
Criticising the West for "failing to solve world issues," Ahmadinejad said Iran has "clear and productive principles"(...) on the way the world should be run.
"The Iranian nation has meticulous methods and divine values to offer to the world (...) since materialistic thoughts have reached a complete defeat (...), which is why there is no clear outlook for the sustainable peace and welfare of the world."
Ahmadinejad said Iran's relations with Syria were "solid and strategic with a unified view on all issues," adding the Islamic republic's ties with Algeria were also "very good and expanding."
Ahmadinejad last paid a visit to Syria in February, soon after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underlined Washington's desire to see Syria move away from Iran.
At the time, Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad signed a visa-scrapping accord that signalled closer ties between the regional allies.
From Monday to Wednesday, he will attend the UN General Assembly, a forum he has used in past years to blast arch-foe Israel.
And yesterday the Iranian and Turkish governments signed crucial agreements for cooperation in higher education, culture and youth...
Just according planning...
Friday, September 17, 2010
The minister writes that a number of member states of the Council harm UN efforts to safeguard human rights. These member states reject any criticism by invoking national sovereignty. In his letter, Mr Verhagen looks back on the four years after the Human Rights Council took over from the Human Rights Commission.
Minister Verhagen believes there is too much focus on Israel, which draws attention away from other countries. The inquiry into the Gaza war for instance caused quite a commotion and led to extended debates.
The international NGO Freedom House largely agrees with the Dutch foreign minister. The organisation even accuses the Council of covering up some serious human rights violations. Out of the 47 member states, a majority have repressive regimes. These states reportedly vote as a bloc to shield each other from criticism. So far the Council has failed to expose abuse in countries such as Iran, Sudan and Cuba.
The minister also mentions a number of issues where the Council has achieved results. He points to violence against women, children’s rights and the right to water and sanitary facilities. According to Mr Verhagen, the periodic reviews that governments are required to take regarding the human rights situation in their own country have proved effective. For that matter, the Netherlands was criticised by the Council regarding a number of issues including discrimination and its asylum policy.
Mr Verhagen is worried about too much emphasis being placed on religious identity and blasphemy. He fears it will come at the expense of attention for individuals.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
In billing the flotilla as a humanitarian mission, the IHH — the expedition's Islamist sponsor — exploited the Turks' Achilles heel: their generosity. Turks think of themselves as charitable and compassionate, as indeed they are. They genuinely believe, because this is what has been reported here, that the Palestinians are starving. They know almost nothing about the reasons for the blockade. They believe that the ship was on a humanitarian mission and nothing but a humanitarian mission. They are bewildered that anyone would have interfered with such a noble-minded endeavour. They do not know that there were no humanitarian supplies on the Mavi Marmara. They do not know the most rudimentary facts about Hamas. As one man said: "These are elected people. It's not like they took over by force, via a coup."
Almost no one in Turkey understands any language but Turkish. If this obviously thoughtful man was unaware that indeed, Hamas took over precisely by force, via a coup, it is because he had no way to know. The men and women to whom we spoke were astonished when we told them that Israeli officials had invited the ship to disembark at Ashdod and deliver the aid overland. But they were not disbelieving — and importantly, when we told them this, it changed their view. Many spontaneously said that they knew they could not trust what they heard in the news, that the situation confused them and that something about the story just didn't sound right.
continue reading herrreeeee
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The Turkish authorities took no action 3.5 years ago after they were tipped about the imminent assassination of Dink. Even a hint about the identity of the murderer and his accomplices didn’t make the police move.
Dink caused a stir when he accused the Turkish of massacring Armenians during the First World War. He was threatened by Turkish nationalists who felt that Dink had insulted Turkishness. The Turkish public prosecutor complained to him and Dink was sentenced to six months probation.
Monday, September 13, 2010
“The Netherlands is a country where human rights are high on the agenda”, Mr Roth said. And the job of the Amsterdam office will be to press home Human Rights Watch’s message with the Dutch media, policy makers and government.
However, the Netherlands also comes in for sharp criticism from Human Rights Watch. The organisation slams the exam on Dutch society which immigrants to the Netherlands are obliged to take as “discriminatory”, and is concerned that the Dutch have been sending asylum seekers back to Somalia, where they risk being tortured.
It's all about how you interpreted the facts.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
By Hans de Wit, Okan Altinparmak and Claire Berlinski
Het referendum over de Turkse grondwet dient uitsluitend de islamitische AKP-regering.
Morgen gaat Turkije naar de stembus om, via een referendum, vóór of tegen wijzigingen in de huidige grondwet te stemmen. Althans, dat is de opzet van de regerende AKP. Iedereen in Turkije wil een nieuwe grondwet om de huidige, door de Turkse generaals in 1982 ingevoerde, te vervangen. Maar bij dit referendum worden vraagtekens geplaatst: er is geen brede maatschappelijke discussie aan voorafgegaan en de Nee-campagne wordt als subversief gezien.
Vreemd is ook dat de voormalige voorzitter van de parlementaire commissie voor Turkije en de EU, Joost Lagendijk, de Turkse en Nederlandse bevolking herhaaldelijk laat weten dat Europa de huidige islamistische regering van Erdogan moet toejuichen vanwege deze hervormingen. Een Turkije met een nieuwe grondwet maakt de weg vrij voor een Turkije in de EU, zegt de nieuwe inwoner van Turkije, Joost Lagendijk.
Waarom schrijven wij ‘de islamistische regering van Erdogan’? Islamisten zijn moslims met een politieke agenda die je eerst vertellen dat zij moslim zijn en niet bijvoorbeeld Turk of Nederlander. Zij denken niet in termen van nationaliteit, maar van religieuze identiteit. Vandaar dat zij de EU ‘christelijk’ noemen. Ook gebruiken zij Al-taqiyya: het geoorloofd liegen, ook tegenover moslims die het niet met hen eens zijn, waaronder de 20 miljoen Alevieten in Turkije. Hoe kan Turkije onder zo’n islamitische regering de EU van dienst zijn?
1960, 1971, 1980 en 1997 zijn de jaren waarin het leger de macht greep, om het communisme en om de radicale islam tegen te gaan. Als gevolg van deze coups werd Europa de speeltuin van diverse conservatieve, nationalistische en religieuze identiteiten uit Turkije. Vanaf de jaren zestig zijn er niet alleen Turkse gastarbeiders naar Nederland gekomen, maar ook veel politieke vluchtelingen: de Koerden, de fascistoïde Grijze Wolven en de volgelingen van oud-premier Erbakan, tot voor kort de leider van de Nationale Visie Beweging (Milli Görüs) die staat voor anti-westerse, anti-democratische ideeën en een antisemitisch sentiment.
Friday, September 10, 2010
I'm worried, because in the end one way or the other, the populist Freedom Party will step on the smoking remains of the institution called serious politics and will become a disgrace for The Netherlands. In my opinion we now can only choose between two bad options. One is to opt for a left oriented cabinet, which will be able to blow a fresh wind through the country, to set the record straight politically, economically, socially and in many more areas. Therefore the PVV is forced back into the opposition again. The disadvantage of this scenario is that the party will be able to continue its fear spreading, stigmatising ideas about the islamic population, happily encouraging extremism, so it can blame the scapegoat even more... And, if all goes 'well', after four years, the PVV will celebrate a glorious victory at the next elections and the goal to become the voice of the mass will be achieved.
The second bad option is to let the PVV form a coalition with whatever political party on the right side of the political spectrum (the Liberal Party is available for cooperation) and have them govern the country. This can either result in a stable government, which would be not bad... or it will fall apart after a few months, because of a lack of suitable people for the job and those jokers who make it as an excellence will only hunger for power (just like we saw in 2002 with the LPF of the assasinated Pim Fortuyn). After those months, the PVV will have proven that they can not be taken seriously and they will vanish off the political map faster than they set foot in Parliament.
Again this is a choice between two evils.
Personnally I would prefer the second option. In the very near future it would be bad for the country, but on the long run society would be released of this bunch of nut cases, calling themselves politicians, lead by a demagogue.
All options are open, maybe there will be a government formed of left winged parties, but in all cases I am embarrased for the 1.5 million people that put their vote on a non-democratic party, that has only one aim; to attract the attention for spreading fear among those who can't think for themselves.
Too bad those people don't (or plainly can't) read columns like this...
Thursday, September 9, 2010
The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries covered by the Report.
The Netherlands ranks 8th and Turkey 66nd.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Osman Ozcan is the aggressive behavior of his players so tired that he wants the club shut down. "These guys are completely lost," he complains in the Dutch newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’.
A 35-year-old amateur player from the St. Joseph was last sunday beaten up on the field of FC Vatanspor. "After the final whistle they started the beating," said Clement Vanmensbrugge, secretary of St. Joseph. Six players threw themselves at one of our players, that boy has had to cope with a lot of broken stuff. Saint Joseph's plays will never play Vatanspor anymore, for any money in the world. "
"Not the first time '
The chance that not one team ever will play against Vatanspor, is great, because the president wants to quit the club. "This situation is no longer tenable," he says. "It is not the first time my players kick a riot."
"I do not know what my boys got into, but wherever they come, problems arise. If a Turk they feel easily offended and wronged, I think, every remark is perceived as racism, and they cannot handle themselves. I am very disappointed and sad, but I see no other solution than pulling the plug Vatanspor. A pity, but if those guys want to fight, they should find another sport. Karate or something. "
Monday, September 6, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
In France, police broke up Roma camps up and down the country this summer. At least 8,100 Roma were put on planes to Romania and Bulgaria, the countries where they have originally come from, with a cheque in their hands. Opponents of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s harsh policies called the operation “deportations”. President Sarkozy, supported by a large part of the population, thinks Romania and Bulgaria should do more to look after their returning citizens.
These two countries are being given a lot of European money to do just this. The European Social Fund invests 17.5 billion euros in 'vulnerable groups' in Europe. The lion’s share, more than 13 billion over a period of six years, is earmarked for use with the Roma. "That is an awful lot," says a Brussels researcher who has investigated the amounts paid out.
The money which flows to agencies in eastern Europe is extensively checked by the European Commission. But on the subject of how the money is finally spent in, for example, Romania “it is up to the Romanians themselves” says a source within the commission.
"The chance that the money is used for other purposes, is a constant risk," says Romanian MEP Renate Weber.
Her colleague Dennis de Jong of the Dutch Socialist Party goes further, he says a large portion of European money, intended for Roma integration projects in eastern Europa, “goes missing” . He adds that the European Auditor has been warning for some time that it is impossible to vouch for a lot of that money. It is often a question of corruption.
The political correctness with which west European politicians speak about the problems of Roma, doesn't hamper discussions in east European politics. Most East Europeans are incredibly discriminatory towards Roma. Hungarian, Czech and Bulgarian social workers are adament: it is evident that Roma are disadvantaged, but what role do Roma themselves play?
"They are responsible for their own negative image," say many people running Roma projects. Their experience is that the Roma are not particularly motivated to change their predicament.
Meanwhile, planeloads of Chinese, Vietnamese and Indians fly into Romania every day to replace the Romanians who are going to work in west European countries. An absurd situation thinks Ms Weber. The Asians are "cheaper and more disciplined workers. While the Roma reject this imposed discipline."
She thinks there is a lot of discrimination on the Romanian labour market. Ms Weber: "Romanian employers prefer to take on Chinese or Vietnamese workers."
On Monday, integration ministers from six EU member states will meet in Paris to discuss a tough deportation policy. President Sarkozy has only invited countries which already take a hard line. The Netherlands is not one of them.
EU billions for Roma “go missing” is written by Tijn Sadée
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Tonight the negotiations for a new Dutch cabinet failed, led by counselor Ivo Opstelten. Earlier yesterday Elio Di Rupo resigned at the Belgian King, because he was not able to create a solid coalition in Belgium.
Elio Di Rupo
My suggestion would be to switch both counselors, just to see if an objective and refreshing point of view would help both countries to be able to start a serious national government.
Besides I'm very disappointed that the Freedom Party of Wilders will join the opposition once again. The risk of this is that Wilders has carte blanche again to shout at the government, so he will get more and more support until the next elections.