Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dutch-Turkish ex-minister makes handlines again.

The number two on Labour's election list, former deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak (born in Sivas Turkey) told journalists that civil servants should be allowed to refuse to perform same-sex marriages on religious grounds. In fact her view is in direct opposition to "the progressive stance on refusenik civil servants taken by the party".

One wonders if she would allow a neo-Nazi civil servant to refuse to marry a Jew and a Gentile or if she would condone a refusal by a white nationalist civil servant to marry people of different races. She always had the benefit of the doubt but now she really has to shut up.

Looks like that she already regretted her 'opinion', but the damage is already done: Labor Party was always strict regular but became more and more a party which radical stance against everything Christian or Jew goes hand in hand with a pro-islamitic course. By the end of May the Muslem Brotherhood (banned in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia etc.) will organize a congres in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Most political parties already protested this 'event', but not Labor!

Day Opening - April 21

Chateau Chambord, Loire Valley, France

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Better of in prison than on welfare...

An unlikely victim of the current global economic crisis: Dutch prisons. “Thousands of detainees are without work… as companies farm out less and less work to custodial institutions.” In order to combat this downward trend “a national marketing organisation is being set up to attract new customers.” It’s a dramatic turnaround. As recently as 2008, the prisons had trouble keeping up with demand.

Dutch prisons have a long working tradition, which takes in everything from making clothes to metal work and carpentry and some institutions even have complete factories and a range of companies from painting firms to print shops. Call centres have also been added to the range of services provided. The detainees are paid 76 cents an hour, roughly equivalent to a social welfare income. The recent downturn poses a problem for prison regimes, as rules dictate that guards cannot simply force prisoners to spend more time in their cells.
You get paid the same as someone on welfare...but you don't pay rent and food...

Day Opening - April 20

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Monday, April 19, 2010

Minimum age for prostitutes now 21 in the Netherlands

Women working as prostitutes in the Netherlands should be at least 21 years of age, caretaker Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin has decided. The minister, a Christian Democrat, has proposed raising the legal prostitution age from the earlier threshold of 18.

His Christian Union colleague, caretaker Youth and Family Minister André Rouvoet had earlier signalled a similar desire for a higher minimum age for prostitutes. In a debate in the Lower House the populist right-wing Freedom Party, led by Geert Wilders, had asked for such an age rise. MPs said they want better protection for young girls against so-called loverboys, young pimps who win a girl's confidence and then force her into prostitution. (click on link to read the article) It is expected that a majority in the Lower House will accept Minister Hirsch Ballin's proposal.
Brothel owners in The Hague earlier took the initiative to raise the age to 21 in an attempt to eradicate exploitation by pimps and loverboys. The Amsterdam council, too, said it favoured a higher minimum age.
The Dutch caretaker cabinet is working on a set of measures to strengthen prostitution controls. There will be more identity checks to prevent under-21s to prostitute themselves illegally. Those in favour say that older women are more independent and better able to fend off unruly clients or pushy pimps. They would also be harder for traffickers to recruit.
The Dutch ban on brothels was lifted ten years ago. The exploitation of prostitution facilities is no longer illegal, it is seen as a legal source of income.
By being brought within the rule of law, brothel owners have to pay income taxes, and they have to treat prostitutes like regular employees or freelances.
It is estimated there are some 20,000 to 30,000 fulltime prostitutes, half of them foreign, in the Netherlands (population 16.5 million).

Source: Radio Netherlands Worldwide

The Difference

Day Opening - April 19

Spring Love...

Sunday, April 18, 2010


It’s a while ago that I wrote an update but this time some interesting news; some of you wondered why Sandra didn’t write anymore. Good news, last Thursday she gave birth to a healthy daughter. One and a half year after her first born a son! Congratulations Sandra!!

Also, two sites are added to Internations blog rol: one of Blanca, a Spanish woman but born and bred in Sweden where she lived for a while before returning to Spain and Morocco where she spent 4 years until last year when she decided to move back to Spain. Her blog is called Spanish Dreams. Also on the blog roll a blog of a Dutch journalist Jenny Theirlynck called, and interesting blog about Turkey (in Dutch) with sometimes heated discussions. Enjoy both of them.

In a couple of days Ö and I will travel to Syria, for both of us the first time. We will stay there a couple of days and then back to Istanbul to prepare for a 1 week trip to Madrid and Barcelona. We both have been to Spain but not to these cities. So more exiting pleasures. O has here annual meeting/festivities in Madrid so it will be fun. Next year it will be Rio de Janeiro, so we will go to Latin America the first weeks of May 2011 for a couple of weeks, including Buenos Aires! And probably Montevideo/Uruguay as well. Always nice as a company cover all your air tickets and the first week of your stay.
Anyway, the next couple of weeks I will be less on line and for EC droppers...also that will decrease for the time being...

Will Turkic Cyprus or TRNC be a Turkish colony?

Today the Northern part (or Turkish part) of Cyprus called, TRNC (KKTC) will vote for a new president.

The outcome will be extremely  important to the peace talks on the island and Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. But polls indicates that challenger, and hardline nationalist Dervis Eroglu is ahead of the republic of North Cyprus’ incumbent president Mehmet Ali Talat who helds peace talks with the Southern (Greek) part for over a couple of years now.
If Mr Eroglu wins from the more moderate Talat, negotiations with the Greek part of the island could be in jeopardy.
In 1983 the Turkish Cypriots declared an independent republic, which is only recognised by Turkey, while the Southern Part, The Republic of Cyprus is internationally recognized only not by Turkey.
There are ca. 90.000 people originated from the Turkish part living in the TRNC among 160.000 'settlers' of mainland Turkey and around 40.000 Turkish soldiers. Looks like 'colonialism new-style!'
How fair are these elections when settlers (often illegal) can vote in such a crucial election?!
Already in 2003, the PUM, Patriotic Union Movement of Northern Cyprus, stresses at the ECHR, that Turkey should be held responsible for distributing "citizenship" to settlers and draws attention to the Vienna III Agreement, asking the Court to announce that the settlers could not be granted citizenship before a solution in Cyprus is reached.

Day Opening - April 18

Vasco Da Gama Bridge, Lisbon. Portugal (longest bridge in Europe, 17.2 km)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Statement #36

“In itself, homosexuality is as limiting as heterosexuality: the ideal should be to be capable of loving a woman or a man; either, a human being, without feeling fear, restraint, or obligation.”
Simone de Beauvoir

Day Opening - April 17

Spring, Varos village, Limnos island, Greece.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Iran release high ranking al-Quade leader...(on a new 'peace mision'?)

Iran releases high ranking and notorious Al-Qaeda leader and intelligence agencies around the world are on high alert.

The Egyptian Saif al-Adl is believed to have been behind the creation of al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the US navy ship USS Cole. His release “could double or even treble the number of terrorist attacks” says  reliable sources.
In spite of reporting that little is know about terrorist network’s third man, not even his real name or date of birth its easy to reconstruct an extensive, but bloody curriculum vitae. The jihad commander, who has eight aliases, was born in around 1960, became radicalised in the 1980s while being promoted to commander in the Egyptian army. He was arrested in 1987 for setting up the terrorist cell behind the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. He became an explosives expert and is a member of al-Qaeda’s highest organisation its military committee.

The reason for his release is revenge on the United States. Apparently Tehran has been threatening for years to let the ‘jihad jackal’ loose, even though it has always refused to confirm or deny his house arrest. The United States has offered five million dollars for the golden tip leading to his arrest.
And today the press officer of the Iran embassy in Turkey wrote a letter in a Turkish daily about Iran's 'peaceful' ambitions...

Day Opening - April 16

Tuscany, Italy, Rainbow (the hand of God) by Roberto Carli

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Pope is doing it again.

Tuesday’s comments by the Vatican’s second man, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone indicating a connection between “homosexuality and paedophilia” has led to furious reactions throughout the world. The cardinal, who made the comments in Santiago in Chile, says there is scientific evidence for his claims.

While the Pope, previous as a cardinal, himself may be guilty of covering up sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests! German magazine Die Zeit revealed last week that he personally appealed to a US bishop to stop a church trial of Father Murphy in 1998 for the sexual abuse of 200 deaf children. In a letter to the bishop he wrote 'that father Murphy had suffered enough and was in poor health'. My ass! No, not mine, his!

Hence, the Dutch gay rights organisation COC calls the cardinal’s claim at least as “absolute nonsense”. It says his words contradict a 2009 report by the US Bishops Conference that concludes that there is no connection between homosexuality and paedophilia. According to a spokesperson even the pope dismissed such a connection in The New York Times two years ago. (Cannot find the link again)
Another Dutch person, the Theology professor at Amsterdam’s Free University, Ruard Ganzevoort, says the comments demonstrate the chasm between the moral thinking of society and the moral thinking of the church. In the church’s eyes both are violations of the rules. And Pastoral psychologist Anke Bisshops says she has no idea which scientific evidence the cardinal is referring to. “It seems to be another Vatican slip up: either the Jews or homosexuals are to blame.”  She points out how inward-looking the Vatican is. In its culture this is not a strange thing to say, confirming how estranged the Roman Catholic church is to the rest of the world.
Inward looking and outward to innocent children!
On the picture above you can see how lively the Pope is.
No death threats from Catholic radical suicide bombers however...

Iceland; A Paradice for (internet) Journalists?

Iceland’s much anticipated “Truth Report” into the causes of the 2008 financial crisis has highlighted not only the “extreme negligence” of senior political and financial figures, but also the lack of openness and transparency about just what the country’s banking sector was getting up to. A new parliamentary initiative seeks to ensure that Icelanders will never be kept ignorant again.

When the Icelandic economy imploded in 2008, the citizens of the vast island with a tiny population were stunned. Most Icelanders had no idea their nation was so financially exposed. Government documents leaked to the public since then show that many in power knew exactly what was going on. Yesterday’s report into the financial crisis has also confirmed that the then head of Iceland’s central bank, along with the then prime minister, withheld information about the true state of the country’s economy.

Paradise for journalists

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, openness has become a catchword in Iceland, along with the belief that everyone has not just a right but also a duty to know what the government is getting up to in their name. One response to this is the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (Immi), a proposal supported by all parties that aims to make Iceland a haven for investigative journalists and whistleblowers everywhere.
The official website of the Immi says “Because of an economic meltdown in the banking sector, a deep sense is among the nation that a fundamental change is needed in order to prevent such events from taking place again”. The proposal tasks the government with adopting laws that provide strong protection for sources and freedom of expression and information both at home and abroad. As some nations are known as tax havens for their secrecy, the Immi suggests Iceland could be the opposite – a journalism paradise known for its openness.

The proposal has a practical as well as an idealistic side, suggesting that attracting internet-based international media and publishers could become a growth industry for Iceland.

Source: RWD

Day Opening - April 14

Old Monastary, Syria (nex weekend we will have a XXL weekend - we spend that weekend in Syria and Lebanon (Beirut)