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Police arrest murder suspect in 25-year-old cold case breakthrough

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Police have arrested a man in connection with the rape and murder of a young woman 25 years ago after taking DNA samples from more than 100 men.

The breakthrough in the case of 19-year-old Milica van Doorn was announced on Monday morning after the family were informed at the weekend. Milica’s body was found dead in a pond in the Kogerveld area of Zaandam in June 1992.

A post-mortem examination revealed she had been raped and stabbed to death. DNA samples indicated that the killer was almost certainly a man of Turkish origin.

This year police asked 133 men from Zaandam’s Turkish community to volunteer their DNA for comparison, 126 of whom agreed. Police would not confirm if the DNA exercise had led directly to the arrest.

None of the men approached to give samples were suspects in the case, but police hoped to trace the killer through family members. Witnesses at the time said they had seen a man of Turkish appearance cycling near the spot where Milica was found.

At a press conference on Monday morning, a spokesman for the family thanked the Turkish community for taking part in the inquiry. (DutchNews)


The Netherlands has lowest rate of teenage mothers in the EU

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Netherlands has the lowest rate of teenage motherhood in the entire EU, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday. In total, 1,492 girls below the age of 21 gave birth in the Netherlands last year – a record low.

At the beginning of this century, some 3,500 Dutch girls gave birth, showing the birth rate among teenagers has more than halved to three per thousand. Most of the teenager mothers are 18 or 19 and last year just 92 girls aged 16 or younger gave birth in the Netherlands.

Experts say the declining Dutch teen pregnancy rate is due to good sex education at school and easy access to contraception. The Netherlands also has one of the lowest abortion rates in the world. In 2015, the last year for which figures are available, the number of abortions carried out on teenagers fell to 3,000.


Switzerland, which is not an EU country, has the lowest rate in Europe at 2.6 per thousand girls. Bulgarian teenagers are the most likely to give birth – there the rate is 41 births per thousand girls.

Even though the Dutch teen birth rate is higher for girls with an Antillean, Syrian or Somali background, their rates are also falling, the CBS said.

The teen pregnancy rate for girls with a native Dutch, Moroccan or Turkish background is about the same at just over two births per 1,000 teenagers. (DutchNews)


Lack of local election candidates could open up councils to criminals

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Political parties are having a hard time finding candidates to stand in the local elections of March next year, making local government vulnerable to criminal infiltration, the NRC reported on Friday.

The paper looked at 75 parties in 35 towns and cities, and found half of them were having trouble recruiting enough potential councillors. Small local parties are particularly strapped for candidates.

Parties are advertising or recruiting via social media in an effort to fill their electoral lists. Fewer than half of the parties do not ask for a certificate of good conduct which would flag up any criminal acts a person has committed, the NRC said.

The association of councillors and the king’s commissioner in Gelderland warned earlier that the lack of candidates makes is relatively easy for criminals to gain a foothold in a local council.

They can then use confidential information about such things as zoning plans, licenses or local crime fighting measures to their own advantage, the paper writes. In 2014 40.2% of councils had ‘some to a lot of trouble’ finding potential councillors. (DutchNews)


Poultry farmers told to keep their birds indoors due to bird flu outbreak

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch poultry farmers were told on Friday to keep their birds indoors following the discovery of a highly infectious variant of bird flu on a duck farm in Biddinghuizen in Flevoland.

Zoos and city farms have also been told to make sure their birds do not come into contact with wild birds, which spread the disease via their droppings.

The 16,000 ducks on the effected farm are being destroyed and a ban on the movement of poultry, eggs and manure has been imposed on a 10 kilometre radius around the farm.

The Dutch food and product safety board has also asked water boards nationwide to alert them if they find dead birds on the country’s lakes and waterways.

Factory firms were also required to keep poultry indoors between last November and mid-April because of an earlier bird flu outbreak. (DutchNews)


Dutch cancer survival rates have risen sharply since the 1960s

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Cancer survival rates in the Netherlands have gone up across the board, the Dutch cancer centre IKNL said on Thursday. In the 1960s, 64% of people with cancer died within five years but survival rates have now doubled, the IKNL said.

There has also been a sharp rise in 10-year survival rates. The results are based on information in the Dutch cancer register, which records all Dutch diagnoses. For example, the five-year breast cancer survival rate has risen from 56% to 88% while for colon cancer the rate has gone up from 40% to 52%.

There has also been progress among forms of cancer which were almost always fatal – the five-year survival rate for people with pancreatic cancer has risen from 0 to 9%.

The research also shows that younger patients have better survival rates than the elderly. This is because they are better able to withstand intensive courses of treatment and are less likely to have complications, such as heart problems or diabetes, the centre said.

Early detection is also key to survival rates and the centre is calling for more preventative testing and better treatment in specialist cancer centres. (DutchNews)


Dutch to ban sending mobile phone messages while riding a bike

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen plans to introduce legislation banning people from sending mobile phone messages while cycling next year.

‘Using Whatsapp and phoning [while cycling] is giving increasing cause for concern,’ the minister said. ‘Everyone knows you can’t keep one eye on your phone and one of the road.

Nevertheless, there is a real temptation to send messages or make phone calls, both on bikes and in the car.’ Although research from the Dutch road safety council shows that sending text messages while cycling has only caused accidents in a limited number of cases, there is a lot of support for a ban, the ministry press statement said.

‘A ban must be clear and enforceable,’ the minister said. ‘The ministry is in talks with the public prosecution department, police and the Council of State. A concrete proposal is slated for 2018.’

In the meantime, the ministry is working on a new campaign focusing on the responsible use of smart phones in traffic. One in three 12 to 21-year-olds cycle and use their phones at the same time and phones are said to have played a role in 20% of bike accidents involving the under-25s, the transport ministry said last year. (DutchNews)


Pupils at rural schools do better than those in inner cities

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Primary schools in rural areas score better than city schools in the tests which most Dutch children take in their last year of primary school, according to research by RTL Nieuws.

RTL’s researchers studied schools’ results to compare performances based on a national average score of 7. The results were also adjusted to take the background of children into account.

The researchers found that the country’s 890 inner city schools scored an average of 6.93 while the 1,511 schools in the most rural areas scored 7.05. The worst big city performance was turned in by Utrecht, with a score of 6.77.

Amsterdam was on 6.79, while The Hague hit the national average of 7. Rotterdam did better, with an average score of 7.14. The scores also show that Islamic and orthodox Protestant schools scored best among the religious institutions, with scores of 7.29 and 7.19 respectively. (DutchNews)


Doctor arrested for secretly filming patients, abusing three girls

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A doctor from Leiden has been arrested on charges of secretly filming female patients as they undressed, as well as the sexual abuse of three girls, the public prosecution department said on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old man, who worked in several different practices throughout the Randstad area, was picked up after the parents of one of the under-age girls went to the police.

The investigation then turned up the other two abuse cases and the secret films. The public prosecutor said the doctor had made ‘several dozen’ films at three different practices.

The police are still trying to trace all the victims. The man appeared in court on Wednesday and was remanded in custody for two months while the investigation continues. (DutchNews)


Man, 74, with dementia won’t face prosecution for raping his step daughter

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A 74-year old man from Oudenbosch will not face criminal prosecution for raping his stepdaughter repeatedly because he is suffering from a progressive form of dementia, Dutch media said on Tuesday.

Judges at the Zeeland-West-Brabant district court suspended the sitting because the man is incapable of understanding the investigation or the charges against him, broadcaster RTL said.

Given the nature of the case, this is likely to be as far as the prosecution gets, RTL said. The man has been charged with raping his step daughter, who is a minor, and the physical abuse of his wife.

The attacks took place between 2010 and 2016. In Dutch law, people who are incapable of understanding what is happening to them in court may not be prosecuted.

The man remains in custody and the court will decide later if the man should be sent to a closed institution to protect the public. (DutchNews)


Primary school teachers to strike again on December 12

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Primary school teachers in the Netherlands are to hold a second one-day strike on December 12 in support of their demand for extra money for education.

The teachers say the government needs to inject €1.4bn in primary education – €900m to boost pay and €500m to improve working conditions and reduce the pressure on teachers.

Face to face talks earlier this week between teachers and education minister Arie Slob – who has earmarked €750m extra for primary schools – failed to produce results.

‘On December 12, primary schools and special education schools will be closed nationwide all day,’ the collective PO-Front said.

The previous one-day strike on October 5 led to most schools closing. In addition, 30,000 teachers went to The Hague for a demonstration close to parliament. No mass demonstration is being planned this time round. (DutchNews)

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