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MPs return from holiday early to discuss contaminated egg scandal

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Political party spokesmen on farming will return from their summer breaks early next week to debate the growing egg crisis amid further confusion about the timeline of the scandal.

A majority of MPs has summoned health minister Edith Schippers to answer questions about the affair, which is set to cost the Dutch egg industry €150m. In particular, MPs want to know more about what happened to the tip sent to Dutch food safety board NVWA at the end of last year.

Originally described as a ‘vague’ report, Schippers has now admitted that it expressly mentioned ChickFriend, the Dutch company thought to be at the heart of the scandal.

However, the tip was not registered as a matter for the regulators but as a possible crime. It is unclear if a criminal investigation actually started.

Consequences

Meanwhile, the scandal is costing the industry upwards of €150m in special measures and lost earnings. So far 1.5 million hens have been slaughtered and tens of millions of eggs destroyed, the AD said.

Ministers have also urged banks to be generous towards poultry farmers who run into financial trouble because of the scandal. The tax office has also been told to give farmers more time to pay their bills if necessary.  (DutchNews)

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Minister Jacobs hands over Back to School Drive materials to Ki-Mani Olivacce

POND ISLAND - On August 11th, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Silveria Jacobs, handed over the donations to the back to school drive to Ki-Mani Olivacce.

The back to school drive was geared towards children in foster care as well as children who are most in need.

The backpacks contained of notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, three ring binders, glue sticks and pencil cases. 

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Central Committee meeting about presentation on half year report on the Budget 2017 set for Thursday

PHILIPSBURG – The Central Committee will meet in a session on August 17. The Minister of Finance will be present.

The Central Committee meeting which was adjourned on August 14, 2017 will be reconvened on Thursday, August 17, 2017 at 10.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is:

Presentation on half year report on the Budget 2017 and the Country’s finances by Minister of Finance.

This meeting was requested by MP A.M.R. Irion, MP drs. R.E. Samuel, and MP G.C. Pantophlet.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

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Making a porn film in church is not a criminal offence, public prosecutor says

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The public prosecution department has decided not to take legal action against a porn company which used a Catholic church in Tilburg as the setting for one of its films, broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday.

The Sint Jozefkerk authorities made a formal complaint against the makers of the film, which was broadcast on an internet channel run by Dutch porn star Kim Holland. The film included a couple having sex in a confession booth.

‘We consider it to be insulting and showing a lack of respect but we do not think that the law has been broken,’ the department told NOS. ‘Blasphemy is not a criminal offence and there is no question here of trespassing.’

Although the church could take out a private prosecution against Holland, Warden Harrie de Swart said he considered the case closed. ‘I know the bishop is considering a civil case against the makers but I am advising against it.

There has been enough fuss already.’ Kim Holland earlier apologised for the action and said it was down to an independent producer. Her company has also been involved in making sex films at the Walibi amusement park. (DutchNews)

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Men at centre of contaminated egg scandal must stay in jail, court says

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The directors of a Dutch company said to be at the heart of Europe’s contaminated egg scandal have been remanded in custody for two weeks while the investigation continues.

The Chickfriend bosses – Martin van der B aged 31 and Mathijs IJ aged 24 – were arrested last Thursday. They face charges of endangering public health by supplying the pesticide fipronil to poultry farmers.

They are also suspected of dealing in a banned substance. Fipronil is banned from use in circumstances where it could enter the food chain, but is a key ingredient in some flea preparations used on cats and dogs.

The two are being kept in ‘isolation’ which means they are not allowed any contact with the outside world apart from their lawyer. Millions of eggs and tens of thousands of chickens have been destroyed because of the scandal.

Experts put the damage to the Dutch poultry sector at €150m. (DutchNews)

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Body of missing Dutchman is found, mystery deepens

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The body of a young Dutchman, reported missing in southern Turkey in early July, has been found in a dried-up river bed, Turkish police said on Monday.

It is not clear how Joey Hoffmann died, but some sources told the Telegraaf that he does not have any signs of being stabbed or shot. Police hope a post-mortem will determine what happened to the 21-year-old.

Hoffmann had travelled to Turkey with his friends Björn and Derya Breuker to help them build a house on land they had bought near Silifke, a small town in the south of the country.

His disappearance and the role of his friends have since been mired in mystery. All three came from the Overijssel town of Haaksbergen. The couple plus Hoffman are said to have arrived in the region on July 5 and stayed overnight in the area where the house was to be built.

However, the couple say Hoffman became homesick and took a taxi to another town to start his journey home on July 8. Nothing was heard from him since then. Bjorn Breukers was found several days later by soldiers close to their campsite with serious injuries.

He claimed to have fallen from a rock. He was hospitalised and the couple then disappeared from the radar. Hoffman was reported missing by his family on July 17.

Björn and Derya were picked up by police on August 2 and questioned for two days before being released and ordered to stay in Turkey. Police have said they are not considered suspects, broadcaster NOS said on Monday. (DutchNews)

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The Netherlands deports mother as children, 11 and 12, go into hiding

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Two children who have lived in the Netherlands for nine years but face deportation to Armenia have gone into hiding while their mother is deported, broadcaster NOS said on Monday.

Armina Hambartsjumian, the mother of Lily (11) and Howick (12), was picked up at her home at a refugee centre in Amersfoort last week and was put on a flight to Paris on Monday, Defence for Children said.

She will then be put on another plane to the Armenian capital Jerevan. ‘We have never before come across a case in which a mother is deported while the children remain in the Netherlands,’ Defence for Children said.

The children were born in Russia and have never been to Armenia. Nor do they speak the language. The children were not at home when their mother was picked up and their whereabouts are unknown.

She has also refused to say where they are, NOS said. Last Friday, judges in The Hague ruled that the family can be deported because the children do not qualify for the child amnesty introduced by the outgoing government in 2012.

In order to qualify, children must have become rooted in the Netherlands and their families must have cooperated with attempts to deport them. In addition, the fact that the mother has been separated from her children is her own fault, the court said.

Appeal

On Friday, friends of the children made a last-ditch appeal to junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff for clemency. Supporters of the family say they should be allowed to stay while the coalition negotiations are ongoing.

A chance in the amnesty rules are thought to be one of the topics up for discussion. ChristenUnie and D66 are both part of the coalition talks and the two parties were involved with efforts to relax the rules earlier.

‘I am aware of the situation, but giving a reaction would not be in the children’s interests, ChristenUnie MP Joel Voordewind told Trouw. Only 4% of the 3,000 application under the child amnesty rules have been successful.

The children’s ombudsman Margrite Kalverboar has described the deportation as a scandal and says the amnesty rules need to be changed. The mother, Armina Hambartsjumian, told NOS last week she does not know how she will manage in Armenia. Despite having Armenian nationality, she was born in Azerbaijan and came to the Netherlands via Russia. (DutchNews)

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AkzoNobel again stalls move by hostile shareholders

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – AkzoNobel, the Amsterdam-based paints and coatings producer which has been the subject of protracted hostile takeover attempts by its US rival PPG Industries, chalked up another victory in an Amsterdam court room on Thursday evening.

Amsterdam district court rejected a move by Elliott Advisors, AkzoNobel’s biggest shareholder with a 9.5% stake, to dismiss Antony Burgmans, the Dutch group’s supervisory board chairman, the Telegraaf reported on Friday.

Elliott was joined in the case by another dissident shareholder, York Capital Management, which owns 0.6% of Akzo. Elliott, often described as a ‘vulture fund’ claims Burgmans had frustrated attempts for Elliott to meet with AkzoNobel executives.

Elliott lost a similar case in Amsterdam company court a month ago. The judge on Thursday said Elliott’s request was ‘premature’, particularly because AkzoNobel itself has called an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting for 8 September.

PPG Industries made a series of bids for AkzoNobel starting in March. The last valued the Dutch company at €26.9bn. Akzo and Pittsburgh-based PPG are now in a six-month compulsory cooling-off period which expires in December. (DutchNews)

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Dutch apple harvest lowest in decade, prices set to soar

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The apple harvest in the Netherlands is about 30% down than a year ago and is the smallest in the past 10 years, the produce sector lobby group AGF said on Friday.

As a result, prices for eating as well as industrial apples (used for juices) are expected to reach record highs, AGF added. The problems began with an unusual warm spell in April and early May which caused the trees to blossom earlier than usual.

Then an unexpected and heavy frost killed off much of the crop, AGF said. Prices are expected to be 30% to 50% higher than usual said Izak Heijboer, AGF fruit specialist.

He added there were a number of uncertainties, such as hail, which could still affect the harvest.  Two years ago the Dutch apple crop was decimated by hail. (DutchNews)

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A long commute? Nearly 40% of Dutch live, work in same town

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch live close to their work, new figures by the national statistics office CBS published on Thursday reveal. The agency said nearly four out of every 10 employees worked in the same community as they lived, with an average commute of 22.6 kilometres.

People living on the edges of the country such as the Wadden islands generally lived and worked in the same place. But this occurred also in the large cities where more than half of employees work and live in the same place.

Most workers had a daily commute of between 15 and 25 kilometres a day. However, commutes of less than 15 kilometres were the norm in places like Amsterdam, Westland, Aalsmeer, Amstelveen, Ouder-Amstel, Bunschoten and Edam-Volendam, the CBS said. (DutchNews)

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