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Toddler, three, drowns in ditch at Duinrell amusement park

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A three-year-old girl was found drowned in a ditch at the Duinrell amusement park on Sunday.

The girl’s family were staying at the Duinrell campsite in Wassenaar, and she was reported missing at around 1pm.

Police and the fire brigade joined the hunt for the girl, and a police helicopter was brought in to help with the search.

The child’s body was eventually found in a ditch by the campsite. Police are now attempting to find out what happened. (DutchNews)

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Delft student films women using rest rooms, camera hidden in coffee cup

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A Delft University student has been caught secretly filming women using the toilets at the student association Virgiel, news agency ANP said on Friday.

The student had hidden the camera in a coffee cup which he left in the toilets. At least three women were filmed before the camera was found. The student was traced and has admitted hiding the camera, Virgiel said in a statement.

The student society has now expelled him, describing his action as ‘completely unacceptable’. It is unclear as yet if the students will make a formal police complaint. (DutchNews)

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Public prosecutor is investigating sexual abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The public prosecution department has begun a criminal investigation into sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses community after at least five people have made a formal complaint, justice minister Sander Dekker told MPs on Thursday.

The complaints are being dealt with by specialised officials in different parts of the country, Dekker said in answer to MPs’ questions. Last month, MPs from across the political spectrum called for an investigation after the church said it would not sanction an independent inquiry into dozens of claims of abuse.

The church authorities say that measures have been put in place to protect children and very few victims have come forward. However, a foundation set up by victims of sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses has already registered 276 potential cases of abuse.

Dekker said last year that the church should look to the example of the Catholic church to dealing with complaints about sexual abuse. In total, 3,712 people have reported being victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic church to a special hotline set up in 2010. There are some 30,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Netherlands. (DutchNews)

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Special centres for disruptive asylum seekers are barely used

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Two refugee centres which were opened at the end of last year to accommodate asylum seekers who cause problems in regular centres have barely been used so far, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.

The two centres, in Amsterdam and Hoogeveen, had housed just 36 people up to March this year, the paper said. It bases its claim on documents obtained using freedom of information legislation.

The two centres cost €1.2m to set up and operate a stricter regime than in regular refugee centres, the paper said. Most of the money has gone on personnel costs.

The central refugee organisation COA said that agreement had been reached with Amsterdam and Hoogeveen to start out with a few asylum seekers as a test.

There are no figures available for numbers after March. Junior justice minister Mark Harbers told the paper that it would be premature to draw conclusions about the new approach.

He said he had the impression that ‘removing a disruptive person to the new facility has an impact on the people left behind’ who realise that bad behaviour has consequences. (DutchNews)

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VAT hike will increase household costs by €300 in 2019

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Costs for the average Dutch household are expected to increase by €300 in 2019 as the low value added tax rate increases to 9% from 6%, according to a report by ING.

Groceries, books and theatre tickets will cost more because of the rise. However, income tax is set to go down and income will rise for most households, boosting purchasing power.

Shifting the focus of taxation away from personal income and toward consumption is part of the government’s tax reform plan, ING said Increasing the lower BTW rate is expected to raise €3.1bn and will add 0.6% to inflation, according to figures supplied by the government think tank CPB. (DutchNews)

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KLM pilots threaten strike over pay, work pressure: Telegraaf

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Pilots for Dutch flag carrier KLM are threatening to strike over pay and work pressure, according to a letter from the pilot’s union VNV to its members, the Telegraaf reported on Monday It remains unclear when any industrial action would be taken, but the paper said none is planned before Friday.

KLM and the pilot’s union VNV reached tentative agreement over a new pay-and-conditions contract for the pilots in May. However, the 2,200 pilots employed by KLM are unhappy about the terms.

KLM said the negotiations with the pilots are now in ‘a difficult phase’. ‘KLM does not realise how broad the unrest is and that severe measures are needed to alleviate pressure at work,’ the letter said.

‘If KLM does not agree with our proposal, then we will begin with work stoppages, the VNV said. KLM has admitted it is taking the Friday ultimatum seriously, the Telegraaf said.

Dutch pilots working for Irish budget airline Ryanair went on strike last Friday. There was little disruption to Ryanair flights from Eindhoven, but the strike did upset plans of about 55,000 holiday makers. (DutchNews)

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Front Street partially closed over the weekend

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that Front Street will be partially closed in connection with Phase 2 work of the demolition of damaged balusters and exterior repaint work of the House of Parliament.

The partial closure of Front Street will be from the intersection St. Jan Steeg to the front of the House of Parliament.

The closure will take place on Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12 from 10.30am to 7.30pm and 10.00pm to 6.00am.

Motorists and pedestrians are requested to pay attention to traffic directional signs and to be vigilant and observant of equipment that will be used during the aforementioned hours.

The works will be carried out by New Image Design Contractor N.V.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconveniences this may cause.

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Falcon disrupts marriage ceremony, loses wedding ring

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A trained falcon which was due to deliver the ring at a marriage ceremony in Duurstede castle on Wednesday flew off and lost the ring instead.

The couple – named by the Telegraaf as Tom and Maaike – had ordered the falcon which was supposed to fly the ring into the tent where the ceremony was taking place.

However, the Telegraaf said, the bird became disorientated and flew off instead, stopping some 300 metres away and losing the ring as it went. Despite a major search of the grounds, the ring has not yet turned up.

According to the Gelderlander, metal detectors and the fire brigade were even brought in to help with the search. The ring, the Telegraaf says, is of great sentimental value to the bride because it was partly made with gold from her grandfather’s wedding ring.

Nevertheless, the wedding went ahead without the ring, the Gelderlander said. (DutchNews)

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H. Francees leaves the firefight department after 42 years of loyal service

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - Mr. Franciscus H. Francees, head of the prevention department, said goodbye to the Bonaire fire brigade after 42 years of loyal service.

During his last working day, on July 31th, 2018, family, friends and colleagues came together to say goodbye. During the reception several colleagues and friends gave a speech.

Deputy general commander Jan Janga said that Mr. Francees was always ready and invested a lot in the corps to make positive changes. He also said that, over the years, Mr. Francees had grown from aspiring firefighter to chief fireman after hard work and perseverance.

For the past 20 years, Mr. Francees worked as head of the prevention department and was deputy local commander. He also carried out preventative advice on Saba and St. Eustatius.

In his farewell speech Mr. Francees advised the new generation of firefighters to keep integrity of paramount importance. According to him is integrity the fundamental to be a good firefighter.

The BKCN thanks Mr. F.H. Francees for 42 years of service and wishes him good luck a lot of success with his well-deserved retirement. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Landfill Fire: Persons with respiratory challenges advised to close windows and doors

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Dump Site#1 on Pond Island is on fire.  Residents living downwind in the Philipsburg area and surrounding neighborhoods from the smoke, should close windows and doors.

This advisory is especially for persons who have a respiratory challenge such as asthma or shortness of breath.

The Fire Department is working on containing the fire at the dump on Pond Island which erupted during the late evening hours of Tuesday. 

The company responsible for the management of the landfill is also working diligently to extinguish the fire.

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