Soualiga Newsday Focus

Soualiga Newsday Focus (1793)

Long waiting lists cripple help for anorexia patients, special centres are being set up

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The government is setting up two regional eating disorder expertise centres after being warned that more people will die of anorexia if specialist help is not ramped up.

K-EET, a team of doctors and psychiatrists set up by health minister Hugo de Jonge earlier this year to monitor help for anorexia sufferers, says long waiting lists and a lack of cohesion in services is crippling help for anorexia patients.

Young people who are early sufferers are not helped in time and their situation quickly worsens, K-EET said. Specialist clinics are already overwhelmed, and patients have to wait over 14 weeks on average for help.

‘We have seen that decentralisation away from the services offered locally has made things worse for people with an eating disorder,’ K-EET project leader Monica Scholten told broadcaster NOS.

‘Because local councils no longer have this duty of care, a link in the chain has disappeared and offering proper care has become more difficult.’ The lack of cooperation and knowledge is another problem, Scholten said.

K-EET has drawn up a roadmap for the next three years aimed at bringing together professionals, increase knowledge and improving cooperation across the regions. Two specialist centres will now open in 2020 and more will follow in 2021, the minister said.

Some 200,000 people have anorexia in the Netherlands and around 10% of patients die.



Man arrested for threatening to blow himself up in support of Zwarte Piet

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A man has been arrested in The Hague for threatening to blow himself up in support of the traditional blackface Zwarte Piet, who has been phased out of many big city Sinterklaas parades.

The man made the threat on Facebook this weekend, and police received several reports from worried people who had seen the posting. The man, aged 49, was arrested on Monday.

The suspect told police that he was sorry about the message, which he had made in reaction to another post. No explosives were found during a search of his home. Nevertheless, he remains in custody and will appear in court on Thursday for a remand hearing.

Police said in a statement that the man had been arrested for crossing the boundary of what is acceptable, by threatening to commit an act which would lead to innocent people being hurt.



Man who stabbed joggers is jailed on four counts of attempted murder

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A man who stabbed several women from a driving car while they were out jogging, or cycling has been found guilty of four counts of attempted murder.

The attacks took place over a three-month period in Noord Holland, leading police to warn women not to go out running or cycling alone in the area where the attacks took place.

René V from Julianadorp was sentenced to six years in jail to be followed by psychiatric prison. The court said it was a miracle that no-one had died. V was also found guilty of attempting to run over one of the women, of threatening several women with rape and stalking.

Two of his victims were stabbed in the arm and two in the chest. One victim spent two days in intensive care after the knife almost touched her heart.

Experts told the court that V was suffering from diminished responsibility, has several personality disorders and that his addiction to amphetamines was also a major issue. He had admitted the attacks shortly after being arrested.



Zwarte Piet protest group accuses police of failing to protect safety

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Protest group Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) has accused police of failing to protect its members’ safety after a weekend in which four people were arrested for violently breaking up a meeting.

The group said it was arranging private security for demonstrations in 12 municipalities where traditional Zwarte Pieten, or ‘black Petes’, played by white actors in blackface make-up, are taking part in the Sinterklaas arrival parade.

‘Our experience is that the police and government are not taking the real threats against us seriously,’ KOZP spokeman Mitchell Esajas said. ‘It is becoming increasingly dangerous for us.’

A meeting of activists on Friday evening in The Hague was broken up by vigilantes who smashed windows of the building, attacked it with fireworks and vandalised cars parked outside.

Police arrested five people, one of whom has since been discounted as a suspect. One of the suspects was a 13-year-old boy. ‘It felt as if we were locked in,’ said Esajas. ‘And if they’d got inside, I’m worried that it wouldn’t have just been cars that were damaged.’

‘Inflammatory’ tweets The group has also filed a police complaint against The Hague businessman John van Zweden, who posted tweets on Friday afternoon calling on people to turn up to the protest ‘with tar, feathers and other shit to drive them out of the city.’

The wallpaper magnate, who became a multi-millionaire through his involvement with Welsh football club Swansea City, has since deleted the tweets. KOZP described the messages as ‘inflammatory’, while Van Zweden told NOS: ‘I’m not giving any more reactions on this issue.’

Police declined to respond to KOZP’s comments when contacted by NOS. Around 46 municipalities, including nine of the 10 largest cities, are including sooty-faced Petes in their Sinterklaas parades this year, while the NTR, which broadcasts the children’s TV show Sinterklaasjournaal, has dropped blackface Petes altogether.

The shift away from traditional Petes, which groups such as KOZP argue are a racist caricature, is most concentrated in the coastal cities and surrounding areas. Around one-third of Dutch people live in communities which still use exclusively traditional Petes.

Terrorism expert Teun van Dongen told NRC that the latest incident reflected the radicalisation of the so-called ‘pro-Pete’ movement, as white supremacist groups such as Pegida and football hooligans have adopted the cause in recent years.

‘What we saw on Friday was a move towards extremism,’ he said. ‘It’s fairly unique to have dozens of people joining in.’ Van Dongen said violence was becoming normalised within the pro-Pete movement.

‘You can see it not just in reports on social media, but also in politics. Parties are saying things that can hardly be distinguished from what extreme right-wing groups are calling for.’



Man arrested for threatening family member

PHILIPSBURG - The dispatched center directed the police patrol on Thursday afternoon November 7th, 2019 approximately 03.30 pm, to the Boardwalk for a family dispute.

The police spoke at the scene with family members of the suspect. The police were told by the complainant, that she has a restraining order against the suspect with the initials C.T. and that he threatened her with bodily harm.

The suspect who was still at Walter Plantz Square was arrested and brought over to the police station in Philipsburg. He was handed over to the detective department. The investigation into this situation is still ongoing. (Sint Maarten Police Force)        


Suspect arrested for being in possession of a stolen vehicle

SUCKER GARDEN - The dispatch center received a call concerning a man who was driving in a stolen pick-up truck on Sucker garden road, police said on Friday.

According to the information, the suspect was driving a white Hyundai H-100 pick-up without a number plate. The patrol encountered the vehicle in sucker garden.

The driver was stopped and the pick-up that he was driving controlled. During the control the police noticed that the vehicle was actually stolen.

The driver of the vehicle with the initials J.E.F was immediately arrested and brought to the police station. He was handed over to the personnel of the detective department who are busy with the investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


Father jailed for sexually abusing young girls during sleep-overs

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A 46-year-old man has been jailed for 40 months to be followed by detention in a psychiatric clinic for sexually abusing eight young girls and the possession of self-made child pornography featuring 24 minors.

The victims were aged eight to 15 and the abuse took place at the man’s home in Alem, a village of 700 people, during sleepovers organised by his own children.

Charges were first brought after one of the girls woke up while he was photographing her, and she told her parents.

They brought in the police. Many of his victims were unaware they had been photographed, the court in Zutphen was told during September’s trial. B, who had lived in the village for 20 years, was also active with both the local primary school and local hockey club, Omroep Gelderland said.

Police found some 34,000 images of children which he had taken on his computer and at his home. B was also ordered to pay his victims between €750 and €6,200 each.



Pilot in Schiphol security scare was instructing a trainee at the time

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The pilot who sparked a security scare at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Wednesday night was giving a trainee instruction when he accidently gave a hijacking alert, airline Air Europa has confirmed.

The pilot activated the hijacking alert code as priority passengers were boarding, putting D pier into lockdown and launching a high-profile military police operation which generated news coverage around the world.

No disciplinary measures will be taken against the pilot because there is nothing to blame him for, the airline told broadcaster NOS. Meanwhile, one of the 26 passengers on board the plane said they only realised the extent of the scare when they were allowed to leave the aircraft.

‘My family rang when I was in the plane because they heard it had been hijacked,’ Javier Domingo told the Parool. ‘They had seen these messages about people with knives on board but none of it was true. We were just sitting talking. Some people were watching films on their iPad.’

Only on leaving the plane, where they were photographed and searched, did passengers realise what had been going on, he said. When the passengers were finally let back on board, the pilot was standing in the doorway.

‘He offered every passenger his apologies on behalf of Air Europa,’ Domingo said. ‘But he did not say that it was he himself who had caused it.’



Dutch bankruptcy lawyer survives gun attack near his home in Germany

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A Dutch lawyer who specialises in bankruptcy law has been shot close to his home just over the border in Germany while out walking his dog.

Philippe Schol, 43, had a practice in Enschede but lived in German town of Gronau. He was fired at from a passing car and was taken to hospital for treatment. His injuries are not life-threatening, but he was hit in the leg by at least one bullet, broadcaster NOS said.

One witness said he heard three shots directed at Schol. The gun was fired from a white car with Dutch number plates which drove off at high speed. According to German police, the car had several occupants.

Website says that the Dutch counter-terrorism unit NCTV was aware of the risk to Schol and that he had been the subject of a risk analysis. And according to local paper Tubantia, the attack could be linked to complex and acrimonious bankruptcy proceedings surrounding a gym club in the town of Losser.

The attack on Schol is the second on a Dutch lawyer within six weeks. On September 18, criminal law specialist Derk Wiersum was shot dead outside his home in the Amsterdam.

He was defending a crown witness in a major drugs and murder trial.



Schiphol security alert is a false alarm, military police alerted by mistake

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A major security scare at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Wednesday evening has turned out to be a false alarm.

Military police said shortly after 7pm they were investigating a situation which, Dutch media reported, involved an Air Europa flight due to leave for Madrid at 19.10.

Pier D was closed to all passengers and prime minister Mark Rutte said he was being kept in touch with developments. Dutch media also reported that a member of the crew had pressed the button to report a hijacking, sparking the security scare.

Shortly after 8.30pm, the military police issued a new message stating that ‘passengers and crew are safely out out of the plane’. ‘The investigation is continuing at the location,’ the Twitter message said.

It then soon transpired that the incident was a false alarm and that the pilot had pressed the emergency code by accident. In line with airport protocol, the emergency services were then alerted.

‘We deeply apologise’, Air Europa said on Twitter. Among the rumours circulating on social media were that three men armed with knives were on the plane, that heavily armed special service police officers had boarded the plane to evacuate the passengers and that Utrecht central railway station had also been evacuated because of a security issue.


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