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New patient monitoring for the SMMC Pediatric ward

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL)– The St Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) Pediatric ward has received new patient monitoring devices. The provision of the devices was made possible by the generosity of the AFAS Foundation. 

The AFAS Foundation is part of AFAS, a company based in the Netherlands specialized in software development for different industries. AFAS Foundation supports projects within healthcare, education and society around the world by provision of necessary funding.

The foundation provided the SMMC with 12 devices, both mobile and wall mounted. The new patient monitoring equipment was distributed by the Andar International, a Caribbean provider of world-class medical products and services. 

An Andar representative technician was on hand for the device set-up and software training of the pediatric staff. Mr. Pim Steinmeijer, director of AFAS Caribbean, visited the hospital and was able to observe the monitors in use within the Pediatric ward.

Up-to-date patient monitoring is vital when working in a pediatric environment as children, with their smaller and more fragile frames require accurate monitoring. The new devices provide improved monitoring capabilities for the pediatric ward staff and its patients.

In addition, the advanced software capabilities of the new devices provide more functions and vivid imagery. The devices, which are made by Japanese manufacturer, Nihon Khon are equipped with the newest monitoring software. 

The monitoring software is said to be able to improve patient safety and outcome by better helping to identify deteriorating condition earlier. This can help with clinical intervention. 

The St. Maarten Medical Center is very appreciative to the AFAS Foundation for their generous donation. The addition of new equipment in the pediatric ward is part of SMMCs continued commitment to provide better health care close to home.

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Five-year-old girl taken from foster family ‘may have gone abroad’

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Police believe a five-year-old girl who was snatched from her foster family by her biological mother may have been taken abroad.

Deimante Zasytyte was taken from the foster family’s home in Maastricht and driven away in a silver car at around 10.20pm on Sunday, according to a police statement.

Her natural mother is from Lithuania and officers believe she may have taken the girl to her native country. No amber alert has been issued because police said there was no suggestion that the child’s life is in danger.

Deimante is described as around 1.20m tall with black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call 0800 9944 or go to politie.nl. (DutchNews)

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Pim Fortuyn’s killer wants reporting requirement lifted, plans to emigrate

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The man convicted of killing populist politician Pim Fortuyn in 2004 has gone to court to have the requirement that he report to the probation services every three weeks dropped, the Telegraaf said on Monday.

Volkert van der Graaf says the condition is making it impossible for him to emigrate, the paper said. The 48-year-old said earlier that he wanted to start a new life in Germany.

Van der Graaf was freed in May 2014 under strict conditions, having served two-thirds of an 18-year sentence. Fortuyn, was shot dead in a car park in Hilversum as he left a recording studio, nine days before the 2002 general election. (DutchNews)

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Court allocates 11 days to Wilders’ ‘fewer Moroccans’ appeal hearing

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Appeal court judges will next week begin hearing evidence in the Geert Wilders ‘fewer Moroccans’ case, as the PVV leader appeals against his earlier conviction.

The case dates back to 2014 when Wilders asked a roomful of supporters if they wanted to have ‘more or fewer’ Moroccans in the country. When the crowd shouted back: ‘Fewer, fewer,’ Wilders responded: ‘We’ll take care of that.’

In December 2016, Wilders was found guilty of inciting discrimination against Dutch Moroccans. A panel of three judges said Wilders’s comments were ‘demeaning and insulting to the Moroccan population’.

However, the court decided not to fine or sentence Wilders on the basis that a criminal conviction was sufficient punishment in itself. Wilders was also found guilty of insulting Dutch people of Moroccan origin as a group, but cleared of inciting hatred against them.

11 days

The appeal court has allocated 11 days to the hearings which will be held in the high security courtroom at Schiphol airport. Both Wilders and the public prosecution department had appealed against the lower court ruling.

As yet it is unclear if Wilders will actually attend the hearings. He boycotted the court in the 2016 trial but did attend to make a lengthy statement on the last day. (DutchNews)

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‘Dutch universities reach deal to limit (foreign) student numbers’

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The 13 Dutch universities have reached agreement on braking the growth in student numbers, particularly from abroad, the NRC said on Friday.

The plan will be presented to education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven on Monday and will outline how the universities plan to slow student number growth and if more limits will be placed on the number of first years taking certain courses.

Universities in the Netherlands are largely funded according to the number of students they have. However, because the total university spending budget has not increased, they are being given less cash per student, the paper said.

This means, the universities say, that it is more sensible to try to limit student numbers instead. There has been a 10% rise in the number of students attending university in the Netherlands since 2013, with the total now reaching 275,000.

Foreign students, most of whom come from the EU, now account for 48,000 of the total. There has also been mounting criticism of the way universities are encouraging foreign students to sign up and switching to English-language teaching, which some say is disadvantaging Dutch students.

The minister is due to publish her views on the internationalisation of the Dutch higher education sector in the autumn. (DutchNews)

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‘No evidence’ that decorated soldier was kidnapped and killed his attacker: Volkskrant

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – There is no evidence that a Dutch soldier who was decorated for bravery was actually taken hostage and killed his kidnapper in 2007, the Volkskrant said on Wednesday, quoting military sources.

Marco Kroon, who was previously awarded the Netherlands’ highest honour for bravery, reported the incident to his superiors in 2017, 10 years after it happened. Commanding officers are required to report any breaches of protocol immediately after the operation, but Kroon said he had kept quiet because of the nature of the operation.

However, after a year-long investigation, defence ministry officials have found no evidence for the claim, the VK, which spoke to 12 people involved in the mission or the investigation, said.

‘We’ve questioned everyone who could know anything about the mission,’ one source said. ‘The conclusion is that the defence ministry cannot confirm the story is real. There is no evidence it happened.’

In 2009 Kroon was awarded the Militaire Willems-Orde, the highest honour for bravery given to Dutch soldiers, for fighting his way out of an ambush. A year later he was fined €750 for possessing an electric shock weapon at his cafe in Den Bosch, though he was cleared of another charge of drug dealing. (DutchNews)

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Authorities were warned about man who attacked Jewish restaurant

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Officials at Amsterdam city council were warned about radical tendencies in a Syrian-Palestinian man weeks before he attacked a Jewish restaurant in the capital, the NRC reported on Wednesday.

However, instead of including the man in the city’s special programme for radicalised Muslims, the council advised psychiatric care. Sources told the paper that the council ‘underestimated’ the nature of the incident.

Allegedly one of the reasons was the shambles at the department responsible for the programme: one programme manager had just been fired and several other staff members had left.

A spokesman for acting mayor Jozias van Aartsen would neither confirm or deny the claim, saying information relating to radicalisation is confidential. However, 29 year-old Saleh A has now been included in the anti-radicalisation programme, his lawyer Willem van Vliet confirmed.

The case is a sensitive one because the Jewish community has accused the authorities of not being tough enough. The man is being prosecuted for vandalism and theft but according the restaurant owner’s lawyer the deed was inspired by ideology.

A court judged in April that there was no ‘terrorist goal’ in the case. (DutchNews)

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Amsterdam refuses licence to US hamburger chain Five Guys

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Amsterdam city officials have refused to give American hamburger chain Five Guys a licence to open a fast food restaurant in the city centre.

The US group, which is appealing against the decision, had wanted to open a branch of its successful burger formula in the city’s Reguliersbreestraat but was refused because it would be against the area’s zoning plan.

The city is keen to reduce the number of fast food outlets in the city and sees Five Guys as a ‘textbook’ example of the sort of chain it wants to remove, the Parool reported on Wednesday.

The company’s lawyer Raoul Meester told the paper that Five Guys is prepared to adapt its format to meet the council’s demands. These could include more seating areas, no counter sales and a policy that allows people to take their time over their meal.

‘But this is not a check-list and the health aspect could also be a reason to refuse the permit,’ the paper quoted a city official as saying. Five Guys currently has three branches in the Netherlands and is headquartered in Amsterdam. (DutchNews)

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Long sentences for killers who shot dj in mistaken identity case

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Two men have been jailed for 30 years and 26 years for killing an Amsterdam dj in a case of mistaken identity.

In total, seven people appeared in court in connection with the killing of Djordy Latumahina, 31, who was shot dead last October as he parked his Mini in the basement of the apartment block where he lived in the capital’s Nieuw West district.

Police say the intended target was a drug dealer who lived in the same block, owned a similar car and has since gone into hiding abroad.

Latumahina’s two-year-old daughter narrowly avoided being shot in the incident, while his girlfriend survived despite being seriously wounded.

The driver of the getaway car was jailed for 18 years while another man, the brother of one of the shooters, was jailed for 16 years.

Two other men were jailed for 80 and 28 days. In sentencing, the court described the crime as ‘brutal’. The suspects ‘went about their handiwork with total nonchalance and with no respect for human life,’ the judges said. (DutchNews)

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Moluccan train hijackers were ‘not to survive’, former officers tell Volkskrant

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Three new witnesses have come forward in a court case against the Dutch defence ministry concerning the shooting of six Moluccan train hijackers in 1977, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.

Relatives of the hijackers claim they were executed on the orders of the ministry, a claim it denies but which has been supported by an anonymous ex-marine involved in the liberation of the train.

The new witnesses, all former officers, also claim that they were told the hijackers were not to survive the military intervention. The brief to execute the hijackers allegedly came from then justice minister Dries van Agt who earlier said he ‘had no memory’ of giving the order.

But in a reaction to the Volkskrant following the new claims he labelled the allegation ‘impossible’, ‘unthinkable’ and ‘out of the question’. According to lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, who represents the relatives of two of the hijackers, the case had focused too much on statements made by soldiers who had been on the train at the time.

‘Those few seconds are not going to clarify what happened. The truth is at a higher level’, the paper quotes her as saying. Zegveld now wants to call four commanding officers to the witness stand as well as former general Henk van Breemen and Dries van Agt.

The ministry of justice has yet to react to the new claims, the paper writes. The case will continue on May 29.

History

The seventies saw a number of violent incidents in the Netherlands by radicalised young Moluccans. At the same time as the train hostage-taking in Groningen, another group took a number of school children and their teachers hostage in a school in Bovensmilde.

In this case the hostage takers surrendered and no one was hurt. The frustration of many in the Moluccan community goes back to the way the post-war government treated the soldiers who had fought for the Dutch in its former colony of Indonesia and who, when Indonesia proclaimed its independence, looked to the Dutch state to help them in their efforts to establish their own independent Moluccan state.

In 1951 some 12,500 Moluccan soldiers and their families were shipped to the Netherlands and housed in barracks, as a temporary measure. They were then discharged from the army, not allowed to work and given pocket money.

The Dutch government, however, never made any effort to help the Moluccans establish their Republik Maluku Selatan (RMS) which the Indonesian government refuses to recognise it to this day. (DutchNews)

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