Tens of kilos of cocaine found hidden on Dutch marine base

Soldiers have found at least one sports bags stuffed with what is thought to be cocaine in a container at a Dutch marine barracks in Doorn near Utrecht. The drugs were found by marines who had been on the Dutch dependency of Sint Maarten to help with the hurricane relief programme, broadcaster NOS said. The container was part of the equipment brought back from the Caribbean island, NOS said. This has not been confirmed. According to the AD and NOS, the drug was found in 16 sports bags but RTL Nieuws says one bag was found. All news sites talk of 'tens of kilos' of the drug. A video on website Dumpert shows soldiers laughing incredulously as they pull packages out of a blue sports bag. According to news agency ANP, the defence ministry has confirmed that these images do show the drugs haul. The military police department has now begun an investigation into the origins of the haul and the drugs have been sent to the Dutch forensic institute to establish if they are indeed cocaine. De Koninklijke Marechaussee is een onderzoek gestart naar de herkomst van een grote hoeveelheid drugs op de Van Braam Houckgeestkazerne in Doorn. pic.twitter.com/gMsBv9MaLa — Koninklijke Marechaussee (@Marechaussee) July 17, 2018   More >

Family of tasered man, 73, make complaint

The family of the 73-year-old man with dementia who was tasered by Rotterdam police last week have made a formal complaint about the police action. 'I do not understand why they could not get hold of my father, who is a little old man,' son John Dossett told the AD on Tuesday. 'But there they were, three of them opposite my father who is 73, weighs 60 kilos and is 1.65 metres tall. You don't taser a man like that. And if the three of them could not control him, maybe they are in the wrong jobs.' The tasering of Carl Dossett, which was condemned by Amnesty International, caused an outcry last week, even though justice minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said he understood the officer was in a 'nasty emergency situation'. But his family say that they have many questions about use of the taser and have now filed a complaint in hope of finding out what really happened. They dispute some of the police claims, such as the location of the incident and say he was not waving a sharp metal implement around. Experiment Dutch police will decide at the end of this year if tasers are to be more widely used - they are currently being used on an experimental basis in several Dutch cities. A report on the trials published in June said electric shock weapons do have ‘added value’ for the police. Since the start of the trail in February 2017, tasers have been drawn 343 times and in 62% of cases, the threat of use was enough to calm the situation down, the report states. ‘The most important effect of the electric shock weapon is the threat it presents to the suspect and the extra confidence that gives to the police officer, ‘ said Willem Woelders, who is in charge of the trial, at the time.   More >

More jihadis jailed in absentia

Three men who went to Syria to fight with IS and al-Nusra have been given jail terms of up to seven years, even though none of the men are in the Netherlands at the moment. A fourth man who faced similar terrorism charges was found not guilty by judges in Rotterdam, broadcaster NOS reported. The public prosecution department, which had called for nine year jail terms, decided to press ahead with the case so if any of the men return to the Netherlands they can be locked up immediately. The three sentenced on Tuesday include Victor D from Heeten, a Dutch Muslim convert who was found guilty of taking part in armed jihad and undergoing training with either IS or al-Nusra. A former postman, D left the Netherlands five years ago to fight against Syrian president Assad. He told RTV Oost in a reaction to the sentence that it was ‘doable’ but unjust and an example of ‘institutionalised Islamophobia’.  More >

Amsterdam firemen threaten fire chief

The chief of the Amsterdam fire brigade has been receiving death threats from a section of his own fire service, the public prosecutor has confirmed to newspaper Algemeen Dagblad which is investigating the case. Leen Schaap was installed as chief of the capital’s fire brigade in 2016 by the late Eberhard van der Laan to combat the ‘closed macho work culture’ in the fire brigade in which sexism and racism were tolerated, the paper writes. Schaap’s attempts to ‘clean up’ was met by hostility and he was even prevented from entering the fire stations. Schaap reported two instances of death threats, which are thought to come from firemen who are members of a motorcycle gang. Police have not made any arrests yet but interrogation of a number of firemen showed that plans were afoot to collect money to have the fire chief killed, the paper said. Facebook entries by former firemen also contained threatening content. Police sources told the AD that Schaap is now under constant police protection. Leen Schaap is not commenting on the threats. ‘I have had bucket loads of shit poured over me in the last few years and the end is not in sight,’ he told AT5 in April. That was also the time when he called the fire brigade’s participation council the ‘mafia council’. Works council chair Stephane Konings said it was ‘strange’ the works council had not been told about the threats, the AD reported.  More >

'Housing is a right, not a commodity'

Amsterdam has signed up to a global declaration to the United Nations which states that 'housing must first and foremost be considered as a right, not a commodity' in order for cities to survive. The initiative, launched by Barcelona's outspoken mayor Ada Colau, says that segregation and real estate speculation are two of the issues which must be tackled to ensure cities meet the human rights needs of their inhabitants. To achieve this, local authorities need more powers and funding to better regulate the real estate market, improve public housing stock and develop 'urban planning schemes that combine adequate housing and quality neighbourhoods that are both inclusive and sustainable'. The declaration, signed by the cities of Paris, New York, Strasbourg, Montevideo and Madrid among others, was presented on Monday at a local government forum involving the United Nation's special rapporteur on adequate housing and the high commissioner for human rights. During the presentation, at which Amsterdam was not represented, the cities stressed the importance of not leaving the housing issue to market rules alone. Making money The city council said in a statement the most important message to the UN is that society in popular major cities is under threat. 'The right of residents to affordable housing is in danger because of speculation, investors and mass tourism, which is all about making as much profit as possible,' the statement said. Speaking to the Parool newspaper, Amsterdam's housing alderman Laurens Ivens said: 'We see that in all these cities, all sorts of groups want to make money from housing, which is less and less used to live in.' Ivens referred to recent figures from ING which suggest one in six houses in Amsterdam is bought up by investors. 'They are snapping up homes right in front of Amsterdammers,' he said. Other research, by the University of Amsterdam, suggests more than 10% of the homes in Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam, Groningen and Maastricht are owned by private investors.  More >

We Transfer considers Amsterdam IPO

The Dutch internet company We Transfer is considering a European IPO and the Euronext stock exchange in Amsterdam best suits its needs, the Telegraaf reported on Tuesday. We Transfer CEO Gordon Willoughby, who came to the company from Amazon, has said a US IPO is out of the question due to the company’s size, the paper said. He first mooted the IPO in May. We Transfer  is a cloud-based computer file transfer service. The company was founded in Amsterdam in 2009 by Bas Beerens and Ronald Hans, best known as the blogger Nalden. It evolved from Beerens’ frustration at not being able to share large files easily. The core service is free, with more features available for premium accounts. Free users can send files up to 2GB; WeTransfer ‘Plus’ supports sending files up to 20GB and offers features like password protection, channel customization and 100 GB storage. Willoughby said an IPO would provide investors an opportunity to cash in their early investment and give the company extra impetus to grow.  We Transfer has been profitable since 2013. The company wants to expand in the US which is the world’s largest market for online advertisements and an IPO in Amsterdam would not limit plans, the paper said. Willoughby cited the great international interest in payments systems processor Adyen whose shares shot up 75% on their first day of trading in Amsterdam in June.  More >

Schiphol may charge fee for drop-offs

Amsterdam's Schiphol airport is considering introducing a fee for people who drop off friends and relatives by car, the Telegraaf said on Tuesday. 'The available space at the airport is shrinking because the number of passengers keeps going up,' a spokesman told the paper. Reducing pollution is also a consideration, the spokesman said. One of the options being considered is the introduction of a charge for 'kiss and ride' services, the spokesman said. 'However, we can't give any details, we are still thinking about it,' the paper quoted him as saying. Insiders told the Telegraaf that a fee of €5 is being considered. Around one in four passengers using the airport are dropped off by car.   More >