BANGKOK, August 23 -- It was an encouraging talk with the Prime Minister of Thailand about the case of the Dutch coffee shop owner Johan van Laarhoven.
Minister of Justice Ferd Grapperhaus said after the consultation. "Thailand is open to a solution in the case," said the minister. Grapperhaus spoke for 45 minutes with the Prime Minister of Thailand about the Van Laarhoven case. In Thailand, he was sentenced to decades in prison for money laundering. The minister says that the justice ministries of both countries are going to work on a solution. "That solution must fit within the framework of the Thai legal system," says Grapperhaus. "A solution will not last for years and hopefully not even a matter of months." Next Tuesday there will be the final decision in the appeal case.
One hundred imprisonment
Dutch prosecution department asked Thailand in 2014 for help with a criminal investigation into the coffee shop owner, which he had established in the Netherlands. The Thai public prosecutor then prosecuted Van Laarhoven and his wife Mingkwan Kaenin. Van Laarhoven was sentenced for hundred year imprisonment and his wife for twelve years. In April, the House of Representatives urged Grapperhaus to work to get Van Laarhoven back to the Netherlands, following a firm judgment from the National Dutch Ombudsman.
ROTTERDAM, August 19 -- The Maastunnel in Rotterdam reopened again in both directions after two years of renovations.
During the work, the tunnel was closed in the direction of Rotterdam-Zuid. Since 6:00 a.m. on Monday morning, traffic can fully use the tunnel again, Dutch media reported. The renovation to the tunnel started in July 2017. In the two years that followed, concrete rot was dealt with on the roadways and the floor beneath, and the technology in the tunnel was updated so that it meets the latest safety requirements. The two sides of the tunnel were tackled in turns. One of them always had to be open in a northerly direction, in order to keep the city center and Erasmus MC accessible. The Maastunnel has been connecting the banks of the Nieuwe Maas for some 75 years and is the Netherlands oldest tunnel. The renovations on the tunnel is not yet complete. From December on the Maastunnel will be temporarily closed for pedestrians and cyclists.
PARIS, August 13 -- Before skinny jeans ever existed, there was a brief period of time where everyone wore the same denim style: bootcut jeans.
Remember them? The softly flared jean that ruled two separate decades? First they appeared in the '70s as the less aggressive bell bottom, but its main moment appeared in the 2000s. The bootcut jean garnered a bad rap for being associated with trucker hats and Von Dutch, but was still favored by celeb A-listers like Beyoncé and Britney Spears. Eventually, though, the style faded away. As with most throwback denim trends (like mom jeans), bootcut jeans are back. The style's been making a slow comeback this year, thanks in part to Michael Kors' Fall '19 runway and brands like Re/Done producing vintage-inspired looks (recently worn by Bella Hadid), but it wasn't until we saw Everlane's new launch that we became convinced that the bootcut is about to go mainstream (again). The San Francisco-based brand premiered their new jean today, and it's making us question why we stopped wearing the style to begin with. The subtle flare is super flattering, giving the appearance of longer gams, which we always welcome. Thankfully, unlike the early aughts' super-low rises, Everlane went with a cheeky high rise. It comes in three different colors—including a dark wash with a contrast denim insert that reminds us of OG hippie jeans. Like the rest of Everlane's denim collection, this style is made in their hyper-sustainable, socially conscious factory. With these $85 jeans, you can look great while reducing your carbon footprint. What's not to love?
ROTTERDAM, August 6 -- Shared electric scooter schemes are less environmentally friendly than originally advertised by operating companies.
With a new study showing that an e-scooter trip is generally more polluting than one by electric moped or bike or even in a standard diesel-powered bus. The study, published by researchers at North Caroline State University, counters the widely circulated assertion that a lack of exhaust pipe on the electric two-wheelers make them a greener transportation alternative. After an analysis of their life-cycle—which looked into the manufacturing, transportation, maintenance and disposal processes they require—the study found that a one mile (1.6 kilometers) trip on an e-scooter generally emitted more greenhouse gases than one using alternative means of transport. “The dock-less scooters generally produce more greenhouse-gas emissions per passenger mile than a standard diesel bus with high ridership, an electric moped, an electric bicycle, a bicycle—or, of course, a walk,” a report of the study in MIT Technology Review said. Half of the reasons behind the e-scooters’ newfound carbon footprint comes from their resource-intensive sourcing and manufacturing processes, a problem that is exacerbated by the fact that the actual lifespan of the e-scooters is relatively short once they hit the streets. Several incidents in cities worldwide see the units flung into rivers and canals, damaged or even stolen.
The need to constantly gather and recharge the scooters accounts for the second-largest share of their emissions, or 43%, according to the report in MIT Tech Review. Ultimately, “roughly two-thirds of the time, scooter rides generate more greenhouse-gas emissions than the alternative,” one of the study’s authors, cited in the outlet, concludes, adding that the increased emissions produced by users of the schemes were “greater than the gains from the car rides not taken.” Ways to cut back e-scooter emissions include using greener vehicles to collect and recharge scooters, reducing the distances between collecting and gathering points, and using more recycled materials for the production of the scooters, such as aluminium, the study concludes.
AMSTERDAM, August 5 -- Rutger Hauer was a rugged Dutch actor who played Nazis, action heroes and bloodsucking vampires, but who was best known as the android outlaw in the 1982 science-fiction thriller Blade Runner.
The blond-haired, blue-eyed Hauer – who has died aged 75 – was scarcely known when he burst off the screen in the Ridley Scott-directed classic as a bioengineered android, or “replicant”, pursued by Harrison Ford. Adapted from a novel by Philip K Dick, the film was a neo-noir drama set in a dystopian future of giant corporations, overcrowded cities and environmental ruin – the year was 2019 – in which replicants are hunted down by special police known as Blade Runners. Although it opened to mixed reviews, the film is now highly regarded, with studies devoted to its examination of what it means to be human. The movie propelled the career of Hauer, whose square-jawed figure, icy stare and droll humour helped to make him a staple of action and horror films, if never quite a star. He won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor for Escape from Sobibor, a 1987 TV movie about an uprising at a Nazi death camp – he played the Jewish hero, against type – and in 2005 was a morally corrupt Catholic cardinal in Sin City and a greedy Wayne Enterprises executive in Batman Begins. Hauer also starred in the 1985 medieval fantasy Ladyhawke, alongside Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer; played a vampire king in the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and ruled a supernatural tribe in the HBO series True Blood. But he remained indelibly linked with Roy Batty, the murderous Blade Runner replicant who is programmed with a lifespan of four years. Hauer, wrote The New York Times, was “by far the most animated performer in a film intentionally populated by automatons”, and “often upstaged” Ford’s hard-boiled detective, Rick Deckard.
Rutger Oelsen Hauer was born in the Dutch town of Breukelen in 1944, and raised in nearby Amsterdam, where his parents ran an acting school. He was performing onstage by five and ran away from home at 15 to work on a freighter with the merchant marine. He began learning languages, ultimately mastering half a dozen, and after a year at sea returned to the Netherlands to work as a carpenter, gardener and electrician. Night school didn’t suit him, nor did acting school, and he dropped out to join the army. Once again, he said he felt bored and out of place. “It was another one of those so-called macho scenes – I just didn’t fit in,” he said in 1981. “So I played the sad soldier missing his mother and having problems adjusting, which was true – I was having problems adjusting, so they discharged me from the army. Then I finally was more motivated and managed to do the discipline thing.” Hauer tried drama school again and came to describe acting as “the urge to, let’s say, fulfil a certain black hole in you”. He worked in a rural touring company, performing plays by Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, and was launched to Low Countries stardom in 1969 on the medieval television series Floris, a kind of Dutch twist on Ivanhoe. The series was directed by Paul Verhoeven, who went on to cast Hauer in movies including Turkish Delight (1973), an Oscar-nominated Dutch blockbuster, as well as Soldier of Orange (1977) and Spetters (1980), which found some arthouse success in the US.
For his first American role, Hauer played a terrorist in the 1981 Sylvester Stallone thriller Nighthawks. One month before the release of Blade Runner, he portrayed Nazi architect Albert Speer in the TV movie Inside the Third Reich. Hauer reunited with Verhoeven for the 1985 medieval drama Flesh and Blood; one year later, he played a homicidal hitchhiker in The Hitcher and a bounty hunter in Wanted: Dead or Alive, an adaptation of the Steve McQueen TV western. He also made millions of dollars as the face of an advertising campaign for Guinness beer and starred as an alcoholic homeless man in Italian director Ermanno Olmi’s The Legend of the Holy Drinker (1988), which won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival.
AMSTERDAM, July 29 -- Alcohol-free beers drove rising sales at Dutch brewing giant Heineken in the first half of the year, but its shares slumped on Monday as profitability was flat.
The world's second-largest brewer said net profit was down by 1.4 percent to 936 million euros ($1.0 billion) while sales jumped to 13.6 billion euros, up 5.9 percent from the same period last year. Operating profit rose mostly due to a positive effect of currency changes, and its operating profit margin -- revenues minus costs -- actually dipped. The company's shares fell by more than 5.0 percent in midday trading in Amsterdam. A key driver of the Heineken brand's 6.9 percent growth was the demand for low or no-alcohol beer, with Heineken 0.0 now available in 51 markets around the world, the brewer said. Heineken said its partnership within China Resources Beer became effective at the end of April, now giving it access to the fast-growing Chinese premium beer market. Under the deal the Dutch brewer took a 40 percent stake in the holding company that controls China Resources Beer, merged its current operations into the firm and licence it to the Heineken brand for use in the Asian giant. The two firms are joining forces at a time when competition is becoming fierce in the Chinese market, with consumers turning towards foreign beers and premium products as middle class incomes rise.
ROTTERDAM, July 27 -- On Friday, more temperature records are falling in parts of Europe as the historic heat wave that brought the hottest weather ever recorded in Paris, London, Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany shifts northward.
In a few days, the weather system responsible for the heat wave will stretch all the way across the top of the globe. It's what this system, characterized by a strong area of high pressure aloft — often referred to as a heat dome — will do to the Arctic that has some scientists increasingly concerned. First, Norway, Sweden, and Finland will be the focus of unusually high temperatures through the weekend, as a potentially record strong area of high pressure in the mid-levels of the atmosphere sets up over the region, blocking any cold fronts or other storm systems from moving into the area, like a traffic light in the sky. Temperatures in parts of Scandinavia will reach into the 90s or higher, on the heels of an intense heat wave in 2018 that led to an outbreak of damaging wildfires on parts of the region. Bergen, Norway, already set an all-time record high on Friday with a temperature of 91 degrees (32.8 Celsius). So far this year, Arctic sea ice extent has hovered at record lows during the melt season. Weather patterns favorable for increased melt have predominated in this region, and an unusually mild summer has also increased melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Unlike with sea ice melt, runoff from the Greenland Ice Sheet increases sea levels, since it adds new water to the oceans. If the entire ice sheet were to melt, it would raise global average sea levels by 23 feet. Ruth Mottram, a researcher with the Danish Meteorological Institute, tells The Washington Post that as the high-pressure area, also referred to as a "blocking ridge," sets up over Greenland, it could promote a widespread and significant melt event last seen in 2012. During that summer, nearly all of the ice sheet experienced melting, including the highest elevations that rarely exceed 32 degrees.
"... Assuming this comes off (and it seems likely) we would expect a very large melt event over the ice sheet," Mottram said via email. "This was a very similar situation to 2012 where melt reached all the way up to Summit station. As you have probably seen the Arctic sea ice is already at record low for the time of year so clearly we may be looking at a situation where both Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheet have record losses even over and above 2012 — though we won't know for sure until after the event."
Zack Labe, a climate researcher at the University of California at Irvine who focuses on Arctic climate change, said the upcoming Arctic heat wave could have major ramifications and may push sea ice to another record low at the end of the melt season. "This appears to be a very significant event for the Arctic," he said of the upcoming weather pattern. "A massive upper-level ridge will position itself across the North Atlantic and eventually Greenland in the next few days. This negative North Atlantic Oscillation-like pattern will be associated with well above average temperatures in Greenland. In fact, simulations from the MARv3.9 model suggest this may be the largest surface melt event of the summer," Labe said, referring to a computer model projection of surface ice melt in Greenland. "Whether or not we set a new record low this year, the timing and extent of open water on the Pacific side of the Arctic has been unprecedented in our satellite record. This is already having significant impacts to coastal communities in Alaska and marine ecosystems," Labe said.
Elsewhere in the Arctic, this summer has been similarly extreme. Alaska had its warmest June on record, and more than 2 million acres have gone up in flames across the state as a result of a long stretch of above-average temperatures. Arcticwide, an unusual spate of wildfires is burning, affecting vast stretches of Siberia as well. Smoke from these fires is circling the globe, tracked via satellite imagery. These fires are a positive feedback in the climate system, since they are emitting greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
PAU, July 19 -- There is nothing bigger for male riders than victory at the Tour de France. It's the pinnacle of cycling. But there is no such prize for female riders.
Despite calls from cycling's governing body UCI for the creation of a women's Tour, organizers of cycling's marquee race have yet to come up with plans for an equivalent. All they offer in July is a one day-race, La Course, that was held on the margins of the Tour de France on Friday in Pau and won by Dutch rider Marianne Vos. Fresh from winning four stages at the 10-day Giro Rosa in Italy, Vos added another trophy to her large collection in the southwestern city of Pau, but victory in France did not taste the same. "It was an incredible feeling to win four stages at the Giro, at the highest level," said Vos, a three-time world champion. "Here at La Course, it was really nice to show this form."
Tour organizers ASO have been holding the event since 2014 and say it's not possible for them to operate a longer race, for logistical and security reasons. "We are not capable of organizing another event during the Tour," Tour director Christian Prudhomme told The Associated Press. "About 29,000 police forces are mobilized for three weeks. France has been struck by attacks, there were the yellow vests (protesters). It's impossible to have even just one extra security staff during the Tour."
TOKYO, July 18 -- Carlos Ghosn is suing Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and seeking 15 million euros ($13.4 million) in damages from the two companies he used to chair, claiming their Dutch joint venture unjustly terminated his employment contract.
While Nissan-Mitsubishi B.V., set up in 2017 to promote cooperation by the two Japanese automakers, ended its contract with Ghosn in March, Nissan has said it intends to dissolve the company. Ghosn's lawyers said the termination of the contract was "not sufficiently substantiated," according to the online edition of Le Figaro. In January, Mitsubishi Motors said they had discovered that Ghosn received about 7.82 million euros "illegally" from NMBV between April and November 2018. Ghosn was accused of being employed and receiving payment from the joint venture without going through a formal procedure and ordering an unauthorized person to write up his employment contract. Nissan Motor CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Mitsubishi Motors Chairman Osamu Masuko serve as directors of the joint company.