Dutch sensation journalist Derk Bolt and his cameraman released in Columbia

2 Dutch journalists freed unharmed by Colombian rebels

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Two Dutch journalists have been freed unharmed after being held captive for almost a week by leftist rebels in Colombia.

Derk Bolt and Eugenio Follender were released before dawn Saturday near where they were apprehended by guerrillas belonging to the National Liberation Army. Bolt said the two are doing well and anxious to be back with their families in Europe.

In an interview with Colombia’s Caracol radio, Bolt said the two men were treated well by their captors, suffering only a few scratches from 14-hour marches to evade security forces who had mounted a massive search.

He said the reporters at first thought they were being robbed because their captors demanded they turn over their cameras. Then they were shuttled from safe house to safe house before eventually taking refuge in the jungle.

“It was very hard, but the people who took us captive were very warm and treated us with lots of respect, almost like friends,” Bolt told Caracol. “They always told us our lives weren’t in danger.”

The volatile Catatumbo region in northeast Colombia where the journalists were held is one of the country’s most lawless areas, a major transit zone for drug trafficking to neighboring Venezuela and historically one of the ELN’s strongholds.

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Last year, the ELN held three journalists in the same region for almost a week.

Bolt is host of a Dutch sensation television show called “Spoorloos” (Without a Trace) and Follender is a cameraman for the show, which attempts to help people find their long-lost relatives.

“We are incredibly happy and relieved,” the show said in a Facebook post. “We are grateful to the ministry of foreign affairs. They have done everything, in The Hague and Bogota, to get Derk and Eugenio home safely.”

The ELN is Colombia’s last major guerrilla army, with about 1,500 troops. This year, it joined the government for peace talks in Ecuador, bringing closer than ever the possibility of an end to a half century of political violence after the much-larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia reached a deal of its own last year to lay down its weapons.

Unlike the FARC, which has a cohesive, centralized command structure, leaders of the more ideological, Cuban revolution-inspired ELN have had trouble keeping tabs on their troops. Peace talks with the government were delayed by almost a year over the refusal of some guerrilla units to free several civilians and a politician they had been holding captive.

The ELN in a statement said the journalists were detained preventively because they had entered a conflict zone where Colombia’s military often operates covertly.

“Our first duty is the preserve the life of the communities and people that enter these territories, not exposing them” to danger, members of the group said.

Source – AP

The Smurfs are now the tourism ambassadors of Brussels

The campaign was launched simultaneously in cities across Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain, with the assistance of the Brussels-born blue inhabitants who were dispatched to promote their city.

The Brussels tourism office is dispatching a special delegation of Smurfs as part of a major tourism campaign aimed at bringing back tourists following last year’s terrorist attack.

Dubbed “Where will Brussels take you” the tourism offensive is meant to boost lagging visitor numbers following the terror attacks which killed 32 people at the Brussels airport and metro station last spring.

“Numerous actions were undertaken immediately after the attacks and have yielded positive results,” said Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President in a statement.

“We have witnessed a very clear recovery of tourism in Brussels at the beginning of the year.

The campaign ‘Where will Brussels take you’ represents an additional effort and aims at revealing our region’s hidden secrets – the best and most remarkable of what Brussels has to offer.”

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The campaign was launched simultaneously in cities across Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain, with the assistance of the Brussels-born blue inhabitants who were dispatched to promote their city.

An online platform called ­takemeto.­brussels has also been launched to help visitors personalise their trip.

The site offers recommendations on the best restaurants, Instagram-worthy sites, museums for kids, best coffee and wine bars.

As part of the promotional campaign, the tourism office is also giving away a city break to Brussels every week, which includes accommodation and transportation within Europe.

The campaign ends Oct 31.

Read also: It’s time to visit Smurf village

Source – TheJakartaPost

Most adventurous countries in the world revealed in new ranking

The Dutch, Australians and Swedes have emerged the most adventurous travelers in the world in a new ranking that aims to identify which countries are more likely to sign themselves up for running off a cliff or jumping out of a plane and embodying the spirit of adventure.

For the Global Adventure Ranking, analysts looked at eight popular adventure activities like skydiving, bungee jumping, surfing and rock climbing on Google.

For each country, findings were calculated based on the search volume of keywords associated with these activities in the last 12 months. An average was made per 100,000 citizens in each country.

The results show that the Netherlands ranks highest for total searches of adventurous activities per capita, followed by Australia and Sweden.

The ranking was compiled by ShareaCamper, a peer-to-peer motorhome rental platform based out of Australia, New Zealand and Germany.

The report also breaks down the adrenaline-pumping activities that are most popular around the world.

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For example, per capita, the French are most inclined to hit dirt roads on their BMX bikes.

Hiking is the most popular activity in India, while the Swiss are most interested in the idea of free-falling off a bridge or bungee jumping.

And per capita, Aussies topped the ranking for expressing the most interest in skydiving, surfing and rock climbing.

Rounding out the activities is caravanning.

A second list was also compiled to reflect a ranking of countries by the overall number of searches, which is led by the United States, Germany and France.

Here are the top 10 most adventurous countries in the Global Adventure Ranking:

1. The Netherlands
2. Australia
3. Sweden
4. Germany
5. France
6. Denmark
7. Norway
8. United Kingdom
9. United States
10. Austria

This article appeared on the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper website

Netherlands, Vietnam sign 49 food security contracts.

Hanoi – Forty-nine contracts were signed during the two-day regional conference on food security in Hanoi, which ended Thursday, the Netherlands’ deputy minister of agriculture said.

The Netherlands has three major contracts, which includes a commitment to an investment package worth 150,000 EUR (US$ 162,000) to develop a seafood index and governance, thereby supporting seafood companies in Asia towards achieving sustainability in aquaculture, Sonnema said.

The European nation will also help Vienam implement a project aimed at cutting down post-harvest losses. Both countries will also sign a protocol on enhancing co-operation in food security, she said.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường said the conference focused on steps to promote co-operation between countries to overcome challenges, on creating a sustainable agricultural sector, and on contributing to ensure food security and safety amidst climate change.

At a press conference in the Capital on Thursday, Sonnema said her country, with its experience, expertise, technology and capacity, can help Vietnam build a sustainable agricultural sector.

She spoke about the common grounds the two countries have to enhance co-operation in agricultural development – both sides export agricultural products and both face challenges caused by climate change, especially in water management for agricultural production.

During the Dutch minister’s four-day visit to Vietnam, from March 20 to 23, many events were arranged to boost partnership between Vietnamese and Dutch enterprises, laying the foundation for strengthening economic and trade links between the two countries in the future.

Source – VNS

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Cambodia – Microlender in monster deal

Hong Kong financial giant The Bank of East Asia and Sri Lanka’s LOLC announced on Friday that they have jointly acquired a majority stake in Prasac Microfinance, Cambodia’s largest microfinance institution (MFI) by assets, in what could be the largest acquisition of a Cambodian lender to date.

According to a joint company release, The Bank of East Asia (BEA) and LOLC acquired a controlling share of Prasac by purchasing minority stakes held by Dragon Capital Group Ltd, Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries SA (BIO) and the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO).

The acquisition raises LOLC’s existing holding from 22 percent to 70 percent, with BEA holding 21 percent. Prasac retains the remaining 9 percent stake.

The deal was valued at $186 million by Sri Lankan media. Prasac and its shareholders could not be reached yesterday for confirmation, nor was the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) available to confirm whether it had approved the acquisition.

Prasac is Cambodia’s largest deposit-taking MFI with an asset portfolio of $1.3 billion and over $660 million in deposits, according to the joint statement, which added that the deal would help pave the MFI’s path toward becoming a licensed commercial bank.

Sim Senacheert, CEO of Prasac, was quoted in the release as saying that BEA was a strategic investor that would “further contribute to sustainable economic development and financial inclusion in Cambodia”.

David Li, chairman and chief executive of BEA, said the deal marked the financial group’s first foothold in Cambodia and would help it expand its reach to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

“Through Prasac, our bank will further strengthen its presence in Southeast Asia. This strategic investment will enable us to better capitalise on the opportunities arising from China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiatives’,” he was quoted as saying.

This is not the first time Prasac has worked toward securing a strategic investor, a move widely seen as the central bank’s requirements for commercial bank licence eligibility.

In August 2016, the NBC scuttled a deal between Prasac and South Korean financial giant Woori Bank for a 50 percent stake, claiming that the Korean lender was not one of the preferred bidder’s acknowledged by the independent regulatory body.

Cambodian MFIs have attracted the interest of international investors, with several large mergers and acquisitions announced in recent years. In January 2016, Thailand-based Bank of Ayudhya reached an agreement to acquire the local MFI Hattha Kaksekar – a deal that was valued at upwards of $140 million.

BEA’s stake in Prasac would mark the entry of Hong Kong’s third-largest bank into the Cambodian market. The financial group reported $98.7 billion in consolidated assets as of the end of last year.

Source – PhnomPenhPost

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THE NETHERLANDS ON THE THAI NEWSPAPERS

Turkey suspends top ties with Netherlands in escalating crisis

Istanbul – Turkey on Monday said it was suspending top-level ties with The Netherlands and blocking the return of its ambassador in a spiralling crisis over the holding of rallies abroad ahead of a crucial referendum.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of “supporting terrorists,” as acrimony flared between Turkey and EU states — a standoff that risks affecting Ankara’s entire relationship with Europe.

Both Germany and The Netherlands have blocked Turkish ministers from staging rallies to court the vote of expatriate Turks in the April 16 referendum on giving Erdogan greater powers.

Ankara was especially angered by the acts of The Netherlands days ahead of general elections in the country. The authorities prevented the foreign minister’s plane from landing and expelled the family minister over the weekend.

“Until the Netherlands compensates for what it has done, high-level relations and planned meetings at a ministerial and higher level have been suspended,” said Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus after a cabinet meeting in Ankara.

Turkey will not allow the Dutch ambassador to Ankara to return until The Netherlands meets Turkey’s conditions over holding rallies, he added. Diplomatic flights would also be suspended.

Ambassador Kees Cornelis van Rij is currently outside of the country, and business is being handled by Dutch charge d’affaires.

‘Merkel backs terrorists’

Twice over the weekend, Erdogan accused The Netherlands, a Nato ally, of acting like the Nazis. His comments sparked outrage in a country bombed and occupied by German forces in World War II. The United States urged both countries to resolve their row.

“They’re both strong partners and Nato allies. We’d just ask that they not escalate the situation any further and work together to resolve it,” said a senior State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

With the exchanges worsening Turkey’s already fraught relations with the European Union, Brussels sternly warned Ankara to avoid intensifying the crisis.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn called on Turkey to “refrain from excessive statements and actions that risk further exacerbating the situation.” But hours later in an interview with A-Haber television, Erdogan bluntly stated: “Mrs Merkel, you are supporting terrorists.”

He accused Berlin of not responding to 4,500 dossiers sent by Ankara on terror suspects, including those linked to Kurdish militants and the failed coup in Turkey last year. 

“Mrs Merkel, why are you hiding terrorists in your country?… Why are you not doing anything?” Merkel’s spokesman described the accusations as “absurd”, saying the chancellor had no intention of taking part in a “competition of provocations”. 

Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik also said Ankara “should re-evaluate” a key part of a 2016 deal to stem the flow of migrants to the EU.

He said Turkey should look at its policy on preventing migrant flows across land borders, although it would keep halting the illegal and dangerous sea crossings as a matter of human responsibility, state media said.

‘Completely wrong’

Dutch authorities at the weekend prevented the plane of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from landing and blocked Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from holding a rally in Rotterdam.

Bringing out the millions-strong expatriate vote could be key in a referendum that could be a turning point in Turkey’s modern history.

Erdogan said the ministers would make the “necessary applications” to the European Court of Human Rights over their treatment.

Meanwhile Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is under pressure to take a hard line against Erdogan as he faces the far-right populist Geert Wilders in general elections on Wednesday.

The Netherlands also issued a new travel warning to Dutch citizens, urging them to stay “alert across the whole of Turkey”. And Germany warned its citizens to take note of “increased political tensions and protests that could be directed against Germany”.

Turkey had already responded furiously to fellow Nato ally Germany’s refusal to give permission for ministers to hold rallies there, with Erdogan comparing such action to “Nazi practices”.

After Erdogan used the same language to scold the Netherlands, Merkel said on Monday that the comparison was “completely wrong” and “banalises suffering”.

‘Lifeline for Erdogan’

The issue risks spiralling into a crisis with the EU as a whole, which Turkey has sought to join for more than half a century. Erdogan, who has indicated he may personally travel to EU states to address rallies said Sunday that the West was showing its “true face” in the standoff.

The immediate effect of the row, however, may aid Erdogan, Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Programme at The Washington Institute, told AFP.

“By blocking (the rallies), they may have given Erdogan a lifeline to eke out a victory in the referendum,” he said.//AFP

Source – TheNation

CLEAN UP THE NETHERLANDS, VOTE PVV

Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs not welcome in the Netherlands.

Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs not welcome in the Netherlands.

Hey wanna come to Promote the referendum in his country.

The Turkish foreign ministry says that it doesn’t want to see the Dutch ambassador, who is out of the country, to return to his post because of the increasingly divisive dispute with the Netherlands.

The Netherlands has forced the Turkish foreign minister to stay out of the Netherlands and thus banned him from speaking about next month’s referendum to expand the powers of the Turkish president.

The Turkish foreign ministry statement says that “we have expressed to our Dutch counterparts that this grave decision against Turkey and the Turkish society in the Netherlands would lead to serious consequences in our diplomatic, political, economic and our other relations.”

Turkish Dictator Erdogan treating with sanctions.

The situation is unacceptable.

The tourism industry goes to dangerous times Turkey.

We advice to search for a more safety and stable holiday destination.

 

Max Verstappen: “I think everything is still within reach.”

After the fourth and final test day Max Verstappen remains confident about his chances for next season. De Limburger, which is the final test session – partly in the rain – in his RB13 concluded with the second fastest time behind the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, talks about a successful week. “Actually, nothing here really surprised me in Barcelona, the last four days. And I think everything is still within reach.”

“For us it was important to make the meters with the new car. Get used to the car and team and see if all parts of the car to do what they should do. The car behaves happy just fine.”

Netherlands – Major differences between Dutch political parties

The CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis has published the results of its assessment of the election manifestos. The report, Charted Choices 2018-2021, contains an analysis of the financial-economic choices made by 11 Dutch political parties. Differences between them proved to be large; both in the types of measures chosen by the various parties and in the resulting effects.

The political parties participating in this assessment are VVD, PvdA, PVV (the forget in this article) SP, CDA, D66, ChristenUnie, GroenLinks, SGP, DENK, VNL and the Vrijzinnige Partij. Over the past months, they have submitted their election manifestos to CPB for assessment. The assessment report presents figures, per party, on the effects of the various proposed measures on Dutch economic development, as well as medium- and long-term changes in areas such as employment, purchasing power and public finances.

The differences between participating parties, from a financial-economic perspective, are presented in a series of infographics. CPB Director Laura van Geest concludes that there are considerable differences between parties: ‘There is really something to choose from. In 2012, the elections were dominated by proposed spending cuts, whereas, this time, the economy is doing much better and parties are therefore opting to increase expenditures. Each party does so by setting their own priorities, with great differences between the envisaged measures. This naturally leads to varying economic results. Choices you make today may have a stronger effect on the long-term. In particular, with respect to long-term indicators such as structural employment, long term income distribution and the sustainability of public finances, differences are greater than in previous elections.’

Choices and compromises

For this edition of Charted Choices (Keuzes in Kaart), the 9th since the start of this publication series in 1986, a total of 1,165 measures were assessed. Each measure and choice has both advantages and disadvantages. Beginning with the choice between allocating either less or more money to, for instance, health care, education, defence and public administration, versus raising or lowering taxes. Often, there are also compromises to be made; measures with an assessed favourable impact in one area, usually, have the opposite effect on other objectives. For example, economic growth may be stimulated through increased spending, but this will have a negative effect on the EMU balance and the sustainability of public finances, in the long term. And a positive impact on employment is generally accompanied by an increase in income inequality.

Societal debate

Participation in the ‘Charted Choices’ assessment is voluntary. All parties in possession of at least one seat in the Dutch House of Representatives in mid October 2016 were invited by CPB to have their election manifestos assessed. Of those parties, 11 responded to this call, which is one more party than at the time of the previous elections. During the calculations to determine their economic impact, the election manifestos were compared against the baseline situation as presented in CPB’s most recent medium-term projections (2018-2021), which were published on Prinsjesdag (the day of the King’s speech) 2016, in the Macro Economic Outlook (MEV). In this way, insight could be provided into the economic effects of the choices made and priorities set by the various parties. And, although politics is about more than mere facts, measures and the economy, Charted Choices is aimed to contribute to these aspects of societal debate. In doing so, CPB refrains from making value judgements or from giving advice, and therefore appoints neither winners nor losers.

Source: DDN

MAKE THE NETHERLANDS GREAT AGAIN – VOTE PVV

15 March D-Day in the Netherlands

#NederlandWeerVanOns

21 March is D-Day in the Netherlands.

The Dutch people go #Voting for a new government and ‘The House’ (2e kamer)
The majority is sick of the corrupt sitting government.
The all puppets from the also corrupt EU (Brussel)

The EU is a corrupt group of Elite not voted people.

The current government do nothing what the has promised in their election program
The only grab and grab and give all the dutch tax money to the corrupt wrong elite.

The most bad and corrupt premier minister ever

The now sitting premier minister is a real corrupt (VVD) clown.
It is not normal what the man make for mistakes, all in favor for the corrupt elite.

Other corrupt party leaders and ministers are (Top 3 Clowns)
Diederik Samson (ex-Greenpeace activist) PVDA
Alexander Pechtold (menber of the nazi Bilderberg Group) D66
Mark Rutte (Premier Minister) VVD

Hopefully the majority #Vote on D-Day for the right and strong people to clean up the mess in the Netherlands.

Close and check all borders. and not let more fake economic refugees inside the country.
Enough is Enough.

“LET THE NETHERLANDS GREAT AGAIN”