Nos student 'gunman' acted alone, motive still unclear

Incorrect number plate in parking meter? No fine says court

The student who forced his way into the studios of public broadcaster Nos on Thursday night has told police he acted alone and not on behalf of any terrorist organisation, news agency ANP says on Friday. Nor was there any question of a cyber attack or hidden radioactive bombs, Tarik Zahzah is quoted as saying. The letter he took to the broadcaster along with the fake gun included such threats. Zahzah is due to appear in court on Friday afternoon to face a remand hearing. [banner] The motive for his actions remains unclear. Zahzah is described as a quiet, intelligent youth by friends and fellow students but not a loner. He is, however, said to have been fascinated by conspiracy theories. Zahzah lives with his Dutch mother and stepfather in Pijnacker, where they cultivate palm trees. He is a first year student of molecular science and technology, a joint degree offered by Delft and Leiden universities. Hilversum mayor Pieter Broertjes said on Friday that security at the Media Park where many Dutch broadcasters are based will be increased and more police will be on duty.  More >

Judge tears up parking fine

Incorrect number plate in parking meter? No fine says court Amsterdam city council must stop handing out fines to drivers who wrongly fill in their car number plate in parking meters, as long as they can prove they have paid, judges said on Friday. The case was brought by Bas Filippini, chairman of the Privacy First foundation, who is campaigning against the use of number plates in parking. Most of the city's parking meters no longer issue tickets but require drivers to check in their car number plate. Traffic wardens then scan cars to see if the number plate has been entered. The council considers that using the wrong number plate is the same as not paying but the court disagreed. ‘Not finding a payment corresponding to a real number plate could be evidence that no payment was made but the person parking can demonstrate they did pay in a variety of ways,’ the court said. The privacy body says that number plate-based parking allows the city council to track people’s movements and could also be wrongly interpreted by the police in criminal investigations. In a similar case last year the courts tore up a parking fine because the driver could prove he had paid but that the touch screen on the meter did not work.  More >

Court for anti-Muslim Facebook comments

Dutch prosecutor acts on anti-Muslim Facebook comments The public prosecution department is beginning a criminal investigation into 12 statements made on a Facebook page set up to support the anti-Islam PVV. Police are now tracking down the identities of people who left racist and discriminatory comments on the Facebook page Steun de PVV (support the PVV). The comments were made after the page published an article from the Telegraaf newspaper about the firebombing of mosques in Sweden. A number of Moroccan organisations made formal complaints against the page for threatening behaviour and incitement to discrimination and hatred. Claims that some comments urged people to firebomb Dutch mosques were not proven, the prosecutor said. However, some of the comments were inflammatory and did urge violence against Muslims and mosques, the prosecutor said. Nevertheless, the prosecutor said, there was no question of incitement to hatred. The page manager does not face charges because he removed the reactions extremely quickly.  More >

Union sues childcare group over bankruptcy

Union sues childcare group over ‘fake’ bankruptcy Trade union federation FNV is taking childcare organisation Smallsteps to court over its controversial bankruptcy and immediate relaunch. Smallsteps, then known as Estro, went bust in July 2014 but restarted the same day with fewer daycare centres and staff. In total, 251 locations remained open but 130 closed and 1,000 people lost their jobs. A number of directors and supervisory board members also moved over to Smallsteps. [banner] The FNV maintains the restart was essentially a continuation of the same company and that Smallsteps should keep on all staff and daycare locations. ‘The evidence shows that Estro’s board and shareholders were busy for months in preparing a takeover which would allow them to avoid the debts as cheaply as possible,’ the union statement said. ‘They have clearly abused the pre-packaged insolvency construction. They did everything they could to keep the door closed to other takeover candidates and only negotiated with themselves.’ The daycare operations were taken over by private equity group HIG which was a major shareholder in Estro before the bankruptcy.  More >

60% of jobless find new work within a year

Incorrect number plate in parking meter? No fine says court Some 60% of people who claim unemployment benefits (ww) in the Netherlands get a job within a year, according to the national statistics office CBS. The CBS analysed jobless figures between 2009 an 2011, when around 300,000 people a year lost their job. Of them, 45% had a new job in six months and 75% found work within two years. Age had a considerable impact on the likelihood of finding a job, the CBS said. Half the under 45s have a new job within six months but the over 45s took two years to reach a similar success rate. [banner]  More >