Terror alert in Rotterdam, mayor cancels concert after Spanish tip-off

Terror alert in Rotterdam, mayor cancels concert after Spanish tip-off

Police in Rotterdam are trying to establish if there is a link between a terrorist threat at  city concert hall and a van with Spanish number plates containing gas bottles, the city’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told a news conference on Wednesday evening. Earlier, the mayor cancelled a concert by an American group Allah-Las at the city’s Maassilo concert venue following a tip-off from Spanish police that it may have been targetted. Aboutaleb said he was informed about the terror threat by Spanish police towards the end of the afternoon. The threat said that an attack would take place during the performance by the Californian band and the tip-off was serious enough to merit cancelling the concert, he said. As yet, no link has been established between the van and the threat, and Aboutaleb warned about jumping to conclusions. It could also be a plumber or welder who was in the neighbourhood, he said. The van, which was stopped after being spotted driving around the same area not far from the concert venue is now being inspected by explosives experts. The driver has been arrested and is being questioned, the mayor said. The Dutch counter terrorism agency NCTV said later that the terrorist threat level in the Netherland is not being increased and remains at four on a scale of one to five. In June there was a major terror alert during a concert by Guus Meeuwis after a man was spotted hanging around the entrance to the stadium in Eindhoven. He was arrested but released several days later. Het verdachte Spaanse busje in #Rotterdam met de glasflessen wordt op dit moment door de politie onderzocht. pic.twitter.com/Pq3aOxeTDX — floor bremer (@floorbremer) August 23, 2017   More >

Air pollution case verdict next month

Court will decide on September 7 about air pollution demand Judges in The Hague will decide on September 7 if the Dutch state needs to do more to reduce air pollution, in a case brought by environmental group Milieudefensie. The organisation’s lawyer Phon van den Biesen told the court that tens of thousands of people die prematurely in the Netherlands every year because of air pollution. In addition, the Netherlands is breaking EU guidelines, he said. Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague are all in the top 12 of most polluted European cities and last year air quality deteriorated further, the organisation claims. The government’s lawyer told the court that air quality has improved considerably over the past 40 years and that while the Netherlands does not meet all international targets, it is doing considerably better than Milieudefensie says. Similar claims have also been made before the courts in Germany and Britain. In the Netherlands in 2015, a citizens initiative known as Urgenda won its case to force the government to take more steps to reduce greenhouse gases.   More >

Albert Heijn caught out telling porkies

Terror alert in Rotterdam, mayor cancels concert after Spanish tip-off Albert Heijn has topped a poll organised by animal rights organisation Wakker Dier to out companies caught misleading the public about animal welfare. In total, a record 19,000 people took part in this year's vote. The supermarket group’s AH magazine published a photo next to an article about Serrano ham showing pigs in a Spanish field. In practice, the pigs are kept indoors, in cramped conditions without straw, Wakker Dier says. Albert Heijn has admitted that the photo does not reflect the reality of the conditions the pigs are kept under but has not published a rectification. The biggest Dutch supermarket group was also nominated for its advert for farmed salmon using the phrase ‘very happy fish’. In reality, the fish are raised in cramped conditions in nets, Wakker Dier said. Dairy firm Almhof, tinned tuna producer Rio Mare and dairy group Friesche Vlag were also on the nomination list. Both Rio Mare and Friesche Vlag have since changed their advertising.  More >

Overijssel under fire over goose cull

Terror alert in Rotterdam, mayor cancels concert after Spanish tip-off The country’s highest administrative court has given the provincial authorities in Overijssel six months to prove it is necessary to shoot geese in protected nature reserves, after finding the province does need a permit to cull the birds after all. The case was brought by bird protection group Vogelbescherming. The Council of State first ordered the province to carry out more research into the goose culls in December 2015 so that a proper permit could be granted. Nevertheless, the province decided no permit was necessary and pressed ahead with shooting hundreds of geese instead. In Wednesday’s judgment, the council said that the provincial authority had not been able to prove that it did not need a permit to shoot geese and it must now carry out the necessary research within six months. Overijssel will also have to pay all Vogelbecherming’s legal costs, local broadcaster RTV Oost said. The Dutch government wants to reduce the size of the goose population in the Netherlands back to its 2005 levels which, experts say, will entail the slaughter of 500,000 birds. Farmers in the Netherlands were paid €16.3m for damage to crops and farmland caused by wild animals in the first six months of last year, most of which was due to geese.  More >

VVD MP quits five months after election

Terror alert in Rotterdam, mayor cancels concert after Spanish tip-off An MP for the right-wing VVD party is standing down on September 1 to take up a new job, just five months after the general election. Pieter Duisenberg, who is the party’s spokesman on education, is about to become chairman of the Dutch universities’ association VvU. He is the first of the 150 MPs to leave after the March 15 vote. Duisenberg, who is also chairman of the parliamentary finance committee, was first elected to parliament in 2012. Parliamentary chairwoman Khadija Arib has been highly critical of MPs leaving the job before their time is up. ‘As a chosen representative of the people, you should complete your term in office. You are given a mandate by voters,’ she said earlier. ‘But I cannot force them [to stay].’ Duisenberg told website Nu.nl the timing is unfortunate ‘but I think I can make a better contribution to improving our higher education this way.’   More >