Police unions to stop justice ministry computer issuing fines

Dumped baby still not identified despite heel prick test

Police taking industrial action in support of their play claim plan to make it impossible for the justice ministry to send out some traffic fines from Wednesday next week.The police manage the computer system which is used to compile and send out fines on behalf of the ministry. The unions now plan to change the software filter to stop it processing some of them and claim this will cost the government €500,000 a day in lost income.The campaign will affect fines for people who drive up to 20 kph too fast or who face a fine of €200 or less, the police unions said. A month ago, the police said they would be more lax in their approach to traffic fines, as part of their pay claim.[banner]Last month, a number of opening matches in the premier football league were cancelled because of police strikes.The police have been offered a 5% pay increase and a one-off bonus payment of €500. The unions say the deal is made up of a 2.28% rise over two years, plus 2.2% from changes to their pension plan which may affect eventual pension payouts.Teachers, tax officials and customs staff are also angry about the civil service pay deal which the government signed with several smaller unions this summer.The FNV trade union, which was not a part of negotiations, is taking legal action in an effort to have the agreement scrapped.  More >

Millions of euros left on transport cards

Dumped baby still not identified despite heel prick test The company which runs the public transport smart card scheme is making millions of euros from cards which have expired, the AD says on Friday.The cards expire after five years and users have to pay €7.50 to buy a new one. In addition, people with anonymous cards have to send back the old card and provide bank account information to reclaim any money left on the card.Although an estimated €20m has gone unclaimed so far, Translink told the AD it has no idea how many people have not asked for their cash back or what has actually happened to the money.That will not be apparent until 2016, a spokeswoman told the paper. The money will be spent on passenger services 'as usual', the spokeswoman said.[banner]This year and next most of the 6.7 million ov-chipkaart cards currently in circulation will expire. Emptying the card by travelling is difficult because users need to start a bus journey with at least €4 on the card. Train travel requires a 'deposit' of €20.TransLink, which operate the ov-chipkaart system, says the cards have to be renewed every five years because they can become porous and break. In addition, the security technology embedded in the card needs updating.Passenger lobby group Rover is calling on Translink to come up with a better system for returning travellers' cash.  More >

Amsterdam's Jews can reclaim WWII fines

Jewish Amsterdammers to get back WWII property fines The descendants of Jewish Amsterdammers who were charged a fine for not paying ground rent for their properties during World War II can get their money back, the Parool reports on Friday.Research by the Niod institute for war documentation shows at least 240 people were fined for not paying ground rent even though they were in hiding or had been sent to a concentration camp.In addition, around 900 dormant bank accounts which belonged to World War II victims have been identified. That money too can be reclaimed, the Parool says. Most of the accounts were almost empty and the average repayment, by today’s standards, will be around € 3.52.[banner]The council has set aside €1m to fund the repayments, which can be claimed via a special website.The Netherlands is still struggling to come to terms with the way it treated Jews who returned home in 1945 and whose property and possessions had been stolen or lost.Only 35,000 of the country’s Jewish population of 140,000 survived the war and 102,000 of the 107,000 who were deported to death camps were killed.  More >

Almere PVV suspends councillor

Almere PVV suspends councillor who took cash The Almere branch of anti-immigration party PVV has suspended one of its councillors who embezzled party funds.René Eekhuis took €17,500 out of the party bank account in two withdrawals, and then repaid it two weeks later. Local media say Eekhuis sold his BMW and Masserati cars to be able to repay the cash.According to the Telegraaf, Eekhuis has also been accused of battering his wife, who was hospitalised with three broken ribs. The paper says it has seen the police report of the incident and has spoken to several sources who confirm the claim.[banner]Eekhuis’ wife has since filed for divorce, the paper says.Meanwhile Eekhuis said he will not give up his council seat and will remain as an independent councillor. Originally nine PVV councillors were elected to serve on Almere council, one of only two cities the PVV contested in the 2014 local elections.  More >

Dumped baby still not identified

Dumped baby still not identified despite heel prick test Justice ministry officials are to talk with the public health institute RIVM in another effort to identify the mother whose baby was found dumped in an underground garbage container last October.The baby was heard crying by a passerby in the early hours of the morning. She alerted the emergency services who found the baby unharmed.The child had two unusual physical traits which police had hoped would help identify her and was also thought to have had the heel prick test - part of the routine neo-natal screening process for newborns.[banner]However, efforts to find the nurse who may have given the test have failed.The RIVM keeps all information about the heel prick which is covered by medical confidentiality legislation. The public prosecution department said in a statement if the RIVM will not hand over the relevant information, the issue could be taken to court.The child is making good progress with a foster family, officials said.  More >