Dutch court upholds ban on controversial UberPop service

Dutch court upholds ban on controversial UberPop service

Taxi service UberPop is to remain banned in the Netherlands but the company’s UberX service does meet Dutch taxi legislation, judges said on Thursday. Uber stopped its controversial Uberpop service in the Netherlands in November 2015 after it was branded illegal by the Dutch courts and the company was handed down several fines. Uberpop allows unlicenced drivers to use their own cars as taxis and has been banned in several other countries. The company appeal court on Thursday upheld the lower court’s ruling and said three fines totaling €360,000 were justified. However a second fine of €650,000 which Uber faced for its UberX service was wrongful, the court said, because  UberX drivers are licenced.   More >

Terminally-ill refugee boy taken into care

--Football clubs don’t see a ‘championship effect’ from women’s Europe win A terminally-ill Afghan boy has been removed from his parents’ care at a refugee centre in Emmen and put under social work supervision, the Volkskrant said on Thursday. Amir, who is 10, suffers from an incurable metabolic disease and is mentally handicapped. He has been living in refugee centres since 2011 and his family was given compassionate leave to remain in the Netherlands last year. Child protection officers have now gone to court to have the boy placed under their supervision because of ‘serious concerns’ about his health situation, the paper said. Judges in Assen said on Thursday he should remain in care for at least the coming month. They also recommended that social workers develop a more intense visiting schedule for his parents, who, their lawyer Joancy Breevled told the paper, have only seen the boy twice in the two weeks since he was taken away. Children are only removed from their parents in extreme circumstances and officials have not given any more information about their concerns, the paper said. This is an extreme measure which is severely damaging to a boy in the last phase of his life, Breeveld said. ‘He should be with his family who understand his non-verbal signals and care for him with great love and devotion.’  More >

Sports pitch crumb rubber again under fire

Green groups head for court over sports pitch crumb rubber pollution Dutch environmental organisations have made a formal legal complaint about the use of crumb rubber made from old tyres on sports fields. Recycling Network, an umbrella group of green groups, says local authorities, sports clubs and used-tyre firms have committed a criminal offence because heavy metals in the rubber are leaching into the ground. The use of crumb rubber on sports fields hit the headlines last year over fears that it may be exposing players to cancer-causing substances. Recycling Network said in a statement that ‘covering thousands of sports fields with millions of kilos of chopped up tyres is leading to the leaching of a large amount of zinc and other risks to the environment.’ This, the organisation said, ‘is not good recycling but breaking waste disposal rules. This is why we have approached the public prosecution department.’ The Recycling Network says the environment ministry was warned in 2006 that the concentration of zinc in ground and surface water is breaking formal guidelines. Health concerns Every year, some 500,000 kilos of used car tyres are turned into crumb rubber and spread on sports fields in the Netherlands. Last December, public health body RIVM said taking part in sports on artificial turf pitches which include crumb rubber made from old tyres is not a health hazard. Only a very small amount of dangerous chemicals in the crumb – namely heavy metals, black carbon, and oils that contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – are released during sport and the risk to health is negligible, the RIVM said. Nevertheless, the organisation recommended that the current standards crumb rubber has to be toughed up. Currently sports pitches meet industrial standards but not those set for consumers. The rules governing the use of crumb rubber should be brought more into line with consumer protection levels, the RIVM said.  More >

Mafia suspect arrested in Amsterdam

Italian mafia suspect arrested in central Amsterdam An Italian national wanted in connection with mafia activities was picked up in Amsterdam at the beginning of this month on a European arrest warrant, police said on Thursday. Police had been tipped off that the 33-year-old was living in Amsterdam. The man was arrested on Waterlooplein, next to the city hall and the market on September 7. Two police officers from Italy were part of the arrest squad but the actual arrest was made by Dutch officers, the police statement said. Last week the police announced that a special team was being set up to hunt for potential mafia members in the Netherlands. This arrest was not connected to that plan, broadcaster NOS said. The man is being held in custody pending his deportation to Italy.  More >

Police describe e-bike deaths as worrying

More fatal accidents as e-bikes grow in popularity in the Netherlands More people are now being killed on the Dutch roads while riding an electric bike than in moped accidents, according to new figures on traffic-related deaths. Since 2014, at least 79 people have been killed in road accidents while using an e-bike, of whom 87% were over the age of 60, police figures show. An e-bike is a normal bike fitted with an electric motor and sales have been soaring in recent years. The death toll is 'very worrying,’ police spokesman Egbert-Jan van Hasselt, who heads a road safety team, told the AD. ‘People are staying active for longer and are more likely to go for an e-bike. But unfortunately, some of them lack the skills to control them.’ Van Hasselt says people should take a course in using an e-bike. ‘They are not a normal bike,’ he said. ‘They give you and extra boost and sometimes that happens when you don’t expect it.’ In addition, older users should wear a helmet, Van Hasselt said. Another problem is that bike paths are becoming busier, with a greater variety of two-wheelers, and that brings its own problems, he said. Last year, 629 people died in road accidents in the Netherlands, of whom 189 were cyclists, and 28 were on e-bikes. Police do not expect a downward trend this year. According to RTL, most deaths occur on roads where the maximum speed is 50 kph and 41% of people are killed close to home.  More >