Two killed, three seriously hurt as driver heads wrong way up motorway

Dutch scientists find a gene that makes you look two years older

Two people were killed and three seriously injured in a head on collision on the A79 motorway near Maastricht on Friday. The crash happened when the 87-year-old driver of one car headed the wrong way up the highway, smashing into the car driven by a 39-year old woman from Maastricht. Both drivers were killed. The woman's three children, aged 9, 7, and 3 are in hospital. The two youngest boys are in a very serious condition, Dutch media reported. The road was closed for several hours while police and emergency service workers dealt with the aftermath of the crash. Every year between five and 10 people are killed in accidents caused by people heading the wrong way up a road. In Dutch such motorists are known as spookrijders, or ghost drivers.  More >

Webcam trial starts despite lack of lawyer

Dutch scientists find a gene that makes you look two years older Judges in Amsterdam will press ahead with the trial of a man accused of blackmailing dozens of girls after making sex videos of them on Monday, even though he does not have a lawyer. Aydin C on Friday asked the court for a delay because his lawyer had walked out on him, saying he had not had enough time to get to grips with the case. Robert Malewicz had taken the case on a month ago after a 'breach of trust' between C and his original lawyer. C will now be supported by a court appointed lawyer, but will not have a defence based on the evidence. Formal hearings will start on Monday, broadcaster Nos said. The court said that C is responsible for the situation because he knew the case was scheduled to start and had failed to take action to make sure his defence was up to speed. Victims It is in the interest of the victims to have the trial proceed as soon as possible, the court said. C has been remanded in custody for two years on suspicion of abusing up to 40 girls online. He did this by posing as a teenage girl himself. After persuading his victims to carry out sex acts via the webcam, he threatened to send them to family and friends unless they went further. One of  C's victims is said to be Canadian girl Amanda Todd who killed herself in October 2012 after a film featuring her was circulated on YouTube. C is not on trial in connection with the Amanda Todd case, which Canada wants to prosecute itself.  More >

'Secret service can hack innocent people'

Secret service can hack innocent people to reach target: Volkskrant The new law giving greater powers to the secret service to intercept internet traffic will allow officials to hack innocent people despite protests by privacy groups, the Volkskrant said on Friday. The paper bases its claim on the new draft legislation, which has not yet been officially published. The new powers mean that people who share the same server as suspects could be hacked by the spy service to get access to their targets. Ministers say this is crucial because suspects are often well protected against hacking. The new powers will apply only to the security service, not the police, the Volkskrant said. Privacy groups have already warned that this will create 'unacceptable risks to privacy'. 'Someone who is completely innocent can suddenly find the secret service accessing their data,' Ton Siedsma of Bits of Freedom told the Volkskrant. This could include their phones, tablets, smart watches, fridges and even cars, the paper said. Ministers say that the security services will have to have permission from a special commission before they can access non-suspects internet traffic.  More >

Lawyer targets 'criminal' tobacco firms

Dutch scientists find a gene that makes you look two years older A Dutch lawyer and lung cancer patient are planning to take tobacco companies to court for for producing cigarettes designed to turn people into addicts as quickly as possible. Lawyer Benedicte Ficq and cancer victim Anne Marie van Veen are putting together a criminal case against cigarette producers, arguing that out of court settlements do not go far enough. 'I want to see tobacco firms prosecuted for deliberately damaging people's health,' Ficq told television programme RTL Late Night. Tobacco firms cannot hide behind the freedom of choice of people to smoke because they are deliberately influencing smokers' behaviour, Ficq and Van Veen argue. Poison 'To limit that freedom, addictive chemicals such as nicotine and other additives are put into cigarettes,' they say. 'And [the companies] overcome our natural aversion to poisons by adding substances like menthol.' Nor does the argument that the government does not ban smoking hold water, Ficq said. 'If I fed my children rat poison every day and they eventually die, I would be prosecuted for murder,' she said. 'The tobacco industry is simply getting away with it.' Ficq and Van Veen are appealing for other people to sign up to their campaign.  More >

Turn off your phones to remember the dead

Turn off your phones to remember the dead, Dutch telecoms firms say Telecoms companies are urging people to switch of their mobile phones during the official two minutes of silence on Remembrance Day (May 4). KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile are asking their customers to turn off their phones following an appeal from writer Sidney Vollmer and artist Fabian Sapthu. 'Turning off your phone is a more powerful symbol than switching down the volume, Vollmer said. Public transport stops running during the two minute break, which takes place at 20.00 hours. There are also no take-offs and landings at Schiphol airport. The Netherlands will remember those who died during World War II and subsequent conflicts at a string of ceremonies all over the country on Wednesday. The main ceremonies will take place in the evening, when the king and queen will lay wreaths in Dam Square in the heart of Amsterdam.  More >