Dutch pension fund pulls out of Mylan over execution fears

Dutch pension fund pulls out of Mylan over execution fears

Dutch civil service pension fund APB has sold all its shares in pharmaceuticals company Mylan because of concerns that one of its products may be used in carrying out the death penalty in the US. According to news agency Reuters, European companies are banned from selling drugs for use in executions and the move by ABP is thought to have been followed by other Dutch pension funds. ABP spokesman Harmen Geers told Reuters the decision came after a nine-month dialogue with the company. [banner] 'As the Dutch government and Dutch society as a whole renounced the death penalty a long time ago, we do not want Dutch pension money to be involved in that,' he said. The state prison in Virginia has confirmed it held stocks of a Mylan muscle relaxant  that can be used in executions. Mylan is a US company which moved its base to the Netherlands earlier this year to take advantage of tax breaks. According to news agency ANP, the Dutch government has already spoken to the company about its death penalty role.    More >

Dutch born Gláucio to be sent to Angola

Gláucio, 13 and born in the Netherlands, faces deportation to Angola MPs and child rights advocates have launched a last-ditch campaign to win residency rights for two children who are threatened with deportation to Angola, even though one was born in the Netherlands 13 years ago. The justice ministry wants to deport Gláucio (13) and Márcia (18) because their father was in the army during the Angolan civil war. This makes him a potential war criminal and ineligible for refugee status. Because their father, who has never faced any charges, is not an official refugee, the children do not fall under the amnesty for children who have lived in the Netherlands for at least six years. [banner] The family was picked up at their home last week in the early hours of the morning and are set to be deported in the next few days. GroenLinks, Socialist and ChristenUnie MPs are have called on the government to reconsider. The children do not speak Portuguese and Glaucio has lived in the Netherlands his entire life, they point out. Marcia was also about to start studying for a law degree at Erasmus University. Aid group Defence for Children has also said it does not understand why the teenagers are being deported and has called for a mass demonstration at the Zeist deportation centre on Monday. Supporters have also launched an online petition. MPs from the ruling Labour party have declined to comment on the case, broadcaster Nos said.  More >

Pricey Amsterdam homes in foreign demand

Grand Amsterdam houses a target for wealthy Chinese, warns mayor Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan is worried that wealthy Chinese and Russians are going to start buying up properties in the city's 17th century city centre, the Financieele Dagblad said on Saturday. The mayor told the paper that this is a 'major risk' and that the entire city council shares his fears. 'This is really something to be worried about,' Van der Laan said. 'We think Amsterdam should remain a city for all Amsterdammers.' The fears have been prompted by the situation in parts of London, where wealthy foreigners have invested heavily in properties which they rarely live in. If Amsterdam properties are bought en masse, this will threaten the city's social balance and livability,' Van der Laan told the paper. [banner] The FD points out that this summer a listed building on the Herengracht was bought by a Turkish millionaire for €6.7m. He is currently involved in bidding for construction group Ballast Nedam. In addition, a waterfront house in Vinkeveen was recently sold to a Chinese businessman for €10m, the paper says. However, it was the government itself which sold the former Prinsengracht law courts to a Chinese hotel group, the paper points out. According to the Parool earlier this month, 15 'expensive' Amsterdam houses were sold to Chinese and Russians last year. Other rich 'foreigners' bought many times that, the paper said, quoting figures from Amsterdam real estate agent association MVA. There are currently 18 homes on real estate website Funda which cost more than €3m. And broker Pieter Joep van den Brink told the paper 90% of the houses sold in Amsterdam change hands for less than €350,000. While Amsterdam is attractive to rich foreigners, there is no question of large numbers of houses being bought as investments, he said.  More >

Drinking water won't cure a hangover

Drinking water won’t cure a hangover: Dutch researchers Dutch scientists studying the consequences of drinking too much have concluded that eating food and drinking water make no difference to a hangover, despite the popular belief that they do. Researchers at Utrecht University asked 826 students if they had eaten or drunk a lot of water following an evening of alcoholic over-indulgence. ‘Those who took food or water showed a slight statistical improvement in how they felt over those who didn't, but this didn't really translate into a meaningful difference,’ lead scientist Dr Joris Verster is quoted as saying by Sky News. [banner] ‘From what we know from the surveys so far, the only practical way to avoid a hangover is to drink less alcohol,’ he said. The study also found that so-called seasoned drinkers who boast of being immune to hangovers are fooling themselves, Sky said. The scientists calculated the blood alcohol levels of a group of 789 Canadian students and almost eight in 10 of those who claimed not to experience hangovers had actually drunk less than they thought.  More >

Peta sounds alarm about Dutch orca Morgan

Peta sounds the alarm about Morgan the Dutch orca Animal rights organisation Peta has called on the Spanish police to investigate the conditions in which 'Dutch' orca Morgan is being kept at a Spanish amusement park. Peta has asked the Seprona unit, which deals with environmental crime, to look into the treatment of Morgan, four orcas owned by the American Sea World organisation and one orca born in captivity, at the Loro Parque centre on the island of Tenerife. Peta says the animals are covered with wounds and their teeth are in poor condition. In addition, the orcas are kept in tanks which are far too small for them and that this is a form of animal abuse. 'The least we want is an improvement in their living conditions,' Tim Zijlstra, of the Dutch branch of Peta said. 'Eventually we would like to have parks like these closed down.' [banner] But the park authorities have dismissed the claims as without foundation and says they are aimed at damaging Loro Parque's reputation. Morgan, was found in a severely weakened state in the Wadden Sea in 2010. After being nursed back to health in the Netherlands, in 2011 she was shipped to the Loco Parque amusement park where she now performs tricks for a paying public. The then junior economic affairs minister Henk Bleker gave the green light for Morgan to be sent to Spain saying there was no guarantee she would be successfully released into the wild. The Council of State said last year the export was correct because returning her to the wild was not an alternative. The financial arrangements surrounding Morgan's transfer from the Netherlands to Spain have never been made public.  More >