Cabinet threatens to bypass senate if revised health reforms not backed

Cabinet threatens to bypass senate if revised health reforms not backed

The ruling VVD and Labour parties have reached a compromise deal to amend controversial health insurance reforms which were rejected by Labour senators earlier this week. The new look bill will be debated again in both houses of parliament but if it is again rejected in the senate, ministers will use a procedural trick to bypass the senate and enact the bill anyway, website reports. The...  More >

MPs oppose Amsterdam moped plan (update)

MPs oppose Amsterdam trials with mopeds on the roads (update) A majority of MPs oppose plans by Amsterdam city council to move mopeds from cycle lanes to the roads and to require moped users to wear a helmet, news agency ANP reports. Christian Democrat and VVD MPs called on other parties to support their opposition to the plan on Thursday, ANP says. They want the ministers to cancel their approval for the city-wide trials. Transport minister Melanie Schultz earlier this year agreed Amsterdam could bring in local helmet requirements to make the experiment possible. The Dutch capital has long campaigned to remove mopeds from the cycle lanes to improve cyclists' safety. However, MPs say moving mopeds to the roads will lead to more dangerous situations because mopeds do not go fast enough in regular city traffic. ‘It is disappointing that MPs don’t recognise the need for tailor-made solutions in Amsterdam,’ a spokesman for city alderman Pieter Litjes told broadcaster Nos. In Amsterdam, almost half of the people killed in traffic...  More >

Drugs monitor issues pink ecstasy warning

Drugs monitor issues warning for dangerous Superman ‘ecstasy’ pills The Dutch Trimbos drug addiction clinic has issued a warning about a dangerous type of ecstasy pill currently in circulation in the Netherlands. The warning comes just weeks after several tourists died in Amsterdam after taking heroin they believed to be cocaine. The Trimbos institute says the dangerous pills are pink and feature the Superman logo. They contain a very high dose of a chemical known as PMMA, rather than MDMA which is the main component of ecstasy. PMMA is slow to have an effect, and this has led to users taking more pills because they think the first ones don’t work, the Trimbos institute said. The side effects of too much PMMA include a racing heart and very high body temperature. An overdose can be fatal. Dutch media reported on at least two PMMA related deaths in the Netherlands in 2013.  More >

Hilversum firework ban overturned in court

Cabinet threatens to bypass senate if revised health reforms not backed The ban on setting off fireworks in central Hilversum during the New Year celebrations has been overturned in court. The Lelystad court ruled Hilversum council's executive committee was not properly qualified to make the decision. The court said that a ban on fireworks is a public order issue and that this should be a decision for the mayor only. Two firework sellers in Hilversum had taken the council to court arguing that city officials had been too late and too vague in announcing their plans. They fear a sharp drop in trade and claim people think the ban is city-wide rather than just in the centre. Mayor Pieter Broertjes, who supports the ban, said he was extremely disappointed in the ruling. ‘We deliberately opted to involve the entire executive to show that there was wide democratic support for the decision,’ he said. ‘We thought we were doing the right thing.’ Broertjes said he did not plan to invoke his emergency powers to impose the ban anyway. ‘I want the...  More >

Longer jail terms for speed camera bombers

Speed camera bombers get longer jail terms on appeal Two men who attached a firework bomb to a speed camera, which seriously injured a bomb disposal expert, have had their jail sentences increased on appeal. Jörn de V was given 45 months in jail, six suspended, for his role in trying to blow up the speed camera. Co-defendant Erik O was given three years. A lower court had sentenced them to 30 months and 24 months respectively. The two men attached the fireworks to the speed camera in Voorschoten in 2011. They planned to return to the location and set off the bomb but in the meantime a passerby had warned the police, news agency ANP reported. Two members of the bomb disposal squad and a detective were injured when the bomb went off as they were trying to remove it. All suffered hearing and sight damage. One of the bomb disposal experts also lost part of his arm. The court was told that De V had tried to destroy speed cameras on two previous occasions.  More >