Sunshine and accidents lead to record Ascension Day traffic jams

Sunshine and accidents lead to record Ascension Day traffic jams

Thursday is the busiest Ascension Day on the Dutch roads on record, traffic information service VID said. Around lunchtime there were 125 kilometres of jams on the roads, far above the previous record of 78 kilometres which dates back to 2009. There were long queues on roads to beaches and to the Wadden Sea islands ahead of the long weekend. Other problems were caused by accidents. The A16 was partly closed after a collision between a lorry and a tow-truck, causing long tailbacks. Twijfelachtige eer. We gaan opnieuw de boeken in. #Hemelvaartsdag 2017 drukste ooit ➜ — VID (@vid) May 25, 2017   More >

Rotterdam launches campaign to end forced

Rotterdam launches campaign to end forced marriages A Rotterdam city council poster campaign backing the right of young women to choose their own partner has drawn both mostly praise but some have criticised it for trivialising a serious problem. The campaign, supported by women's rights organsations Femmes for Freedom and Dona Daria, consists of four different posters showing a couple kissing in front of the city's landmark Erasmus bridge. They have been hung at 50 different locations around the city and will remain in place for 14 days. In one, a woman in a Muslim headscarf kisses a man wearing a Jewish skull cap, in another, two women kiss. Each poster carries the text 'In the Netherlands, you choose your own partner', followed by 'do you feel free to choose?'. The campaign was launched by integration alderman Ronald Schneider, who represents the right-wing populist party Leefbaar Rotterdam. Schneider told the NRC he is concerned that women with an Islamic or refugee background might be stopped by a relative if they, say, choose to begin a relationship with a woman. 'We consider it to be completely normal but not everyone does,' he said. The fact that Dutch people were not always free to decide who to marry a couple of generations ago makes the campaign even more relevant, he said. 'We have to protect the freedoms we have now,' he told the paper. Dozens of people showed their support for the campaign on social media and others called for it to be extended nation-wide. Trivial However, local Labour party councillor Fatima Talbi told the party the poster campaign is an election student by Leefbaar Rotterdam and trivialising a serious issue. Nourdin el Ouali, of local Muslim party Nida said the posters are 'stereotypical, ethnocentric and provocative. 'This is benefiting no-one,' he said, adding that the posters are the work of an ethnocentric white man. Nevertheless, both El Ouali and Talbi said they supported the central message. Shirin Musa from lobby group Femmes for Freedom told the Volkskrant the campaign is a 'boundary-breaking statement' which shows that women's right to self-determination is central. The council is showing 'it supports women who are confronted with honour-related violence, forced abortions, who are told they are too western or are sent back to their country of origin to be re-educated,' she said. De campagne is gelanceerd ❤️Supertrots @femmes4freedom hand in hand met de gemeente Rotterdam ❤️ — Shirin Musa (@ShirinMusa) May 24, 2017   More >

Police to test motorists' saliva for drugs

Sunshine and accidents lead to record Ascension Day traffic jams Dutch police may begin testing the saliva of drivers and people involved in violent crimes for drugs from July 1 when new zero-tolerance rules come into effect, the transport ministry said. The saliva test can be used to find out if people have taken opiates, cocaine, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and methamphetamines and has been used in Belgium for some time. The test identifies whether there are drugs in the system but cannot say how much or when the drug was taken, which needs to be established to find out if someone has broken road safety laws. To establish this, follow up tests need to be done, Patrick van Vugt from test maker Dräger told BNR radio. The test is not without its critics. Cannabis researcher Nicole Maalsté said in a website column that THC can be identified up to 14 hours after it was taken. 'I consider it very unlikely that someone is still under the influence if they smoked week half a day ago,' she said. Follow up blood tests are also expensive, Maalsté said. This makes it likely that police will select who to run a saliva test on based on their appearance. 'Shirt and tie, no drugs test, cap and sneakers, yes a drugs test,' she wrote. 'I can see it happening.'  More >

Gay refugee faces deportation to Iraq

Sunshine and accidents lead to record Ascension Day traffic jams A gay asylum seeker is to be sent back to Iraq because he is ‘not gay enough’, according to a report in the Parool. Sahir, 29, has been told to report to a deportation centre within the next few days to prepare for his departure. The immigration service does not consider he has proved his homosexuality, even though Mushtak, his partner of 2.5 years testified in court the couple did have sex ‘sometimes several times a day’. Sahir and Mushtak met in Iraq and had a secret relationship for 10 months before leaving Iraq for the west. They came to the Netherlands via Greece, Austria and Germany. ‘When we saw the rainbow flag hanging from a building in Amsterdam… I can’t explain how it felt, wow,’ Mushtak told the Parool. The Parool says the court did not take the photo of the rainbow flag, the video of the couple on board a boat during the Gay Pride canal parade or the testimony of friends into account when deciding Sahir must go. Development The ruling states that ‘there is no question of the development of homosexual feelings or of a reflective process’ in Sahir’s statement. Instead, he should have been able to give concrete details of his growing awareness of his homosexuality.’ Sahir’s lawyer Erik Hagenaars told the paper that since the IND drew up procedures to deal with asylum claims based on homosexuality, the emphasis has been on the process of self-acceptance of being gay. ‘Some people cannot talk about their emotions and feelings and Sahir is such a person,’ Hagenaars said. ‘Homosexuality can be such an issue for some people that they hide it their entire lives.’ Gay rights lobby group COC told the Parool Sahir is not an isolated case and that dozens of other rejected gay asylum seekers end up living as illegal immigrants.  More >

Rutte expresses horror at Manchester bomb

Sunshine and accidents lead to record Ascension Day traffic jams Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has expressed his condolences to British prime minister Theresa May following the Manchester concert hall bombing, describing the attack as ‘terrible news’. ‘A great evening ended in tragedy,’ Rutte said on Twitter. ‘Our thoughts are with the victims.’ Twenty-two people, including children, were killed and dozens injured in the attack after the concert by Ariana Grande in the northern English town. Dutch counter terrorism chief Dick Schoof met officials and event organisers on Tuesday afternoon to discuss security issues in the Netherlands, broadcaster NOS said. ‘We are going to decide if measures already being taken are sufficient or if more needs to be done,’ Schoof is quoted as saying. ‘Concerts are soft targets and you could predict that attacks could happen at such events.’ The threat level in the Netherlands remains four on a scale of one to five. Schoof urged people planning to watch the Europa League final between Ajax and Manchester United on Wednesday on giant screens on the Museumplein in Amsterdam to remain alert. ‘If you see strange behaviour, warn security guards or the police,’ he said. ‘It is better to be safe than sorry.’  More >