Dutch F-16 pilot flies plane into cable in Arizona

Commercial investment in Dutch property soars by 40% in Q1

  The Dutch defence ministry is investigating how an F-16 fighter pilot flew his jet into an overhead cable on a training exercise in Arizona. The pilot was unharmed and able to land safely, but the aircraft was 'severely damaged' in the incident on Sunday, a spokesman for the ministry said. The pilot was part of an F-16 division carrying out training flights at the Netherlands Detachment in Tucson, Arizona.   More >

Mediamarkt under fire over price hikes

Mediamarkt hikes prices before sale, customers allege Consumer electronics discount retailer Mediamarkt has been accused of raising its prices substantially before sales, so that discounts look bigger than they really are. Customers have alleged on the chain's Facebook page that prices for the current sale which refunds 21% btw payments were jacked up enormously ahead of time, the Telegraaf reported on Friday.  The btw sale runs through Sunday. One customer made a screenshot of a soundbar he wanted to buy. Just before the sale, the 'Heos by Denon' was priced at €599 but a few hours later it was listed at €699. The same soundbar is now for sale at €577.65 at Mediamarkt, a discount of 3.5% on the original price. A spokesman  for consumers organisation Consumentenbond said it was a 'rip-off'.  He said he checked the price of a certain item for an entire week as it went from €161 to €185. 'Price increases just before a sale is a well-known occurrence.  It happened just before Black Friday as well,' he said. A Mediamarket spokesman said the company is very transparent with prices. 'We work with a number of price formulae and prices are adjusted automatically on a daily basis,' he said. Mediamarkt offers to match the price of any product if it is sold for less at another store. Based in Germany, Mediamarket is the world's second-largest consumer electronics retailer after Best Buy of the US.  More >

Rotterdam mayor in Salafism row

Commercial investment in Dutch property soars by 40% in Q1 Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb faces questioning by city councillors on Thursday evening over comments he made about Salafism during the winter break, according to the Volkskrant. Aboutaleb told a radio programme that every Muslim is a 'bit of a Salafist', and that he could be seen as a jihadi, stating, when questioned, that he was referring to the words in their broadest definition. Salafism is considered to be an conservative or pure strand within Sunni Islam and has come to be associated with extremist violence. Aboutaleb, however, told the programme that to him Salafism is about attempting to live in the same pious way as the prophet Mohammed. 'By that definition, would you call yourself a salafist?' presenter Tijs van den Brink asked the mayor? 'Yes, every Muslim is a little bit of a salafist,' Aboutaleb answered, adding that 'I have said before that I am a jihadist. I get up every day at 7am to do good for Rotterdam and the Netherlands. That is jihad in its purest form.' Aboutaleb, who is a practising Muslim, has always been reluctant to talk about his faith in public, and his comments raised the hackles of local populist party Leefbaar Rotterdam. PVV leader Geert Wilders also called on the mayor to resign while commentators said the mayor should have been more cautious in his statements, describing them as simplistic. Hard line The mayor, who is in the middle of his second term in office, is also known for his hard line on religious extremists. In 2015, he broke with the Labour party line and said Dutch nationals who have decided they want to travel to Syria to join Islamic militias should be allowed to go but should be banned from coming back to the Netherlands. ‘I want to make sure those who are considering going to Syria know exactly what is at risk,’ Aboutaleb told the AD at the time. ‘If you think this society is depraved, then go. But there is no way back. Hand over your passport and risk getting bombed.’ Aboutaleb also hit the headlines after the terrorist attacks in Paris when he said that the time is right to wipe out ISIS.  More >

Blendle in talks on new investment

Commercial investment in Dutch property soars by 40% in Q1 Online news kiosk Blendle is in talks with investors about a possible new capital injection after booking a loss in 2016. According to the Financieele Dagblad, the Dutch start up, which has big international ambitions, posted a loss of €2.4m last year, compared with a loss of €1.6m in 2015. Blendle was launched in April 2013 as a newspaper and magazine kiosk. It allows readers to pay a few cents to read individual newspaper and magazine articles and currently works with some 50 Dutch publications. Some 550,000 people have a Blendle account – most of them in the 20 to 35 age group. IN 2014 the New York Times and Germany’s Axel Springer group put €3m into Blendle to fund its international expansion into the US and Germany. Last year, Japanese group Nikkei, which owns the Financial Times, and Amsterdam venture capital group Inkef Capital, put an unknown amount of money into the company.  More >

Hungarian girl rescued from prostitution

Commercial investment in Dutch property soars by 40% in Q1 Three men have been remanded in custody for forcing a 13-year-old girl to work as a prostitute in Roermond in Limburg province. The men, one Dutchman aged 48 and two men from Hungary aged 49 and 51, were arrested last Friday after police found the girl at a property in Roermond. They have been charged with human trafficking. The men are thought to have taken the girl from an orphanage in Hungary and brought her to the Netherlands, the police statement said. She was found following a tip-off. Over 6,000 people in the Netherlands are the victims of human trafficking every year, two-thirds of whom are coerced into the sex trade, according to a report from the national reporter on trafficking in human beings and sexual violence in October. The maximum penalty for human trafficking was increased to 12 years in 2012 but  the average sentence was 585 days. Just five suspects last year were jailed for more than 1,500 days and almost a quarter of suspects are eventually found not guilty, the NRC said earlier this year.   More >