Flights disrupted after air traffic control communication system crashes

Flights to and from Schiphol and Rotterdam airports were disrupted for a time early on Wednesday afternoon after problems with the air traffic control computer system. The communication system was down for around 30 minutes, leading to seven flight cancellations. A number of flights were also diverted to other airports, news agency ANP said. Flights were still subject to delays several hours later in the afternoon and Schiphol said travellers should check with their airline about actual departure times. The Dutch air traffic control department LVNL said it would take some time for flights to get back to normal. The LVNL is now investigating the cause of the breakdown, which did not affect the back up system.   More >

Two men jailed for icloud nude photo hacks

Statue of justice. Two men have been jailed for 24 and 14 months for their role in an internet network in which nude photos of some 400 Dutch girls were stolen and placed online. Both men were found guilty of hacking girls' websites and stealing photos and videos, and one was found guilty of blackmail and the possession of child pornography. The gang was unmasked in an investigation by RTL Nieuws earlier this year.  The broadcaster said at the time more than 2,000 men and boys were sharing images of the young women, without their consent, in a closed network. ‘More than 30,000 images and videos are sorted under name and town, with links to the victims’ social media profiles,’ RTL said at the time. ‘In a chatroom, naked photos of women that are called “wins” by the boys are named and exchanged like a huge collection of Pokémon cards. On request, girls are hacked to steal explicit photos and videos.’ The two men sentenced on Wednesday, 32-year-old Djuri V from Culemborg and 36-year-old Gary de V from Groningen, had hacked hundreds of icloud accounts by guessing passwords and finding out answers to security questions, the court was told.  More >

Whatsapp users warned about KLM scam

Whatsapp users are being warned to beware of a chain letter doing the rounds which purports to come from airline KLM. The message states that the receiver has won two KLM tickets, if they sent the message on to 15 friends. But in reality, the letter is a way of gathering information about users which is being sold on to dozens of companies for direct mail, broadcaster RTL Nieuws said on Monday. 'Just had two free tickets from KLM, I can't believe it lol,' the message states. 'See if you can get something too.' The message includes a link which appears to come from KLM but in reality is a fake site. After clicking on the link, the user is told they have won two tickets, if they send the message on to 15 friends. To finally collect the prize, the user is then sent to another website where they are asked for their name, address, email and phone number. They also inadvertently give permission to be contacted by a number of companies, including, the Plus supermarket group and IdayFly. Not hacked RTL said that people who have fallen for the trick should not worry that they have been hacked and that the scammers behind the mail are out to make money by selling the information they gather. Victims can get off the lists by telling callers that they are not interested and requesting that their information be removed, RTL Nieuws said. TV consumer show Radar first warned about the KLM scam last September and in January this year, there were reports that Ryanair in France was the subject of the same trick. And a similar scam based on free Emirates air tickets was circulating in Britain last year.  More >

French put Dutch 'I will survive' at no. 1

A version of Gloria Gaynor's mega hit I will survive, recorded by a Dutch student band in 1994, has hit the top of the charts in France, and even president Macron has been singing along, broadcaster RTV Rijnmond said on Wednesday. The Hermes House Band's version of the song has become the unofficial song of Rotterdam football club Feyenoord thanks to the 'la la la' ending but has also been a hit in France in 1997 and 1998, when it was adopted by the French national football team. Now Les Bleus have won the World Cup again, the song is back on everyone's lips. The French squad even started singing it while meeting the president after the tournament in Russia was over. Former band member Mark Snijders told RTV Rijnmond that the band had hoped to break even when they released the single in 1994. 'We went gold in the Netherlands and scored a number one. Thanks to the French players, we can enjoy this now,' he said. 'It's great that the whole country is singing our student song.'   More >

Online bookings dominate holiday sales

Two out of every three people in the Netherlands booked their summer holiday on the internet last year, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday. This applied mostly to holidays outside the country where 73% made reservations for overnight accommodation via the net. Just 56% of holidays within the Netherlands were booked on the internet. The CBS defines summer 2017 as being between 29 April and 30 September and reported that 75% of the population (12.7 million people) took one or more vacations in that period.  Nearly 90% of the holidays were in Europe, with Germany as the most popular destination. The average summer holiday was for eight days and the total spend was €12.4bn, or slightly less than €1,000 per holiday maker.   More >

Delft comes in second in hyperloop stakes

Delft University of Technology has failed in its attempt to set a new speed record at the third annual hyperloop stakes at the SpaceX track in California on Sunday. A 37-person strong team of engineers from Delft had to settle for second place in the competition after a design fault in its engine caused the engine to overheat. The half-sized pod reached a speed of only 142 kph when the team had been hoping for a speed of 450 kph. The hyperloop stakes was won by the WARR hyperloop, a team from Munich university which achieved a speed of 466 kph, setting a new world record. YESSS! We are happy to announce we came in 2nd in the SpaceX Hyperloop competition!! 🎉 — Delft Hyperloop (@DelftHyperloop) July 23, 2018 Space X is an aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company  owned by Elon Musk. The hyperloop is futuristic: a passenger and freight transport module that propels a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at more than airline speed. In 2018, Delft won the overall prize, based on the points given for design and safety as well as for speed. This year, speed was the only criteria for winning the competition.   More >

Russian trolls have little impact in Dutch

Russian-based professional trolls sent more than 900 tweets in Dutch over two years – but they had almost no impact on public debate, according to an investigation by NRC. The newspaper said it had studied more than 200,000 tweets sent from the Internet Research Agency in St Petersburg, the 'troll factory' said to have influenced the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump as US president. In the Netherlands, troll accounts were mainly active in discussions about Islam and immigration. The co-ordinated bombings carried out by Islamist terrorists at Brussels Airport in March 2006 sparked a series of tweets in Dutch using English hashtags such as #IslamIsTheProblem and #IslamKills. Six of the accounts sent an identical tweet 'Pfff dit vindt ik verschrikkelijk', containing the same grammatical error (a so-called 'dt-fout' in the verb form), over the space of several hours. Troll accounts focused their attention on the Netherlands, mainly by retweeting comments by alt-right cheerleaders such as journalist Wierd Duk and conspiracy theorist Joost Niemöller. One account, going by the name of @Ten_gop, retweeted 32 messages by PVV leader Geert Wilders in four months. Ironically, the fake accounts had more success in the Netherlands with tweets in English. More than 6,000 Dutch troll accounts shared 30,000 English-language messages with a total of 9.5 million followers. Fake followers In a separate development, some of the Netherlands' highest-profile politicians saw their follower count slashed after Twitter removed millions of fake accounts from its system. Geert Wilders lost around 15% of his nearly 1 million followers following the clear-out. The two MPs from the Denk party, Tunahan Kuzu and Farid Azarkan, had their numbers slashed by 34% and 39% respectively from a much smaller base. Twitter said around 6 per cent of all accounts had been culled in the operation, designed to improve the website's credibility.  More >