Solar storm heads Earth's way after double sun blasts

Solar storm heads Earth's way after double sun blasts
The Aurora Australis is observed from the International Space Station during a geomagnetic storm on May 29, 2010 (AFP Photo)

Northern lights over Terschelling, Friesland..

Northern lights over Terschelling, Friesland..
(Terschelling, Friesland, Netherlands - 27-28 February, 2014)

Northern lights delight Dutch in surprise showing in north and east.

Northern lights delight Dutch in surprise showing in north and east.
Still from timelapse film by Schylgefilm (Terschelling, Friesland, Netherlands - 17 Mar 2015)


Amsterdam, The Netherlands
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Koningsdag 2016

Holland becomes Netherlands on official new logo

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Dutch government must show more solidarity with hard-hit EU countries: SER

DutchNews, May 22, 2020 

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Netherlands must show solidarity with the EU member countries which have been hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis in its own interest and make haste with investment, government policy advisory group SER has said in a report out on Thursday. 

Instead of a strict system of loans subject to conditions and reforms, the government should show more leniency and aim for ‘a responsible form of risk sharing’, SER’s Coronacrisis think-tank said. 

The think-tank, which includes unions, employers, advisory bodies CPB and SCP and Dutch bank DNB and was set up in March, ‘deviates from the government line’, chairwoman Mariëtte Hamer told the FD. 

It is in the Dutch interest to makes sure the southern European countries in particular do not drown in debt and find their way out of the crisis as soon as possible, Hamer said. 

‘Our call to the government is to cooperate with other member states.(..) If there is a criticism it is this. Include the other countries in the journey out of this crisis or you will suffer yourself. Europe is an economic family, so work together where you can.’ 

The think-tank’s advice echoes the stance of the leader of coalition partner D66 Rob Jetten earlier this week. Jetten criticised what he considers the implacable Dutch attitude to other EU members and made a plea to break open the government accord to allow for further integration. 

An accord must be reached quickly on a European budget for 2021 to 2027, Hamer said, which could possibly include the adoption of the recent German-French proposal to make an extra €500bn in bail out funds available. 

Alternative 

The Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Finland opposed the plan because of a lack of guarantees of reform in the countries concerned. An alternative plan is being worked on by the four which will be presented by the European Commission next week, the FD said. 

The think tanks supports economic minister Wopke Hoekstra’s move towards ‘anti-cyclical’ investment. The Netherlands must invest itself out of the crisis, Hamer said, and planned investments must be brought forward so the financial sector and the housing market remain unaffected. 

The government must make haste to establish a fund worth billions to spend on innovation, infrastructure and education. ‘The Netherlands must be steadfast in carrying out its agenda for growth,’ Hamer said.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Small-scale testing of Dutch corona medicine ‘within six months’

DutchNews, May 15, 2020

Illustration: Depositphotos.com

Dutch research into an antibody which can block infection by coronavirus has found potential sponsors in three big pharmaceuticals and small-scale testing could begin within six months months, broadcaster NOS reports. 

To turn the antibody into a medicine and enable large-scale production, the research team at Utrecht and Erasmus universities will need to partner up with a big pharmaceutical company. 

Principal investigator Berend Jan Bosch told the broadcaster that he has been approached by two or three big companies who are ready to ‘invest millions’ in developing a medicine. The patent would remain in the hands of the researchers, while the pharmaceutical in question will take a licence to the antibody. None of the interested parties were named. 

The antibody is currently being tested on animals. If all goes according to plan, a small-scale trial among consenting patients could be carried out within six months, Bosch said. 

Bosch, fellow researcher Frank Grosveld  and a team of international investigators went public with the finding in mid March and recently published a paper in the prestigious scientific journal Nature

Left-over material 

The antibody, a remnant of earlier research into coronaviruses like SARS and MERS, was found in a freezer at the Utrecht university lab for animal science. ‘We started work on it and found that one of the antibodies not only bind to the virus but block the infection of the cells as well,’ Bosch said. 

The presence of the old material meant the team had a head start in the international scramble to find a medicine or vaccine to combat the virus which has killed 303,000 people worldwide so far. Israel too has discovered antibody, Bosch said, but is about three months behind the Dutch team. 

The medicine will be used in two ways, Bosch said. ‘It can be given to people who already have the virus but also to people who don’t have it so the antibody protects them if they are exposed to the virus.’ 

Even if a vaccine were to be ready next year, the medication will still be useful for people who react badly to vaccines and people with underlying medical problems who are unable to produce antibodies at all, Bosch said.

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Rijkmuseum places most detailed ever Night Watch photo online

DutchNews, May 13, 2020 

Photo: Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum has put the most detailed everphotograph of The Night Watch online, making it possible to zoom in on individual brushstrokes and even particles of pigment in the painting. 

The giant photograph is made up of 528 exposures stitched together digitally and the final image is made up of 44.8 gigapixels, with a distance between each pixel of just 20 micrometres.

‘The Operation Night Watch research team use the very latest technologies and continually push the boundaries of what was thought possible,’ museum director Taco Dibbits said. ‘The photograph is a crucial source of information for the researchers, and online visitors can use it to admire Rembrandt’s masterpiece in minute detail.’ 

At the same time, work on Operation Night Watch resumes on Wednesday in the glass chamber in the museum, although restoration itself has now been delayed until next year. This is because the glassed off area is too small to allow more than two restorers to do the work, the museum said.

Work on the 17th century masterpiece started almost a year ago when it was taken out of its frame and subjected to the most thorough probe in its existence. The aim was to ‘create the most extensive database possible with today’s technology’ the museum’s head of science, Katrien Keune said at the time. 

It is not clear when the project will be finished, museum staff told the ANP press agency.  ‘We won’t rush things. This can only be done  once and it has to be done it well. We owe it to the world,’ the statement said. 

The Rijksmuseum will be opening its doors on June 1 but will only accommodate 2,000 visitors a day instead of the usual 10,000.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Dolphin Zafar, which followed ship to Amsterdam, is found dead

DutchNews, May 13, 2020

Dolphin Zafar in the port of Amsterdam . Photo: Jeroen Hoekendijk

The dolphin which followed a Dutch sailing boat into Amsterdam harbour before being led back to sea has been found dead on the beach at Wijk aan Zee. 

The dead animal, known as Zafar, was found by a man out walking his dog lying in the surf

The body has been taken to Utrecht University for a post mortem, animal welfare group SOS Dolfijn said. The animal appears to have died fairly recently and its tail is missing, the organisation said. 

The bottlenosed dolphin was healthy when it returned to the sea and had been catching fish, a spokesman told broadcaster NOS. 

The dolphin was given its name after it was first spotted on the coast of France in 2018 where it was observed to interact with divers.


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Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Netherlands readies to enter new phase in coronavirus campaign

DutchNews, May 10, 2020

Relaxing on the banks of the Waal river at Nijmegen. Photo: Marcel Krijgsman /
Hollandse Hoogte 

The Netherlands enters a new phase in the campaign to control coronavirus on Monday, when primary schools reopen and people in ‘contact professions’ such as hairdressing are allowed to open their salons again. 

In addition, the Dutch approach has switched from ‘stay home’ to ‘stay home if you have symptoms’ and from Monday, the over-18s can resume outdoor sports which do not involve physical contact, such as tennis and golf. 

The impact of the changes will be carefully monitored to make sure they do not boost the Dutch infection rate, which is currently below 1. A rise above 1 would mean the virus is starting to spread more quickly again. 

Subsequent easing, planned for June 1, will depend on this and other key conditions, health officials say. 

Police state 

Prime minister Mark Rutte on Friday stressed that individuals have the responsibility to make sure that they stick to the 1.5 metre rule. Asked if there will be strict enforcement when cafes and bars open, Rutte told reporters the Netherlands ‘is not a police state’.

‘We don’t want cafe owners to police their terraces,’ he said. ‘This is something we all have to do together.’ 

Rutte also said he recognised that the partial lifting of the Dutch lockdown had given rise to many questions. ‘We have to live with uncertainty and act sensibly,’ he said. ‘You can’t solve every problem in a couple of weeks.’ 

Meanwhile the Saturday sunshine led to overcrowding in some places and Dutch railway company NS urged people not to head for the seaside resort of Zandvoort. 

In Amsterdam, the Vondelpark’s side entrances were shut so officials could better monitor the number of people. Elsewhere in the capital police cleared several areas where hundreds of people had gathered to enjoy the sun and to swim. 

Utrecht and Leeuwarden mayors urged people to avoid their inner cities and in Leiden the main Haarlemmeerstraat was closed for a time because there were so many people walking along it, the AD reported. 

Breda has developed an app alert to warn people if the city centre is too busy and in Rotterdam officials have put together a one way system to guide shoppers round markets which have reopened after several weeks of closure. 

Nature reserves 

Natural heritage organisation Natuurmonumenten and forestry commission Staatsbosbeheer both said that parks and nature reserves were busy in places but that in general people were sticking to the 1.5 metre rule. 

Hubert Bruls, chairman of the regional public safety agency, told broadcaster RTL that more people are already going out. ‘It appears to be getting a little busier every weekend,’ he said. In most cases, when people are too close together ‘just talking to them or giving a warning’ is sufficient. 

‘People and companies are primarily responsible and have to make sure the virus remains under control, so that a further relaxation of the rules becomes possible,’ he said.

Researchers discover seabed volcano 100 km from Texel

DutchNews, May 9, 2020

Map showing the magnetic field anomalies. Illustration: TNO 

The geological department of the Dutch research institute TNO has discovered a dead volcano three kilometres below sea level, some 100 kilometres north west of the Wadden island Texel. 

The newly found volcano, which was named Mulciber after the Roman god of fire and is 150 million years old, was found when scientists were reviewing old geological data of the North Sea on behalf of energy companies in search of gas beneath the ocean floor. 

What gave the presence of the volcano away were a number of anomalies in the structure of the subsoil and the earth’s magnetic field, geologist Michiel van der Meulen said. 

Fifty years ago similar changes led to the discovery of  the Zuidwalvulkaan, another dead volcano in the Wadden Sea. Van der Meulen said, the North Sea may well hide more. The tally for Dutch volcanoes is now four, including Mount Scenery on Saba and Quill in St Eustatius. Both Caribbean islands, part of the  former Dutch colonies in the area, have the status of a Dutch local authority. 

Van der Meulen called the discovery a one off. ‘How many times in a geologist’s career do you get to find and name a volcano? Studying the North Sea and the geological sediments in it is like reading an great book. We think we know the gist of the story but every time we go back to it we get to know the protagonists and the story lines better. In that sense this discovery adds to what we already know about our living environment,’ Van der Meulen told broadcaster NOS

The data revisited by Van der Meulen and his team dates from the 1980s. ‘The geological data gathered as a result of exploratory drilling by companies always comes to us. It would cost billions to do it all again so that is why we have this treasure trove.’ 

The information is of enormous value for the future of sustainable energy, Van der Meulen told the broadcaster. ‘Old data which aimed a pumping up gas and oil can now be used for geothermal energy or CO2 storage research,’ he said.

Monday, May 4, 2020

‘Sobibor began in the Vondelpark with a sign that said no Jews’: Dutch king

DutchNews, May 4, 2020

The king and queen walk past the wreaths on an empty Dam. Photo: Robin
Utrecht ANP

The Netherlands remembered its war dead on Monday in a series of pared down ceremonies nationwide, as cornavirus put paid to the customary large gatherings. 

In Amsterdam, where thousands of people usually flock to Dam square for the main event with the king, a handful of people took part in a simple wreath laying ceremony. 

King Willem Alexander and queen Maxima laid their wreath in the presence of prime minister Mark Rutte and Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema, ahead of the traditional two minutes’ silence. 

In a break with tradition, the king gave a short speech to the nation, during which he said there has been nothing like the current situation since World War II. ‘But now, we are making a choice in the interests of life and good health,’ the king said. ‘Then the choice was made for us, by an occupier with a merciless ideology, who drove millions of people to their deaths.’ 

The king spoke about Jules Schelvis, a 93-year-old survivor of the Sobibor extermination camp who gave a reading at the Remembrance Day ceremony six years ago. 

Without protest 

‘He spoke about the hunger, the exhaustion and the filth,’ the king said. ‘He asked what normal person could have come up with this… And he spoke about being taken to Muiderpoort station with hundreds of others, while hundreds more looked on, without protest.’ 

‘It happened so gradually,’ the king said. ‘Each time a step further. Not being allowed to go to the swimming pool, not being allowed to play in an orchestra… Sobibor began in the Vondelpark, with a sign that said “forbidden for Jews”. 

The king spoke about the Resistance, the young soldiers and the soldiers who did not return from peacekeeping missions in later years. 

‘War works its way through generations,’ he said. ‘Now, 75 years after our liberation, war is still in us. The least that we can do is not to look away, not to justify, not to erase, not to set apart. Not to normalise something which is not normal.’ A free, democratic state must be cherished, the king said. ‘Because that is only thing that protects us against arbitrariness and madness.’ 

Read the full speech (Dutch)

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Dolphin spotted in port of Amsterdam is reluctant to leave

DutchNews, May 3, 2020

A lone dolphin has followed a sailing boat carrying a cargo of fair trade coffee and rum from the French coast to Amsterdam’s port and seems reluctant to leave the ship, experts said on Sunday. 

The animal is fit and healthy but rescue organisation SOS Dolfijn said the brackish water is not good for the animal and it may not be able to find enough food. 

‘The animal seems to have developed a close connection with the ship and stayed swimming with it through the sluice gates and now it is in the port,’ said spokesman Eligius Everaarts. 


Attempts to lure the animal back to the open sea are being hindered by the fact that it will have to swim though the sluices at IJmuiden, which means the rescue operation can only happen when the gates are open. 

SOS Dolfijn tried to make the animal follow their boat but after a while it turned and went back to the ship. The schooner which it followed cannot be used to guide the animal back because it must be unloaded first. 

Catching the animal is not option either, the organisation said, because the port is a large area and the manoeuvre could put the animal’s life in danger. 

‘It may make it out on its own bit that will depend on the sluices,’ a spokesperson for the organisation said. 

The adult bottle nose dolphin has been identified as Zafar, a dolphin which has been spotted on the coast of France in 2018 where it was observed to interact with divers. 

The organisation said it will continue to monitor the situation. 

Update Sunday evening: According to broadcaster NOS, the dolphin was successfully encouraged to return to the sea on Sunday afternoon.

The dolphin next to the sailing ship on his way back to the ocean. Photo: Olaf Kraak ANP

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Saturday, May 2, 2020

First giant panda born in Netherlands

France24 –AFP, 2 May 2020

One of the giant pandas at the zoo holding her cub - Ouwehands Zoo/AFP/File

Wu Wen, a giant panda loaned to a Dutch zoo by China, has given birth in a first for the Netherlands, Ouwehands animal park announced Saturday.

Mating took place in January and the cub, which belongs to Beijing just like the mother and father Xing Ya, was born on May 1.

"The mother and her cub are staying in the maternity den and are doing well," the zoo in the central city of Rhenen said in a statement said.

"This cub was born and conceived naturally," said Ouwehands owner Marcel Boekhoorn.

"Male or female? The cub’s gender will remain a surprise for the time being," he added.

"The keepers are leaving Wu Wen and her cub alone. When the cub leaves the maternity den after a few months, we will be able to see what the gender is.

"When that happens, the little giant panda will be named," Boekhoorn said. The cub will go to China after four years to join the breeding programme.

The mother and father were loaned to the Netherlands in 2017 for 15 years.

Giant pandas are found only in the wild in China where their habitat is shrinking.

However since 2016 they are no longer considered in danger of extinction but remain "vulnerable".

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Museum of Bags and Purses is first museum to close for good

DutchNews, April 30, 2020 

Photo: Bert Knottenbeld via Wikimedia Commons

Amsterdam’s museum of Bags and Purses is closing its doors for good, citing financial problems caused by the coronavirus crisis. 

‘All options to keep the museum open haven been investigated by the supervisory board but not enough sponsoring and subsidies can be found to keep the museum open in the long term,’ the museum said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The Tassenmuseum opened its doors in 2007 in the plush surroundings of the 17th century former mayoral residence at Herengracht 573 and housed some 4,500 bags both old and modern. The collection started with a tortoise shell bag found in England by antiques dealer Hendrikje Ivo. 

Over half a million people have visited the museum over the last 13 years and many  Dutch and international designers were given a chance to show their work there. 

The museum, which is an independent foundation, said efforts will be made to keep the collection intact but no plans have been put forward as yet to find another home for it. In total, 32 people, including a number of freelancers, will be out of a job because of the closure. 

‘I am very sad to have to close the doors of this very special house, this beautiful museum. I and my team were exploring the importance of bags for identity, fashion, workmanship and society but reality caught up with us,’ director Manon Schaap said. 

The Tassenmuseum is the first museum to announce its closure because of the coronavirus crisis. The Dutch museum association recently said that the consequences of the crisis are pushing small and medium-sized museums in particular into the danger zone and warned that as many as 100 out of 400 museums might close for good before the end of the year. 

Most museums will be closed until at least June 1.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

New research reveals more of the 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'

Yahoo – AFP, April 28, 2020

New research has revealed more about Vermeer's 'Girl with a Pearl Earring
(c. 1665)' but has not uncovered her identity (AFP Photo/Bart MAAT)

The Hague (AFP) - Scientific investigation of Vermeer's world-famous painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring" has revealed elements that make her more "personal", even if her identity remains a mystery.

The Mauritshuis art museum, where the painting is housed, announced on Tuesday that an examination -- the first of its kind -- had revealed the presence of tiny eyelashes around the girl's eyes, invisible to the naked eye.

Research also established the existence of a green curtain in the seemingly empty background of the painting dating from 1665, a sort of "folded fabric" that has faded to black over the centuries.

Art lovers and researchers around the world have long been fascinated by the Dutch master's painting of the young woman with an enigmatic look, wearing a blue and yellow turban, a heavy pearl hanging from her ear.

It has inspired further artworks, notably Tracy Chevalier's 1999 novel "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" which gave rise to an Oscar-nominated film starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth.

"The results of The Girl in the Spotlight research project... offers a glimpse of a much more 'personal' painting than previously thought," The Hague's Mauritshuis said.

The museum said the examination used non-invasive imaging and scanning techniques, digital microscopy and paint sample analysis.

Conducted by an international team of scientists from February 2018, the review shed new light on the use of pigments and how Vermeer developed his work using different layers.

The grand master, for example, modified the composition of the painting, shifting the position of the ear, the top of the scarf and the nape of the neck.

He also used raw materials from around the world, including the semi-precious lapis lazuli stone from Afghanistan to make ultramarine which was "more precious than gold" in the 17th century.

The pearl itself is an "illusion", says the Mauritshuis, made up of "translucent and opaque touches of white paint", while the hook is missing.

The examination did not, however, identify the girl, or establish whether she really existed or if she is the product of Vermeer's imagination.

"The girl hasn't revealed the secret of her identity yet but we got to know her a little better," said museum director Martine Gosselink.

"This is not the end point of our research."

Chevalier tweeted that the new research was "interesting", adding that "all details are important".

Her fictional tale chronicling a young maid who is taken into the Vermeer household and becomes his muse and model for the painting has sold over five million copies worldwide.

The author joked that she did not want the museum to discover the girl's true identity.

"If that happens, my book is toast!" she tweeted.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

King’s Day was quiet, sunny and celebrated online

DutchNews, April 28, 2020

Photo: DutchNews.nl 

This year’s stay-at-home King’s Day celebrations passed off quietly and without any real problems, police said on Monday evening. 

Up to 4pm on the day itself, police had handed out just 65 fines to people who refused to keep 1.5 metres distance from others. 

This total included 48 people from Oud-Beijerland in Zuid-Holland province who were celebrating Luilak, a tradition in some parts of the Netherlands in which large groups of youngsters make a lot of noise early in the morning to wake everyone up. 

Police also handed out 654 fines on Saturday and Sunday for non-compliance with social distancing rules. 

Fewer warnings 

Nevertheless, ‘in general people are keeping to the 1.5 metre rule very well,’ Hubert Bruls, head of the national public safety council, said. There were fewer warnings and fines for youngsters compared with a couple of weeks ago and they ‘now appear to have got the message’, he said. 

King’s Day, on which the Dutch celebrate king Willem-Alexander’s birthday, is usually an over-the-top affair, which includes a visit by the family to a certain part of the the country. 

This year, the planned visit to Maastricht was cancelled and replaced by an online approach. 

Justine Marcella, head of royalty magazine Vorsten, said the king and his family ‘came much closer’ to the general public through a series of online interviews with celebrities and members of the public which were spread throughout the day.


‘Everyone could recognise the close ties between them through the video calls,’ Marcella told broadcaster NOS. ‘The royal famly is not usually that happy about cameras in their private lives, so I think this was a unique insight.’

Friday, April 24, 2020

Study investigates if mother’s milk could protect against the coronavirus

DutchNews, April 24, 2020 - By Senay Boztas

Photo: Depositphotos

Researchers at the UMC teaching hospital in Amsterdam are studying whether antibodies in mother’s milk could have a preventative effect against the coronavirus. 

Britt van Keulen, a doctor at its mother’s milk bank is recruiting 30 breastfeeding mothers who have had the coronavirus and who are willing to donate some of their milk for testing. 

‘We know that mother’s milk protects newborns against respiratory infections, because it contains antibodies,’ she said in a press release. ‘By breastfeeding, the mother passes on her own antibodies to her child.’ 

She expects that coronavirus antibodies would also find their way into breastmilk, based on reports of a pregnant woman during the SARS epidemic in 2003. ‘This woman was seriously ill with the SARS virus and gave birth to a healthy baby at 38 weeks,’ she said. ‘Her breastmilk contained antibodies against the SARS virus. The coronavirus is very similar to the SARS virus – it is in the same family – so I think that corona antibodies will also be passed along into mother’s milk.’ 

However, even if enough antibodies are found in the breastmilk of mothers who have developed immunity to the coronavirus, the team will then have to test whether these survive a necessary pasteurisation process. This is a standard process for donor milk which is given to premature babies, for instance. 

She said that if this is the case, the milk could be given as a preventative medicine for vulnerable groups such as newborn babies or even older people. ‘It might be a strange image having old people drink mother’s milk as protection,’ she added. ‘But it is still logical, because antibodies in the milk would protect them against the coronavirus.’ 

She told the Parool that if a newborn baby is given a glass of milk a day, older people might need more to represent their greater body weight. 

‘Why would we joke about this?’ she reportedly added. ‘Milk in the supermarket comes from someone else, namely a cow who walks with muddy udders through a meadow. We have simply accepted this image, so why would milk from a clean mother’s breast be such a crazy notion?’ 

Around 3,500 Dutch women between 25 and 40 are confirmed to have had the coronavirus, reports the Parool, although it is not known how many are breastfeeding. 

DutchNews.nl has contacted the UMC for a comment.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Dutch cabinet faces demands for tougher conditions on corporate bail-outs

DutchNews, April 22, 2020

Photo: DutchNews.nl 

The Dutch cabinet is prepared to extend its coronavirus bail-out for industry but is facing mounting pressure to bring in tougher conditions, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday. 

In particular, MPs want the cabinet to make sure companies which get taxpayer help do not pay any bonuses or dividends while they are being supported, the paper said. And left-wing opposition MPs have also said that companies based in tax havens should automatically be excluded from state support

Now, the coalition Liberal democrats D66 have said they too support a bonus and dividend ban for 2020 and 2021, the FD said. The FNV trade union federation has also come out in favour of such a move. 

‘It would be insane if big companies which hold out their hand for help give money to their shareholders,’ chairman Han Busker said. 

Extension 

The cabinet has allocated some €19bn to help companies and the self-employed cope with the impact of coronavirus up to July 1, but finance minister Wopke Hoekstra has already said the package can be extended if necessary. He too has hinted at tougher conditions. 

Meanwhile, research by website De Ondernemer suggests that one third of firms face difficulty in financing this year’s holiday pay, traditionally included in salaries at the end of May. 

Ministers are expected to finalise a second round of help for companies by early next month.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

KLM withdraws plan to boost CEO bonus to 100% of salary

DutchNews, April 18, 2020

Photo: DutchNews.nl

 Airline KLM has dropped plans to increase the bonus of chief executive Pieter Elbers to 100% of his salary following widespread opposition, Dutch media reported on Saturday. 

The move, aimed at drawing Elbers’ salary more into line with that of Air France’s CEO, was also criticised by the Dutch government, which has a 14% stake in the Air France-KLM combine. 

According to broadcaster NOS, the plan has now been withdrawn from the agenda from next week’s AGM, a move supported by both Elbers and KLM’s supervisory board. 

Maximum 

Elbers earns €525,000 a year plus a maximum bonus of up to 75% of that. KLM wants to increase that to 100%, in line with the situation at the French arm of the country and set the process in motion last year. 

KLM has already said no bonuses will be paid this year and there will be no profit sharing or dividends until after the crisis is over.

KLM, which has asked for support to pay its permanent staff, has already let 2,000 people on flexible contracts go, despite the government’s call to keep them on. 

Conditions 

A finance ministry spokesman told broadcaster NOS earlier on Saturday that any eventual state support for the airline, which has seen ticket sales collapse because of coronavirus, would involve conditions about wages and bonuses. 

The Dutch and French finance ministries are thought to be supportive of a bail-out for the airline so that it can meet its fixed costs, now almost the entire fleet has been grounded.

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China revises up Wuhan toll as Germany declares outbreak 'under control'

Yahoo – AFP, Jing Xuan Teng, with AFP bureaus, April 17, 2020

A worker disinfects the floor of a supermarket in Kosovo (AFP Photo/Armend NIMANI)

Wuhan (China) (AFP) - The Chinese city at the origin of the coronavirus outbreak revised up its death toll by 50 percent Friday, as global criticism mounted over China's handling of the deadly pandemic.

Since emerging from Wuhan late last year, the coronavirus has embarked on a deadly march across the planet, killing more than 145,000 people and wrecking the global economy with more than half of humanity -- 4.5 billion people -- trapped indoors.

But some countries across Europe are starting to slowly ease back weeks-old restrictions after deaths and infections showed signs of stabilising, and the German health minister said Friday his country's outbreak was "under control".

While President Donald Trump announced a phased reopening of the United States, the economic devastation was clear to see in China, where gross domestic product slammed into reverse for the first time since records began.

Wuhan's city government added 1,290 deaths to its toll, bringing the total to 3,869 after many dead were "mistakenly reported" or missed entirely, adding to growing global doubts over China's transparency.

Leaders in France and Britain joined Trump's broadsides against China, as two US media outlets reported suspicions the virus accidentally slipped out of a sensitive Wuhan laboratory that studied bats.

President Emmanuel Macron told the Financial Times it would be "naive" to think China had handled the pandemic well, adding: "There are clearly things that have happened that we don't know about."

Beijing hit back on Friday, insisting there had been no cover-up.

"There has never been any concealment, and we'll never allow any concealment," a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Life-and-death balance

World leaders are grappling with the question of when -- and how -- to reopen society, seeking a life-and-death balance between unfreezing stalled economies and preventing a deadly second coronavirus wave.

While Trump declared Thursday that the time had come for the "next front in our war" with a phased reboot of the US economy, others took the opposite path -- Japan, Britain and Mexico all expanded current restrictions.

Despite the United States suffering a staggering 4,500 deaths in the last 24 hours -- taking the national toll to almost 33,000 -- Trump proclaimed: "We're opening up our country."

The president's approach was a step back from previous hopes for a sudden reopening however, and state governors were given the freedom to set their own plans to resume business.

Lightly affected states can open "literally tomorrow", said Trump, while others would receive White House "freedom and guidance" to achieve that at their own pace.

In New York state for example -- where more than 11,500 have died -- Governor Andrew Cuomo extended a shutdown order until May 15.

In some of the world's most vulnerable economies, lockdown measures were starting to pinch.

Tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe feared a delayed start to normally busy auction season, the lifeblood for thousands of growers in impoverished rural regions.

"This year our harvest hasn't been good at all... just average," farmer Shaw Mutalepo told AFP, as workers in face masks crunched cured leaves into large bales.

"We might have a delay (in selling) just because of the lockdown," he added. "It will affect our preparations for the next season."

'Lost decade'

Meanwhile, there were more signs the global economy is imploding.

China reported Friday its GDP shrank 6.8 percent in the first quarter, the first contraction since quarterly growth data started in the early 1990s.

In the US, another 5.2 million workers lost their jobs, bringing the total number of newly unemployed to a staggering 22 million since mid-March.

John Williams, a top Federal Reserve official, predicted it would take "a year or two" if not longer for the US to recover from what the International Monetary Fund has termed the "Great Lockdown" battering the global economy.

The virus could spark another "lost decade" in Latin America, the IMF warned, while experts cautioned that freezing debt for poor countries will not save many developing world economies.

And in Europe, automobile sales shrank 55 percent in March, according to the industry's trade association.

'It's awful'

Some European countries -- such as hard-hit Spain and Italy -- were embarking on a long road back to normality, with Venice residents strolling around quiet canals stripped of their usual throngs of tourists.

Switzerland, Denmark and Finland were among those gradually re-opening shops and schools.

In Germany, select small shops will be allowed to reopen Monday and some children could soon return to school within weeks.

Infection rates there "have sunk significantly" and the outbreak is "under control", Health Minister Jens Spahn said Friday.

Germany's coronavirus deaths and infections have stood firmly below some of their worst-hit European neighbours, which experts say is in part thanks to widespread testing.

Spahn said Germany would produce up to 50 million masks a week starting in August, to fill a yawning gap in supplies prompted by the pandemic.

But Britain, which shut down later than continental Europe, extended its lockdown for at least three more weeks.

It announced close to 850 new deaths on Friday, a slight spike from previous days that saw fatalities start to draw down.

And in Russia, recorded infections topped 32,000 as President Vladmir Putin warned that "the risks surrounding the epidemic's spread are still very high, not just in Moscow but in many other Russian regions".

Around the world, people have come up with ingenious ways to bring back some semblance of normality -- and social connection -- to their upended lives.

In Rome an 18-year-old guitarist takes to his balcony every evening at sunset to play covers of Italian classics.

"We decided to lend a hand to Italians: a message of hope," Jacopo Mastrangelo told AFP from his patio.

"We are accustomed to always seeing Rome full, teeming with people. Now the grass is growing between the cobblestones, everything has been left abandoned, and we decided to help."

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