Wilders won't attend 'fewer Moroccans' trial; says it is a political process

Dutch firm recycles metal left behind after cremations

Geert Wilders' trial for inciting hatred and discrimination starts on Monday but the PVV leader said on Friday he will not attend the hearings. In the Netherlands, it is not compulsory to appear in court personally, but Wilders was at all the previous procedural hearings relating to the case, and generated a great deal of media coverage. In a letter in the AD, Wilders says the trial is a political process and that he will carry on the debate in the appropriate place - parliament. It is, Wilders said, his right and his duty to talk about problems in the Netherlands. 'And the Netherlands has an enormous Moroccan problem,' he said. 'If talking about it is a criminal offence, then the Netherlands is no longer a free country but a dictatorship.' Political assessment Wilder's lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops had submitted a motion calling for the trial to stop, arguing that it would effectively be a political assessment of Wilders and the PVV. However, judges said earlier this month that while there are political aspects to the case, it is up to the courts to decide where the boundaries of free speech and political campaigning lie. Wilders is on trial for his role in a party rally in March 2014, where he led supporters in a chant for ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’ Moroccans in the Netherlands.  More >

The Netherlands abstains in nuclear vote

Dutch firm recycles metal left behind after cremations The Netherlands has abstained from voting on a United Nations motion to start discussions on an international ban on nuclear weapons. Nuclear-armed countries such as the US and Russia, supported by their allies, were among 38 countries to vote against the procedure. The Netherlands was under pressure from the US to vote against the motion but the Dutch parliament had called for a yes vote, news agency ANP reported. In the end, the Netherlands was the only Nato country to abstain. Foreign affairs minister Bert Koenders told broadcaster NOS the Netherlands 'sincerely supports a ban on nuclear weapons' but said there are problems with the resolution itself. In particular, it is unclear how checks and controls would be implemented, he said. The Netherlands, he said, hopes to act as a bridge between the countries which want to abolish nuclear weapons and those which want to keep them. Ignored parliament 'It might be positive that the Netherlands did not oppose the motion, it is a difficult decision to understand,' said Jan Gruiters, head of Dutch peace lobby group PAX. 'Once again the Dutch government has ignored the express wish of parliament.' In total, 16 countries abstained, 38 voted against the motion and 123 voted for. The resolution will now go to a full general assembly vote some time in December. The aim of the resolution is to hold a conference in March 2017 to negotiate a 'legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination', the Guardian said.  More >

Ryanair backs Lelystad airport plans

Dutch firm recycles metal left behind after cremations Budget airline Ryanair is prepared to buy up 'all the slots' at Lelystad airport, 'if the price is right', commercial director David O'Brien has told the Telegraaf. The government wants to turn Lelystad into a commercial airport for holiday traffic and charter airlines to relieve pressure on Schiphol. If the plan goes ahead, it will open to commercial airlines in 2018. Ryanair could bring 'two million passengers to Lelystad', O'Brien told the paper.  The Irish airline currently operates one service to Dublin from Schiphol but to dozens of destinations from Eindhoven. Schiphol director Jos Nijhuis told the Telegraaf he is pleased Ryanair is interested in Lelystad but that it will take years before capacity there is maximised.  More >

5,200 Dutch died of bowel cancer last year

Dutch firm recycles metal left behind after cremations Bowel cancer has overtaken prostate cancer as the second biggest killer of men in the Netherlands, the national statistics office CBS said on Friday. Bowel cancer remains the third biggest killer of women, behind lung and breast cancer, the CBS said. Last year, 5,200 people in the Netherlands died of bowel cancer: 2,800 men and 2,400 women. In 2014, the death toll was 2014. Most of those who died were over the age of 60 and half were at least 75 years old, the CBS said. The Netherlands recently introduced a national bowel cancer screening programme for the over-55s. Last year, 73% of the people approached to take part went ahead with the test. Earlier this year, the EU's statistics agency Eurostat said the death rate from cancer in the Netherlands is the second highest in Europe. In total, 31% of deaths in the Netherlands are due to cancer, compared with 26% in the EU as a whole.  More >

Dutch firm recycles cremation metals

Dutch firm recycles metal left behind after cremations A metal processing company in Meppel, Drenthe, has raised almost €10m for charity since 2011 by recycling metal gleaned from crematoria, the AD said in Friday. OrthoMetals imports metal left after cremations from some 750 locations in Europe and the US, sorts it out and then sells it on to smelters to be reused by the car and aviation industries.The metal comes not only from coffin handles but screws and artificial hips and knees. The profit made on metal collected from Dutch cremations goes to a special charity set up by the crematoria themselves, the paper said. It is collected twice a year in unmarked lorries. 'You don't want to arrive at a crematorium where a service is underway and start loading in the containers full of metal,' director Jan-Willem Gabriels told the paper. The AD said the Dutch firm is the only company in the world to focus solely on recycling crematoria waste. It was founded in 1997 by Gabriels' father who discovered that the metal left after a cremation was thrown away. 'We do our work with respect but we don't handle every artificial hip with kid gloves,' he said. 'It is a company after all.'  More >