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LGBTQ Plus

How A Dutch Clinic Pioneered Pediatric Transgender Healthcare, Through 40 Years Of Criticism

Since its founding in the 1970s, the Amsterdam-based Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria has been working with often very young children and their parents to address gender identity issues. Their model has been both adopted and widely criticized around the world.

AMSTERDAM — Relationships between patients and physicians last a long time at Amsterdam’s Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria. Some of today’s adult patients have been visiting the clinic since the age of 5, when their parents first noticed signs of gender dysphoria — the experience of distress that can occur when a person’s gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. For some very young children, the negative feelings subside with the passage of time and they no longer identify as transgender. But for other children, the distress persists into the years leading up to puberty.

These youth can come to the clinic to discuss embarking on a treatment protocol that begins with a diagnostic phase that lasts around six months. During this time, the young people speak with clinicians, fill out questionnaires, and receive mental health support. After that, youth who are interested in a medical transition will be prescribed puberty blockers. From there, they may need to wait a couple of years until becoming eligible for hormones that initiate the development of secondary sex characteristics aligned with their gender identity. At 16, individuals assigned female at birth can get mastectomies. At 18, patients can meet with their physicians to discuss other gender-affirming surgeries, such as hysterectomies, vaginectomies, and phalloplasties (the surgical construction of a penis) for trans men, and vaginoplasties (the surgical construction of a vagina) for trans women.

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Send In The Tanks — 28 Newspaper Front Pages As Putin Moves On Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin's move to order troops into two rebel-held regions in eastern Ukraine, after recognizing them as independent states, is front-page news all around the world.

After weeks of escalating rhetoric, diplomatic roller coasters and wondering “what will Putin do,” Russian President Vladimir Putin took a decisive first step toward what some fear may be the worst military conflict in Europe since World War II.

During a televised speech late Monday night from the Kremlin — and just hours after rising hopes of a potential Biden-Putin summit — the Russian president formally recognized the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered Russian troops to move in, officially for "peacekeeping" purposes.

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Female CEOs v. Peter CEOs? Dutch Women Protest Stunning Gender Disparity

A campaign in the Netherlands is pushing for more gender parity in the business world by asking women to change their name on LinkedIn to "Peter." The name was chosen for this singularly shocking fact...

Logging onto Dutch LinkedIn earlier this week, you may have blinked twice. “Why are there so many people named ‘Peter’ on my timeline?”And why are they all women?”

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The Barber Of Amsterdam? Dutch Culture Sector's Hair-Razing COVID Protest

Theaters, museums and cinemas welcomed "essential services" on their stage floors to make a point about the industry's struggles during the latest COVID lockdown.

It’s an unusual sight even in these unusual times: in the Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam's prestigious concert hall, a man sits on stage getting his hair cut. Behind him, an orchestra plays Charles Ives' Symphony no. 2. In front of him, dozens of people are watching — both the orchestra, and to see when it's their turn for the next haircut.

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Society
Carl Karlsson

When Countries “Export” Inmates To Foreign Prisons

A recent report revealed that Denmark plans to rent prison cells abroad, raising troubling questions about the expanding global trade in penitentiary services.

In January 1788, 11 British ships carrying convicts arrived at the shores of the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia. In the 80 years that followed, with British cities filling up and petty crime proliferating, more than 160,000 prisoners would arrive down under from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Fast forward to 2021, and punishment by exile has mostly been abolished, with colonial powers like France and Britain closing their last overseas penal institutions around the time of World War II. But while these outposts are associated with oppression and atrocity today, the export of prisoners has nonetheless survived, and is now experiencing something of a revival.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

COVID & Fertility, Airplanes 5G Warning, R2D2 Moon

👋 ഹലോ!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Kim Jong-un offers to reopen hotline with Seoul, a 96-year-old Nazi war crime suspect flees and a Turkish man gets so drunk he joins a search party for himself. From France, we also take a look, and listen, to the surprisingly loud noises of the countryside.

[*halēā - Malayalam, India & Malaysia]

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Society
Daphne van Paassen

Face In The Mirror: Dutch Hairdressers Trained To Recognize Domestic Violence

Early detection and accessible help are essential in the fight against domestic violence. Hairdressers in the Dutch province of North Brabant are now being trained to identify when their customers are facing abuse at home.

TILBURG — The three hairdressers in the bare training room of the hairdressing company John Beerens Hair Studio are absolutely sure: they have never seen signs of domestic violence among their customers in this city in the Netherlands. "Or is that naïve?"

When, a moment later, statistics appear on the screen — one in 20 adults deals with domestic violence, as well as one or two children per class — they realize: this happens so often, they must have victims in their chairs.

All three have been in the business for years and have a loyal clientele. Sometimes they have customers crying in the chair because of a divorce. According to Irma Geraerts, 45, who has her own salon in Reusel, a village in the North Brabant region, they're part-time psychologists. "A therapist whose hair I cut explained to me that we have an advantage because we touch people. We are literally close. The fact that we stand behind people and make eye contact via the mirror also helps."

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In The News
Jane Herbelin, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

Russia Space Blast Endangers Astronauts, Belarus Border Clashes, Leo’s Beach

👋 ሰላም!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Russia is under fire for blowing up a satellite in space, clashes erupt at the Poland-Belarus border and Leo's Beach opens again. Courtesy of German daily Die Welt, we also look at the reasons behind the major discrepancies in COVID-19 vaccination rates across Europe.

[*Selam, Amharic - Ethiopia]

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Society
Meike Eijsberg

Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

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HET PAROOL
Meike Eijsberg

Dutch Animal Rights Law Could Make Leashing Dogs Illegal

Pushed by a small but influential animal rights party in the Netherlands, the law could also ban keeping birds in cages and force farmers to widen pig pens and grazing areas.

THE HAGUE Rabbits and birds may no longer be kept in a pen or cage, while dog owners may have to forego a leash in the Netherlands from 2023 onwards. This is the result of a proposed new animal protection law that aims to reorient the debate about animal rights, which was approved by the Dutch Senate late last month with virtually no media attention at the time.

The Amsterdam-based Het Parool daily reports that the new law, introduced by the small but influential Party for the Animals, updates previous legislation to require that animals are able to exhibit "natural behavior," and must no longer suffer pain or discomfort when kept in stables, pens or cages. It is primarily aimed at owners of livestock who must ensure that pigs, for example, have enough room to roll around in the mud.

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Geopolitics

Report: Russia Hacked Dutch Police Systems During MH17 Probe

Police in the Netherlands were working at the time of the cyber attack on the investigation into the downing of flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down on July 17, 2014 over eastern Ukraine.

AMSTERDAM — Russian hackers penetrated deep into the Dutch national police's digital system in 2017, during a period that Russian separatists were being investigated for the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight that had departed from the Netherlands, Dutch daily De Volkskrant reports in an exclusive investigation.

The cyber attack, reportedly carried out by hackers belonging to the Russian security service SVR, was particularly troubling, De Volkskrant reports, because the police were working on the criminal investigation into the downing of flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down on July 17, 2014 over eastern Ukraine.

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Sources
Laura Weissmüller

A Dutch Architectural Revolution In Creative Pragmatism

The future of architecture is here: the studio MVRDV in Rotterdam is one of the most daring in the world. An exhibition in Innsbruck shows why.

Canary yellow, pink, sky blue: this exhibition is nothing if not eye-catching. Four brightly colored towers stretch from floor to ceiling. One is made of boxes stacked on top of each other, another has a ladder inside that visitors can climb, the third houses a container of foam bricks at its base, and the fourth, made of scaffolding, boasts green plants balanced on narrow balconies. Welcome to MVRDV's creative playground.

The architecture studio in Rotterdam is possibly one of the most daring when it comes to innovation and experiments. However, Nathalie de Vries insists, "What we do isn't experimental." The architect founded the firm in 1993 with her fellow students Winy Maas and Jacob van Rijs and curated the exhibition with Arno Ritter, director of aut. architektur und tirol, the Tirolean architecture center in Innsbruck.

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Future
Stefan Beutelsbacher

Boyan Slat, A (Nicer) Elon Musk To Save Our Oceans

The project 'The Ocean Cleanup' wants to use its system to rid the oceans from plastic waste. The founder thinks big about the planet and beyond. And he's not a jerk.

SAN FRANCISCO — With the Golden Gate Bridge in front of him, Boyan Slat points to the horizon and says how nice it would be to save the world. The 24-year-old leans against the railing of the tugboat, with San Francisco's skyline on his left, and the former Alcatraz prison on his right, and looks at the glittering waves. Suddenly a small yacht turns up, with three women on deck. "Boyan," they yell in the whistling wind, "Boyan, you are our hero!"

Saturday, at 1 p.m., is a special moment for Boyan Slat. And it might not be special only for him, but for all of us, for humanity. The Dutch-born inventor brings out on the water the System 001, his creation, and watches it floats into the Pacific.

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Sources
Ann-Kathrin Jeske

Dutch YouTubers Get High In The Name Of Science — And Clicks

An online show called Drugslab gives viewers a first-hand account of what it's like to take anything from mushrooms to ecstasy.

AMSTERDAM — Rens Polman feels "so lekker" — Dutch for "pleasant" or "good" — on ecstasy. The young man is one of three people in the Netherlands who tests out illegal drugs on their YouTube channel Drugslab. When he goes on a substance-induced trip, others can see what the drugs do to his body.

Cocaine, mushrooms, ketamine, the YouTubers take whatever viewers request in the comments section of their videos. Some videos have more than a million views. "We test out drugs in the name of science," Polman explains. "We see how pulse and body temperature change. And we test motor skills and ability to think while intoxicated."

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Sources
Lucie Jung

Europol Writes Postcards To 'Most-Wanted' Fugitives

​Europol is adding a whiff of summer holiday fun to its hunt for hardened criminals. On its website, Europol (the Europe Union's police agency) has issued 21 original digital "postcards' addressed to the continent's Most Wanted list, which includes murderers, drug traffickers, and rapists.

Hoping to solicit help from the public, the online 2017 summer campaign that recently launched aims to play off obvious contrasts and personalizes the message.

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