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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Adrien Jaulmes

A Model Prison For Those Accused Of The Most Heinous Crimes

Behind the high walls of a Dutch penitentiary, a handful of accused war criminals are housed in a one-of-a-kind prison that aims to embody the ideals of justice.

THE HAGUE — For a long time, a dictator's or warlord's career tended to end in exile or violent death. International justice has added another option to closing the reign of a tyrant. For 22 years, dozens accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes have found themselves on the banks of the North Sea, waiting for and living through their trials from behind the walls of a new kind of prison, created inside a Dutch penitentiary.

In the residential Scheveningen district of the Hague, the Haaglanden penitentiary may appear as just another building. Neighboring houses are built along its brick walls, cyclists pass without even looking at the old entrance, a portal with crenelated towers like that of a movie set. Now almost empty, this penitentiary, once the largest in the Netherlands, still shelters certain prisoners. Since 1995, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and, since 2002, those of the International Criminal Court, have been incarcerated in a specially constructed building in the compound.

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Hawaii To Holland, Populism Bumps In The Road

The headlines this morning provide two bits of far-flung hope for those still shaken by Brexit and Donald Trump: the new version of Trump's travel ban applied to six majority-Muslim countries was blocked by a judge in Hawaii; meanwhile, halfway across the world, Geert Wilders' far-right party suffered surprisingly disappointing results in Dutch parliamentary elections.

But the winds of populism and anti-immigrant fervor are far from quiet. The U.S. ban will likely be back again, under one form or another, with ultimate limits on the power of the judicial branch to stave off popular sentiment. Indeed, Wilders' falling short of the top vote count may just be a bump in the road on the way to eventually taking power.

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Bertrand Hauger

'Red-Letter Day' — Tensions High As Dutch Elections Kick Off

"GO VOTE (and send us a pic from the voting booth)," reads the front page of the Dutch daily Metro inviting young voters to go to the polls as the country elects a new parliament Wednesday.

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Marco Bresolin

Can This City Predict The Fate Of The Dutch Elections?

ALMERE — Founded in 1976, this city 30 kilometers from Amsterdam offers a glimpse into the future of the Netherlands. Leaving behind the tourist droves of the capital, a 20-minute ride on an Intercity train — equipped with WiFi — whisks you through windmills and farmland to reach Almere.

Lying 3.2 meters below sea level, the 7th largest city in the country has a population of almost 200,000 people. One in three locals hails from outside the European Union (EU). The local statistics office says Almere is home to 153 nationalities and 181 ethnicities.

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Giacomo Tognini

Universal Basic Income, 5 Experiments From Around The World

Imagine receiving a check from the government every month. The concept of guaranteed basic income for all citizens has been gaining prominence around the world, leading to referendums and national political debate in several countries.

Known by different names, a policy of "universal basic income" (UBI) is a form of government assistance where every citizen receives a monthly income — regardless of their age or employment status. In a referendum in June last year, 76.9% of Swiss voters rejected a proposal that would have enshrined basic income as a constitutional right. But despite the Swiss setback, the idea is gaining currency elsewhere in Europe and beyond. Recently, the foundation run by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar laid out $493,000 to help fund a UBI program in Kenya.

Here are five different basic income schemes around the world:

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Bloody Weekend Covers Dutch Front Page

De Telegraaf, Dec. 12, 2016

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