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    Facebook’s data center plans rile residents in the Netherlands / ArsTechnica · Sunday, 9 January, 2022 - 12:09

Facebook’s data center plans rile residents in the Netherlands

Enlarge (credit: Robin Utrecht | Abaca Press | Alamy)

When Susan Schaap, 61, travels from her Dutch hometown of Zeewolde to the nearest city of Leylystad, the 30-minute drive takes her through vast tulip fields, interrupted only by wind turbines and sometimes sheep. But if Facebook parent company Meta’s plans are approved, her view would be replaced by the Netherlands’ largest ever data center.

Meta’s data center is “too big for a small town like Zeewolde,” says Schaap, who has become one of the project’s most vocal opponents. “There are 200 data centers in the Netherlands already,” she argues, and the move would give huge swathes of farmland to just one company, “which is not fair.”

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    Dutch PM given extra security amid fears of drug gang attack / TheGuardian · Monday, 27 September, 2021 - 12:32

‘Spotters’ were seen scoping out movements of Mark Rutte, who cycles to work in The Hague

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, who cycles to work in The Hague, has reportedly been given extra personal security in response to raised fears of a kidnapping or attack by organised crime.

The decision was made after “spotters” were seen scoping out Rutte’s movements, raising concerns about a possible move by one of the country’s drug gangs.

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    How we met: ‘It was love at first sight – for me’ / TheGuardian · Monday, 27 September, 2021 - 10:00 · 1 minute

Frances, 70, and Rien, 68, met on a European exchange visit in 1972. Having brought up their family in England, they now live in the Dordogne, France

When Frances finished school, she took a college course in cartography, the study of maps. By May 1972, she had found a job as a cartographer with the civil service. As part of her work, she went to Delft in the Netherlands to visit the Dutch equivalent of Ordnance Survey. At the time, Kingston upon Thames (where she had studied) was twinned with Delft, a city in South Holland, and residents of the two regions were encouraged to do exchange visits, where they would stay with local families to get to know the area. Frances agreed to go, even thought she was terrified. “I was 20 and it was my first time out of the country. I didn’t speak a word of Dutch,” she says.

Frances soon discovered she would be staying with Rien, who lived with his parents and siblings. When she arrived at the town hall, he was there to pick her up. They were introduced by the mayor of Kingston and the burgemeester of Delft. “My instant reaction was that she was beautiful and I needed to get to know her. It was love at first sight for me,” he says. She was grateful that he was able to speak English and over the course of the next week a friendship blossomed. “He was friendly and handsome, but it was just friendship for me at first,” she says. “I’m more pragmatic than romantic.”

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    Dutch court orders Shell oil company to cut carbon emissions 45% by 2030 / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 - 15:52

Image of an oil refinery.

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images )

On Wednesday, a court in the Netherlands ordered energy giant Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions by 45 percent before the decade is over. Ruling on a suit filed by the Netherlands branch of Friends of the Earth, the court concluded that Royal Dutch Shell's current plans to reduce emissions are incompatible with the targets of the Paris agreement.

Shell has already announced that it intends to appeal the decision.

Not fast enough

Royal Dutch Shell is a large international energy conglomerate that made its name from oil extraction and processing. The company has recognized the need to diversify its energy portfolio, however, and has concluded that its oil production likely peaked in 2019. Emissions have been falling since 2018, and the company plans to hit net-zero emissions by 2050. A key intermediate step to that goal is to reach a 20 percent drop in carbon emissions by 2030.

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    Ronaldo rues absence of VAR as Portugal winner in Serbia is ruled out / TheGuardian · Saturday, 27 March, 2021 - 22:53

  • Serbia 2-2 Portugal
  • Netherlands beat Latvia; Czechs hold Belgium

Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic became his country’s all-time top scorer on 39 goals from 63 international appearances after he netted in a 2-2 home draw with Portugal in a thrilling 2022 World Cup Group A qualifier but that was overshadowed when Cristiano Ronaldo saw a late goal controversially ruled out.

The Serbians fought back from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils as Fulham striker Mitrovic pulled one back in the 46th minute and Filip Kostic levelled after a Diogo Jota double had given Portugal a 2-0 lead in the first half.

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    The Guardian view on Europe's social democrats: time to come back from the dead | Editorial / TheGuardian · Monday, 15 March, 2021 - 19:27

Across the continent, the popularity of centre-left parties plummeted during the age of austerity. The new focus on economic growth and meeting climate targets offers a way back

Over the past decade, many of Europe’s centre-left parties have been battered, bruised and not infrequently humiliated at elections. In France, the Socialist party languishes at below 10% in the polls. The Dutch Labour party underwent a near-death experience at the general election of 2017. Italy’s Democrats have lost swaths of working-class support to the populist right and were at one point eclipsed by the Five Star Movement. Germany’s Social Democratic party (SPD) has slipped badly behind the Greens. Soul-searching about the future of the left has not been confined to Britain and Labour.

This week, elections in the Netherlands are likely to see the dismal record continue. The Labour party is predicted to improve only modestly on its dire performance of four years ago, when it lost 75% of the seats it held. But the weekend offered the first tentative signs that, after the wilderness years, the wheel of political fortune may just be turning for Europe’s beleaguered social democrats.

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    Dutch Government Did Not Induce Online Piracy, Appeals Court Rules / TorrentFreak · Monday, 14 September, 2020 - 18:27 · 2 minutes

cassette tape The Netherlands has long been a relatively safe haven for pirating consumers.

Downloading movies without permission, regardless of the source, was not punishable by law according to Government officials.

This eventually changed in 2014 when the European Court of Justice ruled that this tolerant stance was not in accordance with EU law . As a result, the Dutch Government quickly outlawed downloading from unauthorized sources.

Despite this radical shift, in reality, not much changed for pirates. Sharing pirated material via torrents was already outlawed since it involved uploading. Also, copyright holders were and are not suing casual file-sharers in court.

Filmmaker Sue Dutch State over Piracy Messaging

Instead of going after pirates, copyright holders pointed their finger at the Dutch state. In 2015, Dutch filmmakers’ association SEKAM lodged a legal claim against the state , demanding compensation for the piracy losses they claimed to have suffered.

The filmmakers highlighted statements that were made by Government officials which clearly indicated that downloading pirated material was allowed. These statements were made prior to the downloading ban.

One of those statements was made in a 2010 press release by former state Secretary for Security and Justice Fred Teeven. Looking ahead at future policy, he noted that “downloading of copyright-protected works from evidently illegal sources will become unlawful, but not punishable.”

Dutch State Held Liable

In 2018, the Court of The Hague partially sided with the filmmakers . It ruled that the statements indeed confirmed that downloading pirated material was allowed and that the Dutch state can be held liable for the resulting damage.

“Based on this message, expressed by the responsible Government official in the public domain and in the media, there will have been downloaders who assumed that downloading from illegal sources was permitted, whereas this was generally known to be forbidden in other EU member states,” the Court wrote.

The Dutch state was not happy with this conclusion and appealed the matter, with success. A recent verdict by the Appeal Court finds that the state did not induce piracy and is therefore not liable for any damages.

Appeals Court: State Did Not Induce Piracy

The Appeals Court agreed that the Government’s messaging indeed suggested that downloading pirated material was not unlawful. That’s not unusual, since this was also the Government’s perception at the time.

According to the Appeals Court, these statements were factually correct. While the European Court later ruled that this policy ran contrary to EU law, that wasn’t known at the time.

Also, unlike the lower court, the Appeals Court does not believe that these statements encouraged any people to pirate. On the contrary, the same press release mentioned that this type of piracy would be outlawed in the future.

“It cannot be seen that the Statements made in 2010 induced persons to illegally download, especially when taken into account the Government’s incorrect conviction that downloading from illegal sources was allowed, had already been advocated since 2002/2003,” the verdict reads.

“So there was no expected disadvantage from these statements for rightsholders such as SEKAM,” The Hague’s Appeals Court adds.

The verdict is a clear win for the Dutch state, which doesn’t have to pay any piracy damages based on the statements that were made in the past. SEKAM doesn’t have to pay anything either. As IPKAT notes, the Dutch state agreed not to claim legal costs if the filmmakers association agreed not to argue the appeal.

A copy of The Hague’s Appeals Court ruling is available in Dutch here (pdf)

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Police infiltrate encrypted phones, arrest hundreds in organized crime bust / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 2 July, 2020 - 18:42

Stock photo of a shadowy man using a smartphone.

Enlarge / It is not specified if Encrochat users were required to stand in silhouette or otherwise apply film-noir style lighting while using their encrypted phones to do crime. (credit: Catherine Falls Commercial | Getty Images )

Almost 750 individuals in the UK have been arrested so far after an international coalition of law enforcement agencies infiltrated an encrypted chat platform in which the suspects openly discussed murder, arranged hits, illegal drug purchases, gun sales, and other alleged crimes.

The UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) today announced the results of an investigation it dubbed Operation Venetic. UK agencies, taken together, have to date arrested 746 suspects and seized 77 guns, two metric tons of drugs, 28 million illicit pills, 55 "high value" cars, and more than £54 million ($67.4 million) in cash.

The arrests followed a breakthrough into an encrypted communications platform, Encrochat, used widely in the European underground. "The infiltration of this command and control communication platform for the UK’s criminal marketplace is like having an inside person in every top organized crime group in the country," NCA Director of Investigations Nikki Holland said in a written statement. "This is the broadest and deepest ever UK operation into serious organized crime."

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