MH17 investigators launch appeal for witnesses, release BUK footage

MH17 investigators launch appeal for witnesses, release BUK footage

Dutch investigators looking into the MH17plane disaster on July 17, 2014 on Monday launched an appeal for help in tracing witnesses to a possible BUK missile attack on the plane. The appeal includes video footage showing a BUK missile system being moved through eastern Ukraine on a low loader Volvo truck on July 17 and 18 and parts of secretly recorded phone conversations, the public prosecution department, which is coordinating the investigation, said. ‘We are looking for witnesses who have seen BUK crew members or have more information about the identity of those involved in ordering and launching the BUK,’ the statement said. People who are concerned about their safety will be offered ‘various protective measures.' [banner] Tapped phone conversations indicate pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine had set up BUK anti-aircraft missiles prior to the MH17 plane crash and that the rebels withdrew in the wake of the crash, first to rebel-held parts of Ukraine and then to Russia, the department said. The phone conversations, recorded by the Ukrainian secret service SBU, have been released in order to encourage witnesses to come forward. Total mess ‘Yesterday was a total mess. I have nothing to say about it,’ one separatist was recorded as saying the day after MH17 was shot down, killing all 298 people on board. Two of the conversations mention the weapons system by name and discuss where it is to be placed. The appeal for witnesses does not mean the department has concluded a missile attack is the only likely cause of the crash and is just one of number of scenarios being looked at, the department statement said.  More >

'Greece hurt by Dutch tax avoidance'

Tax avoidance via the Netherlands costs Greek state millions: report Greece is losing millions of euros in tax income a year because of letterbox companies in the Netherlands, according to Dutch multinational research institute Somo. Greece may be under harsh EU austerity measures but its economy is being underminded by large-scale tax avoidance enabled by the Netherlands, Somo says in a new report. For example, tax avoidance by Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold, which uses mailbox companies in the Netherlands, has led to tax losses of at least €1.7m for Greece in the past two years. [banner] Eldorado operates a mine in northern Greece and has 12 subsidiaries registered in Amsterdam's Zuidas business district despite carrying out no economic activities in the Netherlands. In the report, Somo states Eldorado Gold has a loan-financing structure that shifts interest payments from Greek subsidiary Hellas Gold SA, via Dutch mailbox companies to a Barbados entity where this income remains untaxed. Double standards ‘The European Union and the Netherlands have double standards. On the one hand they impose harsh austerity measures which have devastating social and economic impacts in Greece; on the other hand they actively facilitate tax avoidance which costs the Greek state millions of euros,’ says SOMO researcher Katrin McGauran. Somo claims the Netherlands and Luxembourg are widely used tax conduit countries for foreign companies investing in Greece and that 80% of direct investments from the Netherlands to Greece are routed through mailbox companies. This, it says, is ‘an under-reported issue in discussions on the causes of Greece’s budget deficit’.  More >

Dutch fishing firm fined €105,000

Dutch fishing firm may appeal against €105,000 Irish fine The Dutch company which owns the world’s biggest trawler is considering appealing against a €105,000 fine imposed by an Irish court, the Irish Times reports. Diederik Parlevliet, managing director of fishing trader Parlevliet & Van der Plas, said the captain had been ordered to pay ‘a vastly inappropriate’ fine for a €30 breach of the law, the paper says. Super trawler Annelies Ilena was stopped by Irish officials in 2013, and on Friday its skipper was fined for failing to record discarded fish and discarding fish which is subject to a quota. [banner] The judge withdrew charges that skipper Gerrit Plug had high-graded the catch to increase its value. This involves keeping the most valuable fish and throwing smaller, less valuable fish back into sea. The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) said the ruling ‘sends a clear message and a severe warning to anyone engaged in illegal fishing activities.’ The suspicions of Navy and sea fisheries protection officers were raised when they saw large sea-birds apparently eating fish immediately behind the super trawler, the Irish paper says.  More >

A wet and very windy week ahead

Freelance PostNL delivery staff campaign for better pay The northern coast of the Netherlands will be hit by storm force westerly winds on Tuesday, with gusts of up to 110 kph, weather forecasters said on Monday. The storm will be at its worst in the morning but it will be wet and windy all week, reported. There were also strong winds in coastal areas on Monday, which led to the cancellation of some fast ferry services to the Wadden Sea islands. Flights to and from Schiphol airport were also disrupted because of the strong winds. The KNMI has issued a code yellow weather warning for the entire country. Tuesday's wind will be accompanied by hail and possibly sleet, the KNMI said. [banner]  More >

Selfie sticks banned at Dutch festivals

Freelance PostNL delivery staff campaign for better pay Two of the biggest Dutch summer music festivals have banned selfie sticks from this year’s event, saying they are a danger to visitors and spoil the view for others, broadcaster Nos says on Monday. Down The Rabbit Hole, PITCH and North Sea Jazz have also said they don’t want to see the sticks at their events. ‘Safety is the most important reason,’ said Mojo Concerts spokesman Junior van der Stel. ‘The same goes for umbrellas and laser pens.’ The Ziggo Dome concert hall banned selfie sticks some time ago, saying they spoil the atmosphere. Some Dutch amusement parks and museums have already taken similar steps. [banner]  More >