Bonnie and Clyde on the run

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Antonio Marcos van der Ploeg and Enise Merve Bircan are the dutch Clyde Chestnut Barrow and Bonnie Elizabeth Parker(dutch link).

The “Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway” kidnapped a family, took the father with them in his car andlater freed in the German border are also suspected of being involved in various  robberies and attackes over the past few days.

Bonnie: I don’t have no mama. No family either.
Clyde: Hey, I’m your family.
Bonnie: You know what, when we started out, I thought we was really goin’ somewhere. This is it. We’re just goin’, huh?
Clyde: I love you.”

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That cold you’ve got could be hay fever

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The warm winter is confusing nature, with plants shooting up and getting ready to flower at least a month too early, (…) ‘The bulbs are three or four weeks early, but the hortensias are already in leaf and that really should not be happening,’ garden expert Ben van Oijen told the newspaper. ‘I’ve seen roses in bud. We’re having to mow the grass. In fact the grass has stayed green all winter. It is extreme,’ Van Oijen said. (…) ‘I’ve had reports that the ground creeper Glechoma hederacea is already in bloom. Fifty years ago, the first flowers were reported on April 16,’ he said.

Insects and birds are also getting ready for spring. Early butterflies have been spotted and the birds are singing in search of a mate. ‘Last week I saw a coot on a nest,’ said Van Vliet. ‘It was quite ready.’

The black Alder tree is already in full bloom in the south of the country and pollen scores are mounting. People who suffer from allergies may think they have a cold but in fact they have early hay fever.

Spice wars

rozovphotos001-45«(…)In ancient times, the origins of cinnamon were a mystery to the Western world, and Arab merchants wanted to keep it that way. To hike up the price, they spun an elaborate tale, claiming that giant birds collected cinnamon sticks from far-off lands and used them to build nests on cliffs. To get the precious sticks, traders laid out massive chunks of ox meat, which the birds grabbed and carried to their nests. But because the slabs were so large, the nests would collapse, allowing the clever merchants to collect their prize. Europeans bought this story until the late 1400s when the Portuguese found the real source of cinnamon—lush groves in Sri Lanka. Once they’d figured it out, the Portuguese struck a deal with the Sri Lankans to monopolize the trade and built a fort there to protect their assets. They were displaced by the Dutch in 1658, who were subsequently displaced by the Brits in 1796. But by then, the trees had been exported worldwide, so there was little need to fight for a cinnamon fix.

(…)Grow a Piper nigrum shrub, pick its red berries, boil them until they turn black, dry them in the sun, and you’ve got pepper—the most popular spice in history! Long before shakerfuls hit every diner in America, pepper originated in the mountains of India, where it was referred to as “black gold.” This was a misnomer—pepper was worth more than its weight in gold, and individual peppercorns were even accepted as currency at the time, and it wasn’t just India. In Dutch, the term “pepper expensive” is used to describe something extremely pricey, which explains why the country waged war against the Portuguese in the 1590s to get a piece of the trade. The spice remained costly for centuries.»

Damn Dutch, as I here and here wrote before, in Portuguese.

Avoiding tax in times of austerity

1377002765-0«This briefing looks at the role that the Netherlands plays in reducing the tax payments of Portuguese multinational corporations (MNCs) in Portugal. FDI statistics show that the Netherlands is the largest investor in Portugal and the Netherlands receives most Portuguese investment. These capital flows are largely related to activities of Dutch mailbox companies, which enjoy tax benefits in the Netherlands. This results in the shifting of profits from Portugal to other jurisdictions and an overall reduction of companies tax payments.

To illustrate how these tax benefits work, the briefing analyses the case of Portugals largest energy company, Energias de Portugal. The case of EDP in particular shows how the Netherlands makes special secret deals (Advance Pricing Agreements or Advance Tax Rulings) with foreign companies that lead to double non-taxation.

The paper urges for more transparency and a review of this practice and proposes a number of policy alternatives to end the Dutch harmful tax regime.»

Avoiding Tax in Times of Austerity.pdf

Dutch condominium

In The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates, Dutch primatologist and ethologist Frans de Waal looks at the evolutionary origins of empathy, noting that apes, for instance, will “voluntarily open a door to offer a companion access to food, even if they lose part of it in the process.”

DJ Isis, band leader Kyteman and a number of leading lights from the Dutch music and dance scene were in parliament on Wednesday to discuss government policy towards the pop industry. The government should give ten big pop venues, festivals or other big events protected status, pop and dance music organisers told MPs during the special hearing. ‘The Oosterpoort and Doornroosje [events] are established institutions, like the Rijksmuseum’, the NRC quotes dance party organiser ID&T’s Duncan Stutterheim as saying.

I don’t know what they’re smoking but it must be strong.

Koninginnedag

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Queen Beatrix abdicates after 33 years on the throne, she’s to abdicate this year in favour of her son, crown prince Willem-Alexander. The formal ceremony and coronation will take place on April 30, after the Koninginnedag.

The first weekend I’ve spent in the Netherlands when I moved there was the Koninginnedag(Queensday). What a party!

Long live the Queen!