0905-Winter time

Komende nacht gaat de klok een uur terug.

Tonight we turn the clock back an hour: for the very last time?

We can sleep an hour longer tonight, because our country is switching back to winter time. At 3 o’clock we turn the clock back an hour. It may be the last time. Last year, the European Parliament voted in favor of the abolition of the change of hours in 2021. But whether we will then switch definitively to summer or winter time has still not been decided. Winter time is the standard time. On the shortest day of the year, December 21, it gets light around a quarter to nine and the sun sets around half past four. At the end of March, the clock is set one hour ahead in all EU countries. On June 21, it will be light around 5:30 PM and the sun will set around 10 PM. This so-called summer time is set to better match the hours that it is light in the summer months with the hours that people are awake. For example, it would save electricity, because it stays light for an hour longer in the evening.

Disturbed rhythm
Opponents doubt this and many people say that the time shifts physically suffer: it disrupts the biological clock. It is therefore expected that the six-monthly resetting of the clock will come to an end in the long term. A majority of the European Parliament wants it from 2021. The EU member states can decide for themselves whether to switch permanently to summer or winter time afterwards, but the parliament has adopted a postponement clause to prevent a tangle of different times. For those who prefer to skip the cold winter months, it sounds promising: a few months in hibernation. Professor Rob Henning (University of Groningen) researches the process behind the special mechanism of hibernation and examines how we can apply this knowledge to countless diseases.

0904-Life with a walker

0903-Building blocks for Zambia

This is the story of the initiator of the program:

I am Xavier Friesen. I am now 18, and I completed the Stedelijk Gymnasium in Nijmegen last summer (2020). Just started my studies at Leiden University College in The Hague: international relations and international economics. I love to travel. When I was 11 years old and in group 8 of primary school (in 2014), I wanted to go on a long journey. But not just to go on vacation. I also wanted and want to do something for children who have fewer opportunities than I do. That’s why I wanted to travel to Zambia. A country that needs help, and I want to help a little bit too. I have already been there in February and March 2014 and again in the summer. I first worked there as a volunteer. I was a teacher at a school. More about that in a moment. I was allowed to leave my primary school and the Education Inspectorate during school hours. My mother, Ietje Friesen, went with me. And .. I went back in July and August 2014. To open the school! Really. In February 2017 I went to Zambia for the third time. Together with my brother, Gabòr, who took care of a Dental Care project at the Linda Blind Farm School. I have seen with my own eyes how well the money is being spent. And in May 2018 I had the opportunity to go to Zambia for another month. With again special goals and wonderful results. In short, that resulted in that I went back again in December 2019 / January 2020 to put the finishing touches on the construction of the second school, the primary school.

While Xavier Friesen talks about his foundation Building blocks for Zambia, he prefers not to talk about his health. Due to the rare muscle disease and the bone abnormality that he has to contend with, he has been frequently found at the Radboudumc in recent years. “Technically speaking, my muscles are thinner due to a gene abnormality. When I stop exercising, I lose my muscle mass. In eighth grade I had pain 24 hours a day as a result. The growing protrusions on my bones have to be removed from time to time.”
Because of the disorders, Xavier missed many lessons. Despite the many absenteeism, the Stedelijk Gym stimulated his other passions as well; membership of the Dutch core team Bridge and his work for Building Blocks for Zambia. “Most years I have only followed 40 to 50 percent of the lessons. I think looking at students in this way, giving them every opportunity, is really typical of this school. And then they have also launched numerous actions to support the construction of the school in Zambia. Really amazing.”

Copyright photo and video: X. Friesen

Copyright upper text part about the program: X. Friesen

Copyright lower text part about Xavier Friesen: “De Gelderlander”



De Russische oppositieleider Aleksej Navalny (l) en de Russische president Poetin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has personally authorized opposition leader Alexei Navalny to be treated in Germany. “After this citizen’s wife appealed to me, I immediately ordered prosecutors to see if it was possible to let him go abroad,” Putin said, according to Russian media.
Navalny, one of Putin’s most outspoken critics, fell seriously ill aboard a Russian domestic flight in late August. He initially ended up in a hospital in Omsk, Russia. After a few days, the authorities gave permission for the politician to fly to Germany. International experts later determined that he had been poisoned with a novichok nerve poison. Putin argued that he would never have allowed Navalny to go to Germany if his government had had him poisoned. The opposition leader, who survived the poisoning, does hold the authorities in his home country responsible for what happened to him.

Alexei Navalny claims the Russian president is behind his poisoning. He stated this in an interview in the German magazine Der Spiegel at the beginning of October, his first interview since his poisoning. According to him, Putin told French President Emmanuel Macron that the Russian opposition leader had poisoned himself. Navalny became unwell on a flight from Siberia to Moscow. He was taken unconscious to a hospital in Siberia. There, doctors stated that no traces of poison had been found in his blood. He is said to have a metabolic disease caused by low blood sugar, the reading. The German Cinema for Peace organization offered assistance and sent a private jet with doctors to Russia to pick up Navalny. Navalny’s wife, in a letter, pleaded with Russian President Putin to let her husband leave. The doctors in Omsk initially banned Navalny’s transport because his condition would not be stable enough for such an ambulance flight. A day later they agreed to fly over Navalny.

Wat zijn Novitsjok-zenuwgassen? En: heeft Rusland het gedaan? - New  Scientist

Secret address
He was admitted to the Berlin Charité Hospital. There, the Russian awoke from an artificial coma in early September. He was allowed to leave the clinic on September 23. Since then he has resided at a secret address in Berlin. Last week, according to German media, he turned up in the German Black Forest. He stayed with his family in a village not far from the border with Switzerland and France. A few days earlier, Navalny had himself photographed on a beach on what appeared to be the Baltic Sea coast. For Germany it is clear that Navalny was poisoned with the nerve poison novichok. The German government said it had “unambiguous evidence” of the poisoning based on its own test results. Independent labs came to the same conclusion. Navalny stated that he was completely undressed before leaving for Berlin. “They took off all my clothes and sent me to Germany completely naked. Considering that an industrial chemical has been found on my body and most likely transmitted through contact with my body, my clothes are very important evidence.” He is demanding the clothes back from Russia.


No more photos.

My mom sent me a picture of my brother and me when we were very young. She found it with my aunt. She was devastated because she has no other photos of us from the past.
I remember how we gathered with my family every week to view photos from the past. Photos of my parents when they were little. How different everyone looked in their youth! Photos are a great way to bring back memories of the past. After our house was bombed, all tangible memories are gone. Now there are only the memories in my head.
Here people often ask me what my childhood was like. I have nothing left to show. Then I describe the photos I remember from early ones, or I try to show photos of Syria on the internet. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make any sense, because when I search for something about Syria on Google, I only get photos of dead people and broken houses, not of the Syria I know from the past. The Syria where I played on the street with a homemade paper ball. I was so happy with that ball that I could almost hear the laugh out of the picture. The Syria, where we played with the sheep in the summer with my grandmother in the countryside and where we climbed the fig trees to eat the ripest figs. The Syria where my brother never left my side, no matter what mischief we got into.
How can I later tell my children that their father had a childhood without war, if there are only pictures of the war? Later, when I am a father myself, I make sure my children grow up happily. I make sure that I take a lot of photos and I print them out. I also store them in the cloud and on an external hard drive. I will not let a moment of them fade away.

0900-Royalty – Excuses

Willem-Alexander and Máxima say sorry for a Greek holiday trip.

The royal couple has released a filmed statement about the commotion surrounding the autumn holiday, which the Oranges wanted to spend this week in their villa on the Greek coast. In it they apologize.

Personal message from the Royal Couple:

With regret in my heart I turn to you.
Our trip to Greece has provoked strong reactions from many Dutch people. It hurts to have betrayed your trust in us.
Even though the trip was in line with the regulations, it was very unwise not to take into account the impact of the new restrictions on our society.
Our own decision to return was made with the realization that we should not have gone.
From the start of the corona crisis, we have done our best – within the boundaries of the corona policy – to find space and to be there as much as possible for everyone looking for support in uncertain times.
It is a difficult time for everyone. A time of lack, limitations and worries. From fear, anger and insecurity too. We have heard the poignant stories in many encounters, in person and digitally. We feel connected with you and with all those people who have been directly or indirectly affected.
We will continue to work with you to get the corona virus under it. So that everyone in our country can then resume normal life as soon as possible.
That is now the most important thing and we will continue to do so, to the best of our ability.
We are involved. But not infallible.

0899-Royalty: Scandal cont’d.

Princesses Amalia and Alexia only returned from Greece tonight: “Sequel to painful file”

Princess Amalia (16) and Princess Alexia (15) arrived home around 8.30 pm tonight. The eldest daughters of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima arrived by car at Huis ten Bosch palace. The princesses had to stay longer in Greece because there were not enough plane tickets for the whole family, a spokesman for the Government Information Service confirmed to this site. The royal couple arrived at Huis ten Bosch palace on Saturday evening. Daughter Princess Ariane had traveled back.

Royalty expert Marc van der Linden says he is “baffled” about the entire course of events. “It threatens to get completely out of hand. The umpteenth unnecessary follow-up to an already painful file. This again shows a lack of openness.”

Image damage
Willem-Alexander decided to immediately end his holiday in his country home in Greece after he had received a lot of criticism. Politicians, but also others, did not think it was possible that he and his family would go on holiday abroad while the cabinet calls on the Dutch to be careful because of the corona virus and to stay at home as much as possible. Now it appears that the Government Information Service and Prime Minister Rutte have not told that the princesses were left behind. Only full disclosure can help to limit further image damage, says Van der Linden. “This requires quick answers. Why did the boss of the Government Information Service not know where the king was? Why was the government aircraft not used for return? How full was that KLM flight really? Why were two passenger flights not rebooked so that the princesses could still join? And so I can go on and on.” Van der Linden finds it remarkable that Willem-Alexander left his two daughters in Greece. “A king should just keep his children with him. I understand that those children are trying to find distraction. Especially in this day and age. But in view of the fuss that has arisen earlier, the parents should have said that it is not wise for now.”

“Rutte had to report this”
Prime Minister Mark Rutte, responsible for the actions and statements of members of the royal family, will have to explain to the House of Representatives about the royal couple’s desire to travel. He was aware of the King and Queen’s vacation plans. Private journeys of the king are covered by “privacy”, provided due account is taken of the “public interest”. If there is any doubt about this, it is up to the prime minister to raise this with the king, Rutte explained on Sunday. The RVD has announced that it will not make any further announcements. Member of Parliament Joost Sneller of D66 tweets that Rutte “should have reported it immediately”.

0898-Harry & Meghan & Archie

Prins Harry en Meghan delen eerste kerstkaart met baby Archie

The Duchess of Sussex has said she is “cautious” of saying anything too controversial in public for fear of putting son Archie at risk, explaining she can only be proud if she “makes the world better” for him.  The Duchess said she is aware she could be “putting my family in a position of risk” by saying or doing “certain things”, and strives to be “very clear” in her public pronouncements.  Saying becoming a mother has made her “more concerned” for the world’s future, she added: “At the same time I am cautious of putting my family in a position of risk by certain things, and so I try to be rather very clear with what I say and to not make it controversial, but instead to talk about things that seem fairly straight forward – like exercising your right to vote.”  The Duke and Duchess have recently been outspoken on issues close to their hearts, including the dangers of social media, the Black Lives Matter movement, the voting drive ahead of the US presidential election. Speaking about “courageous leadership” to the Fortune “Next Gen Summit”, a members-only virtual conference for which she was not paid a fee to participate, the Duchess was asked how motherhood had changed her.

“It’s interesting because my gut is that it makes you more courageous,” she said. “It makes you so concerned for the world they’re going to inherit, and so the things that you’re able to tolerate on your own are not the same. “For you go every single day, how can I make this better for him, how can I make this world better for Archie? And that is a shared belief between my husband and I.” She added: “As a parent I can enjoy all the fun and silliness and games with my son, but I wouldn’t be able to feel proud of myself as a mom if I didn’t know that I wasn’t doing my part to make it a better place for him.” The Duchess was also asked about social media, following her recent claim that she was “the most trolled person in the entire world” in 2019.

Saying she has not been on social media “for a very long time” for her “own self-preservation”, she added: “I have a lot of concerns for people that have become obsessed with it and it is so much a part of our daily culture for so many people that it’s an addiction. “Like many others, and you know, there are very few things in this world where you call the person who’s engaging with it a user…people who are addicted to drugs are called users and people who are on social media or called users and there is something algorithmically that is in there that is creating this obsession.” Of the “lasting effect” of living in a negative echo chamber online, she warned: “I don’t think people have even started to scratch the surface on what this is doing to us and I wish more for especially the younger generation of women you have the power to turn this around.” Recommending social media users refuse to “amplify the negative” by “hate sharing” things online, she argued: “You don’t reward bad behavior with your dog, so you shouldn’t do it with anything else.”

Asked about how she “found the courage” for her recent decisions, including leaving the UK for California, she said: “It’s not easy. Sometimes making the best decision for yourself and your family might not be the most popular one. “But when you really know who you are and you know what your belief system is, and you live by truth, that can start to peel away the layers of where the fear comes in.” On her plans for the future, the Duchess said she is  “excited to be back home in the States”, and hoped for a 2021 which could see her “engaging and interacting with people” with “boots on the ground back at home”.


What no-deal Brexit means, how it might happen, and how it might affect daily life in the UK

What no-deal Brexit means, how it might happen, and how it might affect daily life in the UK.
After six months of negotiations and a stalemate over key issues, on Friday 16 October, Boris Johnson said the UK must be prepared for a no trade deal with the EU from January, in a strong sign that negotiations with Brussels are coming to an end.  While the Prime Minister appears to be taking a hard line on trade, further negotiations with the Head of the EU Task Force Michel Barnier are expected to take place on Monday.

Is a no-deal Brexit really possible?
Yes, although the precise nature of “no deal” has changed given that the United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020 under the renegotiated terms of Withdrawal Agreement. The UK is now in the transition period, which deep-freezes its membership of the Single Market and Customs Union until the end of the year. It cannot now be extended.  UK-EU trade negotiations have proved frustrating and remain deadlocked over fishing rights, level playing field guarantees and the enforcement of the deal. Failure to agree replacement trading arrangements will mean the UK leaving without a deal on January 1 and trading on WTO terms, which would introduce tariffs and quotas. The Withdrawal Agreement will still be in place, so issues like the Irish border and the so-called “divorce bill” will be settled under its terms, but many other issues remain unresolved. In other words, the original “no deal” may not be possible, but what is now known as “no deal” might better be viewed as a “no trade deal” exit.

What would no deal look like?
The European Union is adamant that there is no such thing as a “managed” no deal –  fearful that making a no deal look too comfortable risks turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. That will not prevent the European Commission from making contingency plans to smooth out significant disruption but only on a temporary, unilateral basis and only if it is in the EU’s interest.  For example, the last time no deal appeared to be a possibility the commission made plans for bare bones transport connectivity, which gave UK aircraft temporary but limited permission to land in EU airports.  The commission has insisted there must be no mini-deals but in practice some bilateral agreements are likely to be made. The reality of a no deal is likely to be disruptive, but not world-ending. Or in the earthy phrasing of a senior diplomat from an EU trading power: “No deal won’t be an explosion, it will be a wet fart.”

Traffic passes through Operation Brock on the M20 in Ashford, Kent

Finance & the City
The EU is heavily reliant on London for some financial services and its capital markets. Whether or not there is a trade deal, UK financial services will only be granted access to the EU market on the basis of “equivalence”, which is the same system of regulatory recognition US firms have.  Equivalence is a unilateral commission decision and can be withdrawn at as little as 30 days notice in some cases.  Brussels has already moved to grant equivalence to UK-based clearing houses, arguing that the institutions, which guarantee large deals, are vital for financial stability.

Trade & Customs
Without any formal trade deal, the UK would have to rely on WTO rules – in a model described by Brexiteers as an “Australia-style” relationship. The default commission position is “all relevant” EU legislation will apply to imports and exports, including tariffs, which will mean customs checks. There could be lines of 7,000 trucks at Dover and two-day waits to get into France immediately after the U.K, according to worse case scenarios drawn up by the UK government.  Up to 60 percent of lorries might not have the correct paperwork on January 1, the government said.  The last time no deal was possible, the commission said the UK would have to apply to a licence scheme that currently only cover 5 percent of the volume of hauliers traffic. There is a small risk of a total ban on all meat exports to the EU, if Brussels does not put the UK on its list of countries with high enough food standards.  The commission insists listing will take place as soon as it gets details of the UK’s future food safety regime.

UK Services trade with the EU was worth £89bn last year, all of which is heavily reliant on the ability to transfer data across borders. The UK has already put the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) onto its statute book. For now the EU is refusing to say it will reciprocate the UK’s stated intention of allowing data to flow freely from the EU, but industry experts note that when the US-EU data Safe Harbour data deal collapsed the EU allowed a period of non-enforcement of its rules. Giles Derrington of Tech UKt even if a ‘data drawbridge’ did go up, other legal avenues such as ‘standard contract clauses’ are also available. These are not a fail-safe, but already cover some 80 percent of personal data transfers.

If a point is reached when no deal becomes inevitable, then the interests of both sides would become equally aligned in avoiding a catastrophic outcome. Even with temporary measures in place, the fundamental question of what future relationship Britain and the EU want will remain. No deal is not sustainable for the long term and eventually the two sides will need to return to the negotiating table.


RedTeam recommends immediate closure of schools.

The increasing number of infected students in secondary education since the summer is reason for the RedTeam to sound the alarm. About 10 percent of them test positive, according to the RIVM figures. “Close the schools immediately for two weeks,” say the independent corona experts. People who violate corona rules will be fined more quickly, warn Minister Grapperhaus and the mayors of the 25 security regions. After one warning, a fine immediately follows.
The municipality of Montferland had relatively the most positive tests in the entire region in the past 24 hours. The 30 corona infections found are double the highest number in that municipality to date. This is evident from the latest RIVM figures, which have just been published. Nijmegen is also peaking remarkably. That municipality had 85 infections. The old ‘record’ was 69. This increase can also be seen in the total number of infections in the region where the Gelderlander appears (roughly north of Limburg, Land van Cuijk, a large part of Gelderland and a part of Utrecht): this was 688 in the past 24 hours, and fluctuated around 650 in the past few days.

More than ever
In Culemborg (28) and Bronckhorst (29) there were also more infections than ever, while in East Gelre 25) and Berg en Dal (21) the numbers also remain high, given the size of those municipalities. Veenendaal (approximately 60,000 inhabitants) also remains a municipality that turns darker red on the corona map. For five days in a row, the daily number of infections per day has been between 40 and 70. In the past 24 hours, another 48 infections have been added. Last Friday it was announced that, among other things, at a secondary school in Veenendaal there is a so-called cluster: an outbreak among several students and teachers. Deaths were reported in Heumen and Renkum, while residents of the municipalities Berkelland, Doetinchem, Ede, Lingewaard, Montferland, Oost Gelre and Nijmegen ended up in hospital, in Nijmegen even five.

8015 new position corona tests
Across the Netherlands, 8,015 new positive corona tests have been registered in the past 24 hours. It is slightly less than yesterday, when 8184 positive tests were communicated. It is, however, again much busier in hospitals. The fact that the number of positive tests has fallen does not necessarily mean that there has been a change. In the past two weeks, there were three more days on which the number of registered infections fell, only to increase again in the following days. However, the increase has leveled off somewhat in the last week: growth was on average slightly lower than last week. It should also be noted that more testing is done week by week. More tests lead to more positive cases: so part of the growth could possibly be explained by the increased capacity at the GGDs and the labs where the tests are analyzed.

Much more tests
In the past week, more tests have again been conducted in the GGD test streets. There were 311,188 between 12 and 18 October, the umbrella GGD GHOR reports on the website. That is more than 30,000 more than last week and almost 90,000 more than two weeks ago. The number of tests should grow further this week to about 350,000 per week, a spokesman said. This increase is mainly made possible by contracts that the Dutch government concluded with foreign labs. Availability of tests was a major problem for months, which led to long waiting times at the GGDs. The hope is that these waiting times will decrease, and with it the period that people with complaints will have to stay at home while waiting for a test result. In early October, there was an average of 49 hours between calling for an appointment and the actual test, according to data from the Ministry of Health. After that, it took another 35 hours for the results to appear. The quarantine time was thus about three and a half days. In the hospitals, the number of Covid-19 patients admitted continues to increase. Today there are 1,738, 86 more than Sunday. Of these, 1,359 are in nursing wards, 71 more than yesterday. There are 379 corona patients in intensive care, 15 more than yesterday. The number of new covid admissions is 184 in the clinic and 38 in the ic. Hospital occupancy is also increasing slightly more slowly than a week ago. Despite this, growth is strong, and hospitals have to postpone more and more regular treatments. In addition, more and more staff are testing positive: this leads to failure in the rosters.