Category Archives: World

Dutch prisons are closing because the country is so safe

In 2013, 19 prisons in the Netherlands closed because the country didn’t have enough criminals to fill them.

Now, five more are slated to close their doors by the end of the summer, according to internal documents obtained by The Telegraaf.

While these closures will result in the loss of nearly 2,000 jobs, only 700 of which will transition into other unknown roles within Dutch law enforcement, the trend of closing prisons follows a steady drop in crime since 2004.

The problem of empty jail cells has even gotten to the point where, last September, the country imported 240 prisoners from Norway just to keep the facilities full.

Still, according to The Telegraaf’s report, Justice Minister Ard van der Steur announced to parliament that the cost of maintaining sparsely-filled prisons was cost-prohibitive for the small country.


A number of factors underlie the Netherlands’ ability to keep its crime rate so low, namely, relaxed drug laws, a focus on rehabilitation over punishment, and an electronic ankle monitoring system that allows people to re-enter the workforce.

A study published in 2008 found the ankle monitoring system reduced the recidivism rate by up to half compared to traditional incarceration. Instead of wasting away in a jail cell, eating up federal dollars, convicted criminals are given the opportunity to contribute to society.

These measures all add up to an unbelievably low incarceration rate: Although the Netherlands has a population of 17 million, only 11,600 people are locked up. That’s a rate of 69 incarcerations per 100,000 people.

The US, meanwhile, has a rate of 716 per 100,000 — the highest in the world. It’s marked largely by its lack of attention to social services and rehabilitation programs once prisoners finish their sentences. Without a safety net to give them any other options, many fall back into their old habits.



Airbnb host faces attempted murder charge for assault on South African guest

Sibahle Nkumbi is a #South African filmmaker and visual artist who is currently studying in Bern, Switzerland. She booked an #AirBnB property for herself and three artist friends in #Amsterdam in the Netherlands, while she was attending and reviewing her friend Zanele Muholi’s art exhibition. When the four ladies were a little late in checking out last Saturday, the owner called her husband, who became verbally abusive towards the women and eventually pushed Nkumbi down the stairs, causing a concussion and several bruises. The unnamed 47-year-old Dutch host is now facing a possible attempted manslaughter charge for his actions.


Sibhahle Nkumbi speaks about the altercation with the Airbnb host

Muholi filmed the incident, which is included in a video interview uploaded to YouTube on Monday, July 9.


In the video Nkumbi talks about the incident, saying she had apologized profusely to the owner’s wife for being an hour late checking out of the property. As they were talking, the Airbnb host arrived and started banging on the door, yelling for them to let him in.

During the interview, Nkumbi explained that the host was verbally abusive to her, even though she said she didn’t provoke him in any way. Nkumbi said she was trying to reason with the man, but he continued to be abusive. She went on to say that the Airbnb host made racially motivated statements, including referring to the ladies as “you people” and telling them they needed to leave now, telling her she is not the great artist she thinks she is and that this was “not Africa.”

As Nkumbi tried to leave the property, the host grabbed her and she said she immediately knew he was going to throw her down the stairs.


As she only had the wall to hang on to, she fell, tumbling down the staircase. The fall knocked her out and when she came to, she was in the hospital.

Amsterdam Police considering attempted manslaughter charge

As reported by the Huffington Post, Nkumbi was then interviewed by Amsterdam police, who said in a media statement that the four women were supposed to check out of the apartment at 11 a.m., but got into an argument with the owners at around 12:30 p.m. Marijke Stor, the police spokesperson, said they had arrested a 47-year-old man, who is suspected of attempted manslaughter. The Airbnb host was released on Sunday and the prosecutor will now decide whether to pursue the case in court.

Airbnb speaks out about the ‘appalling’ incident

The Independent Online quotes David King, the company’s Director of Diversity and Belonging, as saying the host’s behavior was “appalling” and against everything Airbnb stands for.


King said he and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky were reaching out to Nkumbi and her friends and will take the strongest actions possible against the “abhorrent conduct” of the Dutch host, including banning them from their platform. He added that no one should ever be treated this way and that Airbnb will not tolerate such behavior.


China’s expertise in fighting desertification can help others

China’s Kubuqi Desert, the seventh biggest in the country, earned its reputation as “the sea of death” because of its harsh conditions and the abject poverty in which its people live.

Situated in Inner Mongolia, sand dunes have swallowed grasslands where people lived and raised sheep as recently as 50 years ago.


Sandstorms known as the Yellow Dragon pollute the air as far as Beijing, more than 1 200 km away, causing asthmatics and those suffering from other chest ailments to be rushed to hospital. Plumes even cross the Pacific reaching the West Coast of the US.

In the past 30 years China formulated a game plan to tackle desertification in these parts and the Chinese believe the model can be replicated in different parts of the world as drought, poverty and scarce water are a serious problem.


Environmentalists have described the effects of climate change as a “deadly dance” as the poles melt, temperatures rise and soil degrades.

Scientists increasingly warn about the pitfalls of mining, infrastructure development and drying water beds. Land gives way to sand because of overuse, the clearing forests and stress on water resources.

To find solutions to the growing problem of desertification, delegates and leaders from different countries have been invited to attend the seventh Kubuqi International Desert Forum which will be held later this month.

One of the discussions on the agenda is the work of Chinese company Elion Resources Group. The company has saved more than 6000km2 of land from desertification through growing a “green wall” – cultivating traditional Chinese medicinal plants and building a solar energy centre.


The medicinal plant of choice is liquorice, which thrives in this tough environment . It has stimulated industries to improve the lives of the local people who earn an income through farming the plant and leasing land to grow it. These plants also help slow down desertification and gradually transform the desert areas into arable lands.

The green wall or barrier of trees helps counter the effects of sandstorms and rehabilitate the land.

The executive secretary-general of UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Monique Barbut, has hailed the rehabilitation of the desert as a model for the global community because it emphasised the balance between the ecosystem, the economy and the people.

According to Elion’s researchers, deserts cover nearly 40 million km2 of the Earth, accounting for a quarter of its land surface. More than 110 countries and about 1 billion people around the world have been affected by desertification.

According to a UN study, large parts of Africa and Asia are at risk, as are some parts of North America.

Barbut recently spoke at the UN convention where the Joint Action Initiative to combat desertification, rehabilitate degraded land and mitigate the effects of drought was launched.

The initiative aims to make China’s ambitious rejuvenation of the old Silk Road environmentally sustainable.

The “One Belt One Road” plans to boost economies from China, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean to parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. But these plans could prove futile as many of the countries along the belt are affected by desertification and drought.

According to the UN News Centre, Barbut called for the international community to come up with long-term solutions to “battle the ravages of drought and flood which are destroying communities”.

She warned that drought and floods devastate families and destabilise communities because they lead to mass migrations – leaving the vulnerable open to human rights abuses and long-term security threats.

She said the UK Ministry of Defence estimates up to 60 million Africans risked migration as a result of desertification in the next two decades.

She believes China’s experience in rehabilitating man-made deserts back to health and its knowledge could benefit initiatives such as Africa’s Great Green Wall and the re-greening in southern Africa.

The African-led project aims to grow 8 000km of trees and plants across the width of Africa to provide food and jobs.

Environmentalists believe this is an opportunity for China to spearhead work in a climate change-resilient world and to make its mark in green development.

Peters is the Live Editor of Weekend Argus. She is on a 10-month scholarship with the China Africa Press Center.


Denmark’s contraception aid to Africa ‘to limit migration’

The Minister for Development Co-operation, Ulla Tornaes, said Copenhagen would contribute 91m kroner (£11m; $14m) for the program.

She said unwanted pregnancies had “enormous” human and social costs in the world’s poorest nations.

But she added that limiting Africa’s population growth was also important.

Speaking at a conference in London on Tuesday, Ms Tornaes said 225 million women in the world’s poorest countries do not currently have access to family planning.

“Unwanted pregnancies have enormous human costs in developing countries – from very young women who must give up their basic education, maternal mortality.”

The minister said this “also has large social costs, where many countries’ development step is limited by high population growth”.

She then referred specifically to Africa, saying that curtailing the continent’s population growth by increasing access to contraception and family planning was an important foreign and security policy priority for the Danish government.

“If the population growth in Africa continues as now, the African population will double from 1.2 billion people to 2.5 billion people by 2050,” Ms Tornaes said.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen (C) presents Esben Lunde Larsen as new Environmental and Food Minister (L) and Ulla Tornaes as new Minister of Higher Education and Science in front of Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen February 29, 2016Image copyrightAFP
Image captionUlla Tornaes (right) is a minister in the government of Danish PM Lars Lokke Rasmussen (centre)

“Part of the solution to reducing migratory pressures on Europe is to reduce the very high population growth in many African countries.”

Denmark, like a number of other EU nations, has in recent years been under pressure to deal with a rising number of asylum seekers and immigrants arriving in Europe.

However, asylum applications dropped dramatically in the country in 2016, compared with 2015.

The government said October that 5,500 applications were received until 30 October, compared with 21,000 in 2015.

In January 2016, the Danish parliament backed a controversial proposal to confiscate asylum seekers’ valuables to pay for their upkeep – a move criticized by the UN.


Hodor surprises fans, holds the door one last time on a ‘Game of Thrones’ tour in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland actor Kristian Nairn surprised a Game of Thrones tour group in Co Antrim on Wednesday and recreated his character Hodor’s famous ‘hold the door’ scene.


The unsuspecting group of fans were at Ballintoy Harbour on a guided tour arranged by Belfast company McComb’s Travel.

The area is well known as one of the main locations previously used during production of Game of Thrones.

After surprising the group, Nairn recreated the iconic scene from season six of the HBO series.

McComb’s Travel posted pictures of Nairn’s appearance on their Facebook page on Thursday, captioning the images: “It’s not every day that Kristian Nairn aka Hodor from Game of Thrones arrives on our Game of Thrones Tour!

“Kristian gave both Derek our guide and all of our tour passengers the fright of their lives when he held the door of Ballintoy Boat House.”

Hodor actor Kristian Nairn surprises Game of Thrones fans. (McComb’s Travel)
Hodor actor Kristian Nairn surprises Game of Thrones fans. (McComb’s Travel)
Hodor actor Kristian Nairn surprises Game of Thrones fans. (McComb’s Travel)

Belfast Telegraph Digital


Bakari Henderson: Black College Grad Beaten to Death by Crowd During Vacation in Greece

A 22-year-old Black American college student’s vacation to Greece ended in tragedy after he was beaten to death by a large group of people in the ancient country.

Texas-born Bakari Henderson was reportedly found battered and unresponsive by authorities on a street on the Greek Island of Zakynthos after an argument inside a bar spilled out onto the street.

Here’s what you need to know about Bakari Henderson and the tragic incident:

Bakari Henderson was on vacation in the Laganas on the Greek island of Zakynthos

Bakari Henderson was celebrating a recent graduation while he was vacationing in Laganas on the Greek island of Zakynthos — popular with tourists who enjoy its stunning beaches and wild nightlife — when his life was tragically cut short.

Henderson was reportedly beaten to death with brass knuckles after reportedly getting into an argument with a security guard.


The incident reportedly began at around 3 a.m. Friday when Henderson had a minor altercation with a security guard at a sports bar called Bar Code.

According to media reports from Greece, the fight started after a man from a group of Serbians walked up to a group of Americans that included Henderson and broke a glass on their table. One of the Americans then reportedly grabbed the 32-year-old Serbian and punched him, which is believed to have sparked the massive bar brawl.


The security guard and a 34-year-old Greek bartender chased Henderson out of the bar and beat him to death, allegedly with brass knuckles. Eight others are believed to have joined in the assault, which was witnessed by several horrified onlookers passing by.

Witnesses reported seeing Henderson surrounded by a crowd of as many as 10 people during the attack, which was said to have lasted for about 30 seconds.

The Greek Security Division said that he was rushed to a hospital in Zakynthos, where he was pronounced dead on arrival due to severe head trauma. The grad student’s body was taken to the Patras coroner for further examination, but his death was most likely caused by multiple blows to the head.

After being notified of his death, Henderson’s family released the following statement:

“Bakari loved spending time with family and friends, traveling, and meeting new people. He was a big thinker and enjoyed coming up with new business ventures. Bakari was an inspiration to all he met. He loved life and lived it to the fullest.”

Four people were arrested, two were charged with Henderson’s murder and others are being questioned


An investigation has been launched into Henderson’s death, and at least four people have already been arrested for their involvement. Out of the four who were arrested, two were charged with his murder, and a number of other people are being questioned.

Greek newspaper Kathimerini said that only two suspects were taken into custody initially, but after viewing security footage of the attack, police picked up two more suspects who were also of Serbian descent like the security guard.

The State Department released a statement saying:

“Greek police in Zakynthos notified the U.S. Embassy of the death of a U.S. citizen in the early morning hours of Friday, July 7. We are in communication with authorities and providing consular assistance to the deceased citizen’s family. We offer our sincerest condolences to family.”

Police are investigating whether race played any part in the attack on Henderson, who was black.

Henderson graduated from the University of Arizona and played basketball in high school.


Back in May 2017, Henderson, originally from Austin, Texas graduated from the University of Arizona, where he studied business finance and entrepreneurship.

University president Robert C. Robbins said in a statement:

“Our hearts and prayers are with his friends and family. I can only imagine the deep sense of loss they must be feeling at his untimely death. It is always a tragedy when a young life ends before it has really yet to begin.”

Before college, Henderson played basketball for Anderson High School in Austin, which he graduated from in 2013. According to his MaxPreps profile, he played 34 games with an average of 2.7 points per game, 0.5 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 0.1 blocks. His Junior year (2011-2012) he scored 92 points, grabbed 89 rebounds and had 18 assists.


One photo of Henderson on Facebook showed him wearing a Los Angeles Lakers T-shirt, and one of his favorite basketball players was said to be Kobe Bryant. Other photos (some dating back to 2012) show him hanging out with his friends at school and various other places.


Fox News

Amelia Earhart’s disappearance may finally be explained with one photo

Ever since Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared on their around-the-world flight on July 2, 1937, what happened to the two has been one of the great unsolved mysteries of the 20th Century.

A recently discovered photograph from the U.S. Government archives may actually provide an answer to all the speculation that has circled the case and HISTORY will present the evidence in a two-hour special Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence on Sunday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The photo taken on Jaluit Atoll and uncovered by Former US Treasury Agent Les Kinney, who has been searching for an answer for 15 years as to what happened to Earhart, was filed away because it was considered to be a picture of Japanese movements in the Marshall Islands. No one guessed that it might provide a clue as to Earhart’s fate.

But if you look closely, you can see a Caucasian woman sitting on the dock with her back to the photographer, and to her far left is a man who very much resembles Noonan. The person who took the photograph is believed to have later been executed as a spy.

If that is Earhart and Noonan, it would mean they survived the crash. Of course, that raises more questions about what happened to them after their her rescue.



In Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence, Former FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry investigates evidence that Earhart survived her final flight, crash-landed in the Marshall Islands, and was captured by the Japanese military – dying in their custody on Saipan — and why there may have been a cover up.

The first step for Henry was to determine if the photograph is possibly Earhart and Noonan, and toward that end, he enlists the aid of photo recognition expert Kent Gibson, who rated the photo “very likely” to be Earhart and Noonan.

“When you pull out, and when you see the analysis that’s been done, I think it leaves no doubt to the viewers that that’s Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan,” Henry told NBC News.

Additionally, “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence” presents evidence verified by some of the most reputable professionals in the world including: plane parts found in an uninhabited island of the Marshall Islands by Earhart Investigator Dick Spink consistent with the aircraft that Earhart was flying in 1937; and an original interview with the last living eyewitness who claims to have seen Earhart and Noonan after their crash.

Will the 80-year-old mystery be solved? Tune in when Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence premieres Sunday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HISTORY and form your own opinion.


Japan’s population is falling faster than it ever has before

Japan’s population fell at the beginning of this year at the fastest pace since 1968, when the earliest comparable figures started getting collected.

As of January 1, the number of Japanese people (excluding resident foreigners) fell by a record 308,084 from a year earlier to 125,583,658, marking the eighth consecutive year of declines, government data showed Wednesday.

These changes highlight a mounting demographic challenge to Japan’s economic growth that has been roughly two decades in the making. Some economists even call the situation a “demographic time bomb,”given the vicious cycle that has formed between low fertility rates and low consumer spending.

The conflict lies in the tension between Japan’s traditional work culture — which emphasizes the role of men as primary breadwinners — and younger generations’ desire to have flexibility in their personal and professional lives.

Younger people increasingly want more egalitarian relationships in which men and women can both pursue their careers and share household duties. But career pursuits have won the battle for the last decade or so, while starting or growing families has taken a backseat on a mass scale.


The number of births in Japan fell 2.9% from the previous year to 981,202 today, the lowest since comparable data became available in 1974. People at or above the age of 65 account for 27.2% of the total population, the highest ratio on record, while those 14 or younger make up just 12.7%, the data showed.

The number of registered foreign residents in Japan increased 6.9% from a year earlier, according to the data. Japan has long been reluctant to open up to immigration, since many Japanese people pride themselves on what they see as their cultural and ethnic homogeneity.

But recently, the government has been increasing its efforts to attract students and high-skilled workers from overseas.

The overall population, which combines both Japanese and resident foreigners, fell 0.1% from a year ago to 127,907,086, the data showed.


India plants 66 million trees in 12 hours as part of record-breaking environmental campaign

Volunteers in India planted more than 66 million trees in just 12 hours in a record-breaking environmental drive.

About 1.5 million people were involved in the huge plantation campaign, in which saplings were placed along the Narmada river in the state of Madhya Pradesh throughout Sunday.

India committed under the Paris Agreement to increasing its forests by five million hectares before 2030 to combat climate change.

Last year volunteers in Uttar Pradesh state set a world record by planting more than 50 million trees in one day. 

Observers from Guinness World Records also monitored Sunday’s plantation and are expected to confirm in the coming weeks that the effort set a new high. 


The campaign was organised by the Madhya Pradesh government, with 24 distracts of the Narmada river basin chosen as planting sites to increase the saplings’ chances of survival. Volunteers planted more than 20 different species of trees.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the state’s chief minister, described the efforts as a “historic day”. 

He said volunteers including children and the elderly had planted 66.3 million saplings between 7am and 7pm, adding in a tweet: “By planting trees we are not only serving Madhya Pradesh but the world at large.”


Chinese Province Larger Than Texas Just Ran For An Entire Week On Only Renewable Energy

While the U.S. flounders on environmental action and a growing number of cabinet officials out themselves as climate deniers, China continues to make waves as an emerging leader in this space.


Chinese state media announced this week that the sprawling province of Qinghai in the country’s northwest had run for seven consecutive days entirely on renewable energy. The province, which is larger than Texas, relied only on wind, solar and hydroelectric power from June 17-23, reported Xinhua. These renewable energy sources reportedly provided Qinghai and its population of 5.8 million with 1.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity — equal to about 535,000 tons of coal.


Qinghai’s fossil fuel-free week was part of a trial that the Chinese government initiated to see if an entire province could successfully achieve zero emissions for an extended period of time. Wang Liming, deputy governor of Qinghai, told China Daily this month that the experiment would set a new global clean energy record.

“It will break the current record of four days held by Portugal,” he said, referring to the four days in May last year when the European nation of 10 million ran on just renewable energy.


As Grist notes, Qinghai is a hub for clean energy in China. Located on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau, the province gets plenty of sun (more than 3,000 hours of daylight every year) and is home to the world’s largest solar farm. Also the location of the headwaters of Asia’s three largest rivers ― the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong ― Qinghai’s hydropower potential is immense.


“Qinghai is the country’s important warehouse of natural resources and it plays a vital role in the development of the nation’s green industry,” said Miao Wei, China’s minister of industry and information technology, this month, according to China Daily.

China has been positioning itself as a global leader of green energy in recent years. In January, the Chinese government announced plans to spend $360 billion on renewable energy by 2020, an investment they could create 13 million jobs.

With its commitment to clean energy development and reducing its coal consumption, China is set to overachieve the pledges it made in the Paris climate agreement, according to a recent Climate Action Tracker report. Together with India, China’s climate commitments have been so significant that they could offset the negative impacts that President Donald Trump’s climate policies could have on the globe, the report’s authors said. 


“Five years ago, the idea of either [China or India] stopping — or even slowing — coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these nations. Yet, recent observations show they are now on the way towards overcoming this challenge,” the report said. “This stands in contrast to the decisions of the U.S. administration under President Trump, who appears intent on going in the opposite direction.”