ExxonMobil Australia 'failed to disclose links to Bahamas and Netherlands'
Call for public investigation into company's opaque tax affairs after it paid no corporate tax for three years
• Australian tax office says 36% of big firms and multinationals paid no tax
The Tax Justice Network is calling for a public investigation of ExxonMobil Australia's tax affairs, saying the company has failed to disclose direct links to shell companies in the Netherlands and Bahamas, and that it uses related party loans to artificially reduce tax payments in Australia.

The tax advocacy group has released a new report, Is Exxon Paying a Fair Share of Tax in Australia?, detailing why Exxon's opaque tax affairs are so concerning.
Related: Australian tax office says 36% of big firms and multinationals paid no tax
Related: Exxon deliberately misled public on climate science, say researchers Continue reading...

Dutch police launch inquiry into war criminal's courtroom suicide
International criminal tribunal for former Yugoslavia asks Dutch police to investigate how poison was smuggled into court
Dutch police have launched a criminal investigation into the death of the Bosnian Croat commander Slobodan Praljak, who swallowed poison as his appeal verdict was being streamed live around the world.
The international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has invited local police officers to conduct the inquiry into how the chemical was smuggled into the high-security courtroom in The Hague.
Related: The day I came face to face with General Slobodan Praljak in The Hague Continue reading...

Netherlands coffee shop case highlights 'paradox' of cannabis laws
At its peak, 200kg of cannabis was regularly stored at the Checkpoint cafe, even though the law says licensed shops are only meant to keep 500g on site
With 3,000 customers a day, a restaurant, ample parking and turnover of €26m (£23m) a year, Checkpoint cafe, the largest cannabis-selling coffee shop in the Netherlands, was a fabulous commercial success.
That was until it was closed down in 2009 for testing to the limits what the Dutch describe as their gedoogbeleid (tolerance policy), under which prosecutors turn a blind eye to the breaking of certain laws, including in the business of selling cannabis. Continue reading...

Black Pete: extreme right appears to stoke Dutch divisions
Protestors against the ‘vestige of slavery' featured in Christmas celebrations were blockaded on a motorway and an ‘action group' invaded a school
An annual debate in the Netherlands about the Christmas season practice of white people blackening their faces, colouring their lips red and donning wigs to play Zwarte Piet, a sidekick to Saint Nicholas, has this year descended into street brawls, vandalism and a conviction for inciting racial hatred.

The characterisation of Zwarte Piet – or Black Pete – has divided Dutch society in recent years. In 2015 the UN stepped in to declare it was a "vestige of slavery". Some major cities, including Amsterdam and The Hague, have refashioned Zwarte Piet's image, or done away with him altogether, to avoid accusations of racism.
Related: Black Pete is just a bit of fun for the Netherlands, right? Wrong | Samira bin Sharifu Continue reading...

Ai Weiwei installation set to shine at Amsterdam Light Festival
The Chinese artist's piece, Thinline, which represents a theoretical border, takes pride of place among 36 installations at the city's land- and canal-based annual light festival
Original artworks by Ai Weiwei and Cecil Balmond will be unveiled in the Dutch capital this week, as part of the launch for this year's Amsterdam Light Festival. From Thursday 30 November, Amsterdam's city centre will be illuminated by 36 light installations, designed exclusively for the festival, which is now in its sixth year. Continue reading...

Dutch wine joins the big cheeses on EU's list of specialities
The Netherlands may be more famous for edam and gouda, but its winemakers are tasting success credited to climate change

A Dutch wine produced on the stony banks of the Maas river is set to join champagne, parma ham, and stilton cheese among the European delicacies given protected status by the EU, in what is said to be the latest consequence of climate change for the geography of winemaking.
An announcement is expected on Monday evening granting the six hectares of Wijngoed Thorn the honour of being the first vineyard in the Netherlands to have the right to bear on its bottles the red and yellow stamp conferring Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. Continue reading...

Amsterdam aims to score more Brexit wins after luring medicines agency
Dutch leaders say the European regulator's move from London is the result of years of effort to attract business
Like the prudent and pragmatic people they are, the team behind Amsterdam's bid to host the European Medicines Agency had no champagne on ice the night the EU was choosing the new post-Brexit home for its drugs safety watchdog.
"We'd massively lowered our expectations – it would have been tempting fate," said one. "We thought European politics would kick in, the way they usually do," said another. "And you know, we Dutch are really good at coming second."
Related: Frankfurt prepares for Brexit: 'It has put extra wind into our sails' Continue reading...

London loses EU agencies to Paris and Amsterdam in Brexit relocation
Paris takes European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency goes to Amsterdam as EU's chief negotiator mocks Theresa May's ‘Brexit means Brexit' stance
London is losing the European Medicines Agency to Amsterdam and the European Banking Authority to Paris, in one of the first concrete signs of Brexit as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
The two cities won the agencies after tie breaks that saw the winner selected by drawing lots from a large goldfish-style bowl.
Related: Why losing the European Medicines Agency is bad news for patients, jobs – and the NHS
Related: The Guardian view on European agencies: lost to a myth | Editorial Continue reading...

Brexit: Netherlands told to prepare for a no-deal 'chaos scenario'
Dutch parliament says a no-deal Brexit is suddenly thinkable and blames Britain's ‘unrealistic expectations'
The Netherlands must prepare for a chaotic, no-deal Brexit, the Dutch parliament's European affairs committee has said, in a strongly worded report blaming the stalled exit talks on Britain's "unrealistic expectations" and "inconsistency".
"What was long considered impossible is suddenly thinkable: a chaos scenario in which the UK abruptly leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without an exit agreement, a transition period or a framework for future relations," the committee said. Continue reading...

'Any taboo has gone': Netherlands sees rise in demand for euthanasia
Demand has soared since 2002 law that made it legal, fuelled by postwar generation with clear idea on how to shape their lives, and deaths

The number of people euthanised in the Netherlands this year is set to exceed 7,000 – a 67% rise from five years ago – in what has been described by the director of the country's only specialist clinic as the end of "a taboo" on killing patients who want to die.

In 2012, 4,188 people were euthanised by doctors in the country, all of whom met the criteria laid down under the 2002 law that made it legal: a voluntary and well considered request in the context of unbearable suffering from which there is no prospect of improvement, or alternative remedy. Continue reading...

Revealed: how Nike stays one step ahead of the taxman
Money paid for trainers in shops moves in and out of Europe, to Caribbean and even to entities not officially based anywhere
Everyone knows Nike. Most people probably own a pair of Nikes.
It is unquestionably one of the best-known brands in the world, making billions of dollars in profit from global trainer sales. With names such as Swoosh, Flight, Force, Tailwind and Pegasus, every shoe is crafted, and every launch anticipated and heavily marketed.
Related: Apple secretly moved parts of empire to Jersey after row over tax affairs Continue reading...

One step beyond organic or free-range: Dutch farmer's chickens lay carbon-neutral eggs
Poultry owner claims his new approach has the highest welfare standards and lowest cost to environment
There's the much-criticised battery hen egg, and then the pricier organic and free-range varieties. But for the truly ethically committed, how about the carbon-neutral egg, laid in what has been billed as the world's most environmentally friendly farm?
Dutch stores are now selling so-called "Kipster eggs" laid at a shiny new farm near the south-eastern city of Venray. "Kip" means chicken in Dutch, "ster" means star, and it's no coincidence the name rhymes with hipster. The intention is to rethink the place of animals in the food chain, according to Ruud Zanders, the poultry farmer and university lecturer behind the farm, which includes a visitor centre, corporate meeting room and even a free cappuccino machine.
Related: Free range is a con. There's no such thing as an ethical egg | Chas Newkey-Burden Continue reading...

The world's biggest grave robbery: Asia's disappearing WWII shipwrecks
Exclusive: the unmarked graves of thousands of sailors are threatened by illegal metal salvagers
By Oliver Holmes, Monica Ulmanu and Simon Roberts
Dozens of warships believed to contain the remains of thousands of British, American, Australian, Dutch and Japanese servicemen from the second world war have been illegally ripped apart by salvage divers, the Guardian can reveal.

An analysis of ships discovered by wreck divers and naval historians has found that up to 40 second world war-era vessels have already been partially or completely destroyed. Their hulls might have contained the corpses of 4,500 crew. Continue reading...

Amsterdammers v tourists: 'It's worst when they throw up in your plant box'
A decade ago Amsterdam pumped money into tourism to recover from the global financial crisis but – even as the city bans ‘beer bikes' – can it be saved from a monster industry of its own making?

Last weekend, Els Iping caught a group of male tourists ripping out the shrub in front of her house in the centre of Amsterdam. They were wearing pink dresses and they were very drunk. "These kind of things happen all the time," she says matter-of-factly. "It's worse when they throw up in your plant boxes, because you can't rinse it away– you have to scoop it out."
Over the last 10 years, Iping – a 64-year-old, stylishly dressed consultant – has witnessed her picturesque neighbourhood change due to an unparalleled growth in the number of visitors. "Every day throngs of tourists pass by my window. The weekend now starts on Thursday afternoon; the screaming and shouting of tourists boozing it up is deafening. And the rubbish they leave behind!"
The chemist, the fishmonger, the hairdresser and the shoe shop have all disappeared
Amsterdam wants to be a hospitable city, but mass tourism has too many drawbacks
Related: ‘Tourism kills neighbourhoods': how do we save cities from the city break? Continue reading...

'Beer bikes': Amsterdam calls time on drunken, urinating processions
Mobile bar tables pedalled along canals by rowdy groups have been deemed too much of a nuisance by city council and courts
Amsterdam has banned "beer bikes" after years of complaints by local people about rowdy tourists getting drunk and disorderly while pedalling along the city's famous canals.

As from Wednesday "the beer bicycle may be banned from the city centre to stop it from being a nuisance", the Amsterdam district court said in a statement.
Related: Amsterdammers v tourists: 'It's worst when they throw up in your plant box' Continue reading...

Plan to name German train after Anne Frank condemned
Critics say use of diarist's name by national rail Deutsche Bahn provider conjures painful images of persecution of Jews
Plans by Germany's national rail provider to name a train after the diarist Anne Frank have come under fire, with the Anne Frank foundation saying it "caused new pain" to those who experienced deportations.
"A combination of Anne Frank and a train conjures up the image of persecution of Jews and deportations during World War II," the Amsterdam-based foundation said in a statement.
Related: Ex-FBI agent opens cold case review into who betrayed Anne Frank Continue reading...

Europe's centre-right is on the wrong track with ‘good populism' | Cas MuddeIn the Austrian and Dutch elections, it's debatable how much ground mainstream parties won by flirting with nativism. Swinging to the right carries long-term risks
Often post-election days feel like groundhog day: after every election in which a far-right party has won a "shock" victory, voices from the left to the right will argue that established parties should be more "realistic" about immigration, and the "problems" of multiculturalism, because "the people" (read: white people) have legitimate concerns about the changing world around them. The latest iteration of this nativist whispering happened after the recent Austrian and German elections, but they can be traced back to, at least, the breakthrough of the Front National in the Dreux byelection of 1983.
The centre-left's embrace of neoliberalism … made them redundant in the long term
Related: Populism isn't dead. Here are five things you need to know about it | Cas Mudde Continue reading...

World's first 3D-printed bridge opens to cyclists in Netherlands
Crossing printed from 800 layers of concrete could take weight of 40 trucks, designers say
Dutch officials have toasted the opening of what is being called the world's first 3D-printed concrete bridge, which is primarily meant to be used by cyclists.
There was applause as officials wearing hard hats rode over the bridge on their bikes at the inauguration in the southeastern town of Gemert on Tuesday.
Related: Building by numbers: how 3D printing is shaking up the construction industry Continue reading...

Caution over electoral gestures and PR | LettersBrian Wilson says the Greens should abandon trying to persuade others of the efficacy of illusory electoral pacts and concentrate on developing a nationwide electoral reform movement. But Martin Freedman is wary of proportional representation altogether
Caroline Lucas suggests that, if other parties had been willing to work with the Greens, "Theresa May wouldn't be sitting in No 10 today" (Effort to halt bitter split over election strategy, 10 October). The Green party stood in 461 seats in June and secured an average vote of only 1,126; a total that would have struggled to make four figures had it not been for Lucas's 30,000-plus in idiosyncratic Brighton Pavilion. It saved only nine deposits in securing just 1.6% of total votes. It is simply not an electoral force in this country. Other parties would gain no advantage by reciprocating the Greens' magnanimous but essential irrelevant gesture.
It is not, however, unattractive policies or lack of leadership – Ms Lucas is an otherwise admirable politician, but it's the electoral system that makes nonsense of such small party gestures. The Greens should abandon the hopeless task of trying to persuade others of the efficacy of such illusory electoral pacts and concentrate instead on developing a nationwide electoral reform movement. The Lib Dems and nationalists would fall immediately onside as would a significant group in the Labour party, despite the current delusional triumphalism of the supposedly progressive Corbynistas, who appear to have little or no interest in working towards a more representational electoral system.
Brian Wilson
Glossop, Derbyshire Continue reading...

Brexit: Dutch nationals living in Britain will be allowed dual citizenship
New four-party coalition offers assurance to 100,000 Dutch citizens in UK who were facing uncertain future after March 2019
The new Dutch government will allow its citizens living in the UK to take up dual citizenship, according to a coalition agreement announced on Tuesday, which pledges to prioritise both its people and EU unity in the Brexit negotiations.
After a record 208 days, agreement was struck between four parties on Tuesday to form a centre-right government led by the liberal prime minister, Mark Rutte. Continue reading...