Van Gogh painting stolen from Dutch museum
Thieves have stolen the £5m Parsonage Garden at Neunen in Spring by the famous artist from the Singer Laren museum
A painting by Vincent van Gogh with an estimated value of up to £5m has been stolen from a Dutch museum currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The thieves took Van Gogh's Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring after smashing through the front glass door of the Singer Laren museum, in Laren, at around 3.15am on Sunday morning. No other art is believed to be missing. Continue reading...

Spain calls for action from Europe as daily death toll rises again
Dutch recall 600,000 faulty Chinese masks and Germany takes patients from France
Spain has has joined Italy and France in demanding that Europe do more to help as it reported another record single-day increase in coronavirus deaths and moved to further tighten its already strict national lockdown.
Spanish authorities said on Sunday 838 people had died from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's death toll to 6,528, with 78,797 confirmed cases. All non-essential workers are being ordered to stay at home for two weeks from Monday.
Moscow went into full lockdown: no one to leave the house except to go to the nearest shop or pharmacy or walk pets up to 100m from the house.
Patrick Devedjian, a former French cabinet minister and prominent local politician, died in hospital after being tested positive. He was 75.
Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany's Hesse state, took his own life apparently after becoming "deeply worried" about how to cope with the economic fallout from the epidemic.
The main opposition candidate in Polish presidential elections called for the vote to be boycotted if the government insists on going ahead with it on 10 May.
Pope Francis called for a ceasefire in all conflicts around the globe to focus on the "fight of our lives" against Covid-19.
Egypt shut its beaches as cases in the Middle East surpassed 50,000.
Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced further restrictions including limiting public gatherings to just two people.
All travellers entering South Korea will face two weeks of mandatory quarantine starting at midnight next Wednesday.
Tokyo confirmed 68 new coronavirus cases, another record daily increase.
China continued to relax restrictions, with flights from Hubei province and tube and bus services in Wuhan city, the centre of the outbreak, resuming this weekend. Continue reading...

Utrecht rooftops to be ‘greened' with plants and mosses in new plan
‘Vertical forest' tower will have 10,000 plants on its facade in bid to reinvigorate biodiversity

Every roof in the city district of Utrecht is to be "greened" with plants and mosses or have solar panels installed under plans driven by the success of a similar scheme for the municipality's bus stops.
The "no roofs unused" policy is part of an attempt to reinvigorate biodiversity in the city and create a less stressful and happier environment, of which the construction of a so-called "vertical forest tower with 10,000 plants on its facade is set to become a leading example.
Related: 'Forest cities': the radical plan to save China from air pollution Continue reading...

Hague court orders Dutch state to pay out over colonial massacres
Indonesian man forced to watch his father's execution is among those who will get compensation
An Indonesian man forced to watch his father's summary execution by a Dutch soldier when he was 10 years old has spoken of his gratitude after a court in The Hague ordered the Dutch state to pay compensation to victims of colonial massacres in the 1940s.
Andi Monji, 83, who travelled to the Netherlands to tell his story to the court, was awarded €10,000 (£9,000) while eight widows and three children of other executed men, mainly farmers, were awarded compensation of between €123.48 and €3,634 for loss of income.
Related: Relatives of Dutch colonial victims in Indonesia to get day in court Continue reading...

Want a miracle? Call a Dutch museum's hotline
Coronavirus cancellation leaves Utrecht exhibition offering a timely phone service
For those seeking a miracle, it is option two on the menu. Forced by the coronavirus pandemic to shut up shop, the Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht is offering a taste of its latest exhibition on miracles and their depiction in art through a phone line.
Option one for callers is to hear all about a miracle experienced by a staff member, Simone, who survived the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Option three is for callers to record their own description of a miraculous experience, potentially to be showcased in the exhibit.
Related: Coronavirus and culture – a list of major cancellations Continue reading...

Shop shuts Belgian half over Covid-19 but keeps Dutch half open
Clothing store on Belgium-Netherlands border takes unique approach to crisis
The owners of a clothing store straddling the border between Belgium and the Netherlands have been forced to close half of their shop and cordon it off to halt the spread of the coronavirus – while cheerfully keeping the part on Dutch territory open for business.
The Zeeman store in the municipality of Baarle-Nassau, where the border splits streets in half, took the unique approach after the Belgian federal government ordered the shuttering of all non-essential stores.

Symptoms are defined by the NHS as either: Continue reading...

How Donald Trump practices physical distancing versus other world leaders
These photos of world leaders reacting to the coronavirus pandemic show the stark difference between how they and Trump view the situation
As the world continues to battle a growing pandemic, the situation in the US is escalating rapidly. There have been more than 55,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the US so far, and in the absence of widespread public testing, the true number of cases is likely to be higher. The projections aren't looking good, either – even if the US cut its transmission rate in half, about 650,000 people could end up infected in the coming months, according to the New York Times.
In the midst of this crisis, Donald Trump spent considerable time comparing the virus to the flu, telling people he wants them back at work as soon as possible and talking about packed churches at Easter. Continue reading...

US may become next centre of coronavirus pandemic, says WHO
Figures go against Trump talk of restarting economy, as other countries tighten controls
The US could become the new centre of the global coronavirus pandemic, according to the World Health Organization, which said case numbers were rising quickly there even asDonald Trump talked of reopening the country for business.
"We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the US. So it does have that potential [to become the centre of the pandemic]," said Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman.
South Africa reported more than 150 new cases, taking its tally to 554, the highest in Africa, a day after it ordered a three-week lockdown.
Thailand's leader said he would invoke sweeping emergency powers in the face of rising infections.
Egypt declared a curfew from 7pm to 6am for two weeks starting on Wednesday.
The Tokyo Olympics were postponed until next year.
The Cameroonian Afro-jazz musician Manu Dibango died in Paris after catching coronavirus. Best known for his 1972 song Soul Makossa, the 86-year-old saxophonist is one of the first global stars to succumb to the disease.
Pakistan suspended six civil servants after they posed for a selfie with a coronavirus patient in a quarantine centre. The photo – widely shared on social media – showed the men around the apparent patient, several smiling broadly and none wearing face masks.
Ecotourism has been suspended in the Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to protect the mountain gorillas, thought to be potentially susceptible to infection from humans. Continue reading...

The Guardian view on Europe's green deal: stick to the plan
The cost and impact of coronavirus will imperil necessary action on the climate emergency. Towns and cities must use their collective imaginations to make a difference
Difficult and almost impossibly daunting as it may seem, the world is faced with not one but two existential crises and two races against time: the coronavirus and the climate emergency. Dealing with both is going to require extraordinary focus and resolution.
Already there is a whiff of political opportunism in the air. Last week, the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, said that the €1tn European Green Deal, unveiled and enshrined in law by the European commission barely three weeks ago, should be put to one side. Member states, he advised, should concentrate all resources on combating a pandemic which, one by one, is shutting down societies and economies. Along with other eastern European states such as Poland, the Czech government has been reluctant to acknowledge the scale of action required to combat global heating, which would have a severe impact on fossil fuel industries in their countries. Continue reading...

Coronavirus: France imposes lockdown as EU calls for 30-day travel ban
Ursula von der Leyen calls for end to non-essential travel as governments impose measures rarely seen outside wartime

France has imposed a near-total lockdown and the EU is to ban foreigners entering the bloc for 30 days as governments adopted measures rarely seen outside wartime in a draconian effort to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
As the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urged countries to "test, test, test" for the virus, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, said the citizens must stay at home from midday on Tuesday for at least 15 days.
Related: Trump warns coronavirus upheaval could last beyond August
Related: The coronavirus pandemic: visualising the global crisis
The Dutch government closed schools and daycare centres until at least 6 April, along with non-essential shops, bars and restaurants. But the prime minister, Mark Rutte, rejected a full lockdown, saying it would have to last a year.
Iran reported another 129 corona virus deaths on Monday, the largest one-day rise since it began combating the worst outbreak of the virus in the Middle East.
In the US, Los Angeles followed New York by announcing that bars, restaurants and entertainment venues should shut.
Switzerland deployed 8,000 troops, closed parks, schools, universities and most businesses for over a month and banned gatherings of more than five.
Canada closed its borders and said people with symptoms would not be able to return. Continue reading...

Coronavirus: 15 March at a glance
A summary of the biggest developments in the global coronavirus outbreak
Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include: Continue reading...

Forward-thinking Utrecht builds car-free district for 12,000 people
Scheme will enhance city's reputation as a bicycling capital of Europe
The "cyclist-first" city of Utrecht is constructing the Netherlands' first high-density, car-free residential district for more than 12,000 people, making it one of the largest of its type in the world.
The 24-hectare site, located between two canals in the middle of the city, is a business park but by 2024 it is hoped the area will enhance Utrecht's reputation as a bicycling capital of Europe. Continue reading...

'Do not let this fire burn': WHO warns Europe over Covid-19
Europe now centre of pandemic, says WHO, as Spain prepares for state of emergency
The World Health Organization has stepped up its calls for intensified action to fight the coronavirus pandemic, imploring countries "not to let this fire burn", as Spain said it would declare a 15-day state of emergency from Saturday.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director general, said Europe – where the virus is present in all 27 EU states and has infected 25,000 people – had become the centre of the epidemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined apart from China.
Related: Coronavirus live news: UK local and mayoral elections postponed to 2021, as WHO calls Europe 'centre of pandemic'
Related: Donald Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus pandemic
Jair Bolsonaro's son denied local media reports that the Brazilian president had tested positive.
The Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau governed remotely from home, in self-imposed quarantine after his wife tested positive following a visit to the UK.
Iran said its Revolutionary Guards will clear streets, shops and public places of people within the next 24 hours, in a dramatic escalation of the country's containment efforts. Its death toll rose to 514, with 11,364 confirmed cases.
India and Norway announced their first deaths, while Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya confirmed their first infections.
France joined Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and others in cancelling professional football. The Champions League was postponed.
The Louvre, the world's most visited museum, closed until further notice.
The Portuguese government put the country on a state of alert and the Bulgarian parliament voted unanimously to declare a state of emergency.
The entire Romanian cabinet went into quarantine after coming into contact with a senator who has tested positive.
The Czech government banned all foreign travellers from entering and all Czechs from leaving the country from 16 March.
Hungary's nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, said foreigners and migration were to blame for the emergence and spread of the virus in Hungary.
Related: The coronavirus pandemic: visualising the global crisis Continue reading...

Peruvian leader appeals to watchdog over 'terrible harm' caused by oil firm
Chief representative of Quechua communities in north Peru urges OECD to support battle against ‘the tainting of land and rivers'
An Amazonian leader has travelled from Peru to the Netherlands to lodge a complaint with the global trade watchdog about an Amsterdam-based oil firm, demanding that the company clean up decades of pollution from his people's lands. .
Aurelio Chino has accused Pluspetrol of using "letterbox" holding companies in tax havens like the Netherlands to avoid paying taxes in developing countries such as Peru.
Related: Scandal overshadows Peru election's focus on gender equality Continue reading...

The new-look shopping mall that doesn't sell stuff
The Forum complex in the Dutch city Groningen is trying to show that town centres don't need to sell to survive
Four-year-old Joris Niekus hops excitedly in front of a wall-sized flatscreen as his dad loads up an interactive version of Roald Dahl's BFG (known as GVR in Dutch).
Seconds later, face beaming, his digitised silhouette is bopping across the screen together with Dahl's gangly giant.

This is Europe is a new stream of Guardian journalism that investigates the big challenges that transcend national boundaries, and seeks out the solutions that could benefit us all. These are testing times, and crises are not limited by national borders. But then neither are we.

Related: The small Dutch town that wants to shape the future of your food Continue reading...

UK more nostalgic for empire than other ex-colonial powers
A YouGov poll reveals 30% of Britons believe colonies were better off as part of the British Empire
European colonial powers still loth to admit historical evils
A third of people in the UK believe Britain's colonies were better off for being part of an empire, a higher proportion than in any of the other major colonial powers, a global survey has revealed.
Britons are also more likely to say they would like their country to still have an empire than people in France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany or Japan, the YouGov polling found. Continue reading...

European colonial powers still loth to admit historical evils
Netherlands, Germany and Belgium are still coming to terms with their overseas legacies
Visiting Indonesia this week, King Willem-Alexander apologised for his country's "excessive violence" in its former colony, saying the past could not be erased but must be acknowledged. Continue reading...

'Sorry!': Dutch PM breaks own 'no handshake' rule at coronavirus conference – video
Mark Rutte concluded a press conference announcing a 'no handshake policy' to prevent the spread of coronavirus, by shaking hands with a health official. Realising his gaffe, the Dutch prime minister exclaimed: 'Sorry, we can't do that anymore!'  Continue reading...

Weatherwatch: how the Dutch are trying to rainproof their cities
Schemes are being tried out in urban areas to catch, hold and slowly release rainwater
Could we live with heavy rains without big floods? The Dutch have learned that building more flood defences against intense rainfalls is not enough and they are now "rainproofing" urban areas.
Rainfall in the Netherlands has increased by 26% over the past century and grown more intense, leading to more flooding. Schemes are now being tried out in urban areas to catch, hold and slowly release rainwater from big downpours to reduce floods. Public spaces such as Benthemplein in Rotterdam are being turned into water plazas with shallow basins that turn into lakes in heavy rains; the plazas are also planted with vegetation and in dry weather are used as parks and sports venues.

In Amsterdam, hard paving in some streets has been replaced with vegetation or porous paving that lets water seep more slowly into the ground. Rain gardens have been carved out of parking spaces, designed to gather water with pathways, stepping stones and beds of plants that do well in wet ground. Roof gardens are also being used to store water in crates, covered by a filter and soil on which plants are grown. And people are being encouraged to remove paving from their gardens, grow more plants instead, and build ponds to hold excess water. Continue reading...

MH17 families fear they still face a long road to justice as trial begins
Family of Richard Mayne say it could be years before they know why 298 people died
On Sunday Liz Mayne will make a familiar "pilgrimage" to the Netherlands. In 2015, she flew in to inspect the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, shot down over eastern Ukraine the previous summer. "You could still smell the burning," she says. "It was an overwhelming experience."
Her son Richard, a second-year student at Leeds University, was one of 298 people on board. Ten were Britons. All perished. Richard was 20. His body was recovered intact from sunflower fields near the village of Hrabove. He was returned in the clothes he had set off in: sweatshirt and socks bearing the logo of his favourite rugby team, the Leicester Tigers. Continue reading...