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Dutch News
Dutch Probo Koala toxic waste cases finally settled out of court 11/18/2012
Dutch Probo Koala toxic waste cases finally settled out of court
Friday 16 November 2012
The Dutch public prosecution department and oil trading group Trafigura have finally settled their legal dispute, ending years of proceedings surrounding the dumping of oil waste in Ivory Coast by the Probo Koala ship in 2006.
Trafigura was earlier fined €1m for the illegal export of hazardous waste and concealing the nature of the waste. The Probo Koala was docked in Amsterdam before heading to the African country.
In order to head off a lengthy appeal process, Trafigura has now agreed to pay a further €300,000 as compensation for its earnings from the illegal export.
The public prosecutor has also agreed to drop the case against Trafigura director Claude Dauphin in return for a €67,000 fine. This is ‘equal to the maximum fine that can be imposed for the illegal export of waste,’ the public prosecution statement said.
The department has also dropped its appeal against a decision not to charge another Trafigura employee for concealing the nature of the waste in return for a €25,000 fine.
''The public prosecution service considers the settlement a fitting ending to a series of prolonged proceedings,'' the statement said. ''Continuing the proceedings might take many more years. The cases will be concluded in a way that makes clear violation of international regulations for hazardous waste will not be tolerated.''
Health problems
Thousands of people are said to have become ill when local waste company Tommy dumped the oil sludge from the Probo Koala around the Ivory Coast port city of Abdijan. Trafigura denies the waste caused health problems.
In September 2009, Trafigura agreed to pay a maximum €33m in damages to 31,000 people from Ivory Coast who claim they were made ill by toxic waste from the Probo Koala.
The Ivory Coast claimants'' London-based lawyers agreed to the out-of-court settlement, saying Trafigura could not be held legally responsible for the health problems.
In 2007, Trafigura agreed to pay €152m to the Ivory Coast government to settle its claim and pay for the clean-up but denying liability.

Tobacco firms say age for buying cigarettes should go up to 18
Friday 16 November 2012

Dutch tobacco companies have written to the health ministry urging the new government to put up the age limit for buying cigarettes and rolling tobacco from 16 to 18.
Ministers plan to increase the legal age at which teenagers can buy alcohol from 16 to 18 because research shows it has a preventative effect. This same motivation could also be applied to tobacco products, the SSI, VNK and Philip Morris Benelux say.
In the letter, the companies say they are keen to discourage youngsters from taking up smoking, news agency ANP reports.

New cabinet to stop registering second nationalities
Friday 16 November 2012

The new cabinet is planning to stop the registration of second nationalities in the official births register, home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk has announced.
At the moment, babies with a second nationality have that automatically registered, even if the parents don''t want this to happen. ''The cabinet is meeting the wishes of people with dual nationality who do not wish to be continually confronted with it,'' the ministry statement said.
Stopping registration will not lead to the child losing his or her other nationality, which is a matter for that country''s laws, the statement said.
The proposal has been sent to the Raad van State advisory body for its recommendations.

Smelly colleagues are workers’ biggest bugbears
Friday 16 November 2012

An online survey into work hygiene by jobs website NationaleVacaturebank.nl shows that colleagues who smell of sweat are the number one irritant, the Telegraaf reports on Friday.
Second on the list are colleagues who don’t wash their hands after a visit to the toilet, third is bad breath, fourth is making sounds while eating and fifth, sniffing and blowing your nose too loudly.
Office hygiene also leaves much to be desired, the survey showed. More than half the 1,100 people who responded said they never cleaned their desk.
This may explain why four out of 10 have seen a mouse at work and almost one in 10 had witnessed cockroaches, the Telegraaf said.

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