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Dutch News
Dutch news 3/31/2013
Boy who triggered campaign for child refugees gets residency permit

An Angolan youth, whose threatened deportation after nine years in the Netherlands led to an amnesty for child refugees, has been given a permanent residency permit, the justice ministry said on Saturday.
The planned deportation of Mauro Manuel, who was born in 1992 and came to the Netherlands alone at the age of nine, caused a storm of protest.

The case divided the then-ruling Christian Democrats and CDA immigration minister Gerd Leers eventually organised a student visa for boy after a parliamentary vote.
The outcry led the new government to commit to an amnesty for child refugees who have lived in the Netherlands longer than five years.

Mauro, who has lived with the same foster family since his arrival, now plans to work for a while after finishing his IT vocational training course in June. ‘Maybe I will go back to college, but first I want to earn money so I can really start building my own life,’ he said in a statement.
The youth’s foster mother Anita is quoted as saying by RTL news that they are relieved everything has now been settled.

‘It has been incredibly difficult and we and Mauro have been very damaged by it all,’ she said. ‘That makes it difficult to say ‘thank you’. But of course we are enormously grateful for all the support we have had from everyone.’

Some 3,700 home owners left in debt after selling their home

At least 3,700 home owners were left thousands of euros in debt last year after selling their houses for less money than they needed to pay off their mortgages.
Housing minister Stef Blok told parliament on Friday the average debt was €60,000. The figures are based on information from the Dutch banking association and will serve as a base line for future assessments of housing policy.

Some 2,100 home owners sold their homes following a relationship break-up. In 569 cases people were forced to sell after losing their jobs and in most of the rest they simply defaulted on their mortgage.

The national statistics office CBS estimates more than 25% of home owners currently live in a property worth less than their mortgage.

Use of drone aircraft by police is increasingly secretive: nu.nl
Thursday 28 March 2013
The Dutch defence ministry owns 75 drones, or unmanned surveillance aircraft, and these are regularly used in the Netherlands to carry out police work, defence minister Jeanine Hennis has confirmed to MPs.
MPs had asked questions about the privacy implications of using drones after a report by the AD newspaper earlier this month.

In the article, the paper said drones are used to trace burglars and getaway cars as well as illegal marijuana plantations. For example, Harlingen borrowed two drones from the defence ministry last year after a spate of burglaries in the Frisian town.


According to research by news website nu.nl, drones have been used 551 times since their use in civilian surveillance was agreed in 2009.
In 2012, information on air space closures in official documents show drones were used on average once every other day. In 2011, almost 90% of flights were made public in advance but last year this fell to 50%. So far this year, only 24% of drone flights have been published.
Justice minister Ivo Opstelten will comment on the privacy aspects shortly.

A police spokesman told nu.nl the images taken by the drones are not currently kept. ‘All we can say at the moment is the drones are used for surveillance. The images are not kept,’ a spokesman said.

Private companies
Rob van Nieuwland, chairman of drone users'' association Darpas, told nu.nl that more transparency about when drones are used will increase public confidence and deter crime.
‘Burglars will not go out if they know in advance they are being watched,’ he said. ‘But you have to be transparent about their use.’
He claims the use of drones by government is the tip of the iceberg. An increasing number of private firms use drones to make aerial photographs, video events, monitor bird reserves and act as lifeguards, he said.
Darpas has 30 members but some 115 companies use drones, he said.

Big Brother in Holland: 200,000 security cameras are watching you

At least 200,000 surveillance cameras are monitoring public spaces and buildings in the Netherlands, most of which are owned by private firms, according to new research.
The research was carried out by news website Sargasso.nl and news agency ANP using freedom of information legislation and shows the Netherlands has one security camera for every 82 inhabitants.
Most cameras - an estimated 180,000 - have been placed by companies and wealthy individuals. Next on the list are public transport companies with 17,500 cameras, many of which have been installed in buses and trams.

The police and local councils have installed 2,700 surveillance cameras, mainly in popular nightlife areas. The transport ministry has 1,700 cameras along the road network and Schiphol has 1,400 to monitor comings and goings in and around the airport complex.

''In many cases, you can ask yourself if the cameras are really necessary,'' Gerrit-Jan Zwenne, a Leiden University professor, told webite nu.nl. Zwenne thinks the use of surveillance cameras is over-rated as a crime prevention tool.
''All those images need to be looked at. Automation is increasing, but that is certainly not always the best solution,'' he said.

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