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Phuket Gazette: Dutch court outlaws pedophile association

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Phuket Gazette: Dutch court outlaws pedophile association | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Dutch court outlaws controversial pedophile club
Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A Dutch civil court yesterday outlawed a controversial association which advocates the acceptance of pedophilia, saying its promotion of sexual relations between adults and children violates the country’s generally accepted values.

The civil court in the northeastern city of Assen said the association has the right to express its opinion, even if unpopular, but that this does not render it immune to banishment since the court found posts on the association’s website which promote sexual contact between adults and children and portrays children as sex objects.

“The court concludes that the expression of opinions which are unwelcome in the eyes of many is in itself not grounds to issue a ban and dissolve Association Martijn,” the court said in its judgment. “The right of association and the right to freedom of expression applies to everyone and thus also to those who have sexual feelings for children.”

Nonetheless, the court believed the activities of the association are contrary to generally accepted foundations of the legal system and is therefore contrary to public order. “The court will on this basis declare Association Martijn banned and dissolve it,” the ruling said, adding that the group would be dissolved with immediate effect.

Martijn said it plans to appeal the ruling.

“The Association Martijn used multiple platforms to express its beliefs, including a website with material promoting and explicitly describing sex with children,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement following the ruling.

“In addition, the association existed [as part of] a digital and social network for like-minded people and those convicted of sex crimes. This formed an (in)direct threat to children which could lead to major damage to a child’s physical and mental health,” the statement added.

Association Martijn, which was founded in 1982 and is currently led by Martijn Uittenbogaard, provided a platform about pedophilia and called for the legal and societal acceptance of sexual relationships between adults and children. The age of consent in the Netherlands is 16, but the group wanted to see this lowered to 12.

In June 2011, an investigation by Dutch prosecutors concluded that it was unable to outlaw the association because it was acting legally, even though crimes have been linked to Martijn. “From the investigation it has been determined that even though (ex)-members of Martijn are frequently suspected, if not convicted, of possessing child pornography, the actual criminal acts take place outside of the association,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement last year.

The office said it had been unable to find evidence of illegal acts being carried out through the website, and it notes that the association’s statutes explicitly say it strives to act “within the limits of Dutch law.” Crimes committed by both former and current association leaders could also not be linked to Martijn as these were committed outside of the association’s work.

The investigation was in part launched after 27-year-old Robert Mikelsons sexually abused at least 87 children while being employed at two Amsterdam nurseries between February 2007 and January 2010. He also offered his services through several websites, and his 37-year-old husband was found to be a former member of Martijn. This led to increasing calls for the association to be banned.

The association’s former chairman, 67-year-old Ad van den Berg, was arrested last year for possessing a large quantity of child pornography and was later sentenced to 3 years in prison, of which six months were suspended sentence. Prosecutors said he was in possession of 150,000 photos and 7,500 movies which were described as child pornography, but Van den Berg claimed they were for scientific research.

Van den Berg is also known for founding a political party known as the Party for Neighborly Love, Freedom, and Diversity (PVND) in May 2006. The party called for the legalization of child pornography and to abolish the age of consent, but was dissolved in 2010 after it failed to get on the ballot due to a lack of required signatures. PVND argued that its supporters were afraid to sign because their identities would be known.

It is believed Martijn was the world’s only legally recognized association advocating the acceptance of pedophilia, although similar associations have existed in other countries in the past.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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World

Nigerian astronaut needs $3 million to get home

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Nigerian astronaut needs $3 million to get home | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Lost In Space? Or lost in reality? Maybe someone will fall for it – Lost in Space’s Jupiter 2

The Nigerians have somewhat of a reputation for scams and scammers. Who hasn’t received an email offering loads of cash in return for your bank account and a moderate deposit? But this letter takes the famous Nigerian Scam to another level. Or perhaps it’s true (we don’t think so…)?

Subject: Nigerian Astronaut Wants To Come Home
Dr. Bakare Tunde – Astronautics Project Manager
National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)
Plot 555, Misau Street, PMB 437
Garki, Abuja, FCT NIGERIA

Dear Mr. Sir,

REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE-STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL

I am Dr. Bakare Tunde, the cousin of Nigerian Astronaut, Air Force Major Abacha Tunde. He was the first African in space when he made a secret flight to the Salyut 6 space station in 1979. He was on a later Soviet spaceflight, Soyuz T-16Z to the secret Soviet military space station Salyut 8T in 1989. He was stranded there in 1990 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. His other Soviet crew members returned to earth on the Soyuz T-16Z, but his place was taken up by return cargo. There have been occasional Progrez supply flights to keep him going since that time. He is in good humor, but wants to come home.

In the 14 years since he has been on the station, he has accumulated flight pay and interest amounting to almost $ 15,000,000 American Dollars. This is held in a trust at the Lagos National Savings and Trust Association. If we can obtain access to this money, we can place a down payment with the Russian Space Authorities for a Soyuz return flight to bring him back to Earth. I am told this will cost $ 3,000,000 American Dollars. In order to access the his trust fund we need your assistance.

Consequently, my colleagues and I are willing to transfer the total amount to your account or subsequent disbursement, since we as civil servants are prohibited by the Code of Conduct Bureau (Civil Service Laws) from opening and/ or operating foreign accounts in our names.

Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed to offer you 20 percent of the transferred sum, while 10 percent shall be set aside for incidental expenses (internal and external) between the parties in the course of the transaction. You will be mandated to remit the balance 70 percent to other accounts in due course.

Kindly expedite action as we are behind schedule to enable us include downpayment in this financial quarter.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message via my direct number 234 (0) 9-234-XXXX only.

Yours Sincerely, Dr. Bakare Tunde
Astronautics Project Manager
XXXX@nasrda.gov.ng

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Thousands of Japanese rescuers looking for survivors of Typhoon Hagibis

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Thousands of Japanese rescuers looking for survivors of Typhoon Hagibis | The Thaiger

Thousands of rescue workers are searching for survivors from the fury of Typhoon Hagibis, two days after the storm slammed into Japan. As of the time of this post, the storm had killed at least 35 people.

(Video from Sky News below…)

Hagibis crashed into the country Saturday evening, but brought hours of torrential rains before it made landfall, causing landslides and filling rivers until they burst their banks.

More than 110,000 rescuers, including 31,000 troops, worked through the night searching for people trapped by the disaster. Local media report at least 35 people have been killed, with the Kyodo news agency reporting nearly 20 people were missing. Government figures from Sunday night were lower, though updates were expected throughout today.

While Hagibis, one of the most powerful storms to hit the Tokyo area in decades, packed wind gusts of up to 216 kilometres per hours (134 miles per hour), it was the heavy rains that caused most damage, with 21 rivers bursting their banks.

Thousands of Japanese rescuers looking for survivors of Typhoon Hagibis | News by The Thaiger

In central Nagano, a levee breach sent water from the Chikuma river gushing into residential neighbourhoods, flooding homes up to the second floor. Military and fire department helicopters winched survivors from roofs and balconies in several locations, but in Fukushima one operation went tragically awry when a woman died after falling while being rescued.

The destruction forced the Rugby World Cup being hosted by Japan to cancel several games, but the “Brave Blossoms”, as the national team is known, lifted spirits with a stunning 28-21 victory over Scotland on Sunday that put them into the quarter-finals of the tournament for the first time.

Rescue efforts have been continuing this morning, with local television showing soldiers rowing a rubber rescue dingy through floodwaters in Fukushima, while elsewhere workers removed dirt with a digger.

Thousands of Japanese rescuers looking for survivors of Typhoon Hagibis | News by The Thaiger

The death toll mounted throughout yesterday as bodies were recovered from flooded homes and cars, buildings caught in landslides, and swollen rivers.

The dead included a municipal worker whose car was overcome by floodwaters and at least five Chinese crew members aboard a boat that sank in Tokyo Bay on Saturday night.

As of this morning, some 57,500 households remained without power, with 120,000 experiencing water outages. The disaster left tens of thousands of people in shelters, with many unsure when they would be able to return home.

But most subway trains have resumed service, along with many bullet train lines, and flights had also restarted.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse PHOTOS: AFP

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Hong Kong

Hong Kong property investors turn to SE Asia

The Thaiger

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Hong Kong property investors turn to SE Asia | The Thaiger

From luxury Singapore apartments to Malaysian seafront condos, Hong Kong investors are shifting cash into Southeast Asian property, demoralised by increasingly violent protests as well as the China-US trade war.

Millions have taken to the streets during four months of pro-democracy demonstrations in the southern Chinese city, hammering tourism while also forcing businesses to lay off staff – and the property sector is feeling the pain. Property stocks in one of the world’s most expensive housing markets have plummeted since June, with developers being forced to offer discounts on new projects and cutting office rents.

Hong Kong businessman Peter Ng bought a condominium on the Malaysian island of Penang – which has a substantial ethnic Chinese population and is popular among Hong Kongers – after the protests erupted.

A 48 year old stock market and property investor told AFP he was worried about long-term damage to the Hong Kong economy if the unrest persists.

“The instability was a catalyst for me. Investors will always look at things like that, political stability.”

And Derek Lee, a Hong Kong businessman who owns a Penang apartment, said he knew others in the semi-autonomous city who were considering investing in south east Asian property because of the unrest.

“People are thinking about how to quicken their ideas, how to make a more stable life,” the 55 year old told AFP. Part of the allure of Malaysia is its relative affordability and prices much lower than Hong Kong.

The Malaysia site of Southeast Asian real estate platform Property Guru has seen a 35 percent increase in visits from Hong Kong, according to its CEO Hari Krishnan.

China-fuelled boom

While Hong Kong’s protests are primarily pushing for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability, the summer of rage has been fuelled by years of simmering anger towards Beijing and the local government over falling living standards and the high costs of living.

Hong Kong’s property market is one of least affordable in the world with sky-high prices fuelled, in part, by wealthy mainlanders snapping up investments in a city which has failed for years to build enough flats to meet demand.

But now mainland Chinese, who traditionally viewed property in Hong Kong as a safe investment, are opting for rival financial hub Singapore as a result of the protests and the US-China trade war, according to observers.

There has been a jump this year in sales of luxury apartments in the city-state, which like Hong Kong is known for pricey property, driven partially by mainland Chinese buyers, according to the consultancy OrangeTee & Tie.

“The protests in Hong Kong have made some of the (mainland Chinese) based there… (more concerned) about investing in Hong Kong real estate, so they carry that investment to Singapore,” said Alan Cheong, executive director of the research and consultancy team at Savills.

As well as hitting China’s economy, trade tensions may have discouraged some Chinese from investing in the West and pushed them towards Singapore, with its mostly ethnic Chinese population.

“I think they don’t want to go to the West.”

Singapore is “the closest country culturally to China other than Hong Kong and I think they feel more comfortable with that”. There are further signs the stable, tightly ruled city is benefiting from the Hong Kong turmoil. Goldman Sachs last week estimated as much as $4 billion flowed out of Hong Kong to Singapore this summer.

And analysts warned there was little hope of Hong Kong’s property market recovering soon.

“Hong Kong property share prices have corrected by about 15 to 25% since July,” said Raymond Cheng, head of Hong Kong and China property at CGS-CIMB Securities International.

Residential sales were still holding up but only when developers offered discounts, office rents were expected to fall by as much as five percent and shop rents were also badly affected, he said.

But despite the unrest, businessman Ng, who will rent his Penang property and has no plans to move there permanently for now, was still hopeful about Hong Kong’s long-term prospects.

“The problem may not be solved in the short term but it is not so serious as pessimists think. Everything is still in the government’s control.”

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

PHOTO: newlaunches.sg

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