Going Dutch: Look out, German coalition talks could be long
As Europe’s economic powerhouse Germany embarks on the task of piecing together a new ruling coalition after Sunday’s knife-edge election, observers need only look to its neighbors, Belgium and the Netherlands, to see how tricky the process can be.
After election, talks underway to form new Dutch coalition
Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks with the media following exit polls in the general election in The Hague, Netherlands, March 17, 2021. (Piroschka van de Wouw/Pool via AP)THE HAGUE – What is expected to be a complex process to form a new Dutch government got underway Monday with leaders of parties that won seats in last week's parliamentary elections laying out their preferred coalition options. Rutte's VVD won 35 of the 150 seats in the lower house of parliament; D66 won 23. AdIf, as expected, Rutte leads the next government, the 54-year-old would head his fourth coalition and will be in line to become the longest-serving Dutch prime minister. D66 leader Sigrid Kaag said she wants to look at issues rather than potential coalition partners.
Dutch PM Rutte's conservatives see 4th straight election win
Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks with the media following exit polls in the general election in The Hague, Netherlands, March 17, 2021. The VVD selected Senator Annemarie Jorritsma, while D66 chose Kajsa Ollongren, who was interior minister and deputy prime minister in Rutte's last Cabinet. AdBaudet, arriving at parliament for a meeting of party leaders, told reporters he “was actually hoping for more” seats in the election. The Green Left party, a big winner in the 2017 election, was forecast to lose half of its 14 seats. The Dutch election, coming just months after Britain's Brexit divorce with the European Union came into full force, saw gains among pro-EU parties.
Caretaker PM Rutte seen as winning most seats in Dutch vote
Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the VVD Liberal party votes in the Dutch general election in The Hague, Netherlands, March 17, 2021. Ad”“The agenda ahead of us is enormous,” Rutte said in his first reaction to the poll results. “This shows that the Netherlands trusts the VVD and Mark Rutte to continue in this unprecedented crisis,” said VVD lawmaker Sophie Hermans. Rutte indicated it would be the obvious partner to talk to first to lay the foundation for a new coalition. Another party on the far-right of the Dutch political spectrum, Forum for Democracy, did better, according to the poll, gaining 6 seats to reach 8.
Coronavirus pandemic casts long shadow over Dutch elections
Many voters approve of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Ruttes handling of the crisis but his popularity has waned in recent weeks. Dutch voters have plenty of issues to consider in next week's election but one towers over all others: the COVID-19 pandemic. “I do indeed think that the elections this year are really about the coronavirus, of course,” said student Ayoub Aouragh. If the VVD captures the largest cut of the vote, Rutte will be first in line to begin talks to form the country's next ruling coalition, a process that could take months. "So the economy is back on top, whereas in the previous four or five elections, immigration was the core issue.”The virus also has altered the entire Dutch election campaign and voting process.
Things to Know: Pentagon lends military aid to vaccine push
Alfred Cockfield received the vaccine in a public show of trust and faith in the vaccine. President Joe Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centers around the country within a month. Coronavirus senior adviser Andy Slavitt says military personnel will arrive at those centers in a little over a week. — Tensions are running high in some state capitols over coronavirus precautions after this year’s legislative sessions began with a COVID-19 outbreaks. ___Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
2 nurses: Her mom battled 1918 pandemic, she fights this one
In 1918, Stokes' mother Kristine Berg Mueller was a 14-year-old hospital volunteer in Norway during the Spanish Flu pandemic, putting her in regular contact with the deadly disease. Mueller was a 14-year-old student in her native Norway when the flu pandemic hit. It eventually killed an estimated 50 million people, including some 675,000 in the United States, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. AdDecades after the flu pandemic passed, Stokes' mother would tell her that was what had inspired her to become a nurse. She moved to the United States in 1923 and enrolled in a U.S. nursing program four years later.
Kerry: US will make up for 4 years of lost action on climate
(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)THE HAGUE – The world must take decisive action to build resilience to the devastating effects of climate change, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told a global virtual summit Monday, pledging that President Joe Biden's new administration would play its role. In a video message to the Climate Adaptation Summit hosted by the Dutch government, Kerry said, “We’re proud to be back (in the Paris climate accord). Outlining the new administration's plans to promote climate adaptation, Kerry said it will “leverage U.S. innovation and climate data” to better understand and manage climate-related risks; increase the flow of finance to adaptation and resilience initiatives, work with institutions to improve resilience planning and promote greater collaboration. Kerry was among world leaders who converged — virtually — on the Netherlands for the summit seeking to galvanize more action and funding to adapt the planet and vulnerable communities to the effects of climate change. We saw the (melting) Arctic,” top NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt said earlier this month about the effects of the warming.
Dutch police use tear gas, water cannon amid rioting
Police in the port city of Rotterdam used a water cannon and tear gas in an attempt to disperse a crowd of rioters who also looted shops. He said around 70 rioters had been arrested and police had used tear gas in the western city of Haarlem as well as Rotterdam. National broadcaster NOS showed video of police using a water cannon and reported that some shops had been looted. Police in the southern city of Den Bosch said that a shop was looted there and riot police were attempting to restore order. On Saturday night, youths in the fishing village of Urk torched a coronavirus testing facility.
The Latest: Protesters storm Lebanon's Foreign Ministry
A soldier stands at the devastated site of the explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. The protesters said Saturday the Foreign Ministry would be the headquarters for a revolution and called on the current government to resign. Rage against the government spiked after the Beirut port explosion Tuesday that killed nearly 160 people and injured 6,000 while leaving much of the coastline mangled. A Lebanese health ministry official said on Saturday that the blast killed 154 people, including 21 bodies who have not been identified. Oktay arrived earlier in the day with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Author Murakami DJs 'Stay Home' radio show to lift spirits
Murakami said comparing the fight against the coronavirus to a war, as politicians often do, is inappropriate. Its not a war to kill each other but a fight of wisdom to let us all live, he said. Murakami has hosted his Murakami Radio every two months since August 2018 on Tokyo FM. Murakami began writing while running a jazz bar in Tokyo after graduating from university. Murakami said he worries the post-corona world may be a more closed and selfish place even if it has better protection.
Looted 18th century crown returned to Ethiopia after decades
ADDIS ABABA – A rare and looted crown from the 18th century was returned to Ethiopia on Thursday after it was discovered in the Netherlands two decades ago. “I still don’t know how this crown and the other items were looted and taken out of Ethiopia,” the culture minister said, adding that several other items were stolen including a cross. Ethiopia, like many African nations, has been outspoken about seeing artifacts returned home from museums and private owners around the world. For years the crown was in the hands of Sirak Asfaw, a Dutch national of Ethiopian origin, the statement said. The Dutch minister for foreign trade, Sigrid Kaag, attended the handover ceremony.