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Dutch report Dutch report
by Euro Reporter
2011-09-23 08:21:05
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Dutch FinMin warns of tough 2012, won't rule out more cuts

The Dutch finance minister warned on Tuesday that 2012 would be a tough year as he refused to rule out extra budget cuts in coming years and called for tougher sanctions against European states that breach budget regulations. The Liberal-Christian Democrat coalition government plans to cut 18 billion Euros from the budget by 2015 as it aims to balance its books by the end of its term in office that year, but slowing economic growth has raised doubts it can meet this target.   

"This Cabinet is taking into account a growing storm. You cannot say now how big, or how hard or how heavy it will be. But it is clear that 2012 for a lot of people will be a hard year," Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager told parliament. De Jager called again for stricter enforcement of fiscal regulations across the euro zone and for an independent commissioner with the power to impose sanctions against countries that fail to meet European budget rules.

In its 2012 budget, released on Sept. 15, the government cut its forecast for GDP growth next year to 1 percent from a previous 1.75 percent. It also raised its budget deficit forecast to 2.9 percent of GDP from 2.2 percent. De Jager told broadcaster RTL Z he could not rule out extra budget cuts from 2014 if the crisis worsens. The government already plans to cut back on social welfare and healthcare spending, slash the defence budget, raise the retirement age and cut childcare subsidies paid to parents and make immigrants pay for Dutch integration classes. But the biggest opposition party, Labour PvdA, accused the government of failing to show leadership and decisiveness, while sparing the wealthy from the worst of the measures.   

Hacked security firm closes its doors

Dutch security firm DigiNotar has filed for voluntary bankruptcy following a series of attacks by a hacker. The attackers penetrated DigiNotar's internal systems and then issued fake security certificates so they could impersonate web firms. The certificates are believed to have been used to eavesdrop on the Google email accounts of about 300,000 people. The hacker behind the attacks claims to have penetrated four other firms that issue security certificates. DigiNotar's parent company Vasco Data Security said the firm had been put into voluntary bankruptcy. A trustee for the business has been appointed who will oversee the winding up of DigiNotar.

The scale of the attack on DigiNotar began to be uncovered on 19 July when the firm said it first found evidence of an intrusion. It started to revoke certificates and an investigation was carried out to find out how much damage had been done. An initial report found that hundreds of fake certificates had been issued and hackers had almost total access to DigiNotar's network. The security certificates it and many other firms issue act as a guarantee of identity so people can be sure they are connecting to the site they think they are.

The fake certificates DigiNotar revoked were for some of the biggest net firms including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Skype.  It is thought the fake certificates for Google were used in Iran to peep at the email accounts of about 300,000 people. Soon after discovering the attack, DigiNotar stopped issuing certificates altogether. Once wound up its business and assets will be folded into Vasco. "We are working to quantify the damages caused by the hacker's intrusion into DigiNotar's system and will provide an estimate of the range of losses as soon as possible, " said Vasco in a statement. It added that its network and systems remained separate from DigiNotar and, as a result, "there is no risk for infection of Vasco's strong authentication business".


Royal Dutch Shell fuelled Nazi Germany for war

In the years in the run up to WW2, Royal Dutch Shell was a business partner both internationally and in Germany with IG Farben, the notorious German chemical firm. Farben supplied Zyklon-B gas to the Nazi concentration camps, in which millions of innocent people including children were murdered in the Holocaust. IG Farben shared patent rights to synthetic oil and other products with Shell.

Royal Dutch Shell group was also a major partner with Farben in jointly owned companies, including Deutsche Gasolin A.G., which operated a refinery and gasoline service station network in Nazi Germany. Shell was also a major partner in oil related cartels with I.G. Farben and Standard Oil.

A New York Times article published in October 1945 quoted from an I.G. Farben report to the Gestapo on how Germany had benefited from oil cartel agreements. The report said that experience in the field of lubricants that was of the “utmost importance in warfare” and enabled Germany to be “completely prepared from a technical point of view…”

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