Only In The Netherlands

“Hamsters to get the keys to the city”, or at least that how the headline of this article SHOULD have read.

It seems some pinko leftist animal rights activists have managed to waste valuable tax payers money by challenging the Ministry for the Environment in ensuring a safe haven for some rare rodent.

For those of you not in the know, there is an old saying in Dutch, that “Every Dutch house comes with Dutch mice”. My own experiences can attest to that. I’ve had mice in every house I’ve lived in here. I’ve managed to get rid of them, but occasionally they make a reappearance. So why someone would actively seek the reintroduction and protection of rodent species is beyond me. Especially if these are rodents in an urban environment.

However, nature organisation Das & Boom decided to focus on raising money to fight Ministers Bleker´s decisions to not spend money on saving these hamsters in the national and European courts. This case involving the wild hamster (Cricetus cricetus) was the first to be heard.

The pinko Judge, in his infinite wisdom agreed and stated in his verdict that it is ´evident´ there is a need for protected corridors to connect the few areas where the hamsters live.

Das & Boom´s next case will focus on otters.

Pennies From Heaven

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself driving into a cloud of money floating on the air. Well, that’s a question many motorists found themselves asking this week when a container carrying tens of thousands of euros in destined for an ATM fell from a truck on the A2 near Maastricht.

I’m not sure if it was an amoured truck or a truck carrying loaded ATM’s, the reports are sketchy. But what I do know is that the Dutch police and Public Prosecutors office are doing their nut stating that anyone who stopped their cars to pick up the money, will faces prosecution if they do not return the monies to the police.

Apparently dozens of motorists were seen walking back to their cars with armfuls of cash. Personally, given the current economic climate, I would not hesitate to keep the money and would encourage those who happened to benefit from their haul to spend it and keep the economy going…God knows, the Government are not interested in spending my taxes wisely to avert recession.

Flying The Flag Abroad

It’s a rarity in this current economic climate for a success story to come out of Ireland. With the recent warning from Fitch that they may downgrade Ireland’s credit rating, the business environment seems all doom and gloom at the moment. But not so for AerRianta International.

ARI is a wholly owned subsidary of DAA (Dublin Airports Authority – which was renamed from its original name AerRianta in 2006) whose mandate is to focus on the development of managing and running airports across the globe.

They first hit the news when they won a contract to run the Duty Free shops in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport back in 1988. This largely came about through the long standing connections the Irish had with Aeroflot, and given Ireland’s stance on neutrality, seemed giving the contract to a non-NATO aligned nation made more sense to the Russians.

That was the beginning, and in 2008 they celebrated 20 years of business in Russia. I myself came across them personally when I lived in Ukraine. Kiev’s Duty Free business being run back then by a very affable Irishman, Garrett Coogan. Garrett introduced me to the small Irish diaspora in Ukraine (I was officially the 13th Irishman registered as living in Ukraine at that time) and has since moved on to run Moscow and now Qatar.

ARI have operations spanning the globe, from Barbados and Winnipeg all the way to Kosovo (of all places!!) and Delhi in India. Most recently they have announced plans to open up shop in China. From its very humble beginnings in 1937, AerRianta has gone on to dominate the globe in airport and airport-retail management, a success story to be proud of.

And the great thing about an AerRianta run airport is that there is ALWAYS an Irish pub to be found airside and a pint of the “black stuff” expertly poured.

Mine’s a pint 😉

And Then There Were None

A group shot from the 2010 “Arab African Summit” in Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown.

Front row, from left, Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Yemen’s Saleh, Libya’s Gaddafi and Egypt’s Mubarak.

Since it was taken, Ben Ali has fled Tunisia and reputedly is laying in a coma somewhere in Saudi Arabia having been tried in absentia, Saleh has been seriously injured in an attack on his compound and is recuperating in Saudi Arabia, Mubarak faces the death penalty in his own country, and Gaddafi’s whereabouts remain unknown – Algeria being the odds-on favourite.

Anyone notice how Saudi seems to be the sanctuary of choice for ousted dictators?