Dawn – Dutch queen arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 25 November 2019. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands arrived in Pakistan on Monday for a three-day visit in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate (UNSGSA) for Inclusive Finance for Development.

The Dutch queen was received by senior officials of the foreign ministry and representatives of the Embassy of Netherlands at Nur Khan Air Base. Last week, the Foreign Office (FO) announced Queen Maxima’s visit.

In a press release, the FO said that the Dutch queen will call on President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during her visit, in addition to her engagements with stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
Article continues after ad

Queen Maxima Zorreguieta Cerruti will also attend the launch of the ‘Micro Payment Gateway’, which the FO described as “an initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan aimed at reducing the costs of small payments and boosting digital transactions to benefit people and promote financial inclusion”.

The statement had added that inclusive finance for development is one of the “key priorities” of the government and the country has taken a number of steps in recent years to promote financial inclusion.

Queen Maxima had visited Pakistan in February 2016 as well.


Gent: Zuid – Oostakker Lourdes

Gent Zuid
29 September 2019

The bus to Middelburg (NL)

Oostakker Lourdes

10 October 2019

1. Expected





More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Guardian – Ocean cleanup device successfully collects plastic for first time

Daniel Boffey

Brussels – Belgium, 03 Oct 2019. Floating boom finally retains debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, creator says

The boom skims up waste ranging in size from a discarded net and a car wheel to tiny chips of plastic.

A huge floating device designed by Dutch scientists to clean up an island of rubbish in the Pacific Ocean that is three times the size of France has successfully picked up plastic from the high seas for the first time.

Boyan Slat, the creator of the Ocean Cleanup project, tweeted that the 600 metre-long (2,000ft) free-floating boom had captured and retained debris from what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Alongside a picture of the collected rubbish, which includes a car wheel, Slat wrote: “Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny micro-plastics! Also, anyone missing a wheel?”

About 600,000 to 800,000 metric tonnes of fishing gear is abandoned or lost at sea each year. Another 8 million tonnes of plastic waste flows in from beaches.

Ocean currents have brought a vast patch of such detritus together halfway between Hawaii and California, where it is kept in rough formation by an ocean gyre, a whirlpool of currents. It is the largest accumulation of plastic in the world’s oceans.

The vast cleaning system is designed to not only collect discarded fishing nets and large visible plastic objects, but also microplastics.

The plastic barrier floating on the surface of the sea has a three metre-deep (10ft) screen below it, which is intended to trap some of the 1.8tn pieces of plastic without disturbing the marine life below.

The device is fitted with satellites and sensors so it can communicate its position to a vessel that will collect the gathered rubbish every few months.

Slat told a press conference in Rotterdam that the problem he was seeking to solve was the vast expense that would come with using a trawler to collect plastics.

He said: “We are now catching plastics. After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage, which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights.

“We now have a self-contained system in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that is using the natural forces of the ocean to passively catch and concentrate plastics. This now gives us sufficient confidence in the general concept to keep going on this project.”

The plastic gathered so far will be brought to shore in December for recycling. The project believes there may be a premium market for items that have been made using plastic reclaimed from the ocean.

“I think in a few years’ time when we have the full-scale fleet out there, I think it should be possible to cover the operational cost of the cleanup operation using the plastic harvested,” Slat said.

The plan is to now scale up the device and make it more durable so it can retain plastic for up to a year or possibly longer before collection is necessary.

During a previous four-month trial the boom broke apart and no plastic was collected. Since then, changes have been made to the design including the addition of a “parachute anchor” to slow down the device’s movement in the ocean, allowing for faster-moving plastic debris to float into the system.

The latest trial began in June when the system was launched into the sea from Vancouver. The project was started in 2013 and its design has undergone several major revisions. It is hoped the final design will be able to clean up half of the debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


Brussel Zuid MIVB Premetro – Brussel Zuid NMBS – Gent Veergrep

Brussel Zuid/Bruxelles Midi
MIVB Premetro/Metro
03 August 2019

Premetro (underground tram) platform

Metro train

Brussel Zuid Metro/Premetro station

Brussel Zuid/Bruxelles Midi
03 August 2019

Benelux Intercity NS/NMBS
Brussel Zuid – Amsterdam CS vv

16:26 to Oostende via Brugge and Gent

Gent Veergrep
04 August 2019

The new Veergrep tram stop
Kortrijksepoortstraat – Tram 1 to Evergem

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Hindu – Takeaways from the Kulbhushan Jadhav case ruling

India’s more successful legal journey to the ICJ must now reshape New Delhi’s approach to potentially difficult situations

Arjun Subramaniam

New Delhi – India, 18 July 2019. Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer, who was allegedly abducted by Pakistani intelligence from Iran and sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terrorism by a farcical military court in Pakistan, has been given a glimmer of hope by the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Responding to a petition by India that sought an annulment of his death sentence because Pakistan had violated numerous international treaties and extracted irregular confessions under coercion, the ICJ, on July 17, 2019, ruled with a decisive vote (15-1) that Mr. Jadhav cannot be executed by Pakistan, and that he must be given adequate consular access and a fair trial.

The ruling also urged Pakistan to review his conviction. This constitutes a major diplomatic and legal victory for India, with Pakistan accusing India of ‘ambushing’ it at The Hague.

Focussed strategy

Given its rather lukewarm record in the past of securing the release of Indian detainees in Pakistan through bilateral negotiations, India’s strategy in this case has been to exploit increasing international acceptance that Pakistan was an emerging ‘rogue’ state.

Laying stress on Pakistan’s scant regard for Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, it deals with the arrest, detention and trial of a foreign citizen, India’s counsel, Harish Salve, highlighted two compelling arguments. First was the arrest process, which was not accompanied by an immediate notification to Indian consular officials in Islamabad.

There was a delay of over three weeks before India was informed, and it was during this period, according to reliable sources from within Pakistan, that Mr Jadhav was subjected to all means of coercion and forced to sign a ‘confession taken under custody’ without adequate legal representation.

Second was the two-way denial of access and communication by any means between Mr. Jadhav and consular officials and a failure to inform him of the rights he enjoyed under the convention.

The legitimacy of military courts has always been controversial within the international legal system that emerged in the post-World War II era as a fast-track system of delivering skewed justice by authoritarian regimes and military dictatorships.

Purportedly set up in Pakistan in 2015 as a counter-terrorist and anti-corruption initiative, Mr Jadhav’s sentencing in April 2017 was based on confessions taken in captivity and is part of several arbitrary sentences by Pakistan’s Military Court.

Violation of rights

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recognises the right to an effective defence against criminal charges, and to a fair and impartial trial, in which the accused is represented by a lawyer of his choice.

By denying consular access, Pakistan has stood in gross violation of both the Vienna Convention and the ICCPR. Had due process been followed, and then had Mr. Jadhav been charged with espionage, India may not have had the necessary room to take the matter to the ICJ.

By attempting to circumvent the ‘due diligence’ process, Pakistan has exposed serious chinks in its legal environment and jeopardised its standing in the comity of nations. The Jadhav case has also revealed Pakistan’s desperation in its search for ‘proxies’ as drivers of the internal unrest in Balochistan.

Reliable sources within India’s intelligence agencies hint at the possibility of Mr Jadhav having been abducted by armed groups operating on the border between Iran and Balochistan.

Pakistan is known to have used proxy Sunni groups such as the Jaish al-Adl against Iran, and Iranian officials have often spoken to their Indian counterparts about Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorist activities along the Iran-Pakistan border.

A testimony to the growing menace of this group is its recent designation as a front of Jundullah, which is a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’.

India has shown both intent and resilience in attempting to secure the release of Mr. Jadhav despite the many hiccups along the way. Following a synergised approach steered by the National Security Adviser and the External Affairs Minister, India fought the kidnapping of Mr. Jadhav, an Indian national who was legitimately residing in Iran after retirement from the Indian Navy.

Realising, in 2017, following his death sentence that the overall deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan had closed the door on any bilateral way of securing his release, India rightly chose to go the ‘international way’ by fielding a formidable legal team led by the jurist, Harish Salve.

Sparing no efforts on the human aspects of the case too, India managed to get Mr Jadhav to meet his mother and wife after the death sentence was pronounced. The first success achieved by the Indian legal team was on May 9, 2017 when the ICJ sent an urgent message to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, urging him to stay the execution till India’s case was heard fully and the ICJ arrived at a verdict.

Moving slowly but surely through the legal battle for over two years, India, has been demonstrating significant synergy between various stakeholders in the case.

The final verdict will, hopefully, galvanise the Indian establishment to step on the pedal and exert pressure on Pakistan to rescind the death sentence and allow Mr Jadhav consular access and legitimate legal platform to mount his defence.

While it would be wishful thinking to assume that Mr Jadhav would return to India soon, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon that the Indian strategic establishment would do well to exploit.

Having deftly navigated the legal and diplomatic channels and restrained the Pakistan military by securing manoeuvring space following the ICJ verdict, a leading power such as India must demonstrate its intent and capacity to extract desirable outcomes out of potentially difficult, or seemingly impossible situations. Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case is one such challenge.

Arjun Subramaniam is a strategic commentator and Visiting Professor at Ashoka University

This is an Indian reaction to the ruling of the International Court of Justice
I will look today for an article that reflects the Pakistani view
Man in Blue


Sluis Nederland – Brugge België – Brugge NMBS – Gent Zuid

Sluis Nederland – Brugge België
25 June 2019

Timetable of bus 42 from Sluis to Brugge
Operated by Connexxion and De Lijn

Platform 9 – Brugge De Lijn Bus station

De Lijn bus 42 just arrived from Breskens via Sluis

Brugge NMBS
25 June 2019

Brugge NMBS – waiting for a train to take me to Gent

Brugge NMBS – EMU

Belgian Cycling Championship
30 June 2019

No buses or trams moving as the cyclists are due to arrive
Cycling is very popular in Flanders

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Gentbrugge De Naeyerdreef – Ledeberg Standaertsite – Sluis Nederland

Gentbrugge De Naeyerdreef
24 June 2019

Why can’t we even walk here anymore ?

Ledeberg Standaertsite
24 June 2019

There used to be a DIY store here, now it is a community centre

Sluis Nederland
25 June 2019

The Belfort of Sluis

With bus 42 you can get from Brugge to Sluis using De Lijn tickets

Sluis – Damse Vaart

Sluis – Sint-Annastraat

More Netherlands and Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Money Control – Jet Airways shutdown: Booked a Jet Airways flight? Here’s what you can do

Jet Airways will offer a refund for all passengers affected by the suspension of flight operations

New Delhi – India, 18 April 2019. Cash-strapped airline Jet Airways flew its last flight on the Amritsar-Delhi-Mumbai route on 17 April and announced a temporary shutdown as lenders refused to provide it with the much-needed emergency funding.

As of Thursday, 18 April, all domestic and international flights of Jet Airways stand cancelled. This has led to confusion and panic among the customers who had booked flights with the carrier. The airline has said that it will inform all guests about the suspension of flight operations through text messages or emails to the respective contact details in the bookings.

If you have a booking with Jet Airways for a later date than April 18, you will receive a text, email or phone call from Jet Airways authorities. The airline will offer a refund for all passengers affected by the suspension of flight operations.

Passengers have to call the airline or visit its office in case their flights have been cancelled within 72 hours of departure. A list of all Jet Airways offices across the country is on their website.

If the flight has been cancelled beyond 72 hours, passengers have to fill the form on the Disruption Assistance page of the website, if booked directly with Jet.

In case a passenger has booked the flight through an agent, they will have to contact the agent directly. If a ticket has been booked through travel portals like MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip, Yatra, etc, they will have to cancel their tickets on those websites of apps and seek a refund for their tickets.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has said that the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and other regulators are monitoring the situation carefully to ensure that all existing rules regarding refunds, cancellations, and alternate bookings are followed strictly.

“Any passenger complaints or issues should be promptly reported to the AirSewa portal or on its mobile app. We will follow up immediately.

Our overriding priority remains the safety, convenience, and affordability of our Aviation system. We are assisting airlines and airports to bring in capacity rapidly to ensure that fares remain stable and competitive,” it said on Twitter.

A meeting between the secretary of MoCA with airports is underway and airlines will coordinate and address any emerging issues on capacity, slots and passenger convenience.

Jet Airways has for years been the main carrier from Brussel and later from Amsterdam to New Delhi for the Benelux Sikhs.
Man in Blue


Hoepertingen: Sint Vedastus Kerk – Mariagaarde – World War I Monument

Sint Vedastus Kerk
26 March 2019

RC Sint-Vedastus Church

26 March 2019

Entry Gate

Court yard

Court yard

World War I Monument
26 March 2019

Tribute to the heroes

Curious to see that one hero died in Amersfoort in the Netherlands where there was no fighting at all

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Gent-Sint-Pieters – Tongeren NMBS/De Lijn

25 March 2019

Gent-Sint-Pieters – IC to Tongeren
IC slow to Brussel, fast to Hasselt and slow to Tongeren

IC to Tongeren
Refurbished old rolling stock

Tongeren NMBS/De Lijn
25 March 2019

Tongeren NMBS

NMBS symbol – De Lijn bus station

Two buses at the bus station – Both going to ‘Not in Service’

Bus 39b to Voeren, formerly a Dutch speaking part of Luik/Liège Province, now part of Limburg and therefore served by De Lijn
There are also regular De Lijn bus services to Maastricht (NL) and Liège from here

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue