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A Shadow over the Anniversary of Dutch-Russian Relations

A while ago, I had a visit from a friend from Moscow. No, it was not Vladimir Putin, who has arrived to the Netherlands today to mark off the 400 year anniversary of Russian-Dutch relations. But both visits had something in common: they both reminded me of the situation Russian gay people are in. My friend came to the Netherlands ... Read More »

Francois’ Sporty Tax

He wants it, he gets it: After his first proposal for a 75% mega tax for income-millionaires was rejected by the Constitutional Court, France’s president Francois Hollande announced in a TV interview to shift the burden of payment from individuals to businesses paying salaries above the magical one-million-euro-line.  That means that companies paying wages higher than €1m p.a. are required to ... Read More »

Love Letter to Pope Francis

by Victor Kuijpens Dear Holy Father, Having followed your first papal appearance from Africa, I was happy to see a South-American successor to Saint Peter. We wished for a black pope, but anyone from the global south is welcome. From what the newspapers say, you have a strong reputation in poverty reduction in Buenos Aires, and you are attached to ... Read More »

The World’s Most Dangerous Criminal

Semeon Mogilevich seems to have walked right away from the set of a Hollywood gangster movie: he is fat, highly educated, powerful, rich, and above all incredibly elusive. The Ukrainian criminal is wanted by various countries and has been on the World’s Most Wanted list of the FBI since 2009. Despite being one of the world’s most hunted criminals, the ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: UKRAINE 3

When studying abroad people always tell you about the stages of cultural adjustment, which apparently are very typical phenomena for people experiencing life in foreign countries. While I am not a big fan of generalisations of such a kind and always expected that I would embrace all things new – even I have to admit that there is some truth ... Read More »

Let the Sunshine in! Solar Fuel as a Solution for the Energy Problem

A pressing problem facing the world nowadays is the global environmental problem, one aspect of which is the energy problem. This problem is characterized by the depletion of natural energy sources and the environmental damage caused by CO2 emissions. Lately mankind has sought a solution to this problem, but this debate has been painfully slow. This is where a new ... Read More »

Fracking: a Justified Fear of the Unknown?

Two months ago, co-reporter Hendrik Dependau envisioned an intensified debate on fracking as a gas exploitation method. His research led to the “Fracking: Underground Money” article in the new edition of Checks&Balances (Volume 9, Issue 2). Since then, mayor European newspapers such as the Sunday Times have spent pages polarising and simplifying fracking into an economy vs. environment debate. To ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: UKRAINE 2

The Erasmus experience in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, continues. Being a university student in Chernivtsi reminds me of my days in primary school. Monday is my main day. I take the matrushka bus number 5 from student dorm number 3 to Cathedral Square. The mint-green building hosts the Faculty of History, Politics and International Relations and is right next to Chernivtsi’s hot ... Read More »

Going Dutch: Building Land, Concurring Water

Right now, the port of Rotterdam is realising one of the biggest land reclamation projects in the world in order to expand its capacity. In September 2008 the construction of Maasvlakte 2 was started, increasing the size of the port by 20 percent and realising an expansion of Dutch soil by 2000 hectares. Apart from being a great example of ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: UKRAINE

Checks&Balances is, as of this moment, starting a series of blogs from IRIO students studying abroad. Lina Rusch is currently studying in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. Welcome to Ukraine At some point I lost count of people who would suprisedly ask “Why?” after I told them I was going to Ukraine for my semester abroad. Most of them would also automatically assume ... Read More »