“She kept on, kept on. Finally told me, said: I dont like the way this country is headed. I want my granddaughter to be able to have an abortion. And I said well mam I dont think you got any worries about the way the country is headed. The way I see it goin I dont have much doubt but what she’ll be able to have an abortion. I’m goin to say that not only will she be able to have an abortion, she’ll be able to have you put to sleep. Which pretty much ended the conversation.”
— Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men.
The Guardian reported new rules facilitated involuntary euthanasia for the Dutch elderly following a recent court case in which the euthanizing doctor was acquitted of murdering an elderly patient who did not want the needle.
Doctors euthanising a patient with severe dementia may slip a sedative into their food or drink if there are concerns they will become “disturbed, agitated or aggressive”, under a change to the codes of practice in the Netherlands.
The review committee for cases of euthanasia refreshed its guidance in response to the case of a former nursing home doctor, Marinou Arends, who was prosecuted for murder and cleared after putting a sedative in her 74-year-old patient’s coffee before giving a lethal injection.
Arends was given a written reprimand by the Dutch medical board for acting on the basis of two “advance directives” in which the patient said only that she wished to die when she considered the time was right.
But in April the supreme court ruled that no laws had been broken and dismissed the medical board’s decision, ruling that if a patient is no longer capable of giving assent, a doctor need not take a literal interpretation of an advance directive if the circumstances do not match the eventual scenario.
In response to the court, Jacob Kohnstamm, the chair of the euthanasia review committee, said his body needed to update its code for doctors involved in euthanasia.
The new code says that in cases where a patient has advanced dementia, “it is not necessary for the doctor to agree with the patient the time or manner in which euthanasia will be given”.
This astonishing decision follows a judgment of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands last April, which decided to clear of all suspicion a doctor who had sedated his patient in order to eliminate her without her knowledge.
The facts date back to 2016. The practitioner – named Marinou Arends – was convicted of murder after euthanizing a patient with advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
The latter reportedly initially indicated that she wished to be euthanized, in case she was transferred to a retirement home. The patient later retracted, indicating on several occasions that she no longer wanted euthanasia performed on her.
Notwithstanding this about-face, Marinou Arends quite simply ended the days of his patient, without her knowing, after giving her a sedative mixed in her coffee.
Here is where we fall tip over into horror: the sedative did not have the desired effect and the poor woman tried to pull her arm away from the fatal needle; and it was with the muscular help of the patient’s son-in-law that the doctor was able to carry out the killing.
In a far-reaching judgment, for which its members will have to answer before history, the Supreme Court overturned the murder conviction and cleared Arends.
On a clear, windy autumn afternoon last October, Willy van Wingerden spent a few free hours before work walking by the sea not far from the Dutch town of Monster. Here, in 2013, the cheerful nurse found her first woolly mammoth tooth. She has since plucked more than 500 ancient artifacts from the broad, windswept beach known as the Zandmotor, or â€œsand engine.â€ She has found Neanderthal tools made of river cobbles, bone fishhooks, and human remains thousands of years old. Once, she plucked a tar-covered Neanderthal tool from the waterâ€™s edge, earning a co-author credit in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) a few months ago.
â€œSun, wind, rain, snowâ€”Iâ€™m here 5 or 6 days a week,â€ she says. â€œI find something every day, almost.â€
Van Wingerdenâ€™s favorite beachcombing spot is no ordinary stretch of sand. Nearly half a kilometer wide, the beach is made of material dredged from the sea bottom 13 kilometers offshore and dumped on the existing beach in 2012. Itâ€™s a â‚¬70 million experimental coastal protection measure, its sands designed to spread over time to shield the Dutch coast from sea-level rise. And the endeavor has made 21 million cubic meters of Stone Age soil accessible to archaeologists.
That soil preserves traces of a lost world. During the last ice age, sea levels were 70 meters lower, and what is now the North Sea between Great Britain and the Netherlands was a rich lowland, home to modern humans, Neanderthals, and even earlier hominins. It all disappeared when glaciers melted and sea level rose about 8500 years ago.
In West Flanders, during the 1500s, criminals were punished symbolically by being obliged to have cast in metal a copy of the hand they used to commit some act of violence.
Adriaen Bra was a fisherman who was convicted of assaulting the servant of the bailiff with a knife. He had won the knife playing dice with the Pub owner Pieter Ritssaerss. But Ritssaerss wagered the knife on the condition that the knife’s new owner would take it and use it to “cloppen” the bailiff and his minions. Ritssaerss evidently had a score to settle.
Adriaen Bra was the happy (and perhaps also drunk) winner. He kept his word and proceeded a week later to attack a servant of the bailiff with the knife. He was apprehended and sentenced to the making of the fist, and that was not the only punishment. He was banned from Walcheren for an interval of time, and if he came back earlier he would have to pay for it with his neck.
The judgment of Adriaen Bra is preserved in the archives of the tribunal of the city Veere roll of criminal cases from 1514 to 1552.
A wooden sea monster has emerged from the Baltic sea after lying on the ocean floor for more than half a millenium.
The creature, which has ‘lion ears and crocodile-like mouth’, is around 660lbs (300kg) and stood at the prow of a 15th-century Danish warship.
It was carefully lifted from the coast of Ronneby in southern Sweden [last August] by divers bringing up treasures from the wreck of the ‘Gribshunden’.
A sea monster has emerged from the Baltic sea after lying on the seabed for more than half a millenium
The Gribshunden, which belonged to Danish King John, is believed to have sunk in 1495 after it caught fire on its way from Copenhagen to Kalmar on Sweden’s east coast.
Although the hull suffered extensive damage, the remaining bits make it one of the best preserved wrecks of its kind, dating from roughly the same period as Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria.
Yale University will receive 136.20 euros ($153) in interest on a perpetual bond issued in 1648 from Dutch water authority de Stichtse Rijnlanden.
The 1,000 guilder-bond ($509), which is written on goatskin, is among five of the worldâ€™s oldest bonds that still pay interest, according to Clarion Wegerif, a spokeswoman for the water authority. The money will be paid out on Monday.
Yale contacted the agency to collect the interest, Wegerif said in a phone interview from Houten, the Netherlands. “Weâ€™ll be handing out a symbolic check and wire the rest.”
Yale, which has an endowment of $23.9 billion, paid 24,000 euros to acquire the bond in 2003 as an artifact. The university hasnâ€™t been paid interest since the acquisition, according to the agency. The bond was issued to pay for a small pier in the Netherlandsâ€™s Lek river.