Ongoing uncertainty about the effects of Brexit is pushing an increasing number of foreign companies to set up offices in the Netherlands, the Dutch government said Wednesday.
Since the 2016 referendum on Britain leaving the European Union, 140 businesses have established a presence in the Netherlands, with 78 shifting operations there last year, according to the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency.
The agency said in a statement that business uncertainty is increasing despite Britain's departure from the EU because of unanswered questions over the country's future trading relationship with the bloc. London and Brussels have until the end of the year to agree a pact on their post-divorce relationship.
The agency said it is in talks with around 425 companies considering moving or expanding to the Netherlands because of Brexit.
The companies come from Britain, but also include businesses from the Americas and Asia that are reconsidering the structure of their European operations in the aftermath of Brexit.
"For these businesses, 2020 will be an important year," said Jeroen Nijland of the foreign investment agency.
While some businesses are waiting to see how the new UK-EU economic relationship pans out, "more and more companies are choosing the certainty and stability our country offers in the European market," Nijland said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has raised doubts about the efficiency of the U.S.' plan for a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, known as the "Deal of the Century."
Washington's proposal for a solution through unilateral concessions favor Israel, Lavrov said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, which was published by the Russian Foreign Ministry Monday.
Such an approach is unlikely to help rectify the situation, and this is also indicated by the fact that the U.S. plan is categorically rejected by the Palestinians, the minister added.
Washington has essentially ignored the universally recognized international legal basis for a Middle East settlement, which includes the resolutions of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the Arab Peace Initiative, he said.
Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his 80-page plan for peace in the Middle East in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The proposal outraged the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, who demonstrated and clashed with Israeli soldiers against the plan.
More than 100 Germans evacuated from the hard-hit Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of a new coronavirus outbreak, were set to end their prescribed 14-day quarantine period on Sunday.
They have been kept isolated at a military base in the southern town of Germersheim. None of them have tested positive for the disease, German news agency dpa reported.
The viral outbreak that emerged in China in December has infected more than 69,000 people globally, killing 1,665 people in mainland China and five others elsewhere. The World Health Organization has named the illness COVID-19.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, meanwhile, announced Sunday that Italy will send a plane to Japan to bring back the 35 Italians aboard the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that has had 355 passengers and crew test positive for the new virus.
Twenty-five of those Italians are crew members on the ship, including the cruise ship's captain. Italy's ministries of defense, foreign affairs and health as well as civil protection officials were working out the logistics. No date for the flight has been announced yet.
British officials announced Sunday that more than 3,100 people in the U.K. had been tested for the virus but there have been no new positive results beyond the nine who were successfully treated and discharged.
European nations have reported 47 cases of the virus in nine countries. France on Saturday announced the first death of a virus patient in Europe and outside of Asia, an 80-year-old Chinese tourist in Paris.
Chinese authorities have placed some 60 million people under a strict lockdown, built emergency hospitals and instituted tight controls across the country to fight the spread of the virus.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has praised China's intensive measures and urged other governments to step up their own anti-virus efforts, saying "it's impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take."
"We must use the window of opportunity we have to intensify our preparedness," he told foreign policy and security leaders at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. "China has bought the world time. We don't know how much time."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson shook up his government on Thursday, firing and appointing ministers to key Cabinet posts.
Johnson was aiming to tighten his grip on government after winning a big parliamentary majority in December's election. That victory allowed Johnson to take Britain out of the European Union last month, delivering on his key election promise.
Now his Conservative administration faces the even bigger challenge of negotiating a new relationship with the 27-nation EU by the end of this year. The two sides are aiming to have a deal covering trade, security and other areas in place by the time a post-Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31.
So far, the two sides are far apart in their demands. And even with a deal, the U.K. faces a huge adjustment when decades of seamless trade and travel with the EU end at the start of 2021.
Several high-profile women in Johnson's government, including Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers and Housing Minister Esther McVey, all said they had been fired on Thursday morning.
Johnson also sacked Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith — a surprise move. Smith had been widely praised for helping to end political deadlock that left Northern Ireland without a regional government and assembly for three years. After pressure from the British and Irish governments, the main Irish nationalist and British unionist power-sharing parties returned to work last month.
As well as reworking his Cabinet, Johnson needs to appoint a new leader for the U.N. climate change conference that Britain is due to host later this year. The summit, known as the 26th Conference of the Parties, or COP26, is scheduled to be held in Glasgow in November.
Planning has got off to a rocky start, with Johnson last week firing Claire O'Neill, a former British government minister appointed last year to head up the event.
A minibus crash in central Russia killed eight people in the early hours on Thursday, local police said.
A minibus with nine people on board was attempting to overtake another vehicle on a highway in the Pskov region about 600 kilometers (370 miles) northwest of Moscow and crashed into an oncoming truck.
Seven passengers and the driver of the minibus died, and another passenger and the driver of the truck sustained injuries.
The minibus was registered in Ukraine and all victims of the crash were Ukrainian nationals, police said.
Bus crashes have become increasingly common in Russia in recent years, many of them resulting in multiple deaths. In 2019, the country's police registered more than 5,500 bus incidents.