New York City to terminate Trump contracts after Capitol insurrection

In this file photo a view of the lower Manhattan skyline is seen from the Staten Island Ferry as a seagull flies by on January 04, 2021 in New York City. New York City will terminate its contracts with the Trump Organization following last week's violent rampage at the US Capitol, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on January 13, 2021. (AFP / Angela Weiss)
In this file photo a view of the lower Manhattan skyline is seen from the Staten Island Ferry as a seagull flies by on January 04, 2021 in New York City. New York City will terminate its contracts with the Trump Organization following last week's violent rampage at the US Capitol, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on January 13, 2021. (AFP / Angela Weiss)
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Updated 14 January 2021

New York City to terminate Trump contracts after Capitol insurrection

In this file photo a view of the lower Manhattan skyline is seen from the Staten Island Ferry as a seagull flies by on January 04, 2021 in New York City. New York City will terminate its contracts with the Trump Organization following last week's violent rampage at the US Capitol, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on January 13, 2021. (AFP / Angela Weiss)
  • Trump Organization earns $17 million a year in profits from running two ice skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park and a golf course in the Bronx
  • The PGA Championship is also moving away from Trump's New Jersey golf course next year

NEW YORK: New York City will terminate business contracts with President Donald Trump after last week’s insurrection at the US Capitol, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
“I’m here to announce that the city of New York is severing all contracts with the Trump Organization,” de Blasio said in an interview on MSNBC.
De Blasio said the Trump Organization earns about $17 million a year in profits from its contracts to run two ice skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park as well as a golf course in the Bronx.
The city can legally terminate a contract if the leadership of a company is engaged in criminal activity, the Democratic mayor said.
“Inciting an insurrection — let’s be very clear, let’s say the words again — inciting an insurrection against the United States government clearly constitutes criminal activity,” he said.
A Trump Organization spokesperson said the city can’t cancel the contracts.
“The City of New York has no legal right to end our contracts and if they elect to proceed, they will owe The Trump Organization over $30 million dollars,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “This is nothing more than political discrimination, an attempt to infringe on the First Amendment and we plan to fight vigorously.”

The move to end Trump’s business contracts in the city he formerly called home is the latest example of how the Jan. 6 breach by violent Trump supporters is affecting the Republican president’s business interests.
The PGA of America voted Sunday to take the PGA Championship away from his New Jersey golf course next year, a move that came after social media platforms disabled Trump’s accounts and Shopify took down online stores affiliated with him.
De Blasio had said earlier that the city was examining its legal options to end the Trump contracts. He said Wednesday that city lawyers determined that if Trump sues over the move, the city would win. Trump “incited a mob to attack the Capitol,” de Blasio said, adding, “the lawyers looked at it and it was just as clear as a bell that’s grounds for severing these contracts and we’re moving to do that right away.”
Jim Johnson, the head of the city law department, said the PGA’s move to cut ties with Trump gives the city additional grounds to terminate the golf course contract.
“One of the reasons that he was given that contract was his ability to attract major golf tournaments,” Johnson said at a briefing with the mayor. After the PGA’s action last weekend, Johnson said, “we’re entitled to and are invoking our provisions, our right to declare him in default.”
The split with Trump’s namesake company won’t happen immediately, though. De Blasio said in a news release that terminating contract to run the Ferry Point golf course in the Bronx is complex “and is expected to take a number of months.”
Termination of the contract to run Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink in Central Park will take effect 30 days after written notice is delivered, de Blasio said. Termination of the contract to run the carousel, which is now closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, will take effect 25 days after written notice.
The city will seek new vendors for all the attractions, the mayor said.
Removing the Trump name from the rinks, carousel and golf course won’t erase him from New York City. He will still operate Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and the Trump International Hotel on Central Park West. Trump moved his official residence from Trump Tower to Florida in 2019.


Netherlands anti-curfew protests spark clashes with police, looting

In this image made from video, a COVID-19 testing center is seen after being set on fire in Urk, 80 kilometers northeast of Amsterdam, on Jan. 23, 2021. (Pro News via AP)
Updated 25 January 2021

Netherlands anti-curfew protests spark clashes with police, looting

In this image made from video, a COVID-19 testing center is seen after being set on fire in Urk, 80 kilometers northeast of Amsterdam, on Jan. 23, 2021. (Pro News via AP)
  • Vehicles burned, businesses at Eindhoven’s central train station looted
  • A Covid-19 testing center was set on fire on Saturday evening in the village of Urk

THE HAGUE: Protests against a curfew to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the Netherlands degenerated into clashes with police and looting in cities across the country Sunday, authorities and reports said.
Police used water cannon and dogs in Amsterdam, public television NOS reported, after hundreds gathered to protest the curfew which is set to last until February 10 and is the country’s first since World War II.
In the southern city of Eindhoven, police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of several hundred, regional television Omroep Brabant reported. At least 30 people were arrested there, according to police.
A number of vehicles were burned and businesses at Eindhoven’s central train station were also looted, media reports said.
Dutch rail company NS called on travelers to avoid the Eindhoven station, where it said train circulation was interrupted due to the intervention of emergency services nearby.
Eindhoven mayor John Jorritsma told reporters that if the country continued “down this path, then I think we are heading for civil war.”
Incidents were also reported in The Hague, Breda, Arnhem, Tilburg, Enschede, Appeldoorn, Venlo and Ruremond.
A Covid-19 testing center was set on fire on Saturday evening in the village of Urk in the north of the country, local authorities said.
“The fire in a screening center in Urk goes beyond all limits,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said on Sunday.
Violators of the 9 p.m. to 4:30 am curfew, which Prime Minister Mark Rutte says is needed to bring case numbers down, face a 95-euro ($115) fine.
Exemptions are possible, in particular for people returning from funerals or those having to work, but on condition that they present a certificate.
Rutte also announced on Wednesday a ban on flights from Britain, South Africa and South America, and a cut in the number of guests allowed in people’s homes to one, from the previous limit of two.
New variants of the virus have led to deep concern in Europe, particularly a more infectious strain that first emerged in Britain.
The Netherlands was already under its toughest measures since the start of the pandemic, with bars and restaurants having closed in October, and schools and non-essential shops shut since December.
Dutch lawmakers on Thursday approved Rutte’s curfew plan, though on condition that it begin half an hour later than the original 8:30 p.m. start time.
The move had faced criticism led by far-right politician Geert Wilders, who called it “careless” and “disproportionate.”
“I stand here for freedom. I lost it myself,” said Wilders, who has for years been under round-the-clock security after receiving death threats.
“I do not accept that we unnecessarily... introduce curfews while there are alternatives.”
Rutte and his cabinet resigned on January 22 over a scandal involving child tax benefits, but they will continue to govern until elections in mid-March.