Dutch technology firm suffers major loss in first quarter

Amsterdam - Dutch technology firm ASML said it suffered a 117-million-euro (155.32-million-dollar) loss in the first quarter of 2009. Releasing its first quarter results on Wednesday, ASML, which makes lithography systems for the semiconductor industry, said net sales in the first quarter of the year amounted to 184 million euros - compared with 919 million euros in the same period in 2008.

"Semiconductor equipment demand collapsed in the first quarter of 2009," ASML CEO Eric Meurice said in a statement.

However, he added a drastic cost-saving program had freed up more than 300 million euros in working capital, ensuring the company could maintain all its "strategic investments".

Gunman kills one, injures three in Dutch restaurant

Gunman kills one, injures three in Dutch restaurant Rotterdam - One man was killed and three other people injured when a man opened fire on guests during a talent contest at a restaurant in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, police said Saturday. The 45-year-old gunman was arrested.

Shortly after midnight, the man had stood up in Cafe Laurenshof and pulled out a gun and fired. No one was injured.

He then went out onto the street and fired again, fatally hitting a 46-year-old passerby. Three other men sustained bullet wounds.

ING shares up on back-to-basics approach

Amsterdam  - Shares of the Dutch ING Group rose substantially on Thursday following reports that the worlds' second largest retail bank would focus more on its core business and divest 10 to 15 companies in the following years.

"We are taking ING back to basics on all levels," said Jan Hommen, whose appointment as chairman of the managing board is to be formalized at ING's general shareholders meeting scheduled for April 27.

"The crisis has reinforced the need for us to be even more in touch with our customers. We will be focusing on fewer but more transparent products," Hommen said just before the annual investor's day was due to start.

Dutch home prices fall for third consecutive quarter

Amsterdam - Dutch home prices dropped for the third consecutive quarter, the umbrella association of Dutch home realtors NVM said in a report released on Thursday.

Minister: No separate theatre seats for Dutch Muslim women

Minister: No separate theatre seats for Dutch Muslim women Amsterdam - Theatres should not be permitted to reserve seats exclusively for women, Dutch integration minister Eberhard van der Laan said on Tuesday.

Van der Laan was commenting on a Rotterdam theatre's new policy of reserving 50 seats on its first rows exclusively for women during certain performances.

The theatre said the new policy should bring religious Muslim women to the Dutch theatre who would otherwise not to do so to avoid sitting next to a man.

Dutch government confirms death of soldier in Afghanistan

Dutch government confirms death of soldier in AfghanistanAmsterdam  - Dutch Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop on Tuesday confirmed the death of a Dutch soldier in the southern Afghan province of Uruzghan.

Azdin Chadli, 20, died around 6 pm local time (1300 GMT) Monday when two 107-milimetre missiles hit Camp Holland, the Dutch military base. Five other Dutch soldiers between the ages of 19 to 24 sustained injuries, but were reportedly "stable."

Two Afghan soldiers also sustained injuries.

It is the first time a missile has hit Camp Holland.