Thursday, February 28, 2008

Al Qaida Network Calls for Murder of Wilders

The Al Qaida network has given orders to murder Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), who is preparing a movie on the Quran and violence. This threat was revealed by the American SITE Intelligence group which also provides the Dutch government with information. The message was published on a closed web forum which asked to bring “the throat of this unbeliever who insults Islam and Muslims and ridicules the prophet Mohammed.” The site also presents Mohammed Bouyeri, who murdered the Dutch media maker Theo van Gogh in 2004 by cutting his throat, as an exemplary Muslim.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dutch TV Network Makes Movie Showing Violence in the Bible

The KRO Dutch television network is preparing a movie on the Bible as a reaction to the movie on the Quran and violence being produced by Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV). The movie will link Biblical texts about violence and intolerance to recent events.

Municipality Admits Mistakes in Drug Addicts' Hostel Affair

The Municipality of Den Bosch has admitted that it made mistakes by not sufficiently consulting with the residents of the neighborhood regarding a hostel for drug addicts which was due to open in the area. The mayor and the responsible alderman promised that, in the future, they will consult neighborhoods better and that their interests will be considered more seriously. The hostel was burned down last week, probably by arson.,1

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Neighborhood Residents Rejoice after Drug Addicts’ Hostel Burns Down

A building in the neighborhood of Kruiskamp in Den Bosch has burned down. The Municipality had intended to use it as a hostel for drug addicts, against strong opposition from neighborhood residents. Arson is suspected. A number of local residents came out to celebrate the burning of the building. There have been a number of similar cases in the Netherlands where local violence or threats have blocked such decisions. In 2005, in the neighborhood of Schilderwijk in the Hague, local inhabitants threw stones and eggs on members of the Municipality and police because of a plan to establish a center for drug addicts in the neighborhood. In the same year inhabitants of the Rotterdam Katendrecht neighborhood threatened arson if a home for former prostitutes would be located there. In both cases the Municipality abandoned the projects.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Confidence in Afghanistan Military Mission Declining

The Dutch population is losing confidence in the success of their military mission to Afghanistan. An opinion poll carried out by the Ministry of Defense found that only 35% think that Dutch soldiers are able to fight the Taliban. In January the figure was 53%. In addition, only 32% think that the Dutch military mission is contributing to the rebuilding of Afghanistan, down from 47% in January. This decline in confidence is due to the killing of two Dutch soldiers by friendly fire.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Netherlands is Transit Country for Drugs, Shelter for Mafiosi

The annual report of the Italian anti-Mafia Commission states that the Netherlands is a warehousing and transit country for cocaine which the Italian mafia imports from Colombia to Italy. In the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany laundering of mafia money also takes place. Furthermore, Mafia fugitives find shelter in the Netherlands.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Belated Revelation: Father of Current Queen Involved in Another Corruption Scandal

In the 1970s it became known that Prince Bernhard, the husband of the then-Queen Juliana and father of the current Queen Beatrix, had been involved in a corruption affair in which the American firm Lockheed had paid him bribes in order to promote the sale of its planes to the Dutch army. Dutch journalist Anet Bleich, in her doctoral thesis, has now revealed that Joop den Uyl (Labor), Dutch Prime Minister at the time, had concealed information that the prince had received bribes from Northrop as well, until 1973. At the time den Uyl managed to prevent criminal prosecution of the prince in the Lockheed affair. Had the issue of the Northrop bribe also been known, however, it is unlikely that this would have been possible, and it might have caused the end of the reign of the House of Orange in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Attorney-General Suing Amsterdam Municipality for Environmental Abuse

The Attorney-General is suing the Amsterdam Municipality, together with two Dutch companies and a ship captain. In 2006 the company which had chartered the ship Probo Koala, which was lying in Amsterdam port, offered to sell hazardous waste materials to local companies for treatment. As this turned out to be too expensive, the company sent the waste materials to the Ivory Coast where it was dumped outside the capital Abidjan by a local company. As a result, sixteen people died and thousands became ill. An investigation found that the Amsterdam municipal environmental service had made major mistakes in the handling of this matter when the ship was in Amsterdam port.

Movie Compares Wilders to Hitler

In a new documentary countering the movie being produced by Freedom Party Leader Geert Wilders, a Dutch psychiatrist expresses his fear that Wilders could rise to power in the future and compares this to the rise of Hitler, who was also elected democratically.

Dutch Police Has Not Dealt with Dutch Child Porno Sites

The daily Parool has reported that its columnist Karin Spaink has established that the Dutch national police knew about four Dutch child porno websites but did nothing against them.

Twenty-five Cities have Prohibitions on Gatherings

The number of Dutch cities with prohibitions on gatherings of problematic youngsters has increased rapidly. Two years ago such a prohibition was rare; last year at least 25 cities had initiated such rulings. A judge in Utrecht, however, has ruled that a municipality could issue such a prohibition only if it can be proved that there was a danger to the public order. In view of this he released seven youngsters who had been arrested. The government now wants to change the law, making it easier to issue such prohibitions.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Disaster Awareness Program is Ineffective

The publicity campaign, “Think Ahead” of the Ministry of the Interior, has had very little impact. The campaign aims at teaching Dutch citizens what they should do to prepare for a calamity. An evaluation showed that two-thirds of the Dutch know nothing or very little on how they should prepare and that this campaign has not contributed much to their awareness. The campaign has cost 5.5 million Euro.

Hundreds of Dutch Soldiers Returning from Afghanistan have Mental Problems

A study carried out by the Ministry of Defense shows that four out of ten Dutch soldiers who were involved in battle in Afghanistan require mental help at home. This involves hundreds of soldiers. Sixty-five suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder which can cause lasting fears and depression; others suffer from depression, sleeping disorders and conflicts with their partners or colleagues.

Three-Quarters of Asylum Seekers Confronted with Violence

Almost three-quarters of asylum seekers and refugees in the Netherlands and Belgium are confronted – directly or indirectly – with violence, including rape and physical assault. These are the findings of a study by the University of Gent. Of the respondents 39% were themselves victims. The others said that it had affected their family or friends.

Iranian Parliamentarians Call for Review of Diplomatic Relations with Netherlands

Iranian parliamentarians have asked President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to review economic and diplomatic relations with the Netherlands and Denmark. The Iranian government has asked the Dutch Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin (Christian Democrat) to forbid broadcasting Geert Wilders’ movie on the Quran. The Iranian Minister of Justice Gholam-Hossein Elham posited that the rights of Muslims around the world will be violated if this blasphemous movie is shown.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Twenty-three Percent Average Daily Absence at Amsterdam Schools

A check at two vocational schools in Amsterdam revealed that the average daily absence rate was 24% and 22% respectively. Before this test was carried out, the municipality had assumed that the average would be about 11%. As a result of the investigation, the schools will now keep better records of who does not intend, and will be in touch with these students.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dutch Politicians Unhappy with Moroccan Government’s Attitude

The Christian Democrats, Labor Party and the Liberals have expressed their disapproval of statements made by Moroccan Minister Mohammed Ameur. The minister had said that Moroccans abroad belong to the 17th province of the Kingdom of Morocco, and that the Moroccan government would strengthen its ties with Moroccans abroad by promoting Arab culture. Former Dutch Minister Henk Kamp (Liberals) said that this attitude hampers the Dutch interest in integrating the 330,000 Moroccan immigrants better into life in the Netherlands. A few days earlier there had been criticism by Ella Vogelaar, Minister of Integration, about similar statements made by the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

Massive Hate Mail against “Holland Loves Muslims” Petition

Two weeks ago a group of Dutchmen started a petition called “Holland Loves Muslims”. It aimed to reach 50,000 supporters but so far has only received 2,000. At the same time it has received between 1,500 and 2,000 hate e-mails.

One out of Six Dutchmen Victim of Stalking

One out of five women has been the victim of stalking, while the same has happened to one out of seven men. These data are presented in a doctoral thesis by Suzan van der Aa at the University of Tilburg. She interviewed more than a thousand people. Only a limited number of these cases led to a complaint with the police.

Prime Minister Critical of the Dutch Antilles

During his visit to St. Maarten in the Dutch Antilles, the Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende (Christian Democrats) criticized the state of justice and government on the island. He said that St. Maarten will not attain autonomy if there is no progress in this area. Local politicians criticized the Dutch prime minister.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Major Changes in Education System are Failure

The changes in the Dutch educational system in the 1990s have led to a “worrisome declining trend” in the basic skills of school pupils, such as mathematics and reading capabilities. The Government has neglected its core task to guarantee suitable education. These are the conclusions of a parliamentary committee, headed by Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Labour) which has investigated the major educational renewal of the last twenty years.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism on the Rise

In a new report of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance, (ECRI) it warns against growing discrimination of Moslems and mentions a rise in anti-Semitism. The report says that the dislike of Moslems has been greatly increased since September 11, 2001, and the murder of media-maker Theo Van Gogh by an extremist Moslem in 2004. Anti-Semitism is rising in particular among the younger generation. The word Jew is increasingly used as an insult and also Holocaust denial is on the rise.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Two-Thirds of Dutch Women Victims of Sexual Harassment

Sixty-seven percent of Dutch women have suffered some kind of sexual harassment. Eleven percent have been raped and 39% have been sexually assaulted. These were the findings of a poll by the weekly Yes among 3,700 young women.

Parliamentarians Criticize Amsterdam Airport Security

Opposition parliamentarians have asked for an urgent debate on the safety shortcomings at the Amsterdam Airport. Fred Teeven (Liberal), a former public prosecutor, said that he cannot imagine that there is any other airport in Europe where security is worse than in Amsterdam. He added that also screening of airport personnel by the national intelligence AIVD is also very inefficient. Journalist Alberto Stegeman, who organized the smuggling of a fake bomb onto a plane headed for Cairo said on television that, after he made this public, security has improved, but screening of personnel is still weak. Personnel are still allowed to bags with them without having the contents checked.

Four Hundred Patients Called for Tests after Hospital Errors

Four hundred patients who were treated at the St. Jansdal Hospital in Harderwijk must have their blood tested for hepatitis and HIV, after it was discovered that a medical instrument used had not been properly cleaned. Last week three hundred patients were called in to the Rijnland Hospital in Leiderdorp for blood tests after it was found that instruments had not been sterilized according to standards. Last year many patients had to be checked in two other hospitals because of similar problems.

National Lottery Computers Crash

On Monday the computers of the national lottery collapsed. Without knowing this, many people threw away their tickets thinking that they had simply not won any prize. The lottery management has recommended that they try to find remnants of the tickets and check these again when results are published. About 1.8 million tickets had been sold.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Another Safety Incident at Amsterdam Airport

A Dutch passenger waiting for a flight from Amsterdam Airport to the Canary Islands, pushed a wrong button and walked into the empty airplane which had not yet been prepared for the flight. There were no security people at the gate. A week earlier a journalist had smuggled a fake bomb onto a plane.

Attorney-General: Complaints against Wilders not Punishable

Three complaints against Geert Wilders, in view of various statements, will not lead to prosecution because they are not punishable. This includes his remarks about a “tsunami of Islamization” coming over the West. Forty-two additional complaints are still under consideration, including Wilders’ statement that part of the Quran should be torn up.

Retirement Benefits for Prisoners to be Cancelled

Until 2009 prisoners will be entitled to receive retirement benefits.They are also eligible for study grants given to people who do not live at home. Thereafter a new law will cancel these benefits. Subsidies for those who are unfit to work have already been cancelled. Last year a majority of the Parliament had also asked the government to investigate the possibility to have prisoners with the means, pay for their stay in prison. The government has decided to reject this motion.

Prison for Those Who Wounded Football Fans

The Hague Appeals Court has condemned four people to four years in prison. They, together with another 65 fans of the Amsterdam Ajax football club, had attacked the clubhouse of the ADO Hague football club’s fans in February 2006 with knives, sticks and Molotov cocktails. Almost all 10 fans who were in the clubhouse at the time were wounded.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Politeness an Asset When Requesting Euthanasia

Doctors at three Dutch hospitals have published ten guidelines for people with a death wish asking for euthanasia. They advise them to be polite toward their doctors, to avoid giving the impression that they still enjoy anything in life and not to act depressed. The doctors write that “the patient who follows these rules increases the chances that his request for euthanasia will be accepted.”

Participants in Quran Movie to Remain Anonymous

Geert Wilders, leader of the conservative Freedom Party, has announced that the director and others who work on his movie on the Quran will remain anonymous in order to ensure their security. He added that the aim of the movie – to be called “Fitna” and to be released in March – is to show that Islam may result in the Dutch losing their freedom.

Politicians: Investigate Whether Foreigners Endanger Society

Ahmed Marcouch (Labor) head of the council of the problematic Slotervaart neighborhood in Amsterdam, has proposed that foreigners who have a residence permit in the Netherlands should be investigated every five years as to whether they are “a danger to society.” He added that in this way misbehaving hooligans can be expelled from the Netherlands. He received immediate support from an important opposition parliamentarian, former Minister Henk Kamp (Liberal).

Darkness in Amsterdam’s Red Light District

Last Thursday night hundreds of people carrying pink balloons marched through the center of Amsterdam. Among them were many prostitutes. They were protesting against the municipality’s plans “to clean up Amsterdam’s red light district.” During the march all lights in the area were extinguished.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Prime Minister Criticizes Deputy Prime Minister for Supporting Obama

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende (Christian Democrat) has criticized Deputy Prime Minister Wouter Bos (Labor) for expressing his preference for the American Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Balkenende said: “The Dutch government has no preference for any American presidential candidate. This is true for the members of the Dutch government also.”

Journalist Smuggles Fake Bomb into Plane at Amsterdam Airport

A Dutch journalist, with the help of another worker, has smuggled a fake bomb onto a plane headed for Cairo at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. He passed through the airport security at the personnel entrance using someone else’s pass. A colleague of his who worked at Schiphol through an employment agency had smuggled bags of fake drugs past customs for months without being caught even once.

Schoolchildren Choose Top Criminal as the Year’s Most Important Dutchman.

According to a poll conducted in 40 schools by the paper Krant in de Klas, top criminal Willem Holleeder was the most important Dutchman in 2007. Among the 2000 pupils polled, 30 percent voted for him. Second and third places went to conservative politicians Geert Wilders with eighteen percent and former minister Rita Verdonk with seventeen percent.

Global Warming Compensation Misleading

The Volkskrant daily claims that part of the activities of several “green” organizations to offer air travelers the opportunity to pay for planting trees in order to compensate for their contribution to global warming are misleading. The World Nature Funds (WNF) claims that 40% of these tree planting projects do not meet its environmental criteria.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

One Third of Dutch: Jew Cannot be Prime Minister

Fifty-three percent of the Dutch think that a Jew would be acceptable as a prime minister. Thirty-one percent do not and sixteen percent don’t know. Ninety-three percent would accept a woman for the position, 78 percent a homosexual, 75 percent a black person and 27 percent a Muslim.

Judge: Jail Fugitive Entitled to Unemployment Benefits

The Hague municipality has failed to reclaim 46,000 Euro in unemployment benefits from a drugs dealer who didn’t report back to prison after a short leave in 2002. In addition the man had continued dealing in drugs. The criminal had been receiving unemployment benefits under his own name for more than five years. A Hague judge ruled that being a fugitive does not mean that a person is not entitled to unemployment benefits. Even the criminal’s lawyer was surprised by this judgment. He also expressed surprise that someone who should still be in jail for another several months had not been arrested by the police.

Crime Returns to Rotterdam Neighborhood

Street terror and armed robberies have returned to the Rotterdam Katendrecht neighborhood, with a new generation of criminals. A consistent effort by the Rotterdam municipality in the neighborhood had put an end ten months ago to a series of armed robberies, murders and burglaries. These crimes had been carried out by a gang of 30 youngsters, mainly from the Dutch Antilles. Then preventive frisking was introduced, many weapons and drugs were found and arrests were made. The former alderman for security of the right wing Leefbaar Rotterdam party has proposed sterilizing all Antillean mothers who cannot control their children.

Municipality Building Closed Temporarily Because of Powder Letter

The municipality building of the town of Zutphen was closed temporarily after a letter containing a suspicious powder was received. Three employees who were in contact with the powder were put in quarantine. Two hundred employees were forbidden to leave the building for five and a half hours. After investigation the powder was found to be innocuous.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Soccer Fans Throw Stones at Police

Before the soccer game between Ajax of Amsterdam and Feijenoord of Rotterdam, supporters threw stones against a special unit of the police. Twelve fans were arrested. During the game one supporter was arrested for lighting fireworks.

Businessmen Swindled out of 400 Million Euro

Dutch businessmen are swindled out of at least 400 million Euro per year by fraud-oriented service companies. Their victims are mostly small businessmen.This was stated by the monitoring group Steunpunt Acquisitiefraude which was founded four years ago for this purpose. They are presently able to identify 50 regular perpetrators, which they consider is only the tip of the fraud iceberg.

Council of State: Negative Opinion on Free Schoolbooks

The senior advisory body to the Government, the Council of State, has expressed a negative opinion on the proposed Government law to make schoolbooks free of charge. It says that there should be other priorities in education, that people with high incomes will benefit most from it and that it will not improve the quality of education.

Minister Ignored Critical Report on Cruelty of Animal Transport

The daily Volkskrant claims that Gerda Verburg (Christian Democrat), Minister of Labor, Nature and Food Quality, has ignored a report on the cruelty of animal transports for over a year. The policy rules laid down by the minister in 2004 are not being carried out by the ministry. Am external consultant wrote that in particular the regulations for the transport of pigs and sheep are not respected by transporters. A spokesperson of the foundation Dier en Recht (Animal and Law) claimed that the veterinarian inspectors are under pressure to break the law. The spokesman also claimed that the efforts by inspectors who want to stop animal abuse are being obstructed by the ministry.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Deputy Minister: Young People asking for Social Security Should be "Kicked in the Behind"

Deputy Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Ahmed Aboutaleb (Labor Party) has said that young people who ask for unemployment allowances should be "kicked in the behind." He is preparing a law which will not allow anyone aged 18-27 to receive unemployment payments.

Government Wants to Expel Criminals from the Antilles

Minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin (Christian Democrats) is preparing a law which would allow the expulsion of criminals from the Dutch Antilles. Seven and a half percent of people from the Dutch Antilles living in the Netherlands have a police file, as opposed to 2 ½ percent of the total Dutch population. Hirsch Ballin stressed that this project is not discriminatory as the Dutch Antilles can also expel Dutch criminals.

Shopkeepers Complain about East European Criminal Gangs

The Platform Detailhandel Nederland, which represents all Dutch shopkeepers, has called for the rapid establishment of a national police unit to deal with exposing criminal gangs which rob shops. In 2007 at least a thousand shops were robbed, mainly by gangs from Poland, Bulgaria, Rumania and Lithuania. They stole merchandise valued at 220 million Euro which is almost a third of the 700 million Euro value of goods stolen by shoplifters in the last year.

Billions of Euros for Reintegration of Unemployed Rarely Help in Finding Work

According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, the monies spent on the reintegration of unemployed persons into the work force have hardly any effect on their finding employment. In 2004, 41% of those receiving assistance found work but, according to the ministry, this would have happened even without government help. The amount of money spent for this purpose has been reduced from 3 billion Euro in earlier years to 2.2 billion Euro in 2006. Minister of Social Affairs Piet Hein Donner (Christian Democrats) says that the situation is improving.