Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Physicians Against Fireworks

The Dutch Association of Ophthalmologists (NOG) says that last New Year’s Eve about 1,100 people needed emergency treatment after being hurt by fireworks. A third of them suffered damages to their eyes. NOG chairman Tjeerd de Faber said that, at his hospital in Rotterdam, out of 40 victims, 11 lost their vision and one had to have an eye removed. The organization opposes all personal use of fireworks.

Minister of Defense: Current Problems of Troops in Afghanistan Due to American Policies in 2001-2

Minister of Defense Eimert van Middelkoop (Christian Union) has said that the problems incurred by NATO troops with the Taliban in the Afghanistan countryside are to the result of decisions taken by the US in 2001-2. He said that he is convinced that the Dutch troops there will face more unrest in the year

Barkeepers Complain about Tolerance for Smoking

About 1,500 café and bar employees have complained that there is still smoking in their places of work, even though it has been banned. Many owners of such locations are allowing people to smoke. This was announced by the Monitor of Clean Air Nederland.

Special Protection for Mayor’s Residence

The police in the town of Den Helder have installed special protection in Mayor Stefan Hulman’s residence . This was done after there were graffiti and damages on the municipality building. There is anger in the town about the fact that the mayor receives a subsidy for his house in Rotterdam.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Former Ministers of Curaçao Return Dutch Honors

Six residents of Curaçao, three of whom are former ministers, have returned the royal honors they had received to the governor of the Dutch Antilles. They did so because they claim that the Netherlands is planning to re-colonize the island.

Forty Tons of Illegal Fireworks Confiscated

Forty tons of illegal fireworks have been confiscated by the police in Rotterdam harbor. These items are very dangerous and contain many heavy poisonous metals. If they had been ignited, they would have released toxins into the atmosphere.

Socialist Party Wants Clarification on Airport Security

The Socialist Party has asked the Minister of Justice how the journalist Alberto Stegeman could manage to get to the airplane at Schiphol airport which is used by the Queen, the royal family and ministers without being noticed. Stegeman entered the area with a very simply faked KLM worker’s pass. The Government Information Service has refused to comment on Stegeman’s,2

Unclear whether Amsterdam Cameras Useful in Security

Since 2006 sixteen security cameras have been installed in Amsterdam North. They were put in to counteract the caused by youngsters hanging around in the streets. Researchers of the DSP group have found that it was impossible to verify if the cameras have actually been in operation or if they have had any effect in reducing criminal acts among these youth.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Information on Flaws in Amsterdam Underground Construction

A new report indicates that an entire wall of one of the stations of the new Amsterdam underground is possibly of poor quality. It has now become known that there was a major leak in the station in June. Until now attention had focused mainly on the sinking of nearby houses which started two days after the leak was discovered.

Government Plane Poorly Protected

Journalist Alberto Stegeman has again managed to slip through security – and again at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. He succeeded in reaching – undisturbed – a government plane which is used by Queen Beatrix, members of the royal family and Dutch ministers. He showed how he did it on his TV program “Undercover in the Netherlands.” Anonymous airport employees had tipped him about flaws in the security system.

Freedom Party: Abolish Rights of Muslims to have Special Schools

The right-wing Freedom Party wants to abolish part of Article 23 of the Dutch constitution which states that ideological and religious groups are entitled to have their own schools. Parliamentarian Martin Bosma said that this law should be made null and void in the case of Muslims. It is unlikely that other parties will support the

Medical Specialists Treated for Alcohol/ Drug Addiction

Information is now forthcoming about a long list of medical specialists who have been treated in the past year for alcohol or drug addiction. For reasons of the protection of privacy, the names of the hospitals involved have not been publicized. Many of these specialists have been treated at SolutionS Center Voorthuizen, a detox clinic for the upper classes, which also provides psychiatric services. Earlier this year the Jellinek Clinic announced that there is a hard core of about a thousand physicians and lawyers who can function only when they have used alcohol or drugs.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bus Drivers Suffer from Frequent Attacks

One out of every 10 bus drivers and inspectors in regional transportation has been attacked physically. One out of five has been threatened with death; one out of 14 has been threatened with a weapon; and, 75% have been insulted. These are the results of a poll taken by the NIPO firm among 1,600 members of a trade union. Trade union executive Wyb Kusters says that employers must do more to ensure the safety of their employees and cancel services where necessary.

Police Head Thinks Native Dutch Hoodlums More Problematic than Moroccans

Jan Stikvoort, head of the police in Holland Central, says that in the area of his authority, native Dutch hoodlums who use drugs and alcohol are more of a problem than immigrant hooligans. He says that the incidents involving Moroccan youngsters in the town of Gouda have been exaggerated by politicians. The town got major publicity when bus drivers refused to serve the Oosterwei neighborhood after they were threatened by Moroccan youngsters.

Police Chase Youngsters off the Streets in Amsterdam West

In the Geuzenveld-Slotermeer area in Amsterdam West the police are chasing away youngsters who are just hanging around with friends, even if they are not causing any problems. In 2007 there were 170 armed robberies in the western parts of Amsterdam, almost half of the total for the whole city. Very often youngsters serve as lookouts for this purpose. The main targets of robberies in recent months were hotels, pharmacies and jewelers.

Special Police Team for New Year’s Eve in The Hague

A special police team has been formed for New Year’s Eve in The Hague. Last year more than a hundred cars were burned in The Hague and the surrounding areas on the holiday. The attorney-general’s office has also created a special team for that night.,1

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Government Buildings are Major Consumers of Energy

Many government buildings are among the major consumers of energy, according to their rating with an energy label indicating consumption. Of 334 government buildings investigated, 252 have a high consumption of energy. These include various ministries. The Ministries of Social Affairs and Health do not even have an energy label. All public buildings should have such a label before 1 January 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Year’s Eve Hooligans to be Punished Severely

Hooligans who hinder policemen, firemen and ambulance workers on New Year’s Eve will be severely punished. The attorney-general will ask for two and a half times the normal punishment.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christians Complain about Abuse of Christmas Songs and Stories

Christians say that advertising companies must stop abusing Christmas songs and stories for commercial purposes. One electronics chain had a song with the words “a sticker has been born on earth.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Labor Party Chair: Tolerance Didn’t Help Integration

Lilianne Ploumen , Chairperson of the Labor Party reports that tolerance has not contributed to the integration of immigrants into Dutch society. All that it meant, she added, is that the problems are being ignored. Ploumen has written a new document on integration for her party which will be brought to the vote in March.

Terror by Youngsters in Utrecht Neighborhood Continues

A group of eighty youngsters continue to terrorize the Kanaleneiland neighborhood in Utrecht. They intimidate, insult and threaten passersby, policemen and youth workers. These youngsters shout and drive around on motor bikes and in cars at high speeds. There is a prohibition on their gathering in the neighborhood. A few days ago four youngsters were arrested on suspicion of having threatened and molested youth workers.,2

Industrialists Negative about Economic Future

The Central Bureau of Statistics has stated that industrialists have never been as pessimistic about the future as they are now. While in November 12% of industrialists thought that their production would decline in the coming three months, in December this had risen to

One-Third of Cafes Neglect Prohibition on Smoking

In the last two and a half months inspectors have visited 5,100 cafes throughout the country. In 1,700 the law against smoking was not being upheld. Some were fined on the spot. A complaint was submitted against some others.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

President of Central Bank Pessimistic Regarding Economy

Nout Wellink, president of the Dutch Central Bank, has said that the economy will shrink more in 2009 than the ¾% forecast by the Central Planning Bureau. He added that the current recession will last longer than most people think.

Police Increases Efforts against Violent Animal Rights Extremists

A special team made up of members of the police, the attorney-general’s office and the intelligence services has been formed to act against the increasingly extreme intimidation by animal rights activists. A few days ago two cars belonging to one of the heads of the Dutch stock exchange were burned. Shares of a firm undertaking animal experiments are traded on the exchange.

Drastic Fall in Income of Farmers

The Agricultural Economic Institute has calculated that the income of farmers decreased in 2008 between 30-45%. The main reasons are higher costs of energy and fodder, declining prices of products and less demand abroad.

Replacing Old Buildings with New Ones Doesn’t Help Poor Neighborhoods

In a study carried out by the University of Utrecht it was found
that demolishing old apartment buildings from the 1950s and 60s and replacing them with new ones, does not improve the neighborhoods. More affluent people, if they actually move into these neighborhoods, don’t mix with the older residents. The investments required for these renovations do not show any significant yield, according to the researchers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Former Minister of Finance: Economic Crisis Bigger than Expected

Onno Ruding, former Minister of Finance (Christian Democrats), says that the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) is underestimating the shrinking of the Dutch economy in the coming year. The CPB forecasts a decrease of 0.75% next year. Ruding expects a 3% decline in the first quarter.

Prominent Labor Politician Asked for Subsidy to Bring Hate Sheikh to Netherlands

It has now come to light that in 2005. Ahmed Marcouch, a prominent Amsterdam member of the Labor Party, had asked the municipality for a subsidy to bring Yusuf al-Qaradawi to the Netherlands. Qaradawi is the ideologist of the Muslim Brotherhood and has issued fatwas in favor of suicide bombings. Others who supported this move were Yahia Bouyafa, the leader of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in the Netherlands, and the Dutch branch of the Turkish Muslim movement Milli Görü

Increased Demand for Substitutes of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

Since the growth and sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms have been banned in the Netherlands, there is increasing demand for substitutes. This includes plants such as certain cacti and sclerotia tubers.,2

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Six Soldiers Arrested after Fight

Six soldiers were arrested after they were involved in a fight with civilians in the town of Amersfoort. The military police said that no civilians were arrested.

Criminal Escapes From Jail due to Lack of Staff

A criminal who still has to serve another ten years in jail escaped from the Amsterdam Bijlmerbajes last week. The Amsterdam radio 85 says that it took ten minutes till the jailers realized that he was gone. One of the jailers told the radio that apparently the inmates know that there is a shortage of staff. This is the result of cutbacks in budget.

Almost 30% of Fireworks are not Safe

According to the annual inspection of the Ministry of Housing and Environment about 30% of fireworks bought by the public are unsafe. This is the same as last year, although in 2006 only 15% were found to be unsafe.

Owners of Prostitution Windows Publish White Book

The owners and tenants of 92 prostitution windows in Alkmaaar have published a “white book” entitled The Naked Truth, in which they state their opposition to the announced closure of the windows. They attack the town mayor saying he should be ashamed of his attitude towards a group of local entrepreneurs with no criminal record. They also complained that the mayor was not willing to receive them, despite the fact that they had asked nine times for a meeting. They say that there has not been such an attitude in the last 30 years.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Number of Working Poor Increases

Sociologist Erik Snel, of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, says that the number of working poor in the Netherlands has now reached 200,000. This means that these people, in three of the last 10 years, were living under the poverty level. They are mainly single mothers and other one-income families, low earning self-employed people, fishermen, farmers and others working in agriculture.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Court of Appeals: Five Big Cannabis Plants at Home are Tolerated

People who have up to five cannabis plants at home will not be prosecuted, no matter how large the plants are. The Court of Appeals has decided that a couple who was found with almost seven kilos of cannabis in their caravan should not be considered guilty. The court says that citizens must be assured that if they grow five cannabis plants for their own consumption they will not be prosecuted. The attorney-general wants to appeal to a higher court.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Netherlands European Leader in Bankruptcies

According to Euler Hermes, the largest insurer of credit in the world, the number of bankruptcies in the Netherlands will increase by 38% next year. This is more than anywhere else in Europe and, among advanced economies, less only than the United States and Hong Kong. The growth in bankruptcies will derive mainly from the decline in the German

Minister: Turkish Compulsory Military Service Hinders Integration in Netherlands

Turks living in the Netherlands still have to serve in the Turkish military. The new Minister of Integration Eberhard van der Laan (Labor) has told Parliament that he sees this as a hindrance to their integration in the Netherlands. He is supported by a majority of Parliament. His predecessor Ella Vogelaar had said that she didn’t didn’t see this as a problem.

Liberals: Send Problem Moroccan Youngsters back to Morocco

In a Parliamentary debate Paul de Krom (Liberals) said that Moroccan youngsters who continue to cause problems should be encouraged to go back to Morocco. He added that youngsters of Moroccan background who were born in the Netherlands should be included as well. Minister van der Laan said that his task was to maintain the law and that this proposal is against the law. The majority of Parliament supports the minister.

More Soccer Riots in Rotterdam

Again there were riots during and after a soccer game in Rotterdam between Feyenoord and the Polish visitors from Lech Poznan for the UEFA Cup. During the riots a Pole fell or was pushed into a canal. In addition, a group of Feyenoord fans threw rocks and fireworks. Nineteen Rotterdam fans were arrested, seven of them even before the game had begun.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Prime Minister Shocked by Protests on Curaçao

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende (Christian Democrats) hassaid that he was shocked by the reception he received in Curaçao. While there he signed an agreement on the future of the Dutch Antilles. During a press conference Balkenende reported on various incidents that occurred during his visit: the governor of the Antilles was harassed during a concert; the Dutch singer Hind was hissed at; demonstrators wore yellow stars in protest; there was a bomb threat. There were also intimidating demonstrators. The prime minister remarked: “This cannot be the future of Curaçao.”

Confidence of Dutch Businessmen in Future at Lowest Point

An opinion poll has found that the confidence of Dutch businessmen is at its lowest point since such polls were initiated in 1988. Pessimism is very serious in transport, industry and the building sector. Retailers and services are more optimistic.

Fortis Bank May Lose a Billion Euro

Minister of Finance Wouter Bos (Labor) told Parliament that the nationalized Fortis Bank is the main victim in the Netherlands of the huge American Madoff fraud case. Current estimates say that the damage may reach one billion Euro.

Half of Dutch Women Afraid of Christmas Time

A poll taken by the magazine Libelle among over 1,000 Dutch women showed that half of them are afraid of the Christmas period. Shopping in very crowded shops and carrying heavy purchases is a problem for 12% of the women. Other problems are cooking (6%). Sixteen percent of the women polled want the holiday season to be over because it reminds them of deceased relatives.,2

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Protest Upon Arrival of Dutch Prime Minister in Curaçao

Upon their arrival in Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Deputy Minister Ank Bijieveld (Christian Democrats) were welcomed by a protest demonstration. About a hundred protestors stood before their Dutch guests and local politicians, wearing yellow Stars of David on their clothing and carrying signs saying “Treason” and “Sellout.” The Dutch guests are there to finalize the dissolution of the Dutch Antilles and the autonomy of the island.

Meeting Place of Dutch Prime Minister Moved Due to Bomb Threat

Due to a bomb threat, the locale of yesterday’s meeting of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende on Curaçao was moved to the Dutch Marine base.

Data Bank with Information on Problem Youngsters to be Established

Deputy Minister Ank Bijieveld (Christian Democrats) has told the media that a data bank will be established containing all problematic youngsters in the Netherlands. Ethnic origin will also be included. Originally the plan was to focus only on Antillean youngsters under the age of 25 because they often change their addresses without notifying local authorities.

Shortage of Specialized Nurses Expected

The Association of Hospitals (NVZ) has announced that a shortage of specialized nurses can be expected. The association has called on the Minister of Health to make special funds available for training nurses, in particular for intensive care and surgery.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Substantial Increase of Debit Card Fraud in Railway Stations

There are more and more cases of criminals copying debit card codes from people who are paying for tickets in railway stations. The criminals install small cameras on top of the ticket machines. This year twenty people were arrested. The majority are from Eastern Europe.

Almost Half of Dutch Children Worried about Financial Crisis

A poll of almost 2,400 Dutch children found that more than 4 out of 10 youngsters aged 9-14 are worried about the economic crisis. Girls were more concerned than boys. Three-quarters of those interviewed said that money doesn’t make one