Dutch news in brief, 18 March 2005

18th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

Chemical clean-up case abandoned

Chemical clean-up case abandoned

The Environment Ministry has abandoned a damages claim against chemical company Akzo Nobel, which was accused of soil pollution in the Twente region. State Secretary Pieter van Geel said the legal battle is too costly and would not prove anything. Soil in Twente was polluted in the 1950s and 60s after it was mixed with the insecticide HCH. The poison originated from the Akzo Nobel site in Hengelo. The ministry holds Akzo accountable for the pollution, despite the fact it was not known at the time how poisonous HCH was. But the appeals court in Den Bosch ruled several months ago that Akzo Nobel did not have to pay for the clean-up operation. The Dutch State has decided against appealing the decision.

Greenpeace protest at Finnish embassy

Police arrested on Friday 12 Greenpeace activists demonstrating outside the Finnish embassy in The Hague against the Scandinavian country's felling of primeval forests. The activists had used a crane to place a large container in front of the embassy and two protestors were making sawing noises from inside the container. Greenpeace also demanded a meeting with the Finnish ambassador. The protest was not allowed to continue because police were not notified in advance. Police were hoping to remove the container — which was designed as a 'forest rescue observation centre' — and the two other protestors throughout the course of the day.

New tabloid set for August debut

Publishers PCM and Wegener are to launch a new tabloid newspaper on 20 August. The result of a merger between the Algemeen Dagblad and seven regional newspapers, the new project will appear as a national daily and 20 regional versions. A 24-hour news website will also be set up. The name of the newspaper has not been revealed. Out of 1,100 jobs, some 325 will be cut, 140 of which from the editorial department. The national daily will have a print-run of 600,000 copies. The merger is in response to declining circulations. Unions have raised concerns over job losses, while journalist union NVJ is concerned about the impact on news coverage. Competition watchdog NMa has yet to give a ruling.

Tsunami toll nears 30

The number of Dutch people known to have died in the Indian Ocean tsunami last year rose to 26 on Thursday, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has said. Another 10 people are missing, presumed dead, and five other untraceable people are feared to have been in the region hit by the disaster on 26 December.

Police and prostitutes kiss and make up

Two community police officers have been assigned a new beat — the street prostitution zone in the northern Dutch city of Groningen. The officers will also function as confidants for the prostitutes and will monitor if more 'blue' is needed to police the red light district. Groningen City Council took the decision after prostitutes complained that there was too much police surveillance in the region. They claimed that officers were coming and watching the street sex zone like "monkeys", driving customers away.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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