Dutch news in brief, 19 September 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.19 September 2008
Moroccan interference angers Dutch government
An allegation that members of the Moroccan embassy in the Netherlands recruited at least one police officer is a major story in today's papers.
De Volkskrant writes that Moroccan interference with Dutch affairs has angered the government. Parliament will hold an emergency debate on the issue next week.
On Thursday it was reported that this summer Morocco recalled two diplomats who were allegedly involved in the recruitment under pressure from the Dutch Foreign Ministry. Although the incident occurred earlier this year it was only reported in the Dutch press this week.
De Telegraaf reports that another police officer of Moroccan origin was dismissed early this year after the Dutch secret service described him as a security risk.
In an editorial, the paper writes: "The espionage affair comes at the same time of serious incidents in various neighbourhoods involving Moroccan youths."
The paper says the authorities must take emergency measures because the situation is "unacceptable".
"To solve these problems, the Netherlands and Morocco must have a relationship based on trust."
Parliament confronts Wilders
Trouw writes that "for the past year and a half MPs have been attempting to debate with Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders. Yesterday they changed their tune."
The leader of the Democratic faction in parliament Alexander Pechtold called him an extremist with racist stories. GreenLeft parliamentary leader Femke Halsema said the initials of his Freedom Party, FP, mean no more than 'Foreigner-bashing Platform'. VVD leader Mark Rutte says he "no longer has any need to listen to Wilders' scratched record".
Trouw writes that in Wilders' latest "scratched record" tirade, he told Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende that if someone smashed his home to smithereens he would also "throw him out of the house".
The Freedom Party leader proposed withdrawing the Dutch army from Afghanistan so that it could "accompany Moroccan criminals to Schiphol Airport. Then we'll put their passports in the shredder and put them on a plane."
The usually calm prime minister responded emotionally at first. He berated Wilders for "driving one group into a corner".
Explosive increase in people charged
In an interview with NRC Handelsblad, lawyer Jan Boone, who has practised law for 35 years, says in recent years there has been an explosive increase in the number of people charged with crimes on the basis of anonymous and unverifiable accusations.
He says the practice of calling telephone numbers where one can "report crime anonymously" has been accepted by everyone, "even the Bar".
"Everyone can say the most terrible things about you," he says. Also, people's lives can be ruined without them being able to defend themselves.
Around 80,000 people called to inform on someone in 2007. More than a quarter of the calls were followed up. The anonymous charges led to 1,111 arrests.
Writer reads to people lying in bed
De Telegraaf reports how a nearly broke writer has found a new market.
"What was born out of necessity is now shooting like a literary rocket." As a professional writer, David de Poel "has a chronic lack of money". "That comes with the trade. Life is getting more expensive all the time. I had to come up with something, preferably along the lines of what I write about in my books so that I could also expand my readership."
De Poel now reads out loud to people lying in bed, before they go to sleep - "for a small fee of EUR 50 for half an hour". The author says life is becoming more impersonal.
"Cashiers are fired and everything is done by machine. Purchasing tickets, you name it. I think people miss having contact and companionship. Reading aloud is part of this."
Responding to a comment about the bedroom being an intimate place, De Poel laughs and says: "I admit that there are some exciting moments. A week ago the door was opened by a scarcely-clad woman with a loose dressing gown. A librarian! But I don't do anything. I'm a professional."
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]