Dutch news in brief, 22 June 2005

22nd June 2005, Comments 0 comments

Government parties agree WAO reform

Government parties agree WAO reform

The government parties and the Cabinet hammered out an agreement on reform of the WAO workers' disability pension scheme during crisis talks on Tuesday night. Overhauling the over-subscribed WAO system is a major policy aim for the centre-right coalition and failure to come up with a deal could have had serious implications for the survival of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's government. The parliamentary party leaders of Balkenende's Christian Democrats (CDA), Liberals (VVD) and the Democrats (D66) agreed that private insurance companies will be able to compete with the public benefits agency UWV to offer WAO coverage to companies. The idea behind the reform is that it stimulate everyone involved in the process to help get people who are not fully disabled to get back to work.  

Police in impotence pill raids 

The tax office's investigation branch FIOD-ECD seized 5,000 pills as well as files and computers on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the smuggling of imitations of impotence pills. Some 40 officers took part in raids at several locations in the Netherlands. Eight people were questions but no arrests were made. The FIOD-ECD said that the customs service has detected about 12,000 fake erection pills that were being smuggled through the post in a number of consignments. Most of the fake impotence pills come from India.

Van Gogh painting sells for EUR 3.5 million

An oil painting by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) has been auctioned by Christie's in London for EUR 3,537,640. Entitled "Une liseuse de romans", the canvas depicts a young woman reading a book. It was put up for auction by its American owner and the new buyer is also American. At the the time the painting was completed in 1888,  Van Gogh wrote in a letter to his sister: "there is a need for delight and happiness, for hope and love.  The uglier, older, weaker, sicker and poorer I become, the more I try to offset this by using more intense colours.  The reading girl with her ink-black hair, azure-blue body and wine-red sleeves against a yellow background is a sublime example.

Doctor struck off in organ scandal

Dutch pathologist Dick van Velzen has lost the right to practice medicine in the UK after he was found guilty by the General Medical Council of serious professional misconduct for ordering the removal of organs from hundreds of children's bodies at Alder Hey children's hospital in Liverpool. He did not seek the consent of their parents to remove the body parts. More than 2,000 pots containing body parts from 850 children were discovered in a filthy cellar at the hospital during an investigation into the retention of organs.

Theo tributes to be preserved

The hundreds of letters and drawings left by members of the public near at the scene where filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered last year are to be preserved by Amsterdam City Council's archive department. Many of the tributes were damaged by rain and will now be preserved in special fume cupboards to prevent further deterioration. Mould has been removed from the letters left by mourners. Work is underway to find a place to put the tributes on permanent display.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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