Dutch news in brief, 23 July 2004

23rd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

Dutch back plan to tap all phone calls

Dutch back plan to tap all phone calls

The Dutch government supports a plan to record every telephone conversation in the country, Radio Netherlands has reported. The plan would permit the recording of every telephone call, email and SMS for a period of one to three years. It is hoped that the plan — proposed by France, the UK, Sweden and Ireland after the Madrid bombings in March — will help in the fight against terrorism. Opponents claim it will endanger people's privacy.

Dutch least pleased with euro currency

Dutch consumers are the least satisfied of all EU nationals with the euro currency. A European Commission survey indicated that 39 percent of Dutch nationals are negative about the euro, compared with 34 percent six months ago. The average among the 12 euro-currency nations is 30 percent. Dissatisfaction with the euro is also rising in Germany, where 38 percent of survey respondents are less then pleased about the currency. But in every euro nation, there are more people pleased than displeased with the currency, but that is the reverse in the UK and Sweden, which have not introduced the euro.

Four day walk comes to a festive end

The remaining participants of the Nijmegen Four Day March started off on their final journey of 50, 40 or 30km at about 4am on Friday. The route was to take them through the towns of Grave and Cuijk. The participants were to be given a festive welcome back in Nijmegen, with police expecting tens of thousands of people to gather in the city. Dutch motorists association ANWB warned of traffic jams around Nijmegen, news agency nu.nl reported. A total of 44,638 started out on the four-day walk on Tuesday, but by Thursday night, just 40,176 were left.

South African charged with student's murder

A 46-year-old South African was officially charged on Friday in the South African town of Swellendam with the murder of Dutch student Marleen Konings, who was killed in December 2003. The trial of Ferdinandt Mostert — who has also been charged with the murder of a former prison cell mate — will start in Cape Town on 20 September. The prosecution expects he will be given a life sentence, of which 25 years must be served, if he is found guilty.

Court lifts ban on Absinthe

Amsterdam Court lifted a ban on the use of absinthe that was imposed on the green drink, known sometimes in Dutch as the green fairy, in 1909. The court said Dutch law had been overtaken by European regulations. Absinthe may now be sold on the condition that the working substance thujone remains within European-accepted levels. Absinthe is a green liqueur that has a bitter anise or liquorice flavour and a high alcohol content. It has been accused and accredited with having mind-alerting qualities and was a favourite in Bohemian circles in the 19th century. It is prepared from the herb absinthe and other herbs, but was banned in many countries because of its toxicity. Amsterdam liquor dealer Menno Boorsma had launched the legal battle after the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (VWA) seized a bottle from him in February. Instead of paying the EUR 450 fine, Boorsma resolved to challenge the ban on absinthe. It has been suggested Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh was under the influence of Absinthe when he lopped off part of his left ear.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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