Dutch news in brief, 25 August 2004

25th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

Rail authority launches anti-vandalism campaign

Rail authority launches anti-vandalism campaign

Dutch rail authority ProRail announced on Wednesday it will place cameras along the train tracks this week and next to catch vandals and people walking on the railway lines red handed. Other measures such as improved fencing and the issuing of public information at schools will also be used to stop people from walking onto the Dutch rail network. ProRail said people walking near or on the network leads to 10 percent of all rail delays. Ten "mobile" cameras will initially be used on a trial basis and many more will be installed in future.

Higher sentence demanded for 'sleeping marines'

The public prosecutor's office (OM) demanded on Wednesday in the military chamber of Arnhem Appeals Court a two-month suspended military detention sentence and a 180-hour community work order against two Dutch marines who fell asleep while on guard duty in Iraq last year. Arnhem Court sentenced the men in March to a two-week suspended detention sentence and a 60-hour community work order. Both the prosecution and the marines appealed the ruling, news agency Novum reported. The 20-year-old marines were on guard duty in August 2003 at the Dutch base in the Iraqi province al-Muthanna when they fell asleep. The defence claims the circumstance the marines were forced to work under were too tough, but the prosecution has claimed the soldiers should have known they needed to take measures to ensure they remained awake. The appeals court will hand down its ruling in two weeks time.

Rotterdam Airport pushes for expansion

Currently restricted by noise regulations to 27,500 flights anually, Rotterdam Airport has demanded permission to double its number of take-offs and landings. It claims that demand is so great, regulations allowing 40,000 to 50,000 flights should be approved. Permission must first be granted by Rotterdam City Council, the Schiphol Group and the Transport Ministry, news service NIS reported. Business travellers are demanding Rotterdam offers connections with new destinations in Eastern Europe and Turkey.

Dutch in 'spectacular' corporate tax rate cut

The Dutch Finance Ministry announced on Wednesday "spectacular" plans to cut the corporate tax rate to 30 percent over the next three years, the website www.tax-news.com reported. "This is a spectacular reduction, and if you look at our direct competitors — the countries around us — then foreign investors should decide to come to the Netherlands and Dutch businesses would also benefit from that," Finance State Secretary Joop Wijn was quoted saying. Dutch corporate tax is presently 34.5 percent and the tax cut will cost the Dutch government annually EUR 2.4 billion, to be offset largely by higher energy taxes and abolishing tax breaks for company cars.

AH wins supermarket price war

After 10 months of continued price cuts, supermarket chain Albert Heijn (AH) looks to have emerged as the biggest winner from the price war. Competitor Laurus admitted last week that the price war contributed to a EUR 15 million loss in the first six months of this year, while Ahold — which owns AH — will release its six-month figures on Thursday. It has also been forecast that AH will start a new offensive in the autumn, in which another 1,000 products will be reduced in price. AH started the price war in October 2003, forcing the entire supermarket industry to follow suit. Consumers profited from lower prices, but sector organisation Vakcentrum Levensmiddelen estimates that between 8,000 and 10,000 jobs were lost.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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