Dutch news in brief, Friday 10 July 2009

10th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

Staff shortages lead to hospitals turning away ambulances
AD warns hospitals are turning away ambulances because of staff shortages.

The situation has come to light following a survey by the Dutch Association of Emergency Departments at 60 hospitals.

Almost two thirds of the emergency departments are short-staffed. At the beginning of the year hospitals had vacancies for 280 emergency nurses.

“At the same time the number of patients is increasing. Errors are made because of the work pressure and quality suffers,” said spokesperson for the association, Peter Bocxe.

The work pressure is one of the main reasons why nurses leave. A quarter of nursing staff are over 50 and do not think they can continue with their work till pension age.

Although hospitals are trying to recruit more staff, 31 percent of job vacancies are still not filled after more than six months. Training is provided to employees, but nurses are often not available for shifts.

The association plans to ask Health Minister Ab Klink for more money to solve the problem.

Fuss over Sharia law in the Netherlands
Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin is looking into whether Sharia courts are merely innocent advisory bodies or whether they undermine Dutch law.

According to Trouw and nrc.next, it depends who you talk to.

Islamic experts say while there are no Sharia courts in the Netherlands, there are imams who travel throughout the country to give advice. Others warn that advice given by orthodox imams infringe on women’s rights, allowing polygamy and the marriage of young girls.

In Great Britain, Sharia courts are used to settle disputes, usually in divorce cases and family law. Those in support of Sharia law say it is a lot of fuss over nothing and point out the existence of Catholic and Jewish courts.

“It would be principally wrong to take away this basic right from Muslims,” said Maurits Berger, Professor of Islam at the University of Leiden.

Ruud Peters, who recognises that conservative imams may give men more rights than women, says there is no reason for alarm, as long as Dutch laws on women’s rights are not contravened.

However, Arabist Hans Jansen fears that women have less freedom of choice and Sharia courts could prevent serious matters from being brought to the attention of the police.

Good news for permanent holiday home residents
There is much ado in the papers about the housing market.

De Pers reports figures from estate agents suggesting that the housing market is picking up are unreliable. AD says it’s a good time for starters on the housing market because the recession is bringing prices down.

Meanwhile it’s good news for permanent holiday home residents.

Housing Minister Jacqueline Cramer has decided to allow people who have permanently occupied their holiday homes since 1 November 2003 to be considered as permanent residents. This brings an end to the uncertainty of their status as councils fail to evict them from their little pieces of paradise.

Out of the 100,000 holiday homes in the Netherlands, 16,000 are permanently occupied. Many of the get-aways have been legalised as permanent residences, with more than 5,000 tolerated by the authorities.

The residents will have to prove they have continually occupied the premises since 2003 and will not be able to sell their wood cabins, cosy caravans and luxury lodges as permanent homes.

Nevertheless, the minister said: “They should see the legalisation as an amnesty. Holiday homes were never meant for permanent occupation.”

Lean diet makes you live longer
Scientists have long known most organisms which live on a lean diet live longer. But, according to Trouw, research into rhesus monkeys shows the same is probably true for humans.

Not only do you live longer on a lean diet, you are also less likely to develop tumours or heart disease. Eating less means metabolism is lowered and fewer free radicals are released.

In the 20-year experiment, 80 percent of the monkeys fed less were still alive at the end compared to only half of the control group.

For those seeking eternal youth, AD reports a substance from Easter Island increased the lives of mice by up to 38 percent.

Meanwhile, young people in the province of South Holland are throwing caution to the wind. According to AD, they are lobbying for a McDonald's on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee.

Pee bag for walkers in four-day event
Preparations for strange-coloured bags to be handed out to walkers are underway for the Nijmegen four-day walking event later in July.

AD publishes two plastic sacs with a thick rubber rim at the top. The long narrow silver one is for men and the wider green model with a pink rim is for women.

Physiologist Maria Hopman, who plans to study the walkers’ water management, is handing out ‘portable toilets’ to 100 walkers, so that she can measure how much moisture they lose during the 160-kilometre march.

Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica

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