Dutch news in brief, Friday 16 October 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
DSB clutching at straws
The DSB bank saga continues to monopolise the front pages as an Amsterdam court gave the bank until Friday midday to find a buyer to save it from bankruptcy.
DSB owner Dirk Scheringa held talks with the five major Dutch banks throughout Thursday night but failed to convince them to take over his bank.
"Light goes out for DSB", sobs De Telegraaf, while de Volkskrant puts on a brave face, telling us: "Bankers offer Dirk Scheringa no help".
de Volkskrant reports Scheringa is still clutching at a last straw as a major US bank has apparently shown interest in DSB.
De Telegraaf says the affair could spell trouble for former finance minister Gerrit Zalm. As a minister and member of the DSB board then, he failed to tackle the bad practices at the bank. The paper warns that over 1,000 angry DSB customers are consulting lawyers, and Zalm may be among the prominent figures that are targeted in lawsuits.
New pension age plan slammed by all sides
Most papers report the pensionable age will be raised to 66 in 2020 and then to 67 in 2025.
People who have their 65th birthday during 2020 will be able to retire if they have worked solidly over the last 15 years, but on a slightly reduced pension. People with hard physical jobs must be offered easier work after 30 years by their employers.
de Volkskrant says the compromise measure drew immediate fire from a number of quarters.
FNV Union leader Agnes Jongerius was scathing: "It's all about money, not about people. It's a misshapen freak of a proposal which will spell decades of misery for society."
Agnes Kant from the Socialist Party was equally damning: "Pension robbery, antisocial and unfeasible" while the conservative VVD joined the chorus: "Too little, too late, too complicated".
Green Left's Femke Halsema used a reference to a Dutch national delicacy to forecast the measure's quick demise: "The proposal has the shelf life of a fresh herring".
Weapons smuggled via Rotterdam
De Telegraaf reports Iran’s nuclear and missile weapons may have smuggled via the Rotterdam port.
In the paper’s exclusive report, vessels operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Shipping Lines (IRISL) are suspected of aiding the country’s nuclear and missile programmes.
Christian Democrat MP Maarten Haverkamp found it shocking that no checks were conducted on IRISL ships. He is calling for stringent inspections to be carried out on the cargoes of IRISL ships docking at Rotterdam.
The MP is also pushing for similar checks on the thrice-weekly flights into Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport by Iran Air Cargo planes.
Sex games at youth welfare's home
A couple of papers cover news that 7 to 11-year-olds at a children’s welfare's home have been having sex with one another for months.
Their 'sex games' which went unnoticed by authorities ranged from touching to penetration, reports AD.
The sex games which involved 22 children showed no signs of coercion or abuse. The two children who initiated the sex games and kept watch while sessions were going on have been moved to another institution.
The director of the home said they found out what was going on far too late.
The children were admitted into the home because they were found to have 'obsessive sexual behaviour'. Parents of the children involved are said to be "shocked, upset and angry".
Dutch citizenship courses should be for selective group: councillor
nrc.next reports that money is being wasted on providing citizenship courses for people who are already integrated into Dutch society and speak Dutch well. In 2007, everyone not holding a Dutch or EU-country passport was required to attend the courses.
People not wanting to follow a course have to pay EUR 81 to take a test. Currently, the criteria for exemption without a test are extremely strict.
A Rotterdam councillor is among those who said it should be easier for councils to exempt people who can speak Dutch and are well acquainted with the Dutch way of life.
nrc.next says an estimated 500,000 people in the Netherlands do not have a good enough command of the Dutch language. However, about two-thirds of them are not required to take the courses because they hold Dutch passports.
Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica