Dutch news in brief, Friday 25 September 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
Train crash near Rotterdam leaves one dead
Some papers report of Thursday night’s train crash.
"Explosions after train crash" screams the AD's headline while de Volkskrant reports of "Three trains crash". The dramatic pictures show a goods train jammed under a fly-over, twisted up like a concertina.
The AD says that two freight trains crashed into each other at a junction just south of Rotterdam around 10.30pm. A passenger train then hit the wreckage. An eyewitness told the paper that there was a fireball and pieces of wreckage went flying through the air.
de Volksrant reports the driver one of the freight trains died but relatively few passengers on the passenger train was hurt.
Two young women in the train "didn't have the idea it was an accident[...]rather that the train suddenly put the brakes on hard".
However, most people talked about "a lot of flames" and "small fires".
Debate on Dutch military mission in Afghanistan continues
Friday’s press picks up the continuing saga of whether Dutch forces will stay on in Afghanistan after 2010, the date set for the end of their present mission in Uruzgan province.
de Volkskrant leads with the story, telling us that Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop is no longer opposed to the Dutch remaining, as long as troop numbers are drastically reduced.
Of the three coalition parties, only Labour is still against extending the Uruzgan mission but, the paper points out, without Labour's backing, there will be no parliamentary majority for the move.
Trouw says one thing is certain – the Netherlands will give up its leading role in Uruzgan.
The paper believes the lead will be taken up by the United States, with the Dutch keeping a presence based round reconstruction work.
It reports Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende believes all the experience gained by the Dutch in reconstruction and the training of Afghan soldiers shouldn't just be thrown away.
Trouw also covers an independent Afghan report that concludes that many in Uruzgan are positive about the Dutch efforts in the fields of security and the provision of health care and education. After three years, says the paper, the report proves false predictions that little or no reconstruction would ever be achieved in Uruzgan.
Public sector bonuses on the rise
Trouw reports Deputy Health Minister Jet Bussemaker finds it "unbelievable" that the director of an institution for mentally disabled people has been given an interest-free mortgage for EUR 500,000 by his semi-public employer. The director was reported to have earned a total of EUR 213,000 in 2008.
"This is too mad for words," said the minister. "A care institution should be providing care. You go to a bank for a mortgage."
Nrc.next has been doing some research and says it's no secret that the public sector tries to keep top managers and experienced personnel by giving them extra money.
The paper also reports paying bonuses to executives in the public and semi-public sector is on the increase. It lists the 25 highest bonuses earned in the public sector. Topping the list is the additional EUR 84,200 paid by the defence ministry to a fighter pilot in 2006.
Swindlers' paradise in Flevoland
In De Telegraaf’s report of "Flevoland is fraudster's paradise, the paper says thieves, swindlers and fraudsters are left in peace by the province's authorities because of personnel shortages.
Police in Flevoland apparently only deal with youth crime, violence and sexual offences.
The paper stumbled on the discovery whilst investigating a local company fraud involving millions.
"Property crime [...] regardless of how much money people have lost doesn't involve bodily injury and that's what we concentrate on," admitted the police.
"Swindlers and fraudsters can do what they like," concluded one Flevolander.
Prisoners wanted - for love
On its front page, the AD has a curious report showing that jail inmates are hugely popular as romantic partners.
A dating agency specialising in convicts is doing a roaring trade, dealing with people searching for that special relationship.
Men and women inmates, "thieves, cocaine smugglers, jailbirds with mental problems, they're all very popular," said the agency's boss.
The paper runs a photo of a rugged-looking man with a goatee, eying the camera with a serious expression.
"Construction worker Rick (40) is one prisoner looking for a woman … Hobbies include bull terriers, water sports and games.”
Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica