Dutch news in brief, Friday 26 June 2009

26th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Michael Jackson is dead
Despite its being late breaking news for the Dutch morning dailies, some still managed to lead with the shocking news that King of Pop Michael Jackson died following a heart attack at his Los Angeles home. “Michael Jackson is Dead,” is the plain headline on the front page of De Telegraaf, as de Volkskrant simply states “Michael Jackson Dies.” The headlines write themselves with news this big.
AD also had the news on the front page but just a couple of paragraphs. Trouw‘s readers had to dig deep for the story—on page 11— which quotes CNN at the time of the newspaper going to press saying that Jackson was in hospital and was ‘reportedly’ no longer breathing.
Nrc.next had nothing on Jackson but did feature a big photo on page three of another American icon who died yesterday—Farrah Fawcett, star of the seventies TV series ‘Charlie’s Angels’. Following the news of Jackson’s death, hers received only a cursory mention elsewhere.

Controversial government scheme saves money
Trouw reports that a controversial government scheme, which allows companies to use taxpayers’ money to keep workers who would have otherwise been fired on the books, is actually saving money. The paper quotes research conducted by the Central Planning Bureau, which shows that the scheme is saving the government EUR 600 million. Without the scheme, the government would have to pay social security benefits full-time, rather than for a limited period, until employees can be put back to work.
The government had set aside EUR 375 million for the scheme and received criticism from some political parties that such support was disruptive to the marketplace. The research found that, without this scheme, workers would have simply been fired and the government would have been left with a much bigger problem.
On the theme of the economic downturn, AD reports that students who are following a special scheme that combines work and study are losing their jobs as a result of the crisis. In turn, they are not able to complete their studies. Around ten thousand of these special work/study places have been lost, reports the newspaper. The problem is greatest in manufacturing, building and technical industries.

Getting top education harder for ethnic minority students
Ethnic minority students only get to the top levels of Dutch education after taking a much longer, more complex route than their native Dutch counterparts, according to Trouw. The report is based on research at the Amsterdam Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies.

Around 40 percent of ethnic minority students now in the highest levels of education, at universities and other institutes of higher education, started at the lowest levels of secondary education. They then had to progress through the different educational levels throughout secondary school before being able to move on to higher education. This happens only half as often for native Dutch learners.

Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party under attack
The cabinet launches an attack on the Freedom Party. Free newspaper De Pers reports that the ruling coalition is to tackle Geert Wilders’ right wing populist party on the grounds of its economic policies. It is high time that the party makes its economic polices known, the paper quotes junior finance minister Jan Kees de Jager. “Nobody knows what the party stands for in this respect.”

The Freedom Party has been rising in the polls in recent months and scored a major success in the European elections; its hardline stances on immigration and anti-Islam seem to be becoming popular. The ruling parties have found it difficult to combat Wilders’ controvversial rhetoric but this story in De Pers reveals a new approach.

Solar energy a green option for flying?
An aeroplane powered by solar energy; science fiction? It already exists, reports De Telegraaf, in a story on the ‘Solar Impulse’, to be presented in Switzerland on Friday. The plane has 11,000 thousand solar panels and can climb to 12,000 metres.
On the other hand, the plane can take only one passenger and aviation experts are skeptical, to say the least, notes the paper. They say it will never be possible for a large passenger plane to have enough solar panels to generate the energy required to fly. Biofuel is viewed by experts as a more realistic green option for flying.

Radio Netherlands / Andy Clark / Expatica

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