Dutch news in brief, Friday 3 October 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.3 October 2008
Asylum seeker threatens to jump off a bridge over the River Waal
Several of Friday's papers feature photographs of a man standing on the arch of a road bridge, 50 metres above the River Waal near Nijmegen. NRC-next features a two-page centre spread to the "act of desperation" by an Iranian asylum seeker who was threatening to jump due to his concern over deportation.
"It took hours to talk him down", reports the paper. Negotiators, the man's wife and his lawyer all urged him to come down. The man demanded to speak to Deputy Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak, and gave in after being told that the ministry and the Mayor of Nijmegen would review his case.
The bridge over the River Waal is one of the main access routes to the city of Nijmegen and traffic was stopped from morning until the early afternoon. De Telegraaf says that the man's action cost the Dutch economy millions of euros and irritated motorists. Some drivers expressed their frustration on de Telegraaf's website so strongly that the paper removed comments. An American tourist caught in the traffic was not bothered by the situation, saying, "It happens to us all the time in San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge is the ideal place for a cry for help".
Gouda police commissioner Jan Stikvoort criticises media reports of violent ethnic minorities
In September the Dutch media reported on problems in Gouda ranging from Moroccan youth violence, blocked areas for bus companies, and police apathy. Chief Commissioner Jan Stikvoort, the regional head of police, responds to the media attention in Friday’s de Volkskrant: "Politicians keep going on about the integration of ethnic minorities, but it’s the politicians themselves who are tearing society apart".
Stikvoort blames the entire political spectrum "from left to right”.
"I've had enough of politicians who blow up a minor incident into something big and then turn around and say the police aren't doing their job properly. And what solutions do they have to offer? Sending in the army? It sounds tough, but where does that leave us?"
Stikvoort claims the situation in Gouda is "nothing special when you look at the national picture", and says the problems are caused by a core of around twenty youths and that "tough action is being taken against them. The residents don't recognise the picture being painted by the politicians and the media. They are not living in fear.
"No one has asked me for the facts", he says. "In this region we've got more problems with non-ethnic Dutch kids taking drugs and drinking. But the politicians would rather go along with the hype about ethnic minorities. If that's the line they're going to take, our society is going to be facing some serious problems".
MP van der Ham provides voice for animated film Space Chimps
MP Boris van der Ham of the D66 Democrat party is providing the voice for a character in a new computer animation film, Space Chimps.
Van der Ham tells AD, "I play a character called Senator. He is an evil politician who wants to cut back funding on the aerospace programme of the Space Chimps".
The MP says, "I don't believe in blueprints that say: You're a politician, so you can't do this". Van der Ham says he will donate his salary from the movie to cancer research.
Pigs will be anaesthetised before castration
De Volkskrant features the headline "Castration course for farmers" with a photo of female farmer holding a knife over the rear end of a piglet in a plastic tube.
Dutch pig farmers will be taking a course during October to learn how to castrate pigs after anaesthetising them. Trouw reports that beginning March 2009, Dutch supermarkets will only sell meat from pigs that have been anaesthetised before castration.
The farming sector agrees that castrating animals will end by 2015. However, de Volkskrant says that meat from non-castrated pigs can emit a bad odour when cooked due to a male hormone.
Bertus Alink recovers stolen cars during their transport to North Africa
De Telegraaf reports on Bertus Alink, who returns stolen cars to their rightful owners once they are transported abroad. The Dutch man recovers at least one stolen vehicle a week, catching car thieves on their way to North Africa.
"If you see a little guy driving a car that's too big for him with an air freshener and nine times out of ten you hit the jackpot!" says Alink. "Apparently North Africans really don't like the way we smell".
[Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica]