Dutch news in brief, Friday 31 July 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Suspected Dutch jihad fighters held
The prominent story in today’s news is of the four young Dutch men suspected of travelling to a training camp for Islamist fighters in Somalia. De Volkskrant says the four were picked up in Kenya on their way to Somalia on 24 July. They were flown to Brussels on Wednesday where they were arrested on a Dutch warrant, under suspicion of membership of a terrorist organisation.
The paper says the youths belonged to a larger group of radical extremist young Dutch Muslims who have been causing the authorities in The Hague concern for some time. Neither their parents nor Muslim institutions seem to have been able to have any moderating influence over them. Some time ago, the radical As Sunnah mosque in The Hague, itself monitored by the AIVD intelligence service, tipped the authorities off about "a group of worshippers holding extremely militant views."
De Volkskrant says some insiders believe the mosque should not have rejected the young men despite their dangerous ideas. The group was put under pressure, monitored and branded as undesirables. It is argued that this only served to make them even more frustrated and isolated.
AD reports the men maintain they were tourists in Kenya. It reports one of the men was arrested in Abzerbaijan in 2005, again on suspicion of terrorism. Then too, he claimed to be merely a tourist.
Pirate Bay closed to Dutch
Nrc.next picks up on yesterday's court ruling that the Swedish filesharing site, The Pirate Bay, must close down access for Dutch users. The case was brought by an organisation representing the Dutch entertainment industry. Its director, Tim Kuik, said it is the first time a foreign site has been ordered to bar access from the Netherlands.
If Pirate Bay heeds the judgement, Dutch downloaders will nevertheless be able to surf using an anonymous IP address. This would obscure their location so that they will not be barred from using the site.
Tim Kuik is, meanwhile, being sued for slander by one of the founders of Pirate Bay. He remains sanguine: "If I'm guilty of damaging the reputation of the gentleman, I'll be happy to pay compensation: one euro cent, to be precise."
Public unaware of future cuts
Trouw covers an official report which says the government is not informing people well enough about the measures being taken to deal with the economic crisis. It warns that the lack of information means there will be no understanding of the cuts which will have to be made in 2011.
"After the Second World War, people knew that there was debt which had to be paid off. The complexity of today's situation means that is not now the case," said one of the report's authors.
A researcher explains one aspect of the problem: "Take the measures to save the banks. That was a good thing because ordinary people's savings were protected but, in the media, it was all about top salaries." He thinks the government should advertise its policies on television: "People are against this, arguing it's too American, but it's a great way to tell your side of the story."
Most career-change teachers rejected
Over the last few years, the shortage of teachers has led to campaigns encouraging people to move into the teaching profession from other jobs. AD, however, argues that most people considering changing careers to become teachers are not suitable. "We only end up registering about 20 percent of applicants," explained the director of a selection agency for teachers.
He told the paper that the economic crisis has led to far more applications. "We even had an IT company inquiring about the possibilities for staff it was making redundant," he remarked. Last year, there was practically no interest from the IT sector.
Moreover, despite continuing teacher shortages, schools appear to still select personnel with traditional qualifications. If career changers do find work as teachers, they have to complete tough training courses while working. "People are shocked at the demands," Radio Netherlands was told.
Ghost ship leaves sky empty
De Telegraaf shows the sad image of the burnt-out wreckage of the Prins Willem. The replica of the 17th-century Dutch East India Company sailing ship, the pride of Den Helder harbour, is thought to have caught fire because of an electrical fault below deck.
‘The Prins Willem is now a ghost ship’, reads the headline. Marlies and Verina Baart, who worked on the museum ship, heard the news on the radio and immediately drove to the harbour. With tears in their eyes, they said, "The first thing we noticed was that you couldn't see the masts. When you drove into Den Helder, they were the first thing you saw. They were so high. Now, the sky's empty."
Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica