Dutch news in brief, Friday 4 December 2009

4th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Dutch public prosecutors hard to pin human traffickers
Trouw led with what it termed as the latest defeat for the Dutch public prosecutor's office.

Despite years of investigation and preparation, judges trying the 'voodoo curse' case ruled the idea that the gang behind it were ruthless human traffickers as invalid.

The paper concluded the verdict is a sign of just how difficult it is to sentence people involved in trafficking. There was lack of hard evidence to prove the 140 Nigerian girls were brought to Europe against their will, were frightened by voodoo rituals and exploited as street prostitutes.

The major defendants were found guilty of lesser counts of people smuggling and membership of a criminal organisation. The prison terms of around four years were half the sentences demanded by the prosecution.

Trouw also reported the prosecution authorities suffered two painful defeats in similar cases earlier this year, which involved counts of attempted murder, forced prostitution and rape. One involved a Chinese gang and the other centred on people trafficking from Bulgaria.

The latest case involved co-operation with a number of other countries but, despite its high profile, the paper said the prosecution made a series of blunders which resulted in victim's evidence not being accepted in court.

In the end, defence lawyers were crowing about "smacked bottoms" in the public prosecutor's office.
Air traffic controllers authority face financial problems
de Volkskrant reported the Dutch Air Traffic Controllers Authority (LVNL) which allows air traffic controllers to retire early is facing financial problems.

In 2006, the government introduced fines for companies offering early retirement and these are set to rise in the near future. The LVNL made a loss of about EUR eight million in 2008, mainly due to early retirement payments and the associated fines. These are said to be set to cost the company a whacking EUR 196 million in total.

The paper also said dozens of senior air traffic controllers earn more than the prime minister. A spokeswoman for the ministry responsible for the LVNL explained why her department would not be bailing the company out: "They arranged these pay and conditions themselves; we're not getting involved."

Maastricht tunnel needs 1,000 permits
Taking aim at over-regulation in the Netherlands, De Telegraaf reported builders who want to build a motorway tunnel under the picturesque city of Maastricht will have to apply for 1,000 permits.

Criticising what it called porridge of rules, the paper said, after 20 years of talk and planning, the tunnel should be started 2010 and completed in 2016.

The tunnel would save Maastricht from heavy north-south traffic which at present cuts right through the heart of the city.

However current regulations meant that for every street that has to be closed, a permit is required and objections can be raised.

A local councillor told the paper "it's enough to make you mad".
Top police officers likely to get off easy
AD reported most police chiefs they interviewed said they would not be paying anything.

Out of 26 police forces interviewed, 17 said no action had be taken.

According to the paper, the spendthrift police chiefs are most likely going to receive a ticking off from their local mayor.

Meanwhile, police unions are fed up with the culture of grab revealed at the very top of the service. They are making a moral appeal, at this time of financial hardship, to those involved to refund the extra money they've received.

In a separate report, De Telegraaf reported "Money thrown away" - "Officers furious about opulence at the top".

The academy for police officers in Apeldoorn is furious that the officers' training department budget will show a loss of EUR 40 million this year and will have to numerous jobs while senior figures are taken to football matches in official cars.

What’s up with empty shelves at HEMA?
nrc.next questioned "What's going wrong at the HEMA?"

 It said the nation's favourite low-price high-quality store, which sells everything from clothes to sausages, has suddenly started displaying empty shelves.

Staff at the hitherto friendly shops, are complaining about the pressure of work, changing shift times and redeployment.
An average of 50 new HEMAs is opened each year and staff are having to work harder and at less regular times. Turnover is everything, and everything has to get cheaper.

"Reorganisation is part of the ongoing professionalisation of the HEMA," explained an executive.

Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica

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