Dutch news in brief, Monday 14 December 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
Iraqi asylum seekers to leave Netherlands
Trouw reported "Iraqis have to return to their homeland" as their main story and said that the justice ministry has determined that Iran is now safe and asylum seekers may now have to leave the country.
According to the paper, the immigration and naturalisation service (IND) will review the case files of all Iraqi asylum seekers over the coming six months. The asylum seekers will be notified by post either Monday or Tuesday to, "prepare themselves to leave the Netherlands".
Rumours that Iraqis will be sent back have been circulating in some time. In November 2008, the government ended the automatic blanket protection for all asylum seekers from Iraq and each case will now be evaluated independently.
Deputy Immigration Minister Nebahat Albayrak said the security situation in Iraq has improved and asylum seekers can now safely return to their home country. The minister said she hoped the Iraqis asylum seekers who have been denied permits will "return voluntarily".
On Saturday, Albayrak announced the Dutch government will abandon the policy of granting temporary permits to all asylum seekers from a particular conflict as "it has had the unwelcome effect of promoting fraudulent asylum claims".
D66 leader is politician of the year
de Volkskrant and AD reported D66 leader Alexander Pechtold has been selected as politician of the year.
Seventy parliamentary affairs journalists chose Pechtold ahead of two Labour Party politicians.
Neither article reported why the D66 leader was chosen although an editorial in de Volkskrant said the journalists chose Pechtold because they admire the way he makes politics "fun and interesting".
High-speed train’s maiden trip to Paris delayed
The new high-speed train (HSL) travelling at 300 kilometres per hour made its maiden trip from Amsterdam to Paris on Sunday but it was not without problems.
AD reported the super-fast train to Paris was delayed for half hour as it was plagued by technical problems on the way there and on the way back".
NRC.next reported that an oft-heard message was broadcast over the Tannoy: "Due to problems with the safety system, we have been forced to reduce speed".
However, the paper reported that speed was reduced to nil and the train came to a standstill.
Fireworks vandalism injures two
A teenage boy and his friend were seriously injured when a homemade fireworks bomb exploded in his hands, reported De Telegraaf on Sunday.
According to the paper, the accident took place in the front garden of one of the boys' homes in Vlaardingen.
Eyewitnesses said 14-year-old Jaap was attempting to light a homemade device when it exploded, seriously injuring him and his 13-year-old friend who was standing nearby.
Neighbourhood residents said the boys have been playing with home-made fireworks for several weeks now and that "they wanted to make a bomb".
Another teen said lots of boys in the neighbourhood have bought illegal fireworks from Belgium and have been tinkering with them: "They get the fireworks from an unnamed source, there's enough gunpowder and nitrate in them to blow up a garage easily".
According to Trouw, police suspected the boys removed the gunpowder from the fireworks and put it in a metal pipe and attempted to light it.
AD reported both boys underwent several hours of surgery and one of the boys will be blind in one eye.
Police were unable to question the parents because they were too upset.
In a separate report, AD reported a car in Borsele was blown up Saturday evening by fireworks. Police, who have yet to track down the culprits, said the vehicle was completely destroyed.
Skating fever hits Netherlands as first frost arrives
As the temperature dropped to minus six Celsius overnight, Monday’s papers reported the joys of ice skating.
AD wrote: "Just a few more days and you can take your ice skates out of storage," and continued "with a bit of luck, we'll be able to skate on natural ice this weekend."
Meteorologist Hans Roozen told the paper: "The ice should be thick enough to skate on over the weekend or just after".
AD printed several photos of people enjoying themselves on an artificial ice rink in the southern city of Maastricht and asked "Why do we blossom and glow as soon as the mercury dips below zero"?
Retired cultural historian Herman Pleij said the Dutch passion for ice-skating is connected to its egalitarian nature, as everybody on the ice is equal: “It doesn't matter how rich you are, when you fall over on the ice, you land on your arse just as fast as a beggar".
Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica