Dutch news in brief, Monday 20 October 2008

20th October 2008, Comments 0 comments

Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

20 October 2008

ING receives EUR 10 billion
The story dominating the headlines in all of today's newspapers is the 10-billion euro government infusion of capital in Dutch bank ING.

AD writes that: "Minister Bos gives ING 10-billion-euro boost", while De Telegraaf, slightly melodramatic as always, writes in huge capital letters: "State saves ING". De Volkskrant, in a more matter-of-fact assessment, says: "Even ING can't manage without government support".

Most of the other papers feature photographs of Finance Minister Wouter Bos with ING CEO Michel Tilmant, but nrc.next has a drawing of three falling dominoes bearing the logos of Fortis, ABN-AMRO and ING.

De Volkskrant writes that ING is the first bank to avail itself of a 20-billion euro emergency fund created by Minister Bos 10 days ago. The minister said: "ING is a healthy financial institution, but we have nevertheless come to the conclusion that the situation in international markets is so insecure that it is in the best interest of ING to reinforce its capital".

In exchange for the financial aid, the government will have the right to appoint two members of ING’s supervisory board, who will have the right of veto. The company's top managers will receive no bonuses over 2008 and ING will pay the state 8.5 percent interest per year.

Body of missing woman in Bonaire found
Police on the Netherlands Antilles island of Bonaire have finally discovered the body of young Dutchwoman Marlies van der Kouwe, who disappeared four weeks ago. The 24-year-old was returning home after visiting a bar in the main town of Kralendijk when a man on a scooter dragged her off her bike.  

AD reports that the heavy rains which accompanied Hurricane Omar partly washed away the sand covering her shallow grave. Her body will be flown to the Netherlands for a further examination by a pathologist at the Dutch Forensic Institute.

Marlies' parents, who travelled to Bonaire immediately after her disappearance to follow the investigation from close by, will return to the Netherlands with their daughter’s body.

Three islanders, including the main suspect, are being held in custody in connection with the crime.

Smoking ban results in 25% dip in turnover
Trouw reports that Dutch bars and cafés are suffering a 25-percent reduction in turnover as a result of the smoking ban introduced on 1 July for all bars, hotels and restaurants.

A branch-organisation survey among 1,100 establishments, comparing this summer's turnover with last year's, shows that the branch as a whole suffered a four percent loss in turnover after several years of growth.

However, Trouw writes there that average figure masks a good deal of variation. Hotels and restaurants have been relatively unaffected, but cafés suffered a 25-percent drop, and discotheques more than 30 percent.

Branch organisations expect greater losses when winter sets in and the weather is too cold to light up outside.

A number of cafés have put their ashtrays back on the bar in open defiance of the ban, and some people are arguing for an exemption for cafés which are too small to house a separate smoking area.

However, the main branch organisation is opposed to this idea, mainly because it would encourage unfair competition.

Most Dutch descend from hunter-gatherers
De Volkskrant reports that recent DNA research among secondary school children shows that 80 percent of Dutch people are descended from ice age hunter-gatherers who entered Europe around 40,000 years ago.

Nearly 20 percent are the descendants of early farmers who entered Europe around 8,000 years ago. A few percent are the offspring of more recent immigrants.

The results of the research, carried out by the university hospital in Leiden and the Forensic Laboratory for DNA Research, also in Leiden, give insight into the question of whether agriculture spread as the result of the migration of farmers from the Middle East.

A spokesperson for the university hospital says this appears not to be the case: "We see no genetic evidence that this was the case. It appears more like the hunter-gatherers copied the new techniques".

Sooreh Hera’s controversial photos on display
Trouw reports that a controversial series of photographs by Iranian exile Sooreh Hera will be put on display for the first time as part of the Iconoclasm exhibition in the municipal museum in Gouda, museumgoudA.

Hera's series of photographs, named Adam and Ewald, include images of two homosexual men wearing masks of the Prophet Mohammed and his son-in-law Ali.

One year ago, the municipal museum in The Hague refused to put the photographs on display because, according to the museum's director, it might be perceived as offensive.

Mushrooms make comeback
AD has a photograph of a group of primary school children looking at a big parasol mushroom somewhere in a Dutch forest.

The paper writes that mushrooms are doing a little better in the Netherlands compared to 10 years ago. The percentage of threatened mushroom species has dropped from 67 to 62. The development is probably the result of improved air quality and reduced soil pollution.

In the past few weeks, two species which had not been seen for decades made a comeback: the Suillus placidus, which has an ivory-coloured cap, and Tricholoma aestuans.   

[Radio Netherlands / Georg-Schreuder Hes / Expatica]

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