Dutch news in brief, Monday 27 October 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.27 October 2008
Air France- KLM to buy Alitalia
De Telegraaf reports Air France-KLM is seeking to buy part of Alitalia. The Franco-Dutch company will announce its plans – to be embarked up together with AirOne and other Italian investors - in the next few days.
In spite of issuing a profit warning before the weekend, Air Franc-KLM is planning to take a 15 to 20 percent interest in Alitalia. An earlier merger attempt failed when it met resistance from Italian unions and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The Franco-Dutch airline giant has expressed interest in the ailing Italian company’s lucrative passenger market and the airports of Milan and Rome.
Child welfare fails
A report on the Dutch Child Welfare Council says supervision of children who are returned home after being removed for their own safety is lacking.
De Volkskrant says that, four years after the death of toddler Savanna the Child Welfare Council is still failing.
In 2004, Savanna's case led parliament’s lower house to demand improvements, but it's still not clear what criteria are used when allowing children to go back to the parental home.
"We are talking about far-reaching decisions for children and their parents," says chief inspector, Joke de Vries.
"It's not for nothing that a judge decides whether children should be removed from the home. When they go back, the Child Welfare Council should assess the decision independently."
The child welfare service also comes under criticism because it fails to present cases to the council, or presents them too late. In a separate report, this service is criticised because it does not structurally check the safety of the children under its supervision.
Secondary school children returning to classes in the southern provinces of Brabant and Limburg after the half-term holiday could find the school gates locked.
Teachers have gone on strike over a work-pressure conflict. In the sector’s collective labour agreement, employers agreed to a three-percent reduction in work pressure. But it is unclear whether this applies to part-timers. If it does, it could cost the schools EUR 100 million more.
Eighty percent of secondary schools have rejected the collective agreement and a judge has ruled that the work-pressure clause is unclear. But a spokesperson for one teaching union says "This was the minimum package for us."
A rally will be held in Den Bosch this afternoon, after which this ‘relay strike’ will move on to Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Zutphen and Groningen in the next few days.
A national strike is planned for the beginning of November.
Apparently, Dutch people miss the country’s old national health insurance scheme, which was scrapped in 2006. De Telegraaf says an independent health insurance consumer organisation has carried out a survey.
People apparently fear that they will have to pay more in the future. "They are right to be afraid," says the managing director of the organisation.
The premiums for additional medical insurance tend to increase more. Some policies are set to go up by 40 percent, which means people may have to pay anything up to EUR 300 more a year. Ninety-two percent of Dutch people have this extra medical coverage. But it is the chronically ill who will suffer the most.
However, it's not just the cost increases that make people nostalgic. There’s also the insecurity resulting from the credit crisis, and people miss the security the old national health insurance scheme gave.
Purple modified tomatoes
A person needs to eat two pieces of fruit and two ounces of vegetables a day to stay healthy. Even though we are all meant to be sticking to this guideline, very few people actually eat the required amounts.
But according to Trouw, a Dutch university and British gene technologists have developed the answer, in the form of an aubergine-coloured tomato.
The deep purple-red tomato is packed with antioxidants, which counteract those destructive free radicals which float around in our bodies. Consequently, the enriched tomatoes help prevent cancer. At least they do in mice with a genetic tendency to get the disease.
Whether it works in humans is yet to be seen. In fact no human has actually eaten one of the modified tomatoes yet. "You need special permission to do so. The British have put in a request," says a researcher from the University of Wageningen.
[Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica]