Dutch news in brief, Monday 29 September 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.29 September 2008
Benelux countries bail out Fortis bank
All the papers lead with the Belgium-Dutch government bid to rescue Fortis bank. Late on Sunday evening the details to save the troubled company from collapse were announced following a weekend of emergency meetings. Benelux government ministers, the president of the European Bank Jean Claude Trichet, and even European Competitions Commissioner Neelie Kroes attended. Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg will inject EUR 11.2 billion into Fortis, giving each government a 49 percent share in its national branch. Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos says, "The Dutch government felt it its duty to contribute". A bid by BNP Paribas to take over Fortis was rejected.
One of the conditions of the deal is that company chairman Maurice Lippens must step down. The Dutch share of ABN AMRO, which Fortis took over earlier in 2008, was sold for EUR 10 billion to an unknown buyer, although many of the papers believe insurance company ING could be responsible for the deal. De Telegraaf reports that although there are no queues forming outside Fortis branches, some account holders are withdrawing their money or are moving their savings to other banks.
Limburg province uses warm mine water for energy
The province of Limburg opened the world's first mine water energy plant in Heerlen. The unused coal mines in Limburg are full of water, which grows naturally warmer as the depth increases. De Volkskrant reports on the system which pumps warm water from mine shafts 700 metres underground. Heat exchangers use the energy from this water to heat 350 homes, a library and several shops. In the summer, cool water from shafts 250 metres underground are used to cool offices. Former mine worker Theo van de Wetering remembers how warm the mines were while working underground. The Oranje Nassau mine where he worked closed in 1974. "It is fantastic that the mine shafts have been given a new function", he says.
Eindhoven considers job training for prostitutes
Trouw reports that the Eindhoven city council asked design students to develop ideas to improve the issue of prostitution within the city. The city council is now considering one of the proposed ideas, to apply a credit plan in which prostitutes receive personal coaches and earn points, which can be used to buy items, by participating in job training workshops. Prostitutes who want to change careers will also be assisted. An Eindhoven prostitution organisation is enthusiastic about the plan.
The plan will be discussed by a commission in the city council this week and the council hopes to implement it in October. A designated street prostitution zone is due to close in 2011, and it is hoped that by then the prostitutes will find other work.
Commission considers new firework tax to reduce violence
Trouw reports on a new firework tax which could stifle New Year's Eve celebrations in the future. In a report out Monday, a commission led by the mayor of Nijmegen Thom de Graaf advises the government on reducing violence during New Year's Eve. The commission was organised after several violent incidents during the past New Year’s celebration, in which 40 staff members of the emergency services were injured.
The commission advocates placing high environmental taxes on bangers and fireworks, and introducing cameras on emergency service vehicles. A campaign to warn people about harsher penalties for aggression against the emergency services may help reduce the number of incidents against emergency staff. The commission also recommends deploying more police to arrest people with illegal fireworks.
A measure to minimise the time that fireworks can be set off was rejected because "police would be too busy trying to enforce it".
Mothers in Amersfoort break record for breast feeding
Almost 80 mothers took part in an attempt to break last year's simultaneous breast feeding record. According to AD 80 babies suckled simultaneously for ten minutes at a school in Amersfoort in late September, breaking the 2007 record of 60 babies. Some mothers even fed two children at the same time. The participants intended to promote breast feeding in public.