Dutch news in brief, Monday 4 August 2008

4th August 2008, Comments 0 comments

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

4 August 2008

Dutch mountaineers survive K2 fall
The miraculous survival of two Dutch mountaineers after an avalanche cut their ropes during their descent from the 8,611-meter high K2 mountain in Pakistan is front-page news in all Dutch papers.

According to de Volkskrant, at least six of the 16 men who reached the summit on Friday night fell down the mountain, including Dutch mountaineer Wilco van Rooijen.

Nine mountaineers, none of them Dutch, are still missing and presumed dead.

Wilco van Rooijen spent 30 hours without extra oxygen at an altitude of more than 8,000 metres, commonly known as the death zone.

He eventually succeeded in reaching base camp no. 3 at 7,200 metres.

From there, he was picked up by team-mate Cas van de Gevel and Nepalese Sherpa Pemba Gyalje who reached base camp no 1 on Sunday morning and went back up to look for Wilco van Rooijen.

Both mountaineers are suffering from frostbite, Van Rooijen's feet and Van de Gevel's hands were frozen.  

K2, also known as the killer mountain, is the most difficult mountain to climb.

At least 66 climbers have been killed trying to reach its summit.

Solzhenitsyn dies at 89
Both Trouw and AD feature portraits of Russian author and Nobel prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who died on Sunday at the age of 89.

The former dissident from the Soviet era became famous with his book The Gulag Archipelago which described the Soviet prison camps in Siberia, where Solzhenitsyn was sent soon after the end of World War II for criticising Stalin.

He described the camps as an invisible archipelago with millions of inhabitants stretching across the Soviet Union.

In 1974, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was deported to the West after the KGB found the first part of the Gulag Archipelago manuscript.

He returned to Russia in 1994 after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Trouw writes that in the last few years, the author became increasingly nationalistic, praising then President Vladimir Putin for "making Russia strong again".

In 2007, Aleksandr Sozhenitsyn received a medal from Putin, a former officer in the KGB which deported the author to the Gulag prison camps.

Proposal to scrap VAT on charladies’ services
The main story in today's AD is the Christian Democrats' proposal to scrap VAT on the services provided by charladies.

The party wants to make it cheaper for households to hire a 'white' charlady (where 'white' means 'hired in accordance with tax and employment laws').

The CDA argues that when "regular charladies become cheaper, their situations could be legalised".

An estimated 300,000 women earn an additional income as charladies without declaring their incomes to the tax authorities.

So far, all government-sponsored plans to remedy the situation have failed.

The CDA says that the current arrangement, which exempts households from paying social premiums, but still requires the charladies to pay taxes, is too complicated and ineffective.   

However, the CDA plan would require approval from Brussels.

And, as the conservative VVD points out, "It will always be cheaper for the charlady not to declare her income. Most people would prefer making a little more money to taking part in all kinds of workers' insurance schemes".

New species of spiders in Netherlands
De Telegraaf has bad news for all people who hate spiders.

On its front page, the paper has a photograph of a new species of spider which has invaded the Netherlands.

The spider, a very large species of a group of spiders generally known as daddy-longlegs or harvestman, was first discovered in the Netherlands four years ago but has since spread across the country.

Large numbers of these spiders can be found in roof gutters, windowsills and on walls.

The huge daddy-longlegs spiders are harmless creatures, but will undoubtedly succeed in giving many people an acute case of arachnophobia.

[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]

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