Dutch news in brief, Monday 6 July 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Taxi driver kills in Amsterdam
Alongside all the pictures of a victorious Roger Federer, the big news in today's papers is the death of a would-be taxi customer in Amsterdam. De Telegraaf pulls no punches: "Taxi anarchy now claims life," its headline screams.
The mass-circulation daily reports that, around 04:30 on Sunday morning, a man asked a taxi driver in Amsterdam's Leidseplein how much it would cost to go to Badhoevedorp, a small nearby town. The answer was EUR 50, to which the customer replied something like "f*** you." According to its sources, the driver then punched him hard in the face. The man was resuscitated at the scene but died in hospital on Sunday afternoon.
A police spokesman told the paper, "Officers saw it happen, but the man was on the ground before they could do anything. [...] We arrested the 37-year-old taxi driver immediately."
De Volkskrant quotes Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen as saying the incident was "terrible" and "outrageous". Since 2000, when taxis were deregulated to improve competition, complaints in Amsterdam have been mounting. Drivers are said to charge too much, refuse short trips, fight each other and be rude to customers.
Cohen complains that national legislation to regulate taxis is "a ridiculously long time in coming." Amsterdam is pushing for its own regulations to force taxi drivers to display skills including a knowledge of the roads, and to be covered by industrial insurance.
Sex abuse rumours withheld from parents
There is more fallout from the case of a swimming instructor in Den Bosch who is suspected of sexually abusing over many years an estimated 98 disabled girls between six and sixteen. Nrc.next reports that parents of probable victims are angry that the Jeroen Bosch Hospital and MEE Foundation failed to pass on rumours about the man.
One mother tells the paper "the possibilities for swimming lessons using sign language are limited." She says MEE advised her against choosing the school where the swimming instructor worked but refused to say why. It had been recommended by a colleague and so her daughter started to attend. Her husband complains, "It's underhand. They were just covering their backs."
Mega-store boom over
AD crows over its own research showing that the explosive growth of mega-stores including DIY and kitchen outlets and garden centres is at an end. From 1996, the stores mushroomed especially outside cities but their construction is now at an end.
The paper's doom mongering continues with the news that things are set to get worse after the summer, with businesses leaving and shop premises starting to stand empty. One researcher warns, "Many retailers will be facing recurring bad quarterly figures and the exodus will increase rapidly."
People hoarding Tamiflu
Trouw warns that 3000 courses of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu were sold by Dutch pharmacists in May. Normally, no one buys the anti-viral drug at that time of year. It is feared that many more holiday makers fearful of Mexican flu are buying Tamiflu via the internet.
A spokesman from Tamiflu's producer Roche advises people against buying the pills online. He says Tamiflu "is hugely expensive and you don't know what's in the stuff you're getting". He goes on to warn "it's important that a doctor decides whether someone should use the medicine or not. After all, it's a powerful drug with side effects"..
Healing medium charms the crowds
The papers also bear news that the self-styled healing medium, Jomanda, is back: she charmed a crowd of more than 400 people in Bergen op Zoom on Sunday. She was recently found not guilty of responsibility for the death of the popular actress, Sylvia Millecam, who had refused conventional medical treatment for breast cancer. Jomanda's influence over the popular television personality was deemed not to have been decisive.
Both De Telegraaf and AD have photos of Jomanda, microphone in one hand, the other raised magisterially over a recumbent woman. At the back of the stage, a notice clearly reads: 'Always consult a doctor. You have been warned.'
Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica