Dutch news in brief, Monday 7 December 2009

7th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

Governments must lead way in climate change
Trouw reported Monday is the first day of a two-week UN climate summit in Copenhagen which is intended to reach agreement on a new and binding climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions.

The paper also featured a photograph of a huge tree trunk being erected by a crane in a square in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

The trunk, which came from a rainforest in Ghana will be one of the 10 trucks to form an exhibition called Ghost Forest.

According to Trouw, the 100 most ‘sustainable’ Dutch citizens said a successful climate summit will be crucial.

“Only if global leaders show courage and ambition will consumers and businesses en masse change over to a more sustainable society. Without solid, binding agreements we are headed for an ecological and social disaster scenario”.

Trouw asked the 100 Dutch citizens who are most influential in the field of sustainability about their expectations of the summit. They used big words and made sweeping statements: “The future of the planet is at stake, a failure to reach tough binding agreements “would be a  disgrace” and even “immoral” and “unethical” because of the disasters and high costs passed on to future generations.

The 100 citizens recognised a substantial change was necessary to achieve a sustainable society and looked to the government to reward sustainability and severely tax pollution.

de Volkskrant is one of 57 newspapers from 46 countries across the globe which published a joint editorial commentary, in which they call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen to make the summit a success.

According to the paper: “Climate change is a global issue of such great urgency that national interests should not stand in the way of seeking a joint solution”.

In the commentary, de Volkskrant said: “The facts speak for themselves… the discussion is no longer about whether mankind is responsible but rather about how much time we have left to limit the damage”.

De Telegraaf published a photograph of 12 artistically decorated globes which together form a work of art in the centre of Copenhagen and focused almost exclusively on the security issues involved in the organisation of the summit.

The Danish government has introduced strict measures to deal with an expected 20,000 to 30,000 environmental activists, and apparently there are major concerns whether Denmark has sufficient numbers of police officers to deal with the situation.

A populist party in Danish parliament will question the foreign minister about the role of the Danish Christmas tree at the climate summit. Apparently Denmark offered the UN to place a large number of Christmas trees at the entrance of the Bella conference centre, but the offer was turned down for fear of offending Muslim delegates.

US wants continued Dutch presence in Afghanistan
de Volkskrant reported the US ambassador to NATO is putting pressure on the Dutch government to stay in Uruzgan province at least until July 2011.

On the current affairs programme Buitenhof Ambassador Ivo Daalders said that if the Netherlands wanted to be among the first countries to withdraw from Afghanistan in July 2011, “We could talk about that”, but until that time, “the Netherlands must finish its job in Uruzgan province”.

According to de Volkskrant, the cabinet will decide in early 2010 what military contribution the Netherlands can make to international efforts in Afghanistan.

However, Prime Minister wants to withdraw all soldiers from Uruzgan in 2010 as pledged when the mission was agreed in 2007. Any extension of the military mission would have to be outside Uruzgan province to avoid accusations that the cabinet is not keeping its promises.

Daalders expressed surprise at Development Minister Bert Koenders’ remarks, who said that development work in Uruzgan province would continue even after the Dutch soldiers had left.

The US ambassador to NATO said: “You cannot carry out development projects in southern Afghanistan without defending them. And others will not be able to guard the Dutch”.

Trouw reported the issue of the Dutch mission to Afghanistan has led to growing controversy in the Dutch cabinet. The Labour Party and the Christian Union want to get out of Uruzgan, but the Christian Democratic CDA, both in the cabinet and in parliament, are in favour of a new, albeit smaller, mission to Uruzgan province.

On Friday, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the Netherlands would become the odd man out in NATO if it no longer had soldiers in Afghanistan after August next year. He said other NATO member states keep sending soldiers, and he wanted a quick decision in the cabinet.

Prostate cancer treatment not always necessary
Trouw wrote that “For many men the discomfort of prostate cancer treatments outweighs the benefits. A policy of ‘actively waiting’ is often more sensible”.

Urologist Roderick van den Bergh of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam said: “Prostate tumours usually grow at a very slow rate, which is why half of all men would never have developed any complaints after the initial diagnosis.”

However, most patients chose for treatment even though radiation therapy and surgery can lead to incontinence and impotence. Apparently, being diagnosed with cancer comes as such a shock that most men chose treatment.

Dr van den Bergh studied the case files of 600 patients who chose against treatment. After 10 years, none of them died of the tumour, even though 25 percent died of other causes.

The Erasmus Medical Centre is now working on the introduction of a new protocol, which offers the patient regular check-ups instead of treatment when the tumour is not aggressive.

Dr van den Bergh estimated this will apply to between one-third and half of all prostate cancer patients, and eliminate many unnecessary treatments.

Wooden shoe maker to reproduce Night Watch
AD reported on wooden shoe maker Martin Dijkman from Luttenberg who has spent every hour of his free time in the last three years on painting miniature wooden shoes that will form a reproduction of Rembrandt’s famous painting The Night Watch.

Dijkman’s masterpiece will be unveiled in Berlin on 15 January.

Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica

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