Dutch news in brief, Thursday 18 September 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.18 September 2008
Party leaders debate the budget
Trouw reports that Mark Rutte, leader of the conservative VVD, compared the budget to a cheap ad for a wide screen TV. "Buy now; pay in 2010", he said, adding that it was "full of holes". The conservative leader accused the government of ignoring the global financial meltdown. "Storm clouds are gathering on the horizon but this cabinet is busy putting the parasols up and handing out sun block".
Agnes Kant, leader of the Socialist Party, took part in the budget day debate for the first time as party leader, and AD assesses her performance as "routine" and "full of predictable SP rhetoric". De Telegraaf quotes Ms Kant as saying, "it is clear that the Christian Democrats are in charge", and she dismisses the Labour Party as being, "sown into a suit tailored by the CDA".
Survivors of 1947 massacre demand reparations
The NRC Handelsblad and its sister paper NRC.next both cover demands by survivors of the 1947 massacre in the Indonesian village of Rawagede for a full apology and compensation from the Dutch government. According to one surviving eyewitness, now in his late 80s, Dutch soldiers counted to three and started shooting at the men in the village, killing 431 people. Last week, a Dutch lawyer and The Foundation Committee of Dutch Honorary Debts called for the government to accept responsibility for the executions, recognize the suffering and compensate the victims.
The foundation's chairperson, Batara Hutagalung, tells NRC.next that his interest in Dutch war crimes during Indonesia's struggle for independence came after reading his father's unpublished memoirs in the late 1990s. After reading that Britain had compensated Indonesians for the bombing of Surabaya, he began to wonder whether the Netherlands had granted reparations. Mr Hutagalung, who lived in Germany until 1992, says, "Even then, the Nazis were still being hunted and brought to justice and I wondered why it wasn't happening in the Netherlands".
Mr Hutagalung says even though former Foreign Minister Ben Bot expressed his regret in 2005, it is not enough. "Regret is not the same as an apology. I don't understand why it is so difficult to say sorry".
Health inspectors close Lelystad hospital
The closure of all seven operating theatres in a hospital in Lelystad is AD’s lead story today. The paper writes that Dutch Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ) investigators discovered that the operating theatres do not meet the minimum standards, and they forced the hospital authorities to call a halt to all operations and close the operating theatres. The paper also reports that hospital authorities were aware of the problems with the operating theatres for four months but did nothing to correct them. AD writes, "Patients were exposed to potentially life-threatening infections but the directors failed to act".
According to the paper, an IGZ spokesperson called the situation "extremely serious" and remarked that, "There is a culture of nonchalance in this hospital".
Global warming may increase death and disease
Trouw predicts that global warming will increase the number of deaths in the Netherlands due to heatstroke and insect-born diseases. The predictions were contained in a report released yesterday by experts from several Dutch universities. One of the researchers said, "deaths will increase in the summer months and we have to be far better prepared than we are now".
The experts also predicted an increase in insect-born diseases such as Lyme Disease, malaria and dengue fever. One entomologist warns that it is entirely possible that the Asian tiger mosquito, which transmits dengue fever and has already established itself in Italy and southern France, could also colonise the Netherlands.
Students steal cutlery from university canteen
AD reports that between 20 and 25 percent of the cutlery disappears from the canteen at the Technical University of Delft every year, and that a significant number of plates and cups are never returned to the canteen either. AD writes, "The authorities suspect that people are stealing the knives, forks and spoons".
According to an employee of the university's technical and support staff, most of the dishware goes missing at the beginning of the academic year. "It appears that the first-year students take the cutlery and crockery because they need them for their new apartments".
[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]