Dutch news in brief, Thursday 21 August 2008

21st 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.

21 August 2008

Dutch political parties against review of life sentences
Trouw writes that most parties in the lower house of parliament are opposed to any review of life sentences and life in prison should mean just that.

On Wednesday, the Protestant daily published a plea by a forum of 40 prominent lawyers, scientists and psychiatrists for a more humane sentencing regime and today, the paper covers the prompt response from the political establishment in The Hague.

AD reports the forum called for current sentencing laws to be amended to allow for a review of life sentences after 15 years. Prisoners who had changed their behaviour would become eligible for a reduction of their life terms and early release.

One lawyer with the forum says: "If you lock someone up and throw away the key, you might as well reinstate the death penalty".

However, Dutch politicians were almost unanimous in their rejection of the idea.

The judicial affairs spokesperson for the Christian Democrats, one of the three parties in the Dutch coalition government, told Trouw: "If a judge hands down a life sentence, the prisoner has to spend the rest of their life behind bars. If the judge didn't mean life in prison, a different sentence would have been given".

A Labour Party MP, also a member of the coalition government, says: "I do not expect any change in the current sentencing policies".

Stagnating economy to lead to increase in teachers
Trouw reports an increase in the number of applications to teacher training colleges, headlining "permanent teaching post more important company car".

According to the paper, teacher recruitment agencies are reporting that the stagnating economy can lead to an increase in the number of people swapping an uncertain future in the business world for the security of a teaching job.

In 2007, the Dutch education ministry predicted that in the coming years, the country would have a 10 to 12 percent shortage of teachers. The prediction was based on the assumption that the economy would continue to grow at its 2007 rate.

But economic growth has come to a standstill and the director of one recruiting agency says: "When the economy stagnates, people look for a safe haven". A secure job is more important than a fat salary and a company car".

De Volkskrant quotes the director of the education faculty at a Utrecht college as saying: "jobs in the non-profit sector are always more attractive when the economy is in trouble".

Safe surfing still not possible
Trouw writes that seven weeks after the world was warned about a serious flaw in internet security - criminals can easily produce copies of internet sites and steal personal data - civil servants in Amsterdam are still unable to surf and e-mail safely.

The Dutch capital's civil service software provider is struggling to produce a patch to fix the leak and Amsterdam politicians are not happy about the situation.

One Labour party council member says: "One could say there is a certain degree of incompetence on the part of software company."

Dutch women’s hockey team dreams of final
The sports pages of all of today's papers feature photos of the Dutch women's Olympic hockey team beating Argentina by five goals to two in yesterday's semi-final. The Dutch team goes on to face host nation China in Friday's final.

"Hockey team eager to take on China" headlines AD, and quotes one of the players as saying: "this great victory won't make us over confident, we've been working towards the final for much too long".

De Telegraaf interviews another of the players who says: "it sounds a bit dull, but for us, it's just an ordinary game, an ordinary final. If we start thinking 'Olympic final, Olympic final, Olympic final', we'll go cuckoo. It's an ordinary game, but we really want to win it".

Netherlands not on world Monopoly board
AD reports that the Netherlands has not managed to win a place on the world Monopoly board, scheduled for release on 26 August.  

Amsterdam was one of the 68 officially nominated locations and Volendam was competing for a wild card place. Some 5.6 million people cast their votes for their favourite city.

Dutch fans can opt to buy the new world Monopoly game as it comes with Amsterdam and Volendam stickers which can be pasted over other cities listed on the board.

[Radio Netherlands /  Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]

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