Dutch news in brief, Thursday 23 April 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
IMF predicts dramatic shrinkage for Dutch economy
Latest figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveal the Dutch economy will shrink by 4.8 percent in 2009.
"A dramatic deterioration" writes NRC Handelsblad, noting that the Dutch economy hasn't been in such bad shape since WWII.
De Volkskrant writes that the IMF prediction is far greater than the 3.5 percent shrinkage predicted by the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
A finance ministry spokesperson said the IMF has interpreted the reduction in world trade differently and ‘the government has not been too optimistic’.
De Telegraaf reports the Dutch state is now more than EUR 346 billion in the red, which translates into a EUR 21,000 debt per person in the Netherlands.
Cabinet crisis looms over JSF
The row over the JSF issue has deepened as the coalition partners clash over spending EUR 114.2 million for a single prototype fighter plane.
Trouw, AD and de Volkskrant reports the parties seem unable to coming to an solution on purchasing two JSF prototypes - one now, one later.
The price of the first JSF prototype is EUR 114.2 million but the price of the second is not yet known.
AD writes Deputy Defence Minister Jack de Vries is adamant that the Netherlands must purchase both prototypes while the Labour Party is equally adamant about buying at all.
The JSF debate continues Thursday.
However, NRC.next notes political rows in The Hague usually turn out to be a damp squib and this one will probably end the same way. Its headline reads ‘Will the Labour Party please proceed to the gate, you are delaying the flight’.
Fewer traffic deaths but safety still an issue
Trouw reports the number of people who died in traffic accidents dropped significantly in 2008.
According to the Dutch National Road Safety Research Institute (SWOV), 750 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2008, 41 fewer than in 2007.
Trouw praises Dutch road safety, noting that the Netherlands has one of the lowest rates in the European Union.
AD covers the story as well but the paper isn't quite as positive as Trouw: "fewer deaths, but road safety has not improved" reads the headline in the populist broadsheet.
The SWOV report says there was a four percent reduction in the number of kilometres driven in 2008, which means that the situation on Dutch roads actually got worse.
AD reports that Transport Minister Camiel Eurlings intends to push through a number of measures to further reduce the number of traffic deaths in the Netherlands, "I read the last report with satisfaction but not with happiness," said the minister.
Sesame Street campaign heats up
The campaign to have Sesame Street restored to its original broadcast time of 18:30 in the evening is back, reports AD which prints a photo of an unhappy toddler holding a hand-painted poster ‘I miss Elmo’.
Parents bringing their children arrived at Hilversum Wednesday to hand over a petition to the director of television at the public broadcasting networks, demanding that their beloved Sesame Street be returned to its original broadcast time.
De Telegraaf covers the story and published a photo of Big Bird on its front page. The paper quoted one of the protesters as saying: "If we have to, we'll take our protest to the culture minister, he seems like a really nice man".
The children programme is currently broadcast at 17:30 following parent protests about an even earlier broadcast time of 17:00. The show used to be broadcasted at 18:30 until 1991.
Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica