Dutch news in brief, Thursday 26 February 2009

26th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Turkish Airlines: worst safety record in Europe

The Turkish Airlines plane crash near Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport dominates today's newspapers. The mass-circulation newspaper De Telegraaf devotes the most space to the tragedy—five full pages with plenty of photographs. One article deals with the visit of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende to injured passengers in hospital, another says hospitals coped with the situation like "a well-oiled machine," while a third describes the experiences of friends and relatives of the plane's passengers at Schiphol who had no idea what was going on and said they were the last to be informed.

Nrc.next reports that Turkish Airlines has the worse safety record of any airline in Europe. Its figures seem to refute a statement by the European Commission that its safety record "is not much different" from that of Dutch airline KLM. The statistics provided by nrc.next show that the chance of dying in a Turkish Airlines crash is more than four times as high as whilst flying with KLM.

Tweet: There is a crash

Nrc.next reports on the role that the social networking and micro-blogging service Twitter played in the crash. "At 10.45 Patrick de Laive (30) sat in a plane which was  taxiing along the runway, on the way from Schiphol to London. "We were told to shut off our mobile phones…Then I saw a message coming in on Twitter: Are you still at Schiphol? There appears to have been a plane crash." Mr De Laive then went to ask the steward, who only knew what the pilot had told him – "that there were some minor problem." Fifteen minutes later the captain reported there had been a "serious accident" and announced that there would be a delay. "However," says De Laive, "because of the messages on Twitter everyone in the plane already knew much more about what was going on."

The paper writes that Twitter was founded in 2006 and has six million users worldwide. Anyone who has a mobile phone with Internet and a Twitter account can send breaking news the world over in a matter of seconds. The difference from a text message is that the messages, or tweets, can be received by anyone, not only friends. Lara Rense of BNR Nieuwsradio sent the first tweet six minutes after the tragedy. Callers had reported a crash near Schiphol and she sent out a tweet asking if anyone had any more information. Because of Twitter the BBC and Dutch news sites and papers were able to contact eyewitnesses. However Rense points to Twitter's drawbacks. Forty-five minutes after the first report the number of tweets had grown to 100 a minute. She says there is also always the risk that someone is making something up.

Isolation cell for "recalcitrant behaviour"

Trouw reports on the case of a prison director who is appearing in court today on charges of culpable homicide. The case concerns the death of 47-year-old Harry Terwindt in an isolation cell in a jail in Zwolle. Terwindt, who had been addicted to hard drugs for 30 years and was serving a sentence for stealing bicycles, was placed in the isolation cell for "recalcitrant behaviour" a day before he was to be released. Terwindt, who suffered from diabetes and did not receive medical help, died of an acute infection of the stomach. Trouw writes that it is the first time a prison director is being tried for the death of a convict. The Union of Prison Directors says it is shocked by the trial. The paper says that a number of prison directors will attend the trial in order to provide their colleague with moral support.

Next week chips and soft drinks for the hungry

AD interviews the director and founder of the Rotterdam food bank, Clara Sies. She says her food supplies are running out and that all she has in stock are potato chips, smoked sausages and fluid butter "which doesn't fill your stomach." In her warehouse volunteers collect donations from food manufacturers, which are distributed to more than 2,500 families in Rotterdam. Packages are also put together for 70 of the 110 food banks in the Netherlands, which serve 17,000 families. Sies says that until recently her warehouse was full of supplies, but she expects that next week she will only be able to distribute chips and soft drinks. "This has never happened in seven years. I think that it has something to do with the economic crisis." She suspects that companies are wasting less and producing more efficiently, which means they have less to donate.

Food banks for pets

The free newspaper Metro reports that the Socialist Party "is shocked" by the problems facing the food banks. Socialist Party MP Sadet Karabulat has called on the cabinet to take measures to fight poverty. Elsewhere in Metro is a report about the founder of the Dutch Animal Rescue Foundation, Jack de Jonghe, who has set up a food bank for pets. So far manufacturers have donated 2,500 kilogrammes of pet food to the new food bank. De Jonghe is working together with the Amsterdam food bank, which is making an inventory of how many of its growing number of clients have pets. Willem Langedijk of the Amsterdam food bank says the bank for pets is necessary because there are people who go hungry so that they can feed their pets.

Radio Netherlands/Frank Scimone/Expatica

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