Dutch news in brief, Thursday 30 July 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Police hope to weed out ‘fishy’ fliers
‘Passport check will begin at home’ is the lead headline in De Telegraaf. The paper reports that military police at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport hope to obtain the passport and ticket data of all travellers before they check in at the airport. Border police want to make a risk analysis of passengers so that not everyone has to be fully screened – only the ‘fishy’ travellers.
Brigadier Rob Veltman of the military police declined to specify what information will be included in the databank. “We are thinking long and hard about this question. No decisions have yet been made, since these depend upon privacy laws and European regulations.”
De Telegraaf writes that border police want to couple their own data with those of the Justice Department, police and airlines.
Veldman said the purpose of the new databank would be to speed up queues at passport control. “With computer systems, we can detect the needle in the haystack. We can then let 90 percent of passengers pass through in a rush. Then we will have more time for police and investigative work for the 10 percent with whom something is not quite right.”
A large number of fines handed out to Dutch citizens each year go unpaid. Air passengers with unpaid fines must settle if they want to catch their flight, in theory, but customs officials are unable to check most passports. The new system should help to increase the number of unpaid fines that are recuperated through airport checks.
Say no to Big Brother!
In response to De Telegraaf’s Question of the Day – Should Europeans’ bank data be handed over to the United States government? – the paper was overwhelmed. ‘Big Brother is watching you!’ was repeated countless times in the reactions of the nearly 3,900 people who voiced their opinion. Many readers referred to the ‘scariness’ of what they perceive to be George Orwell’s totalitarian world becoming reality, in which ‘the state controls everything’.
Readers wrote that it was no coincidence that the book ‘1984’ was written shortly after the Second World War; many referred to ‘the extent to which the Nazis made use of the excellent data which the Netherlands kept concerning its citizens’. Among the comments were, ‘The threat of terrorism is not on a par with the threat of a police state.’
Dutch researchers may have malaria vaccine
Nrc.next is one of many Dutch newspapers reporting a possible vaccine against malaria. “This could prevent a million deaths from malaria every year.”
An experiment by researchers at a Nijmegen hospital (UMC St Radboud) gave a medicine called chloroquine to ten volunteers who were bitten 40 times by mosquitoes infected with malaria. None of them became ill. A month later they were bitten by infected mosquitoes again. Again, none developed the virus. However, five people in a control group who were not treated with chloroquine all came down with malaria.
The findings are being published today in the periodical The New England Journal of Medicine.
“Slowpokes bug me the most”
At the age of 98, Jan Leugs has just had his driver’s licence renewed for another five years, writes today’s AD. There is nothing wrong with his driving; a few weeks ago he even received a special licence to drive on slippery roads. He drives long distances four times a week. Although he is nearly 100, Leugs said he does not avoid busy roads.
“The most important thing about driving is not to be afraid… I overtake other cars on the highway with ease while driving 140 or 150 kilometres an hour. I rarely receive a fine.”
He said that slowpokes who drive at a snail’s pace irritate him the most. “If the sign says 80, then you shouldn’t drive 70. The police should act more forcefully against this kind of driver.”
Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica