Dutch news in brief, Thursday 31 July 2008

31st July 2008, Comments 0 comments

Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

31 July 2008

A clean-shaven Radovan Karadzic
One of today's hot topics is the arrival of Radovan Karadzic at the United Nations prison near The Hague. Nrc.next says the case is full of potential pitfalls and that it remains to be seen whether the defendant will be able to drag out the trial as Slobodan Milosevic did his.

The AD features a front-page photo of a newly clean-shaven Mr Karadzic smiling at us benignly.

Under the headline, "Sport, satellite TV and a kitchenette", the paper highlights the amenities he will enjoy while in custody in the Netherlands. His cell door will be open throughout the day, and he will be able to wear his own clothes and take an English course if he wishes.

A lawyer working with other Yugoslavia tribunal detainees defends the soft regime: "Prison staff are helpful and keep an eye open for personal preferences. Our clients are highly stressed during tribunal hearings; the mental and physical pressures are enormous. I think it's perfectly understandable that these people are given more facilities."

Too dangerous to send volunteers abroad?
De Volkskrant reports that voluntary service organisations are having to decide if the risks of projects abroad are too great in the wake of the news that five Dutch women doing volunteer work in Kenya were raped.

"Only if the government officially advises against travelling somewhere, do we insist a project is moved to another country," says one organisation's spokeswomen.

Another explains: "If we followed all negative travel advice, we wouldn't be able to do our work."

The paper quotes an Amnesty International report: "Violence against women is widespread in Kenya. Women are abused physically and sexually every day."

It says now that tourists are being targeted and the Kenyan government is worried about the possible economic consequences.

Female immigrants dumped abroad to get new rules
Trouw reports that the government is introducing measures to streamline the granting of residence permits to immigrant women who are the victims of domestic violence or are dumped abroad by their husbands.

Women with violent husbands will no longer have to make official reports to the police to be eligible for residence permits independent of their spouses.

Deputy Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak says women left in their lands of origin against their will often end up "in extremely difficult circumstances".

At the moment, women who have lived less than three years in the Netherlands and are dumped abroad lose their right to live in the Netherlands unless there are "convincing humanitarian grounds" for residence.

The new measures will make repatriation to the Netherlands for such women easier and quicker.

Overspending on SS Rotterdam
De Volkskrant tells us that the renovation of the 50-year-old cruise liner, the SS Rotterdam, is one and a half years late and has cost a staggering EUR 175 million instead of the planned 25 million.

The ship was once the pride of the Holland America Line.

A Rotterdam housing corporation, whose remit from the government is to construct, maintain and rent out affordable housing, is footing the bill.

The liner has been refitted as a floating hotel, conference and recreation centre. It is hoped Rotterdam's new tourist attraction will lead to the revitalisation of the district where it will be moored.

The housing corporation director acknowledges there has been criticism. However, he argues: "Show me a big project where there was no overspending. The ship's arriving in Rotterdam on Monday, and then pride and nostalgia will win the day."

Extend smoking ban
Lots of the papers have pieces about the recently introduced smoking ban in restaurants and bars following the overturning of a similar measure in Germany.

The AD has done a survey of over 2,000 readers and only around a quarter supports extending the ban to open-air seating and stadiums.

The group, Clean Air Now, is, however, pressing for tougher rules. "Owners can designate part of the seats as 'non-smoking', or partition them off. Doing nothing isn't an option," says a spokesman.

De Telegraaf says visitors to the beach also want a ban.

Mair, whom the paper teasingly says was unwilling to be photographed, was also on the beach. She tells us "it's idiotic that you can't even enjoy the open air" for all the smokers. She also finds the cigarette butts in the sand "disgusting".

Despite Mair's unwillingness to be featured in the daily, an accompanying photo shows two bikinied beauties next to smokers on the sand.

[Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica]

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