Dutch news in brief, Thursday 8 October 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Cabinet expected to close Petten nuclear research reactor
De Telegraaf reports the cabinet’s expected decision to close a nuclear research reactor in the town of Petten.
According to the paper, the cabinet is fed up with the continuing technical problems and malfunctions of the 40-year-old high-flux reactor.
The Petten reactor is mainly used for the production of radioactive isotopes for the treatment of cancer patients, and meets 30 percent of global demand.
The cabinet is expected to announce the facility’s closure Friday and issue a licence to the facility’s owner, the Nuclear Research & Consultancy Group, for the construction of a brand-new state-of-the-art reactor.
The dismantling of the old facility and the construction of a new one will involve at least EUR 300 million.
The ageing Petten reactor has been a thorn in the side of Health Minister Ab Klink for a long time.
In the past few years, isotope production had to be shut down completely each time there was a major technical malfunctions. Six nuclear facilities outside of the Netherlands would then take over from Petten, but the concomitant logistical problem is endangering the lives of thousands of patients repeatedly.
De Telegraaf writes the cabinet has already initiated international consultations about the intended closure of Petten.
Translation of Bible opening sentence incorrect
Trouw reports the “Opening sentence of the bible is incorrect” and a “New interpretation of original Hebrew Genesis text negates God as the creator”.
According to Professor Ellen van Wolde, God did not create heaven and earth. Instead he separated them.
Professor Van Wolde, an Old Testament scholar and member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, said the standard interpretation of the opening sentence of the bible is no longer acceptable: “The traditional image of God the Creator is untenable. God did not create.”
The professor, who will present her thesis at the Radboud University in Nijmegen on Friday, re-analysed the original Hebrew text and placed it in the context of the Bible as a whole and of other creation stories from Mesapotamia. She eventually concluded the Hebrew verb bara does not mean to create but to spatially separate.
The Radboud University said the new interpretation is ‘No less than a disruption of the story of the creation as we know it’.
Professor Van Wolde said she understood her findings, which are soon to be published in a leading scientific magazine, will be devastating to traditional believers.
Parliament to debate over monarchy’s budget
Parliament discusses the General Affairs budget Thursday which includes the costs of the royal family.
nrc.next reports about the growing criticism in parliament about the royal budget of EUR 119 million in 2008.
Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders said: “If everybody has got to tighten their belts, why not the royal family?”
His opinion is supported by coalition partner PvdA (Labour Party). The Green Left party and the Democrat party D66 argue that the royals should start paying taxes, while the Socialist Party wants to freeze their allowances.
There has also been growing criticism about the way Crown Prince Willem Alexander handled the problems concerning the construction of a holiday home on the coast of Mozambique in the past few weeks.
Following a number of disputes between locals and construction companies, MPs wonder whether, and if so to what extent, the project will benefit the local population.
Junior coalition partner, Christian Union, wants Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende to investigate the project, which is to become part of an ecological holiday resort.
During Thursday’s debate, MPs are also expected to raise questions about Princess Christina, Queen Beatrix’ sister, who transferred her money to an off-shore tax haven via foundations which used the queen’s Noordeinde palace in The Hague as a mail box.
Diplomatic row after arrest of Dutch military police officers in Pakistan
AD publishes a photograph of two Dutch military police officers who were arrested in Islamabad for the illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives.
The two officers were arrested near the official residence of the Pakistani president.
According to AD, the incident has sparked a diplomatic row between the Netherlands and Pakistan. The two military police officers were driving a dark blue vehicle without diplomatic license plates in a high-security zone about one kilometre from the residence of President Asif Ali Zardari.
Local media say their vehicle was stopped because the occupants were behaving suspiciously. Police officers discovered two pistols, four clips, four hand grenades and six bulletproof vests in the boot of the car.
The two occupants identified themselves as employees of the Dutch embassy, but did not have a license for their weapons. Instead they had a document stating the Dutch government asked the local authorities to allow its diplomats to carry arms.
Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica