Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 1 December 2009

1st December 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Most Dutch media suspicious of Demjanjuk’s illness
All papers published front-page photos of Nazi war crimes suspect John Demjanjuk being brought by wheelchair into the courtroom in Germany Monday.

Although the pictures are the same, the papers reported the case differently.

AD described the defendant, draped in a blue sheet, his mouth hanging wide open, as "a dead bird". It said from the outset, his state of health threatened to overshadow the seriousness of the indictment: that he was involved in the murder of 27,900 (mainly Dutch) Jews.

"Demjanjuk looks no one in the eye" reported de Volkskrant. In a front-page report on the opening of the trial, the paper said he would continue to keep his eyes closed tight even when a doctor gave evidence that he is fit to stand trial. It argued the doctor had a perfectly normal conversation with the defendant just a short time ago.

De Telegraaf was also suspicious and quoted one of the survivors of the Sobibor death camp, where the defendant is accused of being a guard. Survivor Thomas Blatt is furious and believes "Demjanjuk is putting on a show".

Are youths today a social time bomb?
de Volkskrant wrote about The Unfettered Generation, a book on values held by 22,000 Dutch residents.

The book, based on 10 years of research, displayed a lot of the "tut-tut, young people nowadays" mentality, but also described something more worrying than the usual generation gap.

The researchers talk of "a social time bomb", with people born after 1986 showing no solidarity with others, no environmental awareness, no interest in politics, no patience and poor health.

They are apparently interested in little else than their appearance, the internet, friends and spending money.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende managed to put a positive spin on the issue when he received his copy of the book Monday. He thought it was good that the problem was being analysed.

"Maybe it's true that young people are sailing off course, but we can throw out an anchor," he commented.

Nrc.next pointed out that as well as rampant hedonism, the researchers also found that young people were searching for structure and steady values in their lives. However, it seems today's parents are unable to pass on values such as responsibility and self-control to their offspring. Often because the parents want to appear young, they are said to be increasingly taking up the mindset of their children.

Friesland says no to CO2 underground storage
Trouw reported the provincial government in Friesland has now fired a pre-emptive shot against possible central government moves to store CO2 underground in its region.

The paper reported that the northern province agreed to CO2 storage with the government some time ago and Friesland's independent stance appears to be in breach of that accord.

Employers organisations are furious at the move accusing local government of irresponsibility.

"They are raising fears which researchers say are unjustified," said the VNO-NCW umbrella group.

Projects to store CO2 deep underground will not be confined to Barendrecht near Rotterdam where local politicians are threatening to take central government to court over its plans.

Two government ministers will be in Barendrecht this evening to explain why Shell is allowed to launch a trial of CO2 storage deep below the town. It declined to say what sort of reception they can expect.

Italy not allowed to shadow Dutch lawyer who allegedly work for Mafia
De Telegraaf reported that Italian authorities were likely to decide later in December whether Dutch lawyer Leon van Kleef would be charged with Mafia-related crimes.

According to the paper, Italy has suspected the lawyer of working for Mafia bosses and involvement in cocaine trafficking since 2001.

The lawyer’s office said Van Kleef is blameless.

This view also appears to be more or less shared by the Dutch authorities after Italy’s request for investigators to shadow Van Kleef’s moves was turned down .

"We thought there was not enough evidence implicating Van Kleef," explained an Amsterdam prosecution department spokeswoman.

Sinterklaas receives too much mail

AD reported Sinterklaas has had so much mail from children that his helpers are finding it difficult to cope.

This year, TNT sold special Sinterklaas postcards with his address already filled in and a special stamp sporting the saint's smiling bearded face.

However, the idea has proved too successful with the saint receiving 20,000 requests from children this year compared to just 8,000 in 2008.

Sinterklaas is asking parents not to let their children send him any more mail. Otherwise, he may not be able to answer all the post before 5 December, when he and his helpers deliver presents to Dutch children.

Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica

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