Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 12 August 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.12 August 2008
Silver medal for Judoka Deborah Gravenstijn
Silver is the front-page headline in today's De Telegraaf. In a large photo, judoka Deborah Gravenstijn shows off her silver medal.
A second photo shows her doing a little 'orange dance' with Prince Willem-Alexander, his wife Princess Maxima and her coach during a special celebration in the Holland House in Beijing later that evening.
Protestant paper Trouw points out that her success in the 57 kg category was unexpected.
The 33-year-old airforce lieutenant from Rotterdam lost both her sister and her mother and suffered various injuries since winning bronze in Athens in 2004. She only just managed to qualify for the games.
"I feel like I've won for the first time. It's unreal."
Panic in Georgia
All the papers pay attention to the conflict in Georgia. Trouw and left-of-centre de Volkskrant reflect a moment of panic with photos showing President Mikhail Saakashvili as he was pushed by his bodyguards into the corner of a lane in Gori to protect him from an air attack.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has just left the area.
In an analysis Trouw writes that Russia's objectives are twofold. Firstly, the former superpower wants to show the West that in this part of the world Russia is the boss, preventing Georgia from joining NATO by locking it into a "frozen conflict".
Secondly, Moscow wanted to remove pro-Georgian leaders and groups from South Ossetia.
According to Trouw both objectives have been fulfilled surprisingly quickly. The paper asks, "How far can Russia go?"
Taser trial raises concerns
Many papers report on a new weapon on trial in the Netherlands.
Trouw and NRC Handelsblad both print photos of the futuristic Taser X26. The taser gun disables its targets by giving them a 50,000-volt electric shock. The 12-month trial, which begins at the end of 2008, will be conducted by six police arrest squads and one military police team.
The taser is to be used as an alternative to firearms. It fires two hooks connected to the taser gun by leads which temporarily paralyse a victim within eight metres of the person firing the gun. The idea is to cause as little damage as possible to the victim. The controversial taser gun is already in use in the United States and Canada.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International says pregnant women, children or heart patients are vulnerable.
It also fears the weapon could be used together with pepper spray or that victims could be shot several times. Some 150 people across the globe have been killed by tasers over a period of five years.
Dutch radio and TV presenter Giel Beelen, who tested the weapon for a television programme, says: "I'd rather be tasered than be attacked by a police dog."
Energy price explosion in Netherlands
AD and De Telegraaf note how energy prices have increased explosively. Compared to this time in 2007, consumers are paying an average of EUR 12 extra per month.
AD points out, however, that the comparison is not altogether fair as this time last year energy prices were cut (in July to be precise). The reason for the rise is the increasing oil prices. In turn, the increase in energy costs is pushing up inflation.
The blow is softened slightly by a cut in the transport costs of gas. The Dutch Competition Authority forced the companies responsible for gas pipelines to reduce their prices to consumers by EUR 12 per year.
AD advises consumers to change supplier every year so that they can profit from the first-year deals on offer.
"But most consumers don't like to do that," says a consumer site spokesperson.
The mayor of the Dutch city of Haarlem has played a joke on the local newspaper reports de Volkskrant. Mayor Bernt Schneiders phoned the Haarlems Dagblad to tell them he had sent a letter to the Mayor of Beijing to remind him that it was actually a Dutchman who invented printing.
Last Friday's opening ceremony of the Olympic Games celebrated Pi Sheng's 11th century invention.
In the letter that was printed on the local paper's front-page, the mayor explains printing was invented in Haarlem by Laurens Janszoon Coster in 1400 AD.
A spokesperson for Haarlem's municipal chief says it was all just a "little joke by the mayor." The paper's editor was less than amused.
The mayor's office has been inundated with calls from the media. Now it says the letter is being translated into English and will be sent to Beijing after all.
Luckily de Volkskrant puts us right on the whole matter, pointing out the Chinese invented wooden printing blocks four centuries before the German Johannes Gutenberg invented metal printing blocks for 'the West' in the 15th century.
[Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica]