Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 13 October 2009

13th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

DSB Bank collapses
Tuesday papers report on the collapse of ailing DSB bank.

“DSB Bank collapses” is the headline in AD. “Run on bank fatal for DSB” is de Volkskrant’s take on events, while NRC Handelsblad comments” in the space of two weeks, DSB went from a healthy but controversial bank to one that has been given up for dead … the whirlpool it found itself in resulted in money flowing out and confidence ebbing away”.

The paper goes on to explain that the bank isn’t bankrupt but can no longer meet its payments and will now be dismantled.

NRC Handelsblad quotes Finance Minister Wouter Bos who insisted the bank’s demise is not a result of the financial crisis.

“This is an individual, relatively small bank which got into trouble by itself as a result of its business operations, concerns among customers, unclear communication and the resulting uncertainty,” said the minister.

de Volkskrant reckons “there are only losers” in this situation with DSB Bank’s founder Dirk Scheringa being one of them and society at large as the greatest loss.

”Confidence in the banking system has once again fallen and the risk of this happening again has increased now that savers have realised that they can issue a vote of no confidence in a bank with just a few clicks of the mouse.”

De Telegraaf reckons the bank’s downfall was inevitable but nevertheless asks “How is it possible that the watchdogs did not intervene until this weekend when questions have been asked about DSB’s business practices for a long time? … Everyone involved in DSB’s downfall should be held accountable for the part they played, especially since many of them remain active in all kinds of positions in the financial world.”

Trouw agrees that “restoring trust in the banking sector is now the highest priority.”

Dutch gear up for anti-asylum policy extremism
Tuesday’s papers pick up on a warning issued by the Dutch intelligence service AIVD that protestors against the government’s policy on asylum seekers are adopting more violent tactics, similar to those seen in the animal rights movement in recent years.

De Telegraaf writes “Terror hits people involved in the deportation of illegal immigrants” and warns “Our country is now home to a new group of radicals who do not shrink from violence and attacks.”

The paper's stand is backed up partially by Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst, who described this latest development as “intimidation which deeply affects the lives of the victims and society as a whole”.

Some activists also like their purple prose with one promising “a ribbon of fire is on its way to consume seats of government, government buildings … walls and closed doors, acting like explosive between locks and hinges”.

The only thing to have gone up in flames is a builder’s hut at a site where a new detention centre is to be built, but the minister has promised “firm action”.

Midwife organises meet-ups to inform women about home births
Trouw focuses on a recent medical article calling for women to be better informed about giving birth at home.

The paper reveals the Netherlands is unique in the Western world when it comes to home births: 30 percent of Dutch mothers give birth at home compared to 3 percent in the UK and only 0.5 percent in the US.

In the 1970s, about 70 percent gave birth at home. However, the numbers have fallen considerably in recent years, partly due to the fact that women now tend to be older when they have their first child, thereby increasing the chance of complications.

Trouw notes home birth is a topic fraught with emotion and the majority of women decide on a home or hospital birth based on the advice of friends and their mother rather than cold hard facts.

Research shows that almost half of women who start off giving birth at home end up being taken to hospital during labour, due to problems or as a precaution. And that can often have a very negative impact on them.

In order to address this issue, one of the midwives involved in the research is planning to organise information evenings for expectant mothers to remove any mistaken ideas and tell them what to expect if they do end up giving birth in hospital.

Police only drew weapons 87 times last year
In the wake of a number of high-profile incidents in which the Dutch police have been accused of being a little trigger happy, De Telegraaf issues some reassuring statistics: “On average a policeman in Amsterdam draws his gun just once in his entire career and the chance that he actually fires a shot is many times smaller.”

The latest figures released by police in the Amsterdam region revealed the police drew their weapons a total of 87 times in 2008 and pulled the trigger only four times.

A spokesman for the police union told De Telegraaf “This proves that we are doing our work effectively and that we are well trained to only use our guns in exceptional circumstances.”

It remains to be seen whether the figures will help counterbalance the angry responses that police shootings can spark, such as those that followed last weekend’s incident in Amsterdam, during which a policeman shot an armed man in the leg.

The police have now included films on their website to inform the public about their work, one of which features police officers talking about their experiences of using firearms.

Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica

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