Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 22 July 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.22 July 2008
Plans to halve price of low-energy light bulbs dim
Plans by the European Commission to scrap customs duties on more than 65 percent of the low-energy light-bulbs produced in China might be thwarted for the second year in a row.
Trouw writes that the German light-bulb producer Osram, which has a leading position on the European market – other producers such as Philips have moved their plants to China – has again raised objections.
In 2007, the firm succeeded in convincing the commission of the importance of protecting the remaining factories and jobs in the sector.
Trouw asks: “Now the question is which interest Europe puts first: the protection of a large, home-based European market sector or improving the environment by the mechanisms of a free and open market.”
The paper reports that scrapping the customs duties would halve the price of low-energy light-bulbs, which still cost at least EUR 4. In 2007, 15 million low-energy bulbs were sold in the Netherlands, more than twice as many as the year before.
However, Trouw thinks the EC will side with Osram.
An EC spokesperson says: “Scrapping the duties now would create uncertainty for consumers and the business sector.”
Cars will no longer crash in 2020
De Volkskrant reports that another important question has been solved: “What will be invented first, a tasty croquette from the microwave or a car which cannot crash? It will be the latter.”
On Monday, Volvo announced that starting in 2020 it will only sell cars which cannot crash.
Volvo Netherlands spokesman Huub de Vries says a combination of techniques will be used, such as radar systems which prevent cars from getting too close and a detection system which intervenes if the driver takes a curve too fast.
He says that many of the systems already exist but still have to be tested, and car companies have to cooperate so that their systems can communicate.
Besides saving lives the systems will also make cars lighter. “In recent years cars have become heavier because of the strengthening of the cabin and the placing of airbags. Light cars use less fuel.”
De Vries says there were disputes within the company because the parts division was “not all that pleased. No crash means no damage. Each year, EUR ten billion is spent in Europe on parts which have to be replaced following a crash.”
GeenStijl feels insulted
AD reports that the website GeenStijl (no style or poor taste) has submitted a complaint against de Volkskrant with the Press Council in the Netherlands, a disciplinary council which rules on cases of poor professional conduct.
The heading of an article in Saturday’s paper on a recent sharp jump in the number of threats against politicians read: ‘GeenStijl generation threatens like there is no tomorrow’.
De Volkskrant wrote that many of the threats are issued by “the school children circuit of the uninhibited GeenStijl generation, which is used to reacting immediately to everything they find disagreeable.”
GeenStijl’s editor Dominique Weesie described the article as “tendentious, unfounded and needlessly offensive”.
An example of GeenStijl’s style can be found on today’s website, which comments on the family reunification ruling as follows: “Sheepherders, bobbin-lace weavers, camel milkers and mountain people. Fools and idiots. You are welcome. We pay.” Alongside the commentary is a picture of a cross-eyed immigrant.
In the website’s coverage of its complaint to the Press Council it describes the members of the council as “windbags without authority, not to speak of backbone”.
GeenStijl writes that it lodged its complaint about de Volkskrant because “no one has managed to sue, us so we’ll start our own case”.
Women cause men to overheat
A heading in De Telegraaf reads: “Woman in the neighbourhood? Man overheated!”
The dramatic finding was confirmed by a scientific survey conducted by the University of Groningen.
Sixty-three men between the ages of 21 and 25 were tested without being told that the instrument connected to their body measured their hormone levels.
They were placed in a room where they had to solve a Sudoku puzzle. Every now and then, a man or a woman they did not know would sit next to them.
When a man sat next to them the hormone levels would remain the same, but if a woman sat nearby the levels would jump by eight percent within five minutes.
Social psychologist Bram Buunk says: “The hormone levels rose sharply particularly among dominant and aggressive men, whether the man in question found the woman attractive or not.”
The men would straighten their shoulders, move their hands a lot and spontaneously start telling often exaggerated stories meant to impress their listeners about their work or other things they like to show off about.”
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]
As of Tuesday, the RNW Press Review has been renamed as Dutch news in brief. All other contents remain the same.