Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 7 July 2009

7th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Anti-Chinese demo turns nasty
Many papers cover the clashes involving the Uighur ethnic minority and the authorities in western China in which at least 156 people have been killed.

The AD brings the story closer to home, reporting on the demonstration by members of the Dutch Uighur community in The Hague. The anti-Chinese protest turned nasty, and riot police were called in as reinforcements.

The paper says a large group of Uighur mothers with young children had to be taken to safety. Some protesters threw stones at the Chinese embassy, breaking many of the windows.

The police arrested 142 demonstrators and a special police team is attempting to identify the stone throwers. A police spokesman tells the paper: "OK, we're used to emotions running high at demonstrations, but violence is going too far".

Taxi victim was great guy
Another story covered by most papers is the death on a would-be taxi customer Rob Sitek who died after being punched in the face by a taxi driver.

De Telegraaf devotes most of its front page and a whole inside page to the story. It also covers the wider angle - the sorry state of the taxi sector, especially in Amsterdam.

"Rob was a great guy" opines its headline, quoting the victim's brother with whom he had spent a night on the town before the fatal confrontation. Rob, described simply as an 'Amsterdammer', was usually picked up and driven home by his partner, Karin, after he had enjoyed a night out.

She said: "There's so much aggression. [...] I'd say: I don't want you taking a taxi."

The paper points out the taxi driver, who remains under arrest, is a member of the Moroccan-Dutch community.

A neighbour describes him as "a quiet man who doesn't come over as at all aggressive".

Meanwhile, MPs are blaming deregulation introduced in 2000 for the chaotic state of the taxi sector, and Amsterdam has announced tighter policing of Leidseplein square, where the fatal incident took place.

De Telegraaf criticises the new measures as eight years too late.

Judges allowing staff to work beyond 65
De Volkskrant covers a number of recent court rulings backing the right of workers to carry on in their jobs beyond the age of 65 if they want.

A senior judge tells the paper: "There's a clear trend. It was previously accepted that a contract ended when an employee reached 65, but you see that judges no longer accept that automatically."

A company director, who is appealing against one such ruling, asked: "You can't have the situation where staff can stay put till they're 90, can you?"

The paper says there is a lively discussion going on among experts about the validity of employment agreements which give 65 as the automatic age at which people retire.

An employers' organisation spokesman pointed out: "We're not against people working longer, as long as both parties agree." The paper says about 100,000 people were working beyond the usual retirement age in 2008, double the number doing so in 1995.

MPs want standards for new schools tightened
Trouw reports the Christian Democrats are putting forward draft legislation requiring new schools to reach acceptable standards within five months.

At the moment, schools have two to three years' grace in which to achieve the norm. After which, government can impose sanctions on a school if it is shown to be failing.

CDA (Christian Democrat) MP Jan-Jacob van Dijk thinks that is far too long and wants schools to be inspected from day one.

"Our aim was to stop new schools which fail to achieve minimum standards from being subsidised by the state; or, at least, to make sure this only happens for a short time," he explained.

Patients smuggle drugs into addiction clinic
A clinic in Rotterdam dealing with mental health and addiction problems has reported two patients to the police, reports Nrc.next.

One of them became comatose on 22 June after taking the drug GHB. It was discovered the two had smuggled the drug into the clinic and had sold it on to other patients.

The clinic's director points out GHB is a colourless liquid and looks just like water. "Nowadays, everyone walks around with bottles of water, so it's not at all suspicious," he said.

A criminal investigation has been launched into the extent of use of and dealing in GHB in the clinic. The two patients have, meanwhile, been moved to another branch of the clinic.

"They're still patients," said the director.

Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica

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