Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 10 December 2008

10th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

Ministers to present major police reorganisation plan
The Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst and Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin have announced they will present plans for a major reorganisation of the police, reports De Telegraaf on Wednesday.

The paper writes that the proposals were prompted by an almost total lack of cooperation between the various police forces.

On Friday, the two ministers will present their plans to parliament.

The 25 regional forces will be placed under a new national service which will centrally manage criminal investigations, IT services, personnel matters and housing.

The new operational management service is intended to drastically reduce the amount of paper work facing individual forces, enabling them to deploy more officers on the street.

The ministers expect that the new and improved operational management will save hundreds of millions of euros a year.  

Housing industry needs state intervention
On the economic front, De Volkskrant reports that 'house sales have totally collapsed'.

A number of major players in the housing market are reportedly drawing up a letter to Housing Minister Eberhard van der Laan exhorting the government to take action.

According to the writers, the housing market is deteriorating so fast that government intervention is urgently needed.

It is feared that the drop in sales of new homes will have devastating long-term effects, including house construction coming to a complete stop, which would lead to far-reaching effects for the entire economy.

Last week, Van der Laan said he saw no reason to intervene in the housing market.

Record Christmas sales
On the bright side, De Telegraaf reports that the retail sector expects record Christmas sales.

The paper writes that shoppers appear to be blind to the economic crisis, as they are expected to spend three percent more than they did last year.

Sales for the Sinterklaas feast, celebrated on 5 December, were on par with 2007.

Henk Kok, director of an umbrella organisation for the retail trade, said: "At Sinterklaas, shops were busier than expected.

"Consumers hear all kinds of negative reports, but are not yet noticing any effects on their wallets. So they go shopping for Christmas just like always".

Moroccan parents must deal with problem youths
De Volkskrant reports on an open letter written by integration expert Rabiaa Bouhalhoul to all Moroccan parents.

She argues that many of the problems regarding young Moroccans are the result of Moroccan mothers putting their sons out on the street too soon.

Bouhalhoul, herself of Moroccan descent, says that Moroccan homes are often a woman's domain, where boys are not welcome.

She writes that, contrary to commonly accepted ideas, it's not the boys, but the girls who are being spoiled by their mothers. Moroccan mothers keep their daughters at home to protect them from Western society in the mistaken belief that their sons will be able to manage on the streets. However, they fail to realise that their sons feel insecure in the outside world and are in need of help.

"Our sons cry out for out attention, our support, our understanding, but unfortunately we don't understand their shouting".

Bouhalhoul says she wrote her letter because she was fed up with the continuing stream of negative reports about 'Moroccan scum'.

She argues that the Moroccan community must take its responsibility: "We must turn the tide ourselves".

Her appeal is increasingly being echoed by various Moroccan organisations.

However, much to the disappointment of the Moroccan community, the target group was conspicuously absent from a recent 'Moroccans Summit' in which four ministers and 10 mayors took part.

At the summit, it was decided that local councils would be given broader powers to intervene in Moroccan families.

Farid Azarkan, director of the Cooperation Moroccans in the Netherlands, says it's "unbelievable", that "those who are intimately familiar with what's going on behind Moroccan front doors" were once again completely ignored.

Parliament divided over general pardon for asylum seekers
Trouw reports that asylum seekers who believe they meet the conditions for a general pardon have until the end of this year to register their names.

At the request of the mayors of the four major cities, Deputy Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak has decided to give asylum seekers a final chance to apply for a pardon.

However, MPs are upset about this agreement with the major cities.

CDA MP Wim van de Camp sai:, "It is not fair to keep extending the arrangement."

Parliament was informed about the agreement with the four mayors last May, but Labour MP Hans Spekman said: "I receive tons of documents from ministries, I really can't read everything, the minister should have informed us more clearly".

In the meantime, Deputy Minister Albayrak is facing an increasing number of complaints from asylum seekers who were not included in the general pardon.

The Council of State, the country's most senior administrative court, recently ruled that all complaints must be judged on their individual merits.

Plastic foetus to dissuade women from aborting
De Telegraaf reports the pro-life organisation Schreeuw om Leven (Shout for Life) will go door-to-door next year to deliver letters containing a plastic foetus of about 5 centimetres in length, the size of a 10-week-old embryo.

The organisation hopes women will change their minds about undergoing an abortion if they see that a foetus is really a complete human being.

The paper quotes several women who are outraged by the action.

One woman said: "The action will needlessly hurt women's feelings. I can't imagine any woman ever having an abortion for fun!"

In a letter to the editor, a reader writes: “I fell seriously ill during my pregnancy and was forced to undergo an abortion. I know I will just freak out when I find a plastic foetus on my doormat, because I never forgot this traumatic experience”.

Schreeuw om Leven Director Bert Dorenbos says he understands the plastic foetus could be traumatic for some women, but said the picture of ultra-sound scan of the baby of a sister or friend could also result in the same effect.

“Nobody is making a fuss about that," he added.

[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]

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