Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 11 March 2009

11th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Dutch ministers' economic crisis talks stalled
De Telegraaf reports that ministerial talks on measures to deal with the financial crisis have stalled as talks on what measures are needed and how to pay for them appear to have hit an impasse.

Initial government optimism following an unofficial deal between unions and employers on limiting wage rises has also evaporated.

Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Wouter Bos was quoted as saying: "I had hoped for more progress", while a cabinet colleague explained "the task is an extremely big one".

The stalk in talks is apparently due to the unions’ insistence that the pensionable age should not be raised to 67. Trouw reports union leaders’ are also worried that the government could be poised to reduce pensions themselves and alter existing pay and conditions agreements.

Deputy Defence Minister Jack de Vries is refusing to sign a new pay deal giving military personnel a limited rise according to Trouw. The chairman of the military union, former general Hans Couzy, has described the move as "a slap in the face" for defence personnel.

Police representatives are reported to be worried that last year's deal, which had given them over three percent more pay each year till 2010, is in jeopardy. Other public and semi-public workers allow have similar worries.

Low turnout for cervical cancer vaccinations upsets government
De Volkskrant covers the furore caused by the low turnout of girls between 13 and 16 to be vaccinated against the virus which causes cervical cancer.

In the last two weeks, only 60 percent of the 70,000 people called up for vaccinations show up for their injections. The government plans to vaccinate 380,000 girls over the next few months.

The National Institute of Public Health (RIVM) says the low turnout is due to scare tactics employed by the Dutch Critical Injection Association (NVKP) which is running an anti-cervical-cancer-vaccination campaign on its website.

The RIVM's Roel Coutinho accuses the association of having " misleading" information on the site.

In a letter to the group, he wrote: "You are damaging women's health. I call on you only to provide girls and their parents with information which is based on fact".

Health Minister Ab Klink also appeals for people to be vaccinated. While Parents and girls are free to choose vaccination, the minister said he hopes they are basing their decisions on sound scientific evidence.

The AD quotes an organiser of the vaccination programme who said: "the turnout was good until the crazy stories started doing the rounds".

The paper reports that the 28,000 girls who have not turned up for the injections will receive another letter designed to convince them of the need for vaccination.

Gangland killer turns witness
De Telegraaf reports contract killer Peter la Serpe almost backed out of turning witness for the prosecution in the trial of multiple defendants for a series of gangland killings in Amsterdam. The murderer has agreed to give evidence in exchange for a lighter sentence and a new, protected identity.

During his first day in court, he explained he had been in the criminal world since he was 13.

"My inner self wanted to get out," he said. "But my outer self was trapped."

Nrc.next poses the question whether the government should do deals with hired assassins, and asks how reliable their evidence is.

A legal expert thinks many criminals live in a fantasy world and that it is not a good idea "to rely on the memory of unreliable people". The fact that the witness has blood on his hands, should actually make him more reliable. However, he believes the court should make sure "the evidence is about things he has observed".

Amsterdam Book Week kicks off
Many papers published photos of Tuesday night's Books Ball at Amsterdam's City Theatre which kicked off Books Week, 10 days devoted to the promotion of Dutch books. Someone wearing a huge pig head is pictured behind the famous writers, glass in hand, on the front page of De Volkskrant.

The theme of this year's Books Week is Tweet, Tweet - The Literary Zoo.

The Books Ball saw guest of honour Gerrit Komrij recite a specially-written piece entitled Enter the Zoo Erik van Muiswinkel and Maaike Martens also recited the satirical work for the audience.

Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica

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