Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 19 August 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
Sacked Ramadan wants to fight Rotterdam’s decision
The big news in Wednesday's Dutch papers is the dismissal of Tariq Ramadan as Rotterdam city council's integration advisor. Following earlier allegations of his being anti-gay and anti-women, the final straw was his continuing work for Press TV, a station bankrolled by the Iranian government, despite the recent violence in Iran.
Nrc.next quoted councillor Rik Grashoff: “This indirect relationship with the repressive regime, even being seen to be associated with it, is unacceptable.”
Ramadan is also being dismissed from his post as guest professor at Rotterdam's Erasmus University, a chair financed by the city council. For the university Dick Douwes said: “You can't explain this link with the regime, certainly not to our students, some of whom are from Iran.”
In de Volkskrant, Grashoff endorsed Ramadan's claim that he has been the victim of a witch-hunt in certain areas of the press, but stressed this has nothing to do with his being sacked.
He told the paper that when asked to sever his links with Press TV, as other journalists had done after the suppression of the recent protests in Iran, Ramadan “displayed no grasp of the urgency of the situation” and wanted “time to think about it.”
De Volkskrant ran a short front-page interview with Ramadan, who vowed to fight the Rotterdam decision in the courts. He said he is the victim of political Muslim-bashing and angst in the Netherlands and defended his moderate credentials.
“You shouldn't look at the situation in Iran with Western eyes,” he explained. “You can sometimes achieve more from within. I wanted to talk this over with the council.”
Frustrated adoption agency chief resigns
Hailed by some colleagues as a whistle-blower, Ina Hut resigned as head of the largest Dutch adoption agency. She told Trouw that international adoption is less about the good of the child and more about the desire of Western couples to become parents. She complained of “market forces, corruption and sabotage.”
Hut has had a long battle with the Dutch justice ministry over adoption from China where, it is said, children are kidnapped and traded for the adoption market. The ministry found it “unacceptable” that she should investigate for herself whether Chinese children's homes regularly bought children.
She denied she wanted to launch an undercover operation and said it was suggested that, if she went to China to investigate, the Dutch authorities would rescind her agency's permit.
“I can no longer deal with these sorts of practices,” she said.
Nuisance neighbours to be tackled
AD's reports "Bad neighbours being taken to court." Apparently, it's not just people in rented accommodation who can lose their homes if they behave badly. Even home owners found to be terrorising the neighbours can have their houses taken away. A growing number of us are going to court to have our neighbours evicted after mediation has failed.
The Labour Party (PvdA) said councils are not dealing with the problem well enough and has set up a “national neighbour nuisance helpline.” In its first week, it received 300 calls. A Labour MP tells the paper that 80 percent of the complaints were about home owners and not tenants.
“Disputes with home owners is a big problem, and it's underrated,” she said.
Lottery chief given extra protection as threat increases
De Telegraaf exposes a nasty side to national lottery fever. Whipped up by promises of a pay-out of EUR 27.5 million, which actually never materialised, some people seem to have flipped and are threatening the lottery's top management. The threats have become so serious that lottery chief Yvonne van Oort is being given extra protection.
The increasingly huge jackpots and a number of blunders made by the lottery company have led to the worrying situation. The paper, perhaps rather disingenuously, says the threats against Van Oort have nothing to do with recent reports about her salary of EUR 420,000 a year.
Ecstatic car talk ruins case
The prosecution service in central Dutch town of Zutphen has admitted making a mistake in a major, and hitherto confidential, drugs investigation says nrc.next.
The case will probably now fail to make it to court.
The police transcript of a suspect's tapped telephone call mistakenly included the words "ecstasy trade" while the conversation was actually about a Mercedes S400 car.
Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica