Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 22 April 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Labour threatens to veto JSF purchase
The political row over the joint strike fighter (JSF) – a US-built fighter jet that is in the running to replace the Netherlands' ageing fleet of F-16s – is back at the top of the agenda in The Hague.
‘Tensions ratchet up over JSF,’ reports Trouw on its front page.
Under the terms of the coalition agreement, a decision on whether to buy the hugely expensive JSF costing EUR 6.1 billion doesn't have to be taken until 2010. However, the coalition parties have to make a decision on whether to buy two JSF prototypes in 2009.
The prototypes will cost a whopping EUR 274 million and once that money is spent, the Labour Party says it will make it far more difficult to say no to the JSF fighter.
Trouw writes that two of the coalition parties - the Christian Democrats and the Christian Union - are in favour of the JSF project but Labour Party has yet to make a decision on the matter. Labour supporters are opposed to spending such a huge sum of money on a US fighter jet in these troubled economic times.
Spies target the Netherlands
The 2008 secret service (AIVD) annual report released Tuesday set alarming headlines popping in several papers.
De Volkskrant reports ‘Target of choice’ while De Telegraaf says ‘Al-Qaeda training Dutch nationals’ and Trouw writes ‘AIVD: Internet risk underestimated’.
De Volkskrant and De Telegraaf focus on the growing number of Dutch nationals travelling to Al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan.
AIVD boss Gerard Bouman was quoted as saying: "We are very concerned about this development. After returning from training, these people are capable of carrying out operations".
The report says international Jihad networks have labelled the Netherlands a preferential target. There is a substantial threat and it is entirely conceivable that an attack could happen.
The report by Trouw focuses on internet espionage and writes ordinary people, companies and government institutions pay far too little attention to the threat posed by information voluntarily uploaded onto the Internet.
NRC.next writes foreign intelligence services have targeted Dutch political, military, economic, scientific and technological websites, and that China had carried out a number of digital attacks against various Dutch computer networks repeatedly in 2008.
Amsterdam councillor proposes ban on first cousins marrying
The chairman of the Labour Party in the Amsterdam city council has proposed banning marriages between first cousins in order to facilitate integration, reports AD.
During a lecture at the University of Amsterdam on Tuesday evening, Councillor Lodewijk Asscher said it was a simple question: "Would you want to be the child born of a union between first cousins?”
Scientists have long proven children born to parents who are closely related stand a far greater chance of being born with congenital birth defects and genetic abnormalities.
Despite that, marriages between first cousins are common in Turkish and Moroccan society.
The paper reports that a recent investigation in Rotterdam revealed that 25 percent of the Turkish and Moroccan married couples living in the city were marriages between genetically related people.
Statistics show congenital birth defects and genetic abnormalities are between two and five times more common in Turkish and Moroccan children than in native Dutch children.
According to Asscher, mentally retarded Turkish and Moroccan youths are frequently married off to 'import brides' who then serve as caregiver as well as wife; they rarely integrate into Dutch society as primary caregivers for retarded people are not required to attend compulsory language and integration courses. The women are isolated from Dutch society and first cousin marriages are an impediment to integration.
The Labour party council wants to reintroduce a law requiring first cousins to get permission from a judge before they are allowed to marry.
Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica