Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 23 July 2008

23rd July 2008, Comments 0 comments

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

23 July 2008

Netherlands see Karadzic's arrest as a start
Monday's arrest of former Bosnian-Serb President Radovan Karadzic is still the main story on the front pages of all Dutch papers, all of which feature photographs of Karadzic in his disguise as a practitioner of alternative medicine: with long white hair and a beard.

In its headline, AD writes optimistically "Karadzic could be in The Hague by next week".

Trouw says that "Serbia scores with capture of Karadzic" and "the Netherlands view his arrest as a start", which means that the Netherlands wants to see the two remaining major suspects arrested before it will give up its resistance to full Serbian EU membership.

De Volkskrant argues that "a trial will not remove the trauma", the trauma in question being the Dutch failure to adequately protect the civilians of Srebrenica, more than 8,000 of whom were killed by Bosnian-Serb forces.

In a commentary de Volkskrant writes that Karadzic' arrest is clear proof of the appeal that EU membership holds for Serbia. The paper argues that his detention was made possible by the recent elections, which resulted in a victory for the pro-Europe parties.

De Volkskrant compliments the Netherlands and Belgium for insisting that conditions regarding the extradition of war criminals should be attached to a preliminary EU treaty with Serbia. According to the paper, these conditions continue to be relevant as two of the main suspects are still at large.

Union wants Bos to act on Fortis
Trouw reports that banking union De Unie is calling on Finance Minister Wouter Bos to remove continuing concerns about Fortis Bank.

In a letter, the union urges Minister Bos to provide clarity on whether Fortis will be allowed to integrate a division of ABN Amro.

Union Chair Jacques Teuwen fears that otherwise Fortis Bank may become the target of a hostile take over: "All of us remember how with ABN Amro we were suddenly presented with a fait accompli. The company was taken over and split up. Minister Bos played a weak role then. This should not happen again with Fortis".

According to the banking union, there are widespread rumours in international financial circles about an impending takeover.

Before the ABN Amro takeover, medium-sized Dutch business could choose between four major Dutch banks, but if Fortis were taken over, that would leave only two.

The union expects this would have negative consequences for Dutch businesses, but the main employers organisation for small and medium-sized businesses seems far less concerned.

"It would not be in our members' best interest if we discussed these rumours. The financial situation in the Netherlands is not stable right now. The minister should keep it under strict supervision. But he does not need to make statements about situations he cannot control". So far, the finance ministry has refused to comment.

Islamic school sues councillor
De Volkskrant reports that a Rotterdam Islamic school for secondary education is demanding Education Councillor Leonard Geluk rectify a letter he sent to the parents of the 800 students at Ibn Ghaldoun.

In the letter, the councillor urges the parents to quickly find a different, better school for their children before the start of the new term.

Earlier this year, education authorities published a damning report about the school's curriculum, calling it one of the weakest schools in the Netherlands.

Chairman of the board Belgacem Naas has so far refused to talk to the media about the latest move in the long-lasting dispute with the local council.

Councillor Geluk says that denominational education should never go at the expense of educational standards.

The letter to the parents is part of a strategy to put increasing pressure on Ibn Ghaldoun.

Earlier, the councillor called in a loan and refused to grant the school permission to move to a better location.

According to the councillor, "if an education councillor says out loud that you had better not send your children to a certain school, you will see the number of students decrease. If that happens, closure is only a matter of time".

Netherlands Dance Theatre seeks talent
Also in de Volkskrant a story about the Netherlands Dance Theatre in The Hague, which is teaching summer classes to "of all walks of life".

The paper has a photograph of a four-year-old ballerina watching the 'grown-ups" before it is her turn to skip about to the tune of Jungle Book.

The Netherlands Dance Theatre has introduced the intensive two-week course, called the Maximum Dance Course, in an attempt to discover and develop talent, of which there is a serious shortage.

Artistic leader Anders Hellström paints a sombre picture, saying: "Dance training is not very popular right now. Only three people graduated from the Royal Academy this year. These are long trainings, ten years at least, while society is getting faster and faster. Also, real talent is scarce".

The course includes a variety of dancing styles and techniques, including choreographies by Jiri Kilián, Hans van Manen and Lightfoot León.

[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]

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