Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 3 September 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.3 September 2008
Asylum seekers in asylum limbo
The Lower House is deliberating over the question of what to do with asylum seekers suspected of war crimes today.
According to Trouw, this group finds itself in an asylum limbo. Under the 1951 UN Refugee Treaty, serious suspicion of human rights violations is enough to exempt someone from the asylum procedure. Actual evidence is not required.
The paper reports 700 people in the Netherlands who have been refused asylum on these grounds. Most of these people are from Afghanistan. Up to only four people have ever been brought to trial and one person was acquitted. None have been deported.
The paper describes the situation of Abdul Aziz, a driver for the notorious Afghan intelligence service Khan. His wife laments "there is no evidence that my husband is a criminal". But after years of uncertainty, this group wants to know its fate.
Tourism slump predicted
The Dutch tourism industry is concerned about the future.
In a report entitled, Destination Holland 2020, the Netherlands tourism agency predicts sluggish growth for the sector. AD says the slump has been caused by economic slow down in the US and United Kingdom. The strong euro, higher fuel costs, the new flight tax, the tourist tax and airport surcharges at Schiphol have also taken their toll.
Another reason for the poor predictions is that not enough hotels are being built. A staggering 9,000 more hotel rooms will be needed by 2015. Most tourists come for a couple of days to see the windmills, tulips or to try on a pair of clogs.
Multi-millionaire under investigation
De Telegraaf reports on multi-millionaire John Wolbers who is under investigation for embezzlement. The fraud office is looking into the finances of the owner of Easy Life Investments, which business magazine Quote ranks as number 14 in its annual list of 500 Dutch companies.
The 34-year-old buys second-hand American life insurance policies and sells them at a profit to Dutch investors, promising an astounding 9 percent return.
In the past three years, 500 investors are thought to have spent EUR 33 million on Easy Life products. The young entrepreneur is suspected of using investors' money to finance his extravagant life style.
Employees told the paper that Wolbers spends around EUR 600,000 a month on expensive luxury items such as sports cars. After having to cut short a holiday in Portugal, Wolbers complains: "My good name and reputation have been ruined."
Rotterdam to get new icon
Rotterdam has presented three ambitious plans for a stadium park on the south bank of the river Meuse.
The Feyenoord football stadium built in the 1930s no longer meets today's requirements and the city is looking for a new icon. The "Kuip" (loosely translated as bathtub) will be kept as a "monument for Rotterdam".
According to De Volkskrant, the new proposed stadium will have the allure of the Bird's Nest in Beijing. The 500-million-euro project will be built by 2016, and will hopefully help win the Dutch-Belgium bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
Another proposed plan includes the park surrounding the stadium. Left undeveloped for 70 years, the park will be made into a sports and recreational area for local residents.
The definitive plan will be chosen at the end of the year, before the city's mayor Ivo Opstelten leaves office in January. The plan when chosen will be the biggest project to be carried out inside a major city in the Netherlands.
Material girl on tour
Photos of queen of pop Madonna are splashed across some of the front pages on Wednesday. A scantily-dressed 50-year-old Madonna is pictured wearing a silver top hat in a white vintage car in Amsterdam Arena, the fifth venue of her Sticky and Sweet world tour.
AD says her spectacular performance overwhelmed 50,000 fans in the stadium, although the quality of her singing and music is not particularly high.
Tickets for the concert aimed at promoting her Hard Candy album were not sold out.
[Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica]