Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 5 November 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.5 November 2008
Papers’ creative coverage of US elections
Most of the papers put Obama in the lead, but as no final results were known when the papers went to press, they focused on the voting itself, with many papers featuring pictures of rallies, voters at polling stations and the two candidates.
However, some papers found a creative way to deal with this problem.
Today's edition of the free paper Sp!ts features two front pages, one declaring Barack Obama the winner with a headline reading "US chooses hope" and a line at the top of the page advising readers to "turn paper over in case McCain won"; the other front page reports John McCain was victorious: "US chooses for status quo".
Nrc.next found a different, but equally original way to deal with the problem.
On page four, there is a mostly blank space with instructions in fine print to "surf to the paper’s website, print out the main story, stick it onto the blank space and read the report at leisure on the train, during lunch break or in your lazy chair".
Lesbian couple says IVF law is discriminatory
De Volkskrant reports that a lesbian couple has filed a complaint with the Dutch Equal Treatment Commission against the Leiden University Hospital.
The couple has found a donor for the IVF treatment, but the hospital has refused to carry out the procedure because it no longer has the legally required sperm bank storage where donor sperm is tested for disease.
However, this rule does not apply to heterosexual couples which do not use donor sperm.
The lesbian couple says the law is discriminatory, as lesbian couples will always need donors.
One of the two women says she could have lied and presented her donor as her partner, in which case "there wouldn't have been the slightest problem, but we wanted to be honest about it".
The commission will hand down its ruling in eight weeks.
Journalist may be able to protect anonymous sources
Trouw writes that Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin has presented a bill giving journalists the right to protect anonymous sources.
Journalists have been fighting for years for recognition of their professional secrecy.
According to the paper, journalists sometimes have to use anonymous sources to reveal social wrongs.
Professional secrecy for journalists has already been recognised by the courts, but various attempts to draft a bill failed on the issue of who is entitled to call themselves a journalist.
In his bill, the justice minister has chosen a wide definition of the term journalist: Someone who "gathers information with the intent of reporting" or "takes part in public debate in the context of reporting.
This implies that the sources of bloggers and freelance journalists are also protected by the law.
However, a journalist must reveal his sources if this would prevent a serious crime or if national security is at stake.
In a reaction, the Association of Journalists said the bill is "a first step" adding that the failure to include a ban on tapping journalists' phone calls was "a missed opportunity", because phone taps could result in a violation of professional secrecy.
Residents may have to move if polder returns to nature
Today's AD reports that about 100 people will be forced to move if a proposal to return most of the polder Groot Mijdrecht Noord to nature goes ahead.
The polder, located just a few kilometres south of Amsterdam and six meters below sea level, has serious ground water problems.
The proposal calls for the polder to be split up in three parts: the highest part of the polder will be preserved for agriculture; the rest will become a mix of wetlands and open water.
The latest proposal comes after six other solutions were rejected as too expensive.
The residents of Groot Mijdrecht Noord were unpleasantly surprised by the news that they would have to move. They were informed about the proposal on Friday, "but we weren't told that it's already been decided that people will have to move".
St Joseph’s Church as climbing facility
AD publishes a photograph of a climber scaling the climbing wall at Amsterdam's former St Joseph's Church.
The church, built in the Bos en Lommer district in 1953, fell into disrepair after services ended in the 1980s.
According to the paper, the stained glass windows were broken and kids were playing on the disused altar, so something had to be done.
The building was about to be demolished when in 1996 a local entrepreneur rented the former church and converted it to the city's main climbing facility, aptly named: Between Heaven and Earth.
After nine years, Manager Floriaan Drewes is still enthusiastic about the location: "Many climbing facilities are a bit sterile. Because our sport is relatively new in the Netherlands, many climbing walls are installed in new and cheap buildings, which have little atmosphere".
[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]