Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 6 August 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.6 August 2008
Christian Union calls on PM not to attend Olympic Opening
De Telegraaf opens with the news that the Christian Union, the smallest member of the three-party Dutch coalition government, has called on Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende not to attend the Olympic opening ceremony due to the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in China. The party is even considering calling parliament's lower house back from summer recess to debate the issue.
The call from the Christian Union comes just one day after Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen announced that the human rights situation in China has significantly worsened over the last few months.
Most European leaders have decided not to attend the opening ceremony, which, according to CU MP Joël Voordewind, means "Prime Minister Balkenende will be sitting in the stands waving his little flag all by himself".
The MP continues: "attending the opening ceremony means that we implicitly accept human rights abuses".
Dutch donate more than ever
An investigation by de Volkskrant has revealed that Dutch charities had a record year in 2007: income for the 20 largest Dutch charitable institutions rose by eight percent to EUR 584 million in 2007. Doctors without Borders and the Salvation Army were the most popular recipients of Dutch generosity.
The paper writes that the growth rate for Dutch charities was almost three times that of the economy, and notes that the general mood of economic pessimism prevalent in the Netherlands seems to have had no effect whatsoever on charitable donations.
A professor of philanthropy told the paper: "Donating money is a question of mentality and is actually very Dutch".
The professor also says that the Dutch dig deep into their pockets because, generally speaking, they are older and richer, and older people are more altruistic and more generous than young people.
Make excessive drinks and drug users pay for medical bills
AD reports that the head of an emergency department at a Rotterdam hospital says people who become ill after excessive drinking and drug usage should pay for their treatment out of their own pockets.
The doctor's comments come on the eve of Rotterdam's annual Dance Parade, a huge dance party that travels through the streets of the city, attracting thousands of partygoers.
The hospital says the two busiest days of the year are New Year's Eve and the Dance Parade. According to the doctor: "People choose to drink and take drugs. If they have to pay for their treatment after overdoing it, perhaps they will consider the risks more carefully".
The organiser of the travelling street party says excessive drink and drug use is not exclusive to the Dance Parade but "it's a general social problem".
The director of an association representing Dutch accident and emergency doctors says it's an interesting proposal but "Where do you draw the line? Is it your own fault if you get injured playing sport?"
Smile for Google Maps
Several papers report that vehicles armed with the latest cameras will be cruising the streets of Amsterdam and Rotterdam this week in order to record images for Google's Street View, a service that provides very detailed photographs of a location, and is part of Google Maps.
NRC.next writes that Street View caused an enormous amount of commotion in the United States because people were easily recognisable, including those lying half naked in the sun or stumbling out of strip clubs in the middle of the afternoon.
After a court case, the internet giant agreed to pixelate faces and vehicle number plates to protect people's rights to privacy.
The Dutch Data Protection Authority says it has no objections to Street View at present - "it's fine as long as people are able to have something removed quickly. We'll just have to wait and see how well it works".
Dutch lingerie queen wins award again
De Telegraaf reports that Dutch lingerie queen Marlies Dekkers has again walked away with a major prize at the Contours International Lingerie Awards.
In 2007, Dekkers won the highly coveted fashion lingerie prize and this year the designer won in the best maternity lingerie category.
[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]