Morning newspapers – 14 May 2007
De Telegraaf, Drama at nursing home
Drama at nursing home
An infectious flu has broken out at the Zonnehof nursing home in the town of Haren in Groningen killing at least one resident. Three others are in hospital, one in critical condition. A total of 35 residents have contracted the stomach flu and seven staff members are home sick.
Concerns about cutbacks at defence department
Doubts about the strength of the armed forces are growing. Parliament is seriously concerned about further cutbacks at the defence department. The purchase and financing of sorely needed Chinook helicopters (costing EUR 370 million), promised by the previous cabinet, is also uncertain.
"Art subsidy system dominated by favouritism"
The system for art subsidies in the Netherlands results in mediocre art, is ruinous for the contemporary art market, and is increasing the divide between the professional world and the larger public.
Fear paralyses organ donation
The Dutch support organ donation but in practice only a small minority is willing to donate their own organ or that of a family member. How can this be explained?
Defence tolerates soft drug use among soldiers
Soldiers caught for possession or use of soft drugs are let off with a written warning for a first offence. They are only dismissed after a second offence. State secretary for defence Cees van der Knaap wrote this to Parliament in additional information on the code of conduct in the military.
Liberal VVD and Democrats D66 seek to change course
The two liberal parties in Parliament held their conferences in Rotterdam this weekend just a few hundred metres from each other. Both parties are licking their wounds after significant electoral defeats and are in search of new direction.
PvdA wants limit to severance pay
The cabinet should not wait for the social partners but rather take measures itself to stop excessive severance pay packages, says MP Ton Heerts. The Labour party PvdA thinks that severance pay in the public and semi-public sector should be limited to a maximum of EUR 90,000, three times average annual income.
"Talking tour" irritates opposition
Both Liberal VVD and Democrat D66 criticised harshly the 100-day tour with which the new cabinet started its term. The new ministers held talks and meetings throughout the country in hopes of coming up with new ideas. Both the VVD and D66 held conferences this weekend and both VVD leader Mark Rutte and D66 leader Alexander Pechtold complained that the cabinet of Christian Democrat CDA, Labour PvdA and the ChristenUnie has waited too long to actually get down to work.
Het Financieele Dagblad
Tax authority puts stop to buying in of own shares
Banks will not be able to actively buy back shares off investors tax free according to a decision Finance Minister Wouter Bos is expected to publish today.
Foreign companies buy more Dutch businesses
Foreign companies spend more money on taking over Dutch businesses than vice versa. In the past five years Dutch businesses worth a total of EUR 180 billion have ended up in foreign hands, while foreign businesses worth EUR 122 billion have been bought over by the Dutch. This emerged from a study commissioned by the Financieele Dagblad and carried out by Bureau van Dijk Electronic Publishing.
Concern about secondary education
Higher education institutions fears that the educational level of future first-year students will be even lower than is now the case. Starting next year pupils in secondary school will be required to know even less for the central final exams, which determine 50 percent of their final mark.
Was fire an accident?
The case of the Libyan suspected of starting the fire at Schiphol that killed 11 people is looking somewhat better now that a technical report says that the fire may have been an accident. It cannot be proven that the fire at the cell complex at Schiphol-Oost was deliberately set. Technical investigation commissioned by the public prosecution department "cannot rule out an accident."
"Europe must be firmly on the map"
The EU is just like the Eurovision song contest, Wouter Bos joked at his party's Europe festival. "The playing rules aren't any good, the new member states go off with the prize, and the Turks are allowed to participate and we are not."
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news