Netherlands daily news

27th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Catch up on the latest Dutch news in brief.

27 June 2008

 Dutch mayors urge children not to drink

Mayors in the province of West Friesland have sent letters to 2,500 12-year-old children to urge them to sign a Say No to Alcohol contract. The contract is part of a campaign to prevent underage drinking.

In the contract, which children sign with their parents, the children promise not to drink alcohol before the age of 16, the age at which young people are permitted to drink beer and wine in the Netherlands. The parents agree not to give their children alcohol and to teach them why it is better not to drink it.

The contract is an initiative by the Trimbos institute. West Frisian mayors already spoke out on alcohol abuse among young people earlier this year.

Queen Beatrix ends state visit to Lithuania

Queen Beatrix has ended a three-day state visit to Lithuania. On Thursday she attended a master class of the Dutch Loeki Stardust Quartet in Kaunas, the birthplace of Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus.

She also visited the former Japanese consulate, where the Japanese consul and his Dutch colleague issued 2400 false visas to Jews at the beginning of the Second World War, so they could escape persecution.

Air France-KLM settles with US Justice Department

Air France-KLM is to pay fines totalling 350 million USD to the US Justice Department. The fines are part of a settlement between the airline and the US authorities, in connection with price fixing in cargo services. KLM will pay 140 million USD of the fine. Air-France will pay the remaining 210 million USD.

The French-Dutch airline was expecting high fines following investigations into cartels in the United States and Europe. Three other airlines, including Martinair, have also agreed a settlement. They will pay more than 150 million USD in total to the US Justice Department.

Dutch Navy ends Somalian security mission

The Netherlands is its ending security operations escorting seaborne food transports to Somalia. The Dutch Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the mission of the Navy frigate Evertsen will not be extended. The ship will return to port in Den Helder next week.

Seaborne food transports are being stopped because no other country is willing to take over the mission against piracy. The frigate provided protection for UN World Food Programme transports from Kenya to Somalia for three months. Millions of people in war-torn Somalia are dependent on food aid for their survival.

Netherlands to train Burundi army and police

The Dutch Ministers of Development Cooperation and Defence, Bert Koenders and Eimert Middelkoop, have reached agreement with the government of Burundi on the training its police and troops. The objective of the training is to integrate former rebels into the army and police.

Burundi has suffered years of civil war between Hutus and Tutsis, in which hundreds and thousands have lost their lives. The Netherlands is giving Burundi 32 million EUR in development aid this year. Around four-and-a-half million EUR of this will go to reforming the army and police. It is not known what the costs of the training programme will be, as plans still have to be drawn up.

Paid paternal leave may be extended

It is unclear whether fathers will receive paid leave after the birth of their children. At the moment fathers are entitled to two days leave, but the GreenLeft wants this extended to ten days.

There is support for the idea in parliament, but the majority thinks ten days is too long. GreenLeft MP Ineke van Gent says she is willing to consider five days leave. She also wants to take a look at alternative ways of financing the scheme.

The proposal will be further dealt with after the summer recess. If longer leave is granted, it will be dubbed 'baby leave' rather than 'paternity leave' because same-sex couples will be entitled to the same amount of leave.

Gomes transfer agreed with Tottenham

PSV and Tottenham Hotspur have agreed to a transfer of goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes. The 27-year-old Brazilian still has to reach agreement with the English club. The transfer amount has not been revealed.

Gomes has been goalkeeper for Eindhoven's PSV since 2004 and won four national championships in a row with the club. Two months ago the popular Brazilian got into a serious dispute with the club's managing director Jan Reker.

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