Netherlands international news

19th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

A look at the Netherlands international news in brief...

19 June 2008 

Socialist MP Kant announces candidacy for party leadership

Socialist Party MP Agnes Kant has announced her candidacy for the party leadership after Jan Marijnissen announced his resignation for health reasons.

Two other potential candidates, MPs Jan de Wit and Ronald van Raak have withdrawn.

Ms Kant, who has been an MP for ten years, specialises in health care issues. She has repeatedly deputised for Mr Marijnissen at important debates.

On Friday, the party elects a successor to Jan Marijnissen, who will retain his seat in parliament.

Dutch happy about themselves, but not about society

In a quarterly report intended to reflect the mood of Dutch society, The Social and Cultural Planning Office reports that most Dutch citizens are happy about their own lives but dissatisfied with society as a whole.

Many people are worried about a general lack of respect and solidarity, and two out of every three citizens believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

More than 70 percent of those interviewed believed there was an increasing lack of respect between people. However, 80 percent felt that there were still many people willing to help their fellow man.

That said, only 25 percent said they would dare address a person in the street about improper behaviour.

Krajicek reaches quarter final

Michaëlla Krajicek has reached the quarter final of the WTA Rosmalen grass tournament. In the second round, she beat India's Sania Mirza 6-2, 6-2. In the quarter final, she will play Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn.

Verdonk accuses co-worker

A row about money has broken out in Rita Verdonk's Proud of the Netherlands party. In a newsletter to members, Ms Verdonk accuses her former co-worker, Ed Sinke, of dirty tricks. She says that although Mr Sinke always stated he would work for the party for nothing, the books show that all sorts of payments have been made to his own company.

"To say on the one hand that you are working for nothing, while on the other you're busy making payments to your own company is something that sticks in my throat," said Ms Verdonk.

The newsletter is a reaction to an article about the dispute in the news magazine Elsevier. In the article, Mr Sinke said he was astonished at the accusations. Ms Verdonk is now threatening him with legal action.

Bus strike over

Regional bus drivers are going back to work. The trade unions have called on the drivers to end their industrial actions today now that the Dutch government is giving the provinces money to solve the dispute over the collective labour agreement.

Deputy Transport Minister Tineke Huizinga announced on Wednesday that a one-off sum of 16 million EUR would be set aside so the bus companies could pay their personnel the wage rises promised earlier.

Nearly 1,500 Dutch citizens over 100 years old

The Netherland now has nearly 1,500 people over 100 years old. Statistics Netherlands reports that on 1 January there were 1,486 citizens aged 100 years or older, 91 more than the previous year.

The increase consisted almost exclusively of women. Only one in eight of all centenarians are men.

Most of Europe's centenarians live in Greece, where people are three times as likely to reach 100 as in the Netherlands.

Students leave 25 million EUR unclaimed

A holiday work survey carried out by independent youth trade union CNV Jong reveals that students have failed to claim at least 25 million euros in tax rebates. That's approximately 50 euros per student.

Apparently, around half the 1.2 million students who earn holiday money do not know they are entitled to apply to the tax office for a rebate. The survey points out that students tend not to work for the entire year and therefore are often entitled to a rebate.

Amnesty calls for clarity about Tibetan prisoners

Amnesty International says the fate of more than 1,000 Tibetans who were detained during the anti-China protests in March is still unknown. The human rights organisation reports that prisoners were starved and abused. Amnesty is calling on Beijing to provide clarity about the fate of the detainees.

The demonstrations against Chinese rule in Tibet were brutally repressed by the Chinese army. In a reaction, protesters disrupted the Olympic torch relay in cities across the world.

The Olympic flame is due to arrive in Tibet on Saturday. The relay there has been shortened to one day, but the authorities say the decision was prompted by the recent earthquake in Sichuan province.

Hamas-Israel truce takes effect

A truce agreed between Hamas and the Israeli government on Wednesday has taken effect. The truce, which is the result of talks hosted by Egypt, will last for an initial six months.

Shortly before it went into effect, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned against high expectations of what he called a "fragile truce". Israel still considers Hamas a terrorist organisation.

A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli soldiers only hours before the truce came into force. Earlier on Wednesday, dozens of rockets were fired at Israel.

The truce is intended to end these incidents and partly re-open the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Talks on a prisoner exchange are expected to resume soon.



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