Press Review Monday 2 August 2010
It's still summer, but the silly season appears to have gone on holiday; this morning's dailies are packed with real news, most of it from the political front. Late on Friday evening, VVD leader Mark Rutte announced that he, CDA leader Maxime Verhagen and PVV leader Geert Wilders intend to start negotiations on forming a minority VVD/CDA right-wing cabinet with the backing of Mr Wilders' anti-Islam PVV or Freedom Party. The announcement has not been universally welcomed, and the papers gleefully seize on the turmoil occasioned by the decision.
Negotiations on minority cabinet sparks row "Deal with PVV splits CDA," bellows the headline on AD’s front page. The populist tabloid reports that CDA politicians across the country are furious about the coalition deal with the far-right Freedom Party and some prominent Christian Democrats are considering resigning from the party. Former minister Bert de Vries tells the paper, "I am deeply disappointed. The PVV is the last party that I'd want to do a deal with".
Several papers speculate that the decision to work with Mr Wilders' anti-Islam party could split the Christian Democrats, and de Volkskrant gleefully writes, "Deal with PVV causes turmoil in CDA". The left-wing paper reports that senior Christian Democrats, local politicians and Muslim members are furious and oppose the deal with the Freedom party.
The paper says Friday evening’s joint declaration whereby the three parties pledged to "accept each other's viewpoints regarding Islam" has infuriated some CDA members. Bert de Vries pops up in de Volkskrant, but this time he is, "deeply, deeply disappointed". The former minister says, "it was an extremely nasty surprise to discover that my party now find it acceptable to work with a party that does not recognize one of the world's major faiths as a religion".
Trouw soberly reports that if the proposed VVD/CDA negotiations on a minority cabinet supported by the Freedom Party go ahead later this week, "the talks will take place under an avalanche of criticism from every corner of The Hague". Trouw focuses on the criticism that negotiation facilitator Ruud Lubbers failed to fulfil his mission of putting together a majority cabinet: GreenLeft leader Femke Halsema tells the paper that Mr Lubbers’ decision is "a matter for serious dispute".
AD reports that left-wing parties believe that Mr Lubbers' decision to recommend negotiations towards a minority cabinet fall outside his remit and the former prime minister will have to explain himself to the lower house on Wednesday. The paper notes that MPs will return from their summer holidays to question Mr Lubbers.
Dutch troops leave Afghanistan The Netherlands' mission to Afghanistan ended on Sunday after four years, and de Volkskrant covers the handover ceremony at the main Dutch base in Uruzgan. "Dutch withdrawal from Uruzgan painful," headlines AD above its report on the handover ceremony at Camp Holland, the main Dutch base in the province.
Brigadier General Kees van den Heuvel handed the base over to Australian and US forces and told "a high-ranking delegation of Dutch politicians" and Afghan military leaders that "it is not easy to say farewell after a long period of intense co-operation". The Brigadier General said Dutch forces, "had made a difference".
Amsterdam's canal district world heritage site Amsterdam's 17th-century canal district was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List at the weekend, and most papers publish photographs of the four curved canals, built at the height of the Dutch Golden Age and still beautiful several centuries on.
AD proudly notes that the Netherlands now has nine sites on the World Heritage List, and the city's municipal government says the recognition is "important and it’s good for the tourist industry".
Opponents fear it could turn Amsterdam into a theme park, but Trouw dismisses the worries: "The city council says this will not lead to new, tougher regulations. There are already strict regulations governing demolition, construction and advertising billboards and the UNESCO award will not change anything".
Hague team wins Homeless Cup De Volkskrant is the only paper that covers the Homeless Cup, a street football tournament for homeless people organised by More than Football. A team from The Hague won this year's cup, beating Amsterdam Centre 9-8 in the final, which was played in Amsterdam's Dam Square. The team will play in the Homeless World Cup finals in Rio de Janeiro in September.
The left-wing paper interviews members of the Utrecht Angels, the only women's team taking part in the competition. The team will also go to the finals in Rio and Amanda says she is “excited” by the prospect.
More than Football, along with the Royal Dutch Football Association and the Salvation Army, organised the tournament to help reintegrate homeless people into society and to bring structure and regularity into the lives of the homeless. Amanda says, “everybody has their problems, but on the football pitch you can forget about them for a while".
Kidnapping fails after getaway car wouldn't start "Van wouldn't start, kidnapping fails," sniggers AD on its front page. According to the paper, eyewitnesses saw a man who had been bound and gagged being forced into a van by two others and called the police. The man was shoved into the back of the van but "the getaway vehicle wouldn't start, so the kidnappers legged it,” says the paper.
AD reports that police freed the would-be victim and managed to apprehend one of the kidnappers.
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