Press Review Thursday 29 July 2010

29th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The politicians involved in the pre-coalition talks are still refusing to speak to the press so the daily papers have been forced to speculate on what's going on at the secret negotiations. As there is no real news on the issue that is of vital importance to the country, the papers are a collage of old items that have been dusted off and given a new headline, human interest and dead animals stories, football news and a few things that are just plain daft.

Lubbers wants decision on coalition by Saturday ADs headline could be dismissed as wishful thinking: "Agreement on right-wing cabinet very close," is splashed across the front page in large letters. "It's decision time for the leaders of the VVD, PVV and CDA," says the populist paper, adding that negotiation leader Ruud Lubbers "wants a decision by Saturday".

Most of the rest of the article is based on hearsay, supposition and tip-offs from "insiders in The Hague".

De Telegraaf crams its front page with seven stories but the one with the biggest headline is billed as "exclusive" and is it written in a hysterical, breathless tone: "Lubbers had a heart attack," pants the paper, adding, "Close friends deeply concerned about health of former prime minister."

The front-page article makes it sound as though Mr Lubbers is at death's door and questions whether he is physically and mentally capable of taking on such a complicated, stressful task. Mr Lubbers swots the assertions aside: "Of course I can take this weighty task on," he growls.

Taliban wants Labour in new coalition De Volkskrant also lays claim to an exclusive: the paper interviews Qari Yusuf Ahmadsii, the official Taliban spokesperson for southern and western Afghanistan, as part of its series on the Netherlands' upcoming withdrawal from the Central Asian country.

Dutch forces come home on 1 August and Mr Ahmadsii tells the paper, "We would like to heartily congratulate the citizens and the government of the Netherlands for having the courage to take this independent decision."

The Taliban follows events in the Netherlands closely and Mr Ahmadsii doesn't shy away from giving his opinion on politics in the country: "The Labour Party's refusal to extend the mission to Afghanistan was perhaps the most important decision in the history of the Netherlands," and adds, "We hope the Labour Party will play a leading role in the new Dutch government."

Amsterdam businessmen on hunger strike AD reports that two Amsterdam businessmen have gone on hunger strike after failing to resolve a long-running dispute with housing corporation De Key. The problems for the two, who both own shops, started in 2004 when De Key announced plans to renovate the neighbourhood and informed them that they would have to vacate the premises.

Jewellery shop owner Mark van der Linden and restaurant owner Varinder Singh refused; after a four-year legal battle, the parties agreed that De Key would renovate the buildings and the two men would be allowed to return. The renovations were completed in 2009 and they returned to their businesses.

And that, according to AD, is when the real problems started. The renovations were botched: both shops are far smaller than before; Mr Singh's kitchen is full of design faults; the toilets are too small and Mr van der Linden cannot close off his workshop anymore. They say they can't work any more and have been financially ruined.

Negotiations with the housing corporation have proven fruitless and nine days ago, the pair started a hunger strike. "If we don't get a satisfactory solution, they'll take us out of here in an ambulance," Mr van der Linden tells the paper.

Soest woman claims to be King of Pop's daughter "Bizarre rumour from the Netherlands," headlines De Telegraaf above its article about a 34-year-old woman from Soest who claims, "I’m Michael’s daughter." Mocienne Petit Jackson is demanding a DNA test in order to prove her claim that she is the biological daughter of Michael Jackson and Barbara Ross, Diana Ross' older sister. Ms Petit Jackson says Michael Jackson fathered her when he was 17.

She tells the paper, "I was nine years old when I was kidnapped by seven men and brought to the Netherlands because Michael's mother believed I would damage his career." De Telegraaf says Ms Petit Jackson is "demanding her share of Michael's estate and custody of Michael's other children".

According to Barbara Ross, "She's delusional, I've never even met Michael Jackson."

Raccoon dog corpses, fear of flying and football thugs AD reports that six large boxes crammed with the corpses of thousands of raccoon dogs were discovered by the side of a motorway near Abcoude on Wednesday. The boxes were discovered by Barbara van Ee. "It was a gruesome and shocking discovery," she says. The animals had been half-skinned and a spokesperson for an anti-fur lobby tells the paper that the animal's fur is used in the fashion industry.

AD also reports that the number of people in the Netherlands signing up for courses to help them overcome their fear of flying has increased dramatically over the last year. The director of Valk, an organisation that runs fear of flying courses, says, "It's been extremely busy this year; last year we did about 400 courses, but we'll be running at least 600 this year." In a huge headline on the next page, AD trumpets, "Disastrous year for the airline industry: more than 700 dead." Coincidence or does someone have shares in Valk?

The football season hasn't started yet, but preliminary Champions League matches are under way and football hooligans are already polishing their knuckles. AD reports that Amsterdam police arrested eight Ajax supporters for public violence on Wednesday evening, before the match between Ajax and PAOK Saloniki kicked off.

Elsewhere the paper reports that Luis Suarez scored his 100th goal for Ajax, but that didn't prevent the match ending up in a disappointing 1-1 draw.  

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