Press Review Thursday 3 June 2010

3rd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

The election has been knocked off the front pages by the news that Joran van der Sloot is a murder suspect again. However, there is still a great deal of campaign news, some of it disturbing but some of it delightfully silly.

Joran suspected of murder - again "Another girlfriend of Joran is dead," screams De Telegraaf's front-page headline along with photographs of Mr Van der Sloot, the murdered woman and Natalee Holloway, an American teen who disappeared from the island of Aruba in 2005. Mr Van der Sloot is still the chief suspect in the Holloway case, although there has never been enough evidence to convict him.

On Monday, the body of 21-year-old Stephany Flores was discovered in a hotel room in the Peruvian capital Lima that had been rented by Mr Van der Sloot. "Stephany butchered in hotel room," is how the right-wing paper describes it.

De Telegraaf's hysterical tone is taken up by AD: the populist tabloid squeals "Joran suspected of murdering Peruvian woman," in large letters on the front page along with photos of the suspect and the victim.

De Volkskrant also puts the story on the front page, but the tone is much calmer: "Joran suspected of murder in Peru," says the paper. The item in de Volkskrant is factual and concise and avoids the hysterical note that sings through the coverage in the populist dailies.

Is Balkenende facing the final curtain? The end of Balkenende is nigh, is a prediction that finds its way into almost all of the papers this morning: "Balkenende undisputed CDA leader... until Wednesday," says AD and predicts that the battle for the party leadership won't break loose until after the CDA has lost the election.

NRC Handelsblad leads with "CDA suddenly the underdog," while de Volkskrant goes with "Balkenende expects massive defeat in Brabant". I can almost hear Jan Peter humming: "And now, the end is here, and so I face the final curtain" à la Frank Sinatra.

Disturbing news from the election campaign comes from a small article in de Volkskrant: "Rouvoet: gay person in relationship not welcome," writes the left-wing paper. In an interview on Dutch television on Wednesday night, Christian Union leader André Rouvoet said the first openly homosexual candidate for the right-wing Christian party would not have made it on to its electoral list if he were in a relationship. Jonathan van de Geer is number 41 on the CU list; the chance that he will actually be elected is slim to none.

Mr Rouvoet told the interviewer: "The CU accept homosexuality and homosexuals as long as ‘they're not in a relationship’." Either Mr Rouvoet is advocating casual sex or he is calling for homosexuals to practice celibacy. Perhaps someone should tell him that celibacy has been proven less than successful for Catholic priests.

Delightfully silly news from the campaign front comes in the form of a game created by It's sort of a cross between snakes and ladders and monopoly although it doesn't - to my disappointment - have a 'Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go, do not collect 200' card.

Secret Bilderberg conference starts "The bosses of the world meeting in secret again," reports AD, in its coverage of the Bilderberg conference. The secret conferences were started in 1954 at the height of the Cold War; Washington was deeply concerned about the spread of communism in Europe and US banker David Rockefeller persuaded the Netherlands' Prince Bernhard to invite the world's movers and shakers to a secret conference in a hotel in Oosterbeek.

For the past 56 years, the conferences have been shrouded in mystery; the agenda, the location and the guests are all closely guarded secrets and participants have to sign a confidentiality agreement.

It's grist to the mill of conspiracy theorists everywhere who say the guests are "the bosses of the world," who run "a shadow global government". Strangely enough, AD is the only paper that reports on the gathering of this secret cabal.

Traditional Dutch herring - from Norway Trouw has shocking news for herring lovers: "Eight out of ten traditional Dutch herrings come from Norway." Salted herring is a traditional and much loved delicacy here in the Netherlands – they’re known as 'Holland's New’ - and the opening of the herring season is always a big event.

Trouw tells us that ordinary people will have to wait until 8 June to taste this year's catch, but Queen Beatrix "was served new herring for lunch a few days ago". Such are the perks of royalty.

Albert Heijn launches World Cup gadget AD reports that Albert Heijn - one of the Netherlands biggest supermarket chains - has finally launched its World Cup gadget: "Beesie is here", writes the paper above a photo of a fuzzy orange thing with plastic eyeballs. During the 2006 World Cup, the supermarket giant ordered 15 million Wuppies - also a fuzzy orange thing with plastic eyeballs - and they were a massive hit.

AD says Appie Happie - as the supermarket chain is known in Amsterdam slang - has ordered 31 million Beesies and starting on 7 June, they'll be given away to customers who spend more than 15 euros.

Appie Happie is hoping to score with its' fuzzy giveaway and as the Beesie has already got its own page on Facebook, I think it's one-nil to Albert Heijn.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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