RNW Dutch Press Review - 15 February 2008
A roundup of today's press by Radio Netherlands.
RNW Dutch Press Review - 15 February 2008 - by Georg Schreuder Hes
Most of today's papers carry reports on Ayaan Hirsi Ali's visit to the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg. According to AD, the controversial former Dutch MP of Somalian descent came in search of money to pay for her security.
Ever since the release of her film Submission, which focused on the position of women in Islam, Ms Hirsi Ali has been living with death threats from Muslim extremists. AD has a picture of the former MP sitting down behind a bank of microphones to address the European parliament. The paper writes that "European Parliament embraces Ayaan Hirsi Ali"
One hundred MEPs have already signed a proposal for the EU to pay for her protection, and she reportedly only needs 300 more. However, Conservative Dutch MEP Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert says in NRC.Next that she does not believe the European Parliament has the authority to actually carry out the proposal. "All of this is just token politics."
The front page of today's de Volkskrant features a report on growing concerns about Morocco's policy of strengthening ties with migrants of Moroccan descent living abroad. In Parliament, the Christian Democrats and the Conservative VVD have expressed concern about Rabat's plans to promote Moroccan culture and the use of the Arabic language.
Christian Democrat MP Madeleine van Toorenburg says: "we have major problems persuading shiftless Moroccan youths to participate in society, the last thing we need is for Morocco to start pushing in the opposite direction". Earlier, a wide majority in parliament called on the government to urge the Moroccan and Turkish authorities to let migrants decide for themselves whether they want to preserve their own culture.
However, the Moroccan government recently announced that the Moroccan community abroad should be regarded as the country's 17th province and stated as its goal to double the number of migrant children learning Arabic and being exposed to Moroccan culture. In 2006, three million Moroccans were living abroad, 85 percent of them in Western Europe.
Today's De Telegraaf reports on its front page that Dutch gynaecologists give up too easily on premature babies. Research by a team of paediatricians and gynaecologists shows that Dutch gynaecologists often take no action to keep babies born at 24 weeks alive. Twenty-four weeks is the official lower limit for the viability of premature babies.
However, the research shows that the lives of hundreds of premature babies could be saved if the mothers were referred to specialized premature birth centres more often. The team of paediatricians and gynaecologists says the current situation is the result of confusion over the lower viability limit. However, the team also noted that even though survival rates for babies born at 24 weeks have improved over the past decades, the chances of disabilities remain high.
Sexy Video Clips
Trouw has a report on the first ever Dutch research into the effect of explicit video clips on the sexual mores of adolescents. The research shows that these video clips have a much greater effect on girls than boys. Many of these video clips feature macho men surrounded by expensive cars, champagne and the inevitable ingredient: willing females in skimpy bikinis.
According to Trouw, girls watching these videos tend to think that sexy looks are what being a woman is all about. Professor Tom Ter Borgt of Nijmegen University says: "Those girls who are already prone to pinning their self-image and self-esteem on their looks are at risk of a series of problems including low self-confidence and eating disorders".
The explicit video clips seem to have hardly any effect on boys. The research rejects the notion that watching these clips leads to group rapes as is often thought. Professor Ter Borgt argues that: "These boys came from a world in which girls were considered a disposable article, the video clips were more a reflection of their perception than the root cause of their behaviour".
Host Mothers Quit
AD has a report on a threatening shortage of host mothers following the introduction of tighter government rules and regulations, including a reduction in the number of children under four years old that host mothers are allowed to take care of. The new regulations include training courses for the host mothers and more frequent inspections, as a result of which around 10 percent of host mothers are expected to quit.
A spokesperson for host mother agency Solo Bambini says: Three-quarters of our 150 host mothers will be duped. They will be forced to send children back to their parents. Long waiting lists mean there will be no other host mothers available". However branch organisation MOgroep says there will be only minor problems because it believes the group of host mothers taking care of more than two children under the age of four is limited.
[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]
Subject: Dutch news