19th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

A roundup of today's press from Radio Netherlands.


By Frank Scimone

Trouw writes that while on Monday a renowned Dutch television producer was accusing Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders of racism, the same day he was in Denmark where he felt "completely at home". In Denmark, where the controversial Muhammad cartoons were recently published for the second time, the populist leader held a series of interviews about his struggle against Islam. Mr Wilders feels his arguments got a better reception in Denmark than in the Netherlands. Trouw reports that Mr Wilders doesn't think it right that Harry de Winter attacked him by placing an advertisement in a newspaper. He referred to the ad as "Not showing much good taste and a cheap blow under the belt whose arguments make no sense at all." The advert argued that if Wilders had made the same statements about Jews as he is now making about Muslims, there would have been a massive outcry and Wilders would have been prosecuted for antisemitism.
 Mr Wilders refused to say when his anti-Qur'an film Fitna will be released, only that it "will appear on the internet before the 1st of April".

Anti-racism demo to target Wilders

De Volkskrant writes that an anti-racism organisation is planning a large demonstration on the Dam in Amsterdam on Saturday whose principal target will be Geert Wilders. The group hopes the rally "Will symbolise a turning point in the Dutch political climate that is now characterised by fear and hatred." De Volkskrant says it will be the first major anti-racism rally since the mid-1990s. Mohamed Rabbae, secretary of a Moroccan organisation, says that the rally will be linked with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. "But we're not playing hide and seek. Wilders is the spokesman of racism. And racism is the concrete rot of society."

Environmentalists and wood traders unite

AD reports that the Dutch organisation Friends of the Earth Netherlands is presenting a report to European Environmental Commissioner Stravros Dimas today which found that four projects funded by the European Union used illegally felled timber. Friends of the Earth Netherlands is calling on the EU "to adopt legislation to ensure that illegally felled timber be prevented from being sold on the European market". Wood producers from countries in central Africa and the Amazon have already voluntarily pledged not to use illegal timber. AD writes that "Nevertheless the use of illegally felled timber is the most important reason for the deforestation of 13 million square metres of land every year." The Federation of Dutch Wood Companies also supports European legislation. A spokesman for the federation says that "Contractors, municipalities, importers and suppliers would also like to use good wood, but that's a problem if the rules aren't enforced in the producing countries."  The suppliers of wood say that it's impossible to determine the source of timber and the only solution is that the EU demand that producing countries enforce the rules.

The smell of money

AD tells of a Dutch wine-taster who has gotten the British company Lloyds to insure his nose for five million euros. Ilja Gort, who produces a brand of Bordeaux wine called La Tulipe, "says his highly developed sense of smell can differentiate millions of scents".  A talent which is essential for guaranteeing the quality of his product. "While the tongue can only distinguish five smells, the nose has the capacity of distinguishing an endless number of varieties." Which is why, according to Gort, "his nose deserves a serious disability insurance".

Teenager sets off for China with bicycle, 120 euros and map

The free newspaper De Pers tells the story of a bored 16-year-old boy who after having an argument at home took his bicycle and instead of cycling to school, left for China. "I always wanted to see the Great Wall of China", says Collin Brinkmans from the town of Stadskanaal in the north of the Netherlands. "I'd been dreaming of it for years. And cycling is a nice way to travel. It's cheap and you get to see a lot." On the 10th of March Collin took his bicycle, 120 euros, his identity card, a bottle of water and a map of the Netherlands and set off for China. "I knew I had to cycle eastwards. I followed the sun, and bought a new map every time I crossed the border." His plan went quite well, but six days and 900 kilometres later he had a conversation with a Polish couple at a bus stop in the Polish town of Przemkov. After they heard of his plans the couple called the police who brought him to a youth shelter in the town of Polkowice. Collin, who didn't even have muscle pain after six days of cycling, was fully confident he would make it to China and is disappointed that the police intervened. His mother is angry and will go to Poland to pick him up. He says: "I travelled through nature, through the mountains, but still haven't seen China." When he's 18 he plans to leave home and do a lot of travelling.
[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]

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