RNW Press Review - 10 March 2008
A roundup of today's press from Radio Netherlands.
RNW Press Review - 10 March 2008 - by Nicola Chadwick
The weekend's demonstrations in Afghanistan have made the front page of Trouw under the title "Wieldas film could turn friends into enemies". The paper focusses on the opinion of Afghan MP Haji Mohammed Amin Kane, who isn't quite sure of the Wilders name but has heard enough about the Dutch MP's film from the Internet to oppose it. He wasn't alone, as 200 to 300 Afghan MPs joined demonstrations last week and called on the international community to ban such dangerous challenges to the Muslim community.
The demonstrations in Jalalabad and Herat at the weekend were the largest to date with 5000 protestors burning Dutch and Danish flags and threatening attacks on foreign troops. A picture of the demonstrators shows a crowd standing on a basketball pitch bearing banners written in Arabic, five have clambered onto the basketball net posts.
AD and Trouw report on the police strike, following the refusal by police to steward three important football matches on Sunday. As a result the matches had to be cancelled. NOC*NSF chairwoman Erica Terpstra says: "The police have to realise that they will loose public sympathy this way". It doesn't look like they will make themselves any more popular with the proposed action to hamper traffic during the rush hour tomorrow morning.
The action was taken after 13 hours of negotiations failed. The unions rejected Interior Minister Guusje Ter Horst's offer, which included two lump sums and a three-year pay rise deal, as it did not provide a structural solution. A policeman's lot is not a happy one apparently with some taking part-time jobs to make ends meet.
It is Keep the Netherlands Clean week, when school children, do-gooders and other busy bodies armed with prickers and bin bags go out into the parks and countryside to pick up litter. AD joins a neighbourhood streetcleaning team on their daily rounds, emptying bins and sweeping pavements. "People must think the fairies take away the litter," one streetcleaner sighs.
This is the seventh edition of Keep the Netherlands Clean week. Since the foundation began in 2002 litter has been reduced by almost 40 percent, just short of its 45 percent target. At the end of 2007 local councils and employers joined forces to invest 48 million euros in making the streets visibly cleaner by 2009. Just in case you don't believe in fairies, the paper gives a break down of the figures on litter. Did you know a piece of chewing gum can last up to 25 years?
De Volkskrant, Trouw and De Telegraaf all report on the Emigration Fair held last weekend. The numbers of visitors to the fair this year broke all records at 12,000. That is 3,000 more than last year. Although the papers do not agree on the reasons for leaving. The populist daily De Telegraaf cites the climate, high taxes, government interference, fear of Islamisation and the commotion surrounding the Wilders' film as reasons to leave. The Christian Protestant Trouw puts it down to a longing for space and quiet. Whatever the reasons, Canada, Sweden and Australia top the itinerary lists, with the Dutch Antilles gaining in popularity because of the job opportunities and possibilities to set up a business. The total number of emigrants leaving the country has been 126,000 per year for a couple of years now. So given that 80 percent of the visitors to the emigration fair do actually decide to leave the country in the end, there could be a few more going this year.
It is amazing what people can get nostalgic about. Both De Telegraaf and Trouw carry photos of a reconstruction of the Netherlands' first traffic jam on Whit Sunday in 1955. De Telegraaf headline reads "53 years of traffic jams". To mark its own 125th anniversary, the Dutch motoring association, the ANWB, reconstructed the historic event last weekend to make an advertisement for a traffic jam-free day on Thursday 9 October. Quite how the organisation wants to achieve this is unclear, although in the long run it looks like it could involve more tarmac.
[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]