RNW Press Review, Monday 14 April 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.14 April 2008
Football match cancelled as fire broke out
Today's front pages are covered in photos of what looks like a Dutch re-run of the Hillsborough disaster. Football fans are shown jumping over barriers on to the pitch to escape a stand wreathed in smoke. Luckily, however, there were only relatively minor injuries.
"Escaping a Sea of Fire" screams the headline of De Telegraaf as it reports that the Groningen FC's home match against Ajax yesterday afternoon could easily have turned into a catastrophe.
Groningen fans threw rolls of toilet paper from the stand towards the pitch just before the kick-off. Groningen FC's director Hans Nijland knew what the fanatical fans were going to do. "They've done this sort of thing in the past, but it's never been a problem before," he tells us.
The fire services were at the scene within six minutes, but even though the smoke had cleared after an hour and a half, the match was abandoned. Defending the decision to cancel the game, Ajax captain Edgar Davids said: "We'd seen them carrying the injured out. What's left to talk about?"
Report on poor school standards not entirely true
NRC.Next focuses on Tuesday's debate in the lower house on the Dijsselbloem report on the quality of education. The report, published in February, condemned recent reforms in education saying they led to poorer results.
Researchers involved in compiling the report, however, say Labour Party MP Jeroen Dijsselbloem focussed too much on negative developments in schools.
The reforms which included more independent study meant pupils did their homework in school time, so overall they just did less schoolwork leading to lower grades.
But the paper says it is impossible to measure quality as there are no annual statistics measuring standards. The paper concludes that the report has succeeded in doing one thing: "It looks like Dijsselbloem has given teachers, pupils and their parents the feeling that they have been listened to."
No need to panic, says minister of finance
AD reports that Dutch Minister of Finance Wouter Bos says there is no reason for panic over the effects of the credit crisis in U.S. economy, in spite of comparing it to the worst crisis since the stock exchange crash in 1929.
The minister is in Washington for a meeting with the International Monetary Fund.
Director of the Dutch Central Bank Nout Wellink does not agree that the current crisis can be compared to 1929; then there was a worldwide depression and mass unemployment. AD's own economist Arjen van Witteloostuijn agrees, as the comparison damages consumer confidence.
He says two things are important: that growth in China, India and Japan continues and that Europe does not end up in a recession. The finance minister believes the Dutch economy is robust enough to see out the storm.
Bos says growth in Europe is high and in the Netherlands it is even higher. He compares the economic situation to a boxing match: "You know you are going to get hit, but not when, so you have to have your defences up."
Food price crisis needs more than just halt to bio-fuels
Christian daily, protestant newspaper Trouw, devotes an editorial to the agricultural aspects of the weekend's IMF spring summit, in a commentary entitled "Halt to bio-fuels won't solve the food problem."
The rapid rise in food prices of recent months was indeed high on the agenda for the IMF meeting. People across the globe now have to pay much more for their staple foods than they did a year ago, and this has already led to tension in some of the world's developing nations, including Egypt and Haiti.
One of the things blamed for the sharp price rises is the increasing use of bio-fuels, many of which are still produced from crops that would otherwise be used to feed humans. As the Trouw editorial mentions, World Bank President Robert Zoellick says it is bizarre how people in rich countries get up in arms about the slightest rise in the amount they have to pay to fill their car's petrol tanks, whilst people in an even larger part of the world are finding it ever more difficult to fill their stomachs.
The editorial goes on to say "The world must move as quickly as possibly to getting its bio-fuels from agriculture's inedible leftovers." But it also adds that this won't end the problem. "That won't lift all the pressure on food prices. For that to happen, more support is needed for the rich nations for the development of the food sectors in developing nations."
Room for more dialogue
Trouw reports on a meeting held by Young Dutch Reformed Christians on the threat of Islam at the weekend.
The majority of the 700 young people at the meeting expressed their fears of "all those Muslims", who would "kill them once they got into power". Leader of the strict religious SGP Lower House faction Bas van der Vlies told the meeting "When I said that the Wilders film would stimulate discussion, the whole country criticised me."
Christian Democrat Ayhan Tonca called for more dialogue.
Meanwhile in Amsterdam there is hope, as De Volkskrant reports on plans for an inter-ethnic mosque run by young people from all denominations. A place where men and women pray together and non-Muslims are welcome. Perhaps this will be a place for dialogue when its doors open in May.
[Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica]