RNW Press Review, Monday 30 June 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.30 June 2008
Inmates to exhibit good behaviour to get out early
As of Tuesday, prisoners in the Netherlands will no longer have their sentences automatically reduced by a third. It has long been standard procedure to release all inmates sentenced to more than six months after they have served two-thirds of their sentence.
De Telegraaf writes that the new legislation ends the practice of “giving criminals a gift of a third of their sentence. Now they must demonstrate good behaviour in prison. What’s more, they must serve the remainder of their sentence if they again break the law.”
De Volkskrant writes that the legislation was introduced following the trial of Volkert van der Graaf, who was sentenced to 18 years in jail for killing the politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002.
Many people were angry about the fact that he would automatically be released after 12 years. The new legislation assures that each prisoner’s release will be judged on a case-by-case basis, according to his or her behaviour.
“The prisoner now has a trial period which is the same as the remainder of the sentence. If the prisoner commits a crime during this period he or she must serve the remainder.” The prisoner can also be asked to meet certain conditions, such as agreeing to behavioural therapy, having to report to the police station or keeping out of certain neighbourhoods.
De Volkskrant also quotes a number of specialists in criminal law who warn of pitfalls. “The prisoner is at the mercy of the goodwill of the prison director…prison directors and wardens will have a lot of power. It’s frightening.”
Race riots shock Curacao
Dutch people studying or working on the Caribbean island of Curacao, in the Dutch Antilles, were attacked last week because they were white. The Dutch Antilles are self-governing territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
De Volkskrant reports that the race riots broke out after the island’s council agreed by a vote 11 to 10 that the island’s finances be placed under the receivership of the Netherlands.
“The opposition saw this as a re-colonisation by the Netherlands and called for a demonstration.” In the hours following the vote there were disturbances throughout the capital Willemstad. Later small groups of demonstrators headed towards pubs frequented by Dutch people.
The Sunday issue of De Telegraaf describes the riots in more colourful language. The newspaper reports that demonstrators shouted at Dutch people: “Bugger off to your own country.”
A number of Dutch people were injured and one was badly beaten and hospitalised. The administrator of Curacao, Lisa Dindial appeared in a live television broadcast in which she called on Dutch and Antilleans “to be careful”.
Flying cars in Holland
They have not been built yet, but Dutch police have plans to order flying cars when the first vehicles roll off the assembly line. AD interviewed Bart Miltenburg, director of national police corps.
He says police are interested in purchasing the Pal-v, which is a cross between a three-wheel motorcycle and a gyrocopter and can reach speeds of up to 200 kilometres an hour on land and in the air.
The creator of the Pal-v, Dutchman John Bakker, says the first flying cars should be ready in around two years. He expects the vehicle to be on the market in 2012. The car will first be sold to police and ambulance services and then to businessmen.
Bakker says his company plans to deliver them first to security services because “It’s bad publicity if in the beginning there are reports of drunken drivers or someone trying to make a good impression on his girlfriend.”
Puff away legally for the last time
Restaurants, pubs and discotheques are holding special smoking parties Monday, the last day one can smoke legally in public places.
De Telegraaf writes that a pub in The Hague will celebrate the evening with the best ‘smoking hits’ of all times. And music café Allicht in the town of Nijmegen will feature smoking machines, smoked sausage, smoked whiskey and smoked eel.
Several cinemas will give movie buffs the opportunity to light up while watching their favourite movies about smoking. The Blitz bar in the town of Groenlo will offer “All you can smoke for free…So come on time, get plastered, shout and smoke your lungs out!”
Not very bright, but he had guts
AD reports that police in the town of Hoorn fined a 22-year-old drunken man for urinating in public. “This Hoorn resident did go a bit far by urinating on the hood of a police car.”
The paper quotes a police spokesperson: “While his action wasn’t that bright, you can’t say that he didn’t have guts.”
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]