RNW Press Review. Thursday 10 July 2008

10th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

10 July 2008

Plans to transform problem’ hood to desirable area attacked
A study attacking Housing Minister Ella Vogelaar's plans to transform 40 districts from problem areas into showcase neighbourhoods was released Wednesday, and NRC.next covers the story in detail.

After the wrecking ball, by researchers from the University of Utrecht, concludes that the Vogelaar plan will not solve the problems, it will merely move them on.

The paper writes that the researchers looked at six post-war neighbourhoods, four of which are included in Minister Vogelaar's "From problem 'hood to desirable area" plan.

Many of these post-war problem neighbourhoods have been the target of numerous government improvement plans. They all have one thing in common: pull the old houses down and build new ones.

According to one of the researchers, the newly built houses have not led to an improvement in the neighbourhoods and they, "have not been successful anywhere".  

The researchers also said that the demolition and rebuilding plans just force people to move into new neighbourhoods, and they take all of their problems with them as they do.

Everyone wants to be a millionaire
Most of the papers cover a story that is causing huge numbers of people in the Netherlands to drift away into fantasyland.

The largest ever Lotto jackpot – EUR 25 million - is guaranteed to fall at eight o'clock this evening and some seven million people across the nation are wondering what they would do if they had the winning lottery ticket.

AD’s front page has photographs of 10 fairly standard suggestions (new house, new car, new boat, holiday home and jewellery) but also prints a little warning under the photographs, "money doesn't make you happy".

Just to drive the point home, the paper prints an article about a Scottish woman who won EUR 44 million in 2007. The paper writes that she is now a miserable, unhappy hermit who only goes out to McDonalds.

The paper also writes that a EUR 25 million jackpot is peanuts compared to what you can win in other countries. The German lottery gave away a EUR 37-million-prize in 2007, though Spain topped that by giving away EUR 76.6 million.

However, the big money is in the US where one lucky chap won EUR 250 million in 2007.  

Trouw interviews a professor of economic and social psychology who says that nobody in their right mind would bother buying a ticket because the chances of winning are so ridiculously small.

"It's actually absurd that so many people are seduced by the 25 million jackpot, but people just look at the prize money and don't think about their chances of winning".

Sky-high holidays
"Holidays exorbitantly expensive" screams the populist De Telegraaf on its front page and advises people wanting a cheap holiday to book it now, as prices will rise by between EUR 100 and EUR 200 after the summer.

The paper writes that the price hike is a direct consequence of the explosive increase in costs including the price of oil, the new flight tax and higher accommodation prices.

The brochures for the winter 2008/09 season are now going to the printer and the prices are sky high.

An accountant with a major travel organisation tells the paper: "We're a bit shocked by the prices ourselves. Things are looking grim."

Café turns smoking club
Many people are not happy about the ban on smoking in bars, cafés, and restaurants on 1 July and have been looking for ways to dodge the ban.

AD reports that a Maastricht café owner has turned his establishment into a smoking club.

Anybody wanting to come into the café has to become a member; once inside, they can puff away to their heart’s content.

The owner says it’s legal because "the cafe is no longer a public place but a private club".

So far, more far more than 400 people have become members.

Trouw reports that a judge in The Hague has ruled that bars and cafés owned and operated by one person cannot escape the ban.

Under the new anti-smoking law, all personnel are guaranteed the right to work in a smoke-free environment but an organisation representing owner-operator establishments argued that the law did not apply to them, as they do not have personnel.

However, the judge ruled that they cannot escape the law.

Artis Zoo sees unusual pair of cat and baby panda
AD and De Telegraaf both cover a rather bizarre adoption story. De Telegraaf reports that Amsterdam's Artis Zoo recently celebrated the birth of a red panda but unfortunately the mother rejected it.

Fortunately the zoo's resident domestic cat had just had kittens and adopted the baby panda.

AD prints a rather fetching photo of the pair and writes that the cat is suckling the baby panda along with her own kittens, adding that, under the circumstances, the baby panda is faring well.

[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]

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