RNW Press Review, Thursday 3 July 2008

3rd July 2008, Comments 0 comments

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

3 July 2008

FARC hostages rescued by Colombian army
All this morning's papers report the freeing of Ingrid Betancourt by the Colombian army and feature front-page photos of her. The French-Colombian politician had been held hostage by Colombia's Marxist FARC rebels since February 2002.

The AD takes the opportunity to put a Dutch swing to the story by featuring Tanja Nijmeijer – a Dutch citizen who is a member of the FARC.

Nijmeijer, who is in her twenties, went to Colombia after finishing her studies in the Netherlands. However, it is not known whether she joined the rebels voluntarily.

Her diary was found in an army raid on a rebel camp and the paper prints an extract: "What sort of organisation is this where some have cash, cigarettes and sweets and the rest have to go begging and get shouted at [...] where we work the whole day, while the commanders stand around gossiping?"

DNA data exchange a success between Netherlands and Germany
NRC Handelsblad covers the success of a large-scale exchange of DNA data between the Netherlands and Germany. Dutch police were able to match over 1,000 of the profiles, while in Germany 600 'hits' were achieved.

The DNA material was taken during forensic investigations and can be used to solve crimes.

The Dutch Forensic Institute sent 25,000 profiles to be compared to half a million German DNA samples. The profiles were from people suspected or convicted of crimes punishable by a minimum of four years' imprisonment.

Material was also taken from the bodies of people who died under suspicious circumstances. The paper says such DNA exchanges are being set up with a number of European countries.

It also reports that co-operation with Great Britain ran into difficulty in 2007 when the British authorities "mislaid" a Dutch CD-ROM containing 4,000 profiles for a whole year.

Proposal to change Dutch coastline
De Telegraaf covers a joint plan being put forward by a dredging company and an engineering bureau for new sea defences for the provinces of North and South Holland.

The whole coastline would be extended three kilometres into the North Sea. About 3.8 billion cubic metres of sand would be used to create a barrier of dunes and 250 square kilometres of extra land four metres above sea level.

Developing the land would mean the project would be self-financing and the plan even envisages a new airport.

The proposal follows Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's recent call for new ideas on land reclamation and improving coastal defences in the face of rising sea levels.

"We've used the organisational and technical experience gained during work in Dubai for this Dutch project," boasts a director of one of the firms.

High prices at Schiphol put travellers off
Reading a front-page article in de Volkskrant, you might be forgiven for thinking that building another Dutch airport might be a bad idea. The paper tells us that Amsterdam's Schiphol airport is in "a crisis situation".

Apparently, the airport's high costs are driving passengers and airlines away. Hundreds of thousands of customers are choosing to use cheaper airports located just across the border in Belgium and Germany.

A Schiphol spokesman says: "There has been no growth in the airport this year. That has only been the case twice before in its entire history. We're losing a great many customers to airports in Belgium and Germany where they don't have to pay air-travel tax and where the governments help with security charges."

Proposed toll system runs into trouble
Trouw reports the government’s plans to introduce a toll system designed to reduce congestion on Dutch roads have run into yet more trouble.

The present car taxes are due to be scrapped when the new system is introduced in 2011.

However, the provincial administrations are largely funded from these tax revenues and the government is suggesting a new provincial tax on top of the toll tariffs.

"But then, people will have to pay twice," complains an MP who thinks the provinces should be financed from the toll money.

Deputy Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager says motorists won't pay double as long as they drive less.

"If you drive just as much, it will work out dearer," he admits.

Downpour disrupts holidaymakers’ plans
A photo in De Telegraaf shows disgruntled holidaymakers hurrying from a Dutch beach in the pouring rain, towels covering their heads.

Heavy thunder showers brought a period of hot, dry weather in the Netherlands to an abrupt end Wednesday.

[Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica]

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