RNW Press Review, Thursday June 26, 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands....
26 June 2008
De Volkskrant covers a Dutch-led European report which says that Europe is guilty of the large-scale dumping of electronic, plastics, used-car and metal waste in Africa and Asia.
Jolanda Roelofs from Dutch Environmental Inspectorate says: "Rotterdam is increasingly being used as a transit point for international waste transport, often to China and India, but also more and more to Ghana and Nigeria." The emerging Asian economies are eager to recycle waste from the West, and Ms Roelofs says, "It's often above board, but we are also seeing transports which are straightforward dumping".
She also warns that the problem is not only to do with the transit and export of illegal waste. "We recently came across a collection of car wrecks in the east of the Netherlands which were packed full of banned pesticides. It's not just Europe, there's a lot that needs to be done in the Netherlands," she explains.
An article in the AD seems to back her up. "Household waste is full of radioactive rubbish" reads the headline. It appears that, after having found traces of radioactivity in a major incinerator in Dordrecht, the company in charge decided to install radioactivity alarms through which rubbish vans ride. The alarms are being triggered far more often than expected.
"We thought the alarms would go off now and again, but not dozens of times like now," says the company director. Experts have assured the company that the radioactivity is low-level and comes from bandages and the like discarded by people who have undergone radiation therapy in hospital.
The Protestant daily Trouw reports that Integration Minister Ella Vogelaar is pushing for an inquiry into classes on Islam given to children often at weekends in mosques. It would probe criminal aspects such as the suspected use of corporal punishment and also deal with the issue of whether the youngsters are being subjected to anti-Western indoctrination.
She is also defending Amsterdam councillor Ahmed Marcouch who has suggested bringing Islamic education into the mainstream by allowing Qur'an lessons in state schools. "The neutral character of schools would not be compromised. If parents make a request, the schools should agree to it, just as happens with Catholics or Protestants," she believes.
NRC Handelsblad has a front-page picture of a smartly dressed man in an old-fashioned tobacco shop, all smoked glass and marble, in the chic centre of Amsterdam. He looks happy and relaxed, his arm resting on the counter, and, you've guessed it, he's smoking a cigar. The piece is the first of a series heralding next week's introduction of the ban on smoking in public places.
"...like monkeys in a cage..."
"An idiotic rule," opines the shop's manager. "Lots of people come here precisely for the delicious aroma. And only smokers come in. What's more, tobacco is a legal product. But soon, my customers will have to go and sit like monkeys in a cage to give things a try," he complains.
The mass-circulation De Telegraaf also has a front-page piece on the imminent smoking ban. As the proposed rules stand, people in party tents which are open at the side will be allowed to enjoy their cigarettes and cigars. The catering industry, fearing unfair competition, is threatening legal action if the loophole is not closed.
"...will be quickly accepted..."
Health Minister Ab Klink seems prepared to back down: "I see the point that party tents could take customers away from regular outlets. So we'll look at the problem together," he says in an interview with the paper. He goes on to demonstrate that he is upbeat about the success of the ban: "Smoking-free bars and restaurants will be quickly accepted. Just like the bans were in the workplace and in trains," he believes.
Finally, Princess Alexia's third birthday is not totally swamped by the coverage of Queen Beatrix's state visit to Lithuania. Crown Prince Willem-Alexander's second daughter, who is third in line to the throne, gets her smiling picture in both De Telegraaf and the AD.
By Mike Wilcox