RNW Press Review, Tuesday 13 May 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.13 May 2008
Shell pulls out of gas project in Iran
De Telegraaf writes that Royal Dutch Shell has, at least temporarily, pulled out of an enormous gas project in Iran.
The paper reports that Shell withdrew from the project following pressure from the United States Congress, which is worried about the Iranian nuclear programme. The South Pars gas fields contain around half of Iran's gas reserves.
In 2002, Shell, Spain's Repsol and the National Iranian Oil Company signed an agreement to develop the gas field which was due to begin production in 2007.
However, the project has been suffering delays because of concern about Iran's nuclear intentions. De Telegraaf reports that a senior Shell official said on Monday that Shell may be interested in taking part in the project at a later date.
Columnist calls Wilders dumb blond for latest suggestion
In the newspaper Trouw, columnist Sylvain Ephimenco devotes a biting commentary to Wilders' suggestion. He writes that anyone who wants to get involved in the dispute between the French- and Dutch-speaking Belgians must be out of his mind.
"Uncle Geert says that Belgium is 'a mess' but Flanders would be good for the Dutch economy."
Wilders says that "With Antwerp the Netherlands would gain another port." Ephimenco responds: "With his childish and greedy rhetoric the neo-colonialist Wilders assured himself of a storm of Flemish protests."
The columnist then lists some reactions from the websites of Flemish newspapers. "If Flanders joins up with that people of busybodies, violent hooligans, murdering youths and nuts them I'm joining an armed rebellion! It's bad enough being with the Dutch at the same camp site!
“A union with Morocco or Mongolia would be better. There they don't pee against church walls and they don't eat fried croquettes from snack vending machines. The Dutch are authoritarian and lazy and they'll take over and push us out of leading positions. What's more, they don't have any manners and are certainly not friendly. If a Dutchman hasn't screwed you over then it's only because he forgot to."
Wilders himself is referred to as a "dumb blond".
Quality of public transport declines following privatisation
According to a survey conducted by the Socialist Party, "Service in regional public transport has declined dramatically in recent years."
De Volkskrant writes that the party has made a list of the consequences of privatisation of public transport which started eight years ago.
Among the complaints: "Buses ride infrequently or not at all in scarcely-populated areas. Bus stops at hospitals and old age homes have disappeared. Drivers have shorter breaks."
The Socialist Party also criticises the increasing use of temporary job agencies which employ workers with less experience. The party has called on the government and regional authorities to end the privatisation of public transport, which it says should be kept out of the hands of the market.
De Volkskrant also reports that the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions is collecting signatures this week and lobbying in parliament for an end to the privatisation of the Dutch Railways.
Meanwhile, Trouw writes that there will be no bus service in most regions of The Netherlands on Wednesday and Thursday. Bus drivers on regional routes are striking to demand a 3.5 percent salary increase.
Was the Dutch PM strip-searched in Surinam?
The free newspaper De Pers reports on Prime Minister Balkenende's trip to Surinam, where he arrived on Monday evening.
Opposition leader Desi Bouterse demanded that Balkenende receive the same treatment as Surinamese nationals, otherwise known a the "100 percent control".
De Pers writes that every passenger from Surinam who sets foot on Dutch soil is subjected to the same treatment. "Dogs sniff you, you are asked rude questions (Where did you get the money for your ticket?), the contents of your suitcases are ransacked, you undergo a body-scan, you must undress and doctors sometimes search your private holes."
A spokesperson for Bouterse's NDP, the most important opposition party, says the controls symbolise the unequal relationship between The Netherlands and its former colony: "If Dutch people were subjected to one-tenth of what Surinamese experience at Schiphol airport, The Netherlands would have broken all ties a long time ago."
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]