RNW Press Review, Wednesday 21 May 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.21 May 2008
Drugs dealers go online
De Volkskrant reports on the paper’s investigation of illegal sales of prescription drugs via the internet and found out that drug dealers have moved from seedy alleys to the net.
The Netherlands passed new opium and prescription medications laws in 2007 in an attempt to tackle a huge rise in the availability of prescription medication via the internet.
However, De Volkskrant's week-long investigation revealed that addictive prescription drugs, including opiates, painkillers, muscle relaxants, diet pills and anti-impotency drugs, are easily available on the internet. All it took was a few clicks and the pills were in the post.
It is illegal for private individuals or companies to sell prescription drugs to private individuals under the new laws but there are countless adverts on popular Dutch buy/sell/trade websites.
The Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ) appears to be completely powerless to stop the illegal trade.
Shortly after the laws were passed, the IGZ called on the websites to stop carrying the ads but the organisation's monitoring of the sites appears to be rather lax. A spokesperson for one site says, "The ads are placed much faster than we can take them off".
The ads are easy to find and they are not coy about what they are selling: "Legal valium from Spain - stronger than prescription Dutch valium" reads one while another screams, "Buy now while supplies last! Minimum order 150 pills due to massive demand".
De Telegraaf covers a story that is sure to anger anyone who has been fined for speeding.
"Ministers' traffic fines paid by taxpayers" headlines the paper.
The government had earlier revealed that several provinces pay fines incurred by civil servants and Alexander Pechtold, leader of the democrat party D66 wanted to know if the taxpayers’ money was being used to pay other fines.
The transport minister says the government pays traffic fines collected by ministers, deputy ministers and senior civil servants working for the agriculture and fisheries, social affairs and finance ministries.
"Government personnel should be obliged to obey their own laws" fumes Pechtold, adding, "if this is common practice, it is setting an unacceptable example".
More cats to be chipped
AD reports that there is an alarming increase in homeless cats. The Dutch Animal Protection Society (DD) took in more than 38,000 cats in 2007, an increase of 5,000 over the year before.
The DD says the country's animal shelters are overcrowded and has launched a campaign to reduce the number of homeless kitties.
The campaign, launched on Tuesday by the agriculture minister, calls for more cats to be chipped. The DDs director says many people don't bother because "fluffy never goes outside" but that once a cat has escaped, it is extremely difficult to trace the owner if they don't have a chip".
Falling through Eurovision net
Most of the papers report that the Dutch entry to the Eurovision Song contest failed to make it through to Saturday's finals.
This is the fourth year in a row that The Netherlands fallen at the first hurdle. AD writes that although she was in good voice, former Idols star Hind’s rendition of Your Heart Belongs to Me just didn't touch the judges’ hearts and she failed to get enough votes.
De Telegraaf also reports that she managed to sing in tune, snidely noting that the same could not be said of, "the long-haired Finns playing dated hard rock, the weird cabaret group from Estonia and the out of tune man in a turkey costume from Ireland".
[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]