The Dutch news in September 2006

6th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

Princess Maxima pregnant again, F-16 pilot killed in Afghanistan, terror testament aired on TV, the 2007 Budget, the Schiphol fire report and ministerial resignations - just some of September's highlights.

1 September 2006
Minister okay with Madonna's cross routine

Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has said he will impose no extra monitoring or restrictions on Madonna's concerts in Amsterdam. The conservative Christian party SGP called on Donner to act because Madonna's Confessions tour features the song 'Live to Tell'. During it she hangs from a giant cross and wears a crown of thorns. Her use of the Christian symbolism has caused outrage in other countries during the tour. Madonna is in Amsterdam's ArenA stadium on 3 and 4 September.

1 September 2006
Deal agreed over MP's security costs

Right-wing MP Geert Wilders has reached agreement with Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner about who should pay the extra costs required for his security during the election campaign. Earlier, Wilders said his campaign for November's election was in danger as his Party for Freedom could not afford the security gates required for his rallies.

1 September 2006
Dutch F-16 crashes in Afghanistan

A Dutch fighter pilot died when his F-16 fighter jet crashed in southern Afghanistan. The Dutch Defence Ministry said his plane, based in Kabul, was flying at a "great height" at the time of the accident, making it unlikely it was shot down. "We therefore assume it was an accident," officials said in a statement. The plane came down in a barren area of Ghazni Province, north of Uruzgan, where 1,400 Dutch troops are based. The wreckage and the pilot's body were found by an American rescue team.

5 September 2006
Wage increases higher than anticipated

Wages in the Netherlands are increasing more than anticipated with average increases running at 3.8 percent rather than the 2 percent forecast. The increase is up to 3.6 percent for operational staff and up to 4.1 percent for people at managerial level, according to the Beloningsindex 2006, the wages index published annually by ADP Nederland and Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
6 September 2006
Huge increase in new parties for election

There has been a massive increase in the number of parties hoping to win seats in the Dutch parliament. The Electoral Council (Kiesraad) has registered a total of 74 parties for the general election on 22 November compared with 45 in the last national poll in 2003. Several of the parties are newcomers on the political scene but registration does not automatically mean a group can take part in the election. New parties must have 30 signatures from each of the electoral districts to be contested. As there are 19 districts in total, 570 supporters are required for a national campaign.

7 September 2006
MPs seek debate on CIA prisons

Dutch MPs have called for a special debate with Foreign Minister Ben Bot following President George W. Bush's admission the CIA operates secret overseas jails. Labour (PvdA), the Socialists, green-left GroenLinks and Democrat D66, all opposition parties, expressed disappointment at the "little political reaction" from Minister Bot. He will face questions about the controversial issue during a debate in parliament

7 September 2006
Weapons find linked to Muslim terror group

Detectives have found two guns in a communal cellar of a residential complex in The Hague. The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) in The Hague suspects the weapons belong to a Muslim terror organisation allegedly headed by Samir A., a Dutchman of Moroccan descent. Police arrested a 23-year-old woman who lives in one of the homes in the complex. Sources said the suspect is Soumaya S., the wife of Nouredine el F. He is serving a five-year sentence for possession of a submachine gun in Amsterdam in June 2005. S. was sentenced to nine months for illegal possession of a weapon.

8 September 2006
Antillean plan 'in breach of human rights'

Serious doubts have been raised about the legality of a second piece of legislation championed by Immigration and Naturalisation Minister Rita Verdonk. The Council of State has concluded Verdonk's draft law to force young Antilleans and Arubans who are jobless or in trouble with the law to leave the Netherlands is in conflict with the European Convention on Human Rights. Last month her plan to compel tens of thousands of newcomers and oldcomers to complete an integration course also ran into trouble. Broadcaster RTL obtained a confidential report in which the Council of State advised the minister that holders of a Dutch passport, regardless of their employment status, cannot be compelled to follow an integration course. 

8 September 2006
Warning over 'dangerous' chemicals in sex toys

Sex toys contain extremely high concentrations of Phthalate plasticisers which allegedly pose a risk to human health and the environment, Greenpeace Netherlands warned. Phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) are organic chemicals produced from oil and are the most commonly used plasticisers in the world. They are a family of chemical substances that have been in use for about 50 years, primarily to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) soft and flexible. Research centre TNO examined eight sex toys — including dildos, vibrators and butt plugs — for Greenpeace. It found seven of the products contained very high concentrations of Phthalates, varying from 24 to 51 percent.

11 September 2006
Hate is not the answer, says Dutch PM

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende attended a ceremony in The Hague on Monday to mark the 5th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. "Hate is not the answer. Openness is," Balkenende told a gathering in the garden of the US embassy. The prime minister based his short speech on the story of a young New Yorker whose sister was killed in the attacks on the towers of the World Trade Centre. "I must teach my children not to hate like others do," Paul wrote in a digital archive about 9/11.

12 September 2006
Dutch crime levels 'stable for 25 years'

The chance of being a victim of crime in the Netherlands has hardly changed since 1980, according to a study by Leiden University and the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP). Although the amount of registered offences has risen considerably in the last 25 years, the researchers say this is because people are now more likely to report incidents to the police. And the police these days more often book offenders after a report of a crime has been filed, newspaper 'AD' reported. "The better the police do their work, the more criminal our country appears to be," the researchers said.

14 September 2006
MPs push Verdonk to grant passports to 'latent' Dutch

Children born to a Dutch mother and a foreign father before 1985 should still be eligible for Dutch citizenship, Parliament is set to tell Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk. MPs of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrats (CDA) have indicated they will join the opposition parties Labour (PvdA), D66 and ChristenUnie in supporting an amendment to this effect during a debate next week. Until 1985, only Dutch men could pass on their citizenship. Children born to a Dutch mother and foreign father were not entitled to Dutch citizenship. The law was equalised in the mid-1980s and there was a three-year grace period to allow children born to a Dutch mother and foreign father prior to 1985 to apply for citizenship. But people say they weren't aware of this

15 September 2006
Dutch colonel raises spectre of Afghan mission's failure

The highest Dutch military officer in Afghanistan has raised serious doubts about the chances of the reconstruction mission's success. Colonel Arie Vermeij said the mission was a waste of time and effort. Based in Kandahar, Colonel Vermeij is the deputy commander of the NATO reconstruction tasks carried out by international troops in the six southern regions of Afghanistan. But Vermeij said the operation was encountering difficulties, admitting that the Taleban are frustrating reconstruction efforts with bomb attacks and armed raids.

15 September 2006
Terror suspect Samir's video testament broadcast on TV

Current affairs show NOVA broadcast on Thursday night parts of the video testament of terror suspect Samir A. The film is important to the public prosecution office to prove that A. planned to carry out terrorist attacks in the Netherlands. It shows A. dressed in traditional clothing with a machine gun leaning against a wall behind him. The video is an imitation of al-Qaeda videos. The text spoken by A. is also a reminder of al-Qaeda videos.

15 September 2006
Cabinet rejects ban on radical parties

The Cabinet has rejected banning political parties with radical policies or ideologies, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said. The Christian Democrat CDA leader said radical parties are held back purely by the workings of democracy. The CDA urged earlier this week for legislation granting the possibility to ban political parties, but the Parliament rejected the proposal. The discussion was sparked after CDA Justice Minister Piet-Hein Donner said sharia (Islamic law) would be introduced in the Netherlands if two-thirds of the population was in favour of it. In response, the cabinet said it regretted the wrong message that the statement expressed. Minister Donner also apologised for the statement.

19 September
BUDGET: public upbeat on economy, government

Public confidence in the economy is markedly up on the level in 2005 but there is a fairly even split on whether the credit should go to Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

20 September 2006
BUDGET: the main points

Tax reductions, lower company tax, cheaper child care, more police - some of the key measures outlined in the 2007 Budget.

21 September 2006
Official failings led to deaths in Schiphol fire: report

There would have been fewer or no fatalities during the fire at the Schiphol detention centre if government officials had adhered to the rules, official report states.

21 September 2006
Ministers Donner and Dekker resign over fire report

Ministers Piet Hein Donner (Justice) and Sybilla Dekker (Housing, Planning and the Environment) resign following the damning report into the Schiphol detention centre fire. They are later replaced by former government ministers Ernst Hirsch Ballin and Pieter Winsemius. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende says the Christian Democrat CDA's Hirsch Ballin will take over the justice portfolio, while the Liberal VVD's Winsemius will take over the portfolios vacated by Dekker.

25 September 2006
Princess Maxima pregnant with couple's 3rd child

Princess Maxima is pregnant with her third child, the government information service RVD announces. "The birth of the third child of the Prince of Orange and Princess Maxima is expected in the second half of April 2007," the RVD says. Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima said they were "thankful and pleased" with the pregnancy. The new baby is fourth in line to the Dutch throne.

25 September 2006
No ID - no cash in looming anti-terror plan 

More than a million bank customers are at risk of being unable to access their money if they don't identify themselves to their own bank by 31 December. Actions such as using your cash card (PIN card), transferring money, withdrawing savings could become blocked. The compulsory identification regulation was introduced several years ago to combat terrorism and money laundering. Banks are now launching awareness campaigns.

26 September 2006
Speed limits lead to 25pc fall in deaths

The number of traffic fatalities in the Netherlands declined by 25 percent between 2001 and 2005, a European study reveals. The ETSC study says the decrease was remarkable given the fact that the Netherlands already has the second lowest number of traffic fatalities on a per capita basis. Malta records the least amount of deaths. The organisation suspects that a lot of accidents in the Netherlands are prevented due to lower speeds. It said several urban areas have reduced their speed limits from 50kmh to 30kmh.

28 September 2006
PM: weakest groups profited most from recovery

Following fierce criticism from opposition MPs, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende responds by saying vulnerable groups in society have profited the most from the Dutch economic recovery. He says rising employment rates have improved the position of youth, long-term unemployed and immigrants.

29 September 2006
IND meets deadline over 26,000 asylum seekers
Almost all of the 26,000 asylum seekers who entered the Netherlands prior to April 2001 and were still waiting for a definitive assessment on their request for a residence permit have now had their dossier processed by the immigration service IND. Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk had been set a deadline of 1 October to decide the fate of the asylum seekers, 3,000 of whom have been allowed to stay.

29 September 2006
MPs restrict residence permit applications

Immigrants will in future only be allowed to submit one application for a regular residence permit, either for work, study or family unification, the Dutch Parliament decides. MPs backed a proposal by right-wing MP Geert Wilders, calling on the Cabinet to amend current regulations. Up until now, foreigners can submit an unlimited number of applications for a residence permit and remain in the country indefinitely waiting for their assessment.

6 October 2006

Story not linked to here? Try the Expatica search function.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Dutch news in summary

0 Comments To This Article