Video: Dutch news roundup, 16 April 2011
On this week's show: a shooting massacre in Alphen aan den Rijn, debate about the drinking age, a possible ban on ritualistic animal slaughter and penalties for people operating dangerous marijuana farms.
On Saturday 9 April, a 24-year-old named Tristan van der Vlis went on a shooting spree at a shopping centre in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn. The shooter, who had a history of psychological problems, had a weapons permit for the guns he used to kill six people before taking his own life. The incident has reopened debate about gun laws in the Netherlands and has left the country in shock.
Raising the drinking age
16-year-olds can legally purchase alcohol in the Netherlands, despite doctors' warnings that drinking too much at such a young age can cause irreparable damage to the brain. Dutch 16-year-olds consume an average of eight beers each weekend, which is more than their contemporaries in other European countries.
Unlike normal slaughter techniques, in which the animals are rendered unconscious before being killed, animals killed according to both Islamic and Jewish religious tenets are conscious. Animal rights advocates say these ancient practices are unnecessarily cruel and should be outlawed. And now there appear to be enough MPs who agree to implement a possible ban, despite protests from both Muslims and Jews.
Unsafe marijuana farms
There are thousands of illegal marijuana farming operations hidden throughout the Netherlands, many in residential areas. Dutch authorities have had little success in reining in this problem, so now they are proposing significantly harsher penalties for this crime. The focus is being shifted to the danger these farms pose to the lives and property of others, as shoddy electrical work is often employed to provide the plants with sufficient heat and light.