RNW Press Review - Wednesday 27 February 2008 - by Jacqueline Carver
The populist de Telegraaf opens with news that al-Qaeda has handed down a death sentence against Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders for his not yet released film about the Koran. "Jihad against Wilders" is splashed in huge letters across its front page. The paper writes that the al-Qaeda terrorist network has called on its followers to "bring us the throat of this unbeliever" and has also called for the Netherlands to be terrorised to prevent the film being shown.
De Telegraaf claims that the call to murder the Dutch MP was found on the terrorist organisation's website and was intercepted by a US intelligence gathering unit. The paper says the website praises Mohammed Bouyeri, the man who murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh, saying that he is an example to all good Muslims. The populist paper says the call to terror was posted on al-Qaeda's site just days after Mr Wilders, leader of the populist Party for Freedom, announced he was planning to make a film about the Koran.
NRC.next's front-page headline is "stop whining, we're going" above a drawing of the Olympic rings and a little Dutch flag. The International Olympic Committee has recently been accused of ignoring human rights abuses by China and also those committed by regimes supported by Beijing but in an interview with the paper, Dutch IOC member Hein Verbruggen has dismissed the accusations. Mr Verbruggen says, "of course we discuss human rights, they have an effect on the games".
The interview comes a week after Jacco Verhaeren, coach of two of the Netherlands' top swimmers, said the IOC was playing down human rights abuses in China and called on the four Dutch IOC members to "stop holding their tongues" and asks, "what is so difficult about condemning executions?”
NRC.next writes that Amnesty International has reported that Beijing introduced a "re-education through work" programme in 2006 to clean up the city in time for the games but Hein Verbruggen firmly denies that the Olympic Committee is ignoring the situation in China.
The Dutch IOC member says he is disappointed that a number of prominent Dutch people have called for a boycott of the games and pointed out that no one is calling for a trade boycott to highlight human rights abuses.
NRC.next says that typing human rights into the IOC website's search engine gave 67 hits but that just two of them were actually about human rights. One of the pages noted that the Olympic Charter says that sport can help to improve the human rights situation in the world and the other said that sport was a human right.
ADs front-page headline is hard to take seriously as it reads: "first prosecution of fake diploma dealers" and in slightly smaller letters underneath "fake diplomas sold in toy shops". However it is true, it is the first time that the Dutch justice ministry has launched a prosecution against diploma dealers and the case is scheduled to start on Monday.
The forgers, a Rotterdam couple, created the fake high school diplomas using a bog-standard computer and printer that you can get in any electronics shop. The diplomas were sold via the internet and a toyshop. AD reports that the couple sold at least 30 diplomas and made thousands of euros profit. However, the husband and wife team claim they did not know it was illegal, saying, "we've been portrayed as a sort of Bonnie and Clyde, but we're not."
* Yellow polka dot bikini?
NRC.next reports that a swimming pool in the eastern city of Zwolle has relented and will now allow women wearing a burkini to use the pool during normal opening hours. The burkini is a combination of a burqa and a bikini and allows devout Moslem women to go swimming without revealing their hair or their bodies. It actually resembles a scuba diver’s wetsuit far more than it does an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini.
Last week, the Zwolle swimming baths made the headlines in the Dutch papers after it refused to allow a woman wearing a burkini to use the pool on the grounds that it did not conform to the regulations regarding swimsuits. However, after talks with the city council, the organisation has reversed its decision and Moslem women will be allowed to use the pool while wearing the burkini.
* Lucky charm
De Volkskrant's front-page reveals that large numbers of Dutch soldiers serving in Afghanistan, "don't go out on patrol without a lucky charm". The paper writes that most of the soldiers don't want to admit it but most of them do carry some sort of charm or token.
After a bit of persuasion, de Volkskrant's reporter got the soldiers to reveal their good luck charms which included medallions with various saints on them, several four-leaf clovers, dice, Tibetan coins, silver angels, little dolls and one major pulled out a dummy containing his little girl's milk tooth. The most remarkable lucky charm was a Thai banknote that survived the tsunami.
[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]
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