Expatica news

Dutch news in brief – 13 May 2004

Dutch duo to sing in Eurovision final

The Dutch duo Re-union has secured a place in Saturday’s final of the Eurovision Song Contest. The public from 22 countries taking part in the semi-final gave the Dutch song Without You just enough points to allow the group to squeeze into the final along with nine nations who failed to qualify automatically in last year’s competition.

Economy shows slight growth in Q1

The Dutch economy grew by 0.8 percent in the first quarter of 2004, according to preliminary estimates published by the Central Statistics Bureau (CBS) on Thursday. This is the first time since the end of 2002 that the volume of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) topped the level recorded 12 months beforehand. But employment decreased further and was 1.6 percent down on the first quarter in 2003, the CBS said.

Netherlands joins euro operation against drug trafficking

Police in the Netherlands worked with forces in neighbouring countries in an anti-drugs operation that led to the arrest of 11 people, it was reported Thursday. The multinational initiative was aimed at drug traffickers and so-called drugs tourists who smuggle drugs from the Netherlands across the borders. About 600 police officers and customs officers in Holland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg took part in the operation. An Italian man who was arrested on the Luxembourg-French border was allegedly in possession of 5.5 kilos of cocaine bought in Amsterdam. Weapons, cannabis and cash were also seized by the authorities during the crack down.

Schools ‘must have security co-ordinators’

The educational association AOb said Thursday that schools in the Netherlands must have security co-ordinators to help tackle the rising levels of violence in schools. They should also be legally obliged to report violent incidents to the police, it said. Education Minister Maria van der Hoeven is working on a draft law which would compel schools to do so. At the moment schools often shy away from reporting incidents to protect their good names, RTL news reported.

Four years jail demanded for Aegon fraud

The Almelo Court has been asked to impose a four-year sentence on a former director of Dutch insurance giant Aegon, who is charged with embezzling about EUR 18 million from the firm over several years. The prosecutor said if he was on the other side of the court, he might compliment P. V., 56, for the ingenuity of the fraud. But the prosecutor instead called on the court to show people they faced “unbelievably hard punishment” if they behaved in a similar manner.

Prostitiute clients’ number plates remain private

The hopes of authorities in Heerlen of being able to track down curb crawlers prowling for prostitutes by tracing their car number plate have been dashed. The Council of State has ruled that the information on people held by the transport registration authority RDW is private and cannot be provided to Heerlen, RTL news reported.

Bad track alignment ’caused derailment’

The bad alignment of tracks at Halfweg caused the derailment of a goods train there in June 2003, a report into the accident suggested on Thursday. The train was carrying ammonia, but the accident did not lead to any serious damage or casualties.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news