VVD leader: troops to stay in Iraq another year
Liberal VVD leader Jozias van Aartsen intensified the debate around the Dutch peacekeeping mission in Iraq on Friday by saying that he assumed the troops would remain in the war-torn nation for at least another year. The Dutch Cabinet is due shortly to decide on whether to extend the peacekeeping mission by another six months beyond the 30 June handover of power. The first death of a Dutch soldier in Iraq this week has sparked renewed concern over the security situation. Van Aartsen believes Iraq is in a crucial phase and will also need Dutch assistance in 2005.
KNVB fines Ajax EUR 30,000 for riot
The disciplinary commission of Dutch football association KNVB has taken tough measures against Ajax for an April riot in Amsterdam after a reserves clash with Feyenoord. The KNVB fined Ajax on Friday an unconditional sum of EUR 30,000 and ordered the reserves team to play the first three home matches of the 2004-05 season without spectators. The ruling comes after Ajax fans assaulted Feyenoord fans on 15 April. The Amsterdam club can appeal against the ruling.
Divided opinion over cheap sun holidays
Sun lovers can expect cheap holidays this year due to lower demand. Prices for organised holidays to destinations around the Mediterranean Sea are expected to be 50 percent lower in June and July compared with prices in travel guides, travel bureau D-Reizen said on Friday. But the general Dutch travel bureau association ANVR cast doubt on the claims, saying that reservations can jump after the traditionally weak month of June. The Euro 2004 football championship ends in July, after which school holidays start.
PKK sympathisers in hunger strike
To gain attention for the threatened extradition of Kurdish PKK leader Nuriye Kesbir, sympathisers have started a hunger strike. Kesbir decided this week to go on a hunger strike after the Supreme Court ruled on 7 May that she should be extradited to Turkey, where she is wanted on terrorism allegations. Sympathisers decided to also go on hunger strike on Thursday and by Friday afternoon, 27 people were involved in the joint protest. The hunger strikers have gathered at the Kurdistan Centrum in Rotterdam, but eventually want to relocate to The Hague. Justice Minister Piet-Hein Donner has the final say over Kesbir’s eventual extradition.
Saturday funeral for fallen Dutch soldier
The Dutch soldier who was killed in a grenade attack in Iraq on Monday will be buried in the general cemetery of his Friesland home town Franeker on Saturday. The funeral service will be held in the Martinikerk. Dave Steensma, 36, will be laid to rest with military honours. The family has requested that media do not attend the funeral. Steensma is survived by his wife and two children, news agency Novum reported.
Date set for Lusanne kidnap appeal
The prosecution’s appeal against the jail term handed down on the convicted kidnapper of 11-year-old school girl Lusanne van der Gunn will be heard in the Leeuwarden Appeals Court on 2 July. Simon S. was jailed for five years by the Leeuwarden Court in February, but the prosecution — which demanded an eight-year jail term — claims the court failed to take into consideration the seriousness of the crime and has appealed. Lusanne was kidnapped in August 2003, but released unharmed two days later.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news