Dutch news in brief – 18 March
Public servants allowed to wear headscarves
The Parliament has rejected a proposal to ban public servants from wearing Islamic headscarves. Despite asserting that public servants should be allowed to wear headscarves, Interior Minister Johan Remkes said police, customs officials or judges should refrain from doing so because their impartiality was more important. France recently banned all public servants and students in public schools from wearing religious symbols, Radio Netherlands reported.
Air France woos Czech airline CSA
Air France will reportedly propose to Czech airline CSA that it join the new airline formed by the merger between Air France and KLM. The deal would first require the privatisation of the Czech airline, a French AFP report said. Air France will launch its takeover of KLM on 22 March, creating Europe’s largest airline. It is hoped that Italian airline Alitalia might also join the Air France-KLM group.
Poultry culls continue against bird flu spread
The Agriculture Ministry culled on Thursday about 1,070 ducks, chickens and other birds at a Steenbergen farm after it was discovered they were carrying antibodies to a mild strain of the bird flu virus. Surrounding farms are also being examined. The Steenbergen farm (North Brabant) is the third farm in a week where preventative culls have been carried out. About 22,000 poultry were killed in Uithuizermeeden (Groningen province) on the weekend and 800 ducks were slaughtered at a farm in Lopik (North Brabant) on Monday. About 25,000 million poultry were killed last year during an outbreak of a highly virulent strain of the avian bird flu virus.
Corus slashes its losses
Anglo-Dutch steel giant Corus reduced its annual losses by 33 percent to EUR 454 million in 2003. Turnover rose by 11 percent to EUR 11.85 billion due to better sales and higher prices. Since Corus was created in 1999 by the merger of the Dutch Hoogovens and British Steel, it has never made a profit, public news service NOS reported.
Homes fail utility safety standards
Three quarters of all houses in the Netherlands do not comply completely with the safety standards in relation to gas, electricity and water, according to a report presented by Eindhoven-based consultancy NRE on Thursday. NRE called for regular inspections to tackle what it deemed was a “worrying” situation.
Snake takes the bus
A snake was found on the footboard of a number 37 bus in Amsterdam on Wednesday morning. The 50cm long red spotted rat snake was captured without incident and continued its travels in an animal ambulance. It remains unclear how the harmless snake — which comes from North Africa — found its way onto the bus. Its owner has not come forward to reclaim it.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news