Dutch news in brief – 21 May 2004
Dutch deploy 6 Apaches to Iraq
The Dutch government has resolved to send six Apache combat helicopters to Iraq amid rising concerns about he deteriorating security situation in the war-torn nation. The helicopters will be based at Tallil, where the Dutch Chinook transport helicopters are stationed. An extra 100 troops will also be deployed with the helicopters. Defence Minister Henk Kamp told MPs on Friday that the extra personnel and equipment are to remain in Iraq until 15 July, when the Dutch peacekeeping mission is scheduled to end. The Apaches were deployed at the request of the commander of the Dutch troops. Security concerns have risen recently in the face of mortar and rocket grenade attacks. The Dutch Cabinet must soon decide whether it will extend the peacekeeping mission beyond the 30 June transfer of power to the Iraqis.
Few Dutch companies reporting growth
The Netherlands has very few companies which are growing quickly with respect to employees and turnover, international research indicates. Seven percent are expanding rapidly for their sector while the international average is 15 percent, Radio Netherlands reported. The Netherlands is no longer a leader in the field of technology and innovation, while France and Germany also received low scores for growth. The US and India scored better. Companies which are growing quickly tend to have women in senior management.
Queen offers PM use of work palace
Queen Beatrix has offered Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende the temporary use of her work palace Noordeinde to receive high-profile guests after the Netherlands takes over the six-month EU presidency in July. Balkenende was originally planning to welcome important guests at his official The Hague residence, the Catshuis. But the stately home was badly damaged in a fire on Saturday and must be repaired. The Government Information Service (RVD) said planned EU summits with China, Russia and Canada will now be held in the impressive Ridderzaal in The Hague. But meetings with leaders such Germany’s Gerhard Schroeder and the UK’s Tony Blair might be held elsewhere, such as the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague.
Repair work starts on subsided dike
The Department of Waterways and Public Works started work on Thursday to repair the subsided dike along the Julianakanaal near the southern Dutch town Stein. The work will take four days to complete. A large part of the dike subsided on 27 January, forcing the evacuation of 500 town employees. The leak in the dike stopped two days later when a broken water pipe was sealed off. Investigations are being conducted to determine if the leaking pipe caused the dike to subside, or whether the subsidence broke the pipe.
Kurds protest PKK leader’s extradition
Kurds from the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium will hold a demonstration in The Hague on Saturday in protest against the threatened extradition of Kurdish PKK leader Nuriye Kesbir. The Dutch Supreme Court recently backed her extradition to Turkey on terrorism charges, but Dutch Justice Minister Piet-Hein Donner has final say. Kesbir — who is being detained in Breda — and a group of supporters have since launched a hunger strike in protest. Saturday’s demonstration will start at the Malieveld.
Reward offered for capture of island arsonist
A reward of EUR 5,000 has been offered for a tip that results in the arrest of the arsonist responsible for the forest fires on the Wadden Sea island of Terschelling last weekend. Police suspect arson was at work when about 75ha of natural habitat was destroyed in the blazes. It had previously been reported that 40ha had been destroyed. The foundation Stichting Ons Schellingerland — which works to protect the intrinsic value of the popular holiday island — has offered the reward.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news