Dutch news in brief, 30 August 2004
Crime down for first time in 5 years
Crime fell by almost 3 percent in the Netherlands last year, the first fall since 1998, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said. Police registered 1.38 million crimes in 2003, compared with 1.42 million in 2002. Burglaries showed the biggest fall, declining by 52,000, while there were 8,000 fewer car thefts and 3,000 fewer shoplifting offences, news agency AFP reported. But the number of driving offences such as drink driving rose by 5,000. The police solved 276,000 crimes last year, some 22,000 more than in 2002, the CBS said.
Inquiry into public project financing starts
A Dutch parliamentary inquiry began hearings in The Hague on Monday to investigate how large-scale public projects such as high-speed rail links can cost billions of euros more than initially budgeted. Dozens of public servants, politicians, ministers and business people will give evidence to the commission over the next three weeks, Radio Netherlands reported. The committee was set up late last year when it emerged that the new Betuwelijn freight train route between the Netherlands and Germany would cost EUR 6 billion, six times higher than budgeted.
Schiphol woos budget airlines
In reaction to budget airline Easyjet scrapping two flight routes from Amsterdam on Monday, Schiphol Airport said it is considering establishing a special pier to cater especially to budget airlines. The aim is to have the landed planes of budget airline companies more quickly prepared for take off. Such quick turnaround times are vital for budget airlines, which need to carry out a large number of flights on a daily basis. The Amsterdam airport is now in talks with budget airlines to gauge their interest in the quick turnaround pier. The announcement came as Easyjet confirmed it will scrap its Nice and Barcelona destinations from Schiphol to cut costs. The flights will continue until 30 October.
Most retailers rounding off to five euro cents
On the eve of a new payment system in the Netherlands aimed at limiting the circulation of one and two euro cent coins, about 90 percent of Dutch retailers are already rounding off amounts to be paid in cash to the nearest five euro cents, news agency AFP reported. The Dutch Retailers Platform also said on Monday that the other 10 percent of retailers are expected to come into line in the next few weeks. An agreement — struck in July between the Dutch reserve bank DNB, retailers and consumer organisations — means shopkeepers will round off the amounts paid in cash to the nearest five starting 1 September.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news