Dutch news in brief – 31 March
Royals thank public after Juliana's funeral
The Dutch royal family has thanked the public for the “countless tokens of condolence and respect” it has received since the death of Queen Juliana, the mother of the present monarch, Queen Beatrix. The government information service RVD said on Wednesday that Juliana’s husband Prince Bernhard, and her daughters, Queen Beatrix and Princesses Irene, Margriet and Christina (and her husband Pieter van Vollenhoven), had been “deeply moved” by the public’s compassion.
Budget deficit hit 3.2pc in 2003
The Dutch budget deficit in 2003 reached 3.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) said Wednesday. Finance Minster Gerrit Zalm has indicated that the poor economic performance might necessitate further government spending cuts. It also opens the door to a possible reprimand from Brussels as the stability pact that underpins the euro commits member states to keeping the annual deficit to a maximum 3 percent of GDP. Zalm has been a severe critic of France and Germany for ignoring the pact’s rules.
Girls injured at pedestrian crossing
Four girls, aged between five and eight, were mowed down by a car on a pedestrian zebra crossing on the Statenweg in Rotterdam Wednesday, news service nu.nl reported. One of the victims suffered a serious head injury, while two of the other girls suffered broken bones. The fourth escaped with minor injuries. The driver of the car was arrested.
Putting the ‘free’ in Free Record Shop
The Dutch Free Record Shop chain announced Wednesday it had sacked eight employees at its distribution centre in Capelle aan den IJssel for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of euros worth of CDs and DVDs. Company director Hans Breukhoven said that another eight workers had been suspended and would most likely also be sacked. Police have been called into investigate and Breukhoven said he could not rule out that more of the 150 workers at the facility were involved in stealing the music store’s merchandise.
De Grave bows out of politics
Former Defence Minister Frank de Grave, 48, said his farewells in the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday as he leaves politics to become the head of the Council for Healthcare Costs (CTG). He was first elected to Parliament for the Liberal VVD party in 1982, before serving as an alderman and deputy mayor in Amsterdam during the 1990s. In 1996, he returned to The Hague as a junior minister at the Social Affairs Ministry and was Defence Minister from 1998 to 2002, before retaking his seat in Parliament.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news