Expatica news

Dutch news in brief, 5 August 2004

Train tickets prices up 14 percent

The cost of a train ticket in the Netherlands has risen by an average of 14.23 percent in the past two years, newspaper De Volkskrant reported Thursday. On Wednesday, Dutch rail operator NS announced fares would increase in January 2005 by 3.25 percent, the largest rise allowed by the Transport Ministry. The increase is much larger than the rise in the cost of living, which will be 3.5 percent during the 2003-2004 period and 1.5 percent the following year.  Consumer watchdog Consumentenbond said it was disappointed claiming a fare increase matching inflation would be ample as the quality of the train service was lagging behind.

Use of anti-depressants rises

The use of anti-depressant medication continues to rise in the Netherlands. Some 5.1 million anti-depressant pills were issued on prescription by pharmacies last year, up 4 percent on 2002, news site nu.nl reported Thursday. In 2003 as a whole, 885,000 Dutch people bought a supply of anti-depressants compared with 667,000 in 1998.

Iraqi insurgents fire on Anglo-Dutch camp

A British military base near Shaibah in southern Iraq came under mortar and grenade attack on Wednesday evening. No injuries or significant damage was reported. Just over 100 Dutch soldiers are stationed at the camp. About 60 were present during the attack and the rest were out on patrol, according to a Dutch Army spokeswoman. Fire was not returned and the attackers remain at large. The Netherlands has 1,418 troops currently on stabilisation duties in Iraq.

Dutch love word ‘love’ the best

One out of every eight Dutch people feel “liefde” (love) is the nicest word in the Dutch language, according to the findings of a survey carried out by market research organisation TNS NIPO. After “love”, the favourite words were “vakantie” (vacation), “geluk” (good fortune), and “vrijheid” (freedom). Two percent of the 996 people questioned by TNS NIPO choose these words. The researchers said Thursday they believed people liked words because of their meaning rather from the way they sounded.

Weblog finds credit card info via Google

A Dutch weblog internet site revealed on Thursday that typing a series of numbers into search engine Google led to a site which displayed credit card payment details for companies and individuals. The weblog Jaggle.nl used the Mastercard code 5413 followed by several zeros and nines to access the information. Mastercard Nederlands spokesman Marcel Woutersen said it was awful that such detailed information was to be found online, but he emphasised the details on the site referred to cards that had already been blocked. It is unclear how the site got access to the details. Woutersen stressed buying online was safe, but said cardholders said they should know who they were dealing with before providing their credit card details, newspaper De Telegraaf said.

Massive jump in fines for public drinking

The number of fines imposed on people in the Netherlands for possessing alcohol and drinking in public, plus also being drunk and disorderly has risen sharply in the past four years, the government’s collection agency CJIB said Thursday. In 2000, the police issued 4,860 fines for alcohol abuse but this figure had jumped to 16,874 in 2003. The CJIB said the increase could be explained by the fact that an increasing number of municipalities have introduced local ordnances to tackle problems caused by public alcohol use.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news