Expatica news

Dutch news in brief – 9 June 2004

Netherlands kick-starts European election

The Netherlands heads to the polling booths for the European election on Thursday. Polling stations will be open from 7.30am to 9pm and voters are advised to bring their electoral notice and an identity document, such as a passport or drivers’ licence. The electoral officials will explain the voting procedure. Only European Union citizens can vote in the European Parliament election, and any EU expats wanting to take part in the election should have registered by 31 March. Employers are obliged to allow voters a maximum of two hours to get to their local voting office to cast their ballot. The Netherlands and Britain will kick-start the elections on Thursday, with the remainder of the EU member states holding polls over the following three days.

Student denies threatening Hirsi Ali

A student has denied claims by Liberal VVD MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali that he threatened her with death last month, newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reported. The 21-year-old man claims the MP distorted the incident. Somali-born Hirsi Ali claimed she offered a student a dinner knife and invited him to stab her when he told her he hoped the “Mojahedin” would kill her. Hirsi Ali — whose life has repeatedly been threatened due to her criticism of the Islamic faith — claims she was accosted in Cafe Dudok in The Hague on 27 May and angrily grabbed a knife, offered it to the man and told him: “If you want me dead you will have to do it yourself”. She said the young man replied he wanted to kill her, but did not dare as he was afraid to go to jail. But the student disputes this version, claiming he is a pacifist and does not want Hirsi Ali to die. “I am against all forms of violence and I also said that to her,” he said.

UN warns Dutch over Kurdish leader’s extradition

The United Nations has said the Netherlands cannot simply extradite leading PKK member Nuriye Kesbir to Turkey, Radio Netherlands has reported. The Kurdish leader is currently in jail in the Netherlands awaiting extradition and has gone on hunger strike. She claims she will be tortured in Turkey and will not receive a fair trial. The UN said the Netherlands must obtain guarantees from Turkey regarding a fair trial and assurances she will not be tortured. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has already asked for the guarantees from Turkish authorities.

Welsh WWII soldier buried 60 years on

A funeral was held in the Netherlands on Wednesday as a Welsh World War II soldier — whose remains were recently discovered — was buried near Eindhoven with full military honours. Widow Grace, now 86, said the remains of Evan Davies was found by builders working in a town on the Rhine. Davies was a 27-year-old sergeant major when he was killed in battle in November 1940. Surviving relatives formed part of a 300-strong congregation at the Venray Commonwealth War Graves cemetery near Eindhoven for the ceremony, BBC reported. His widow — who lost her second husband 10 years ago — was too frail to attend the funeral.

High hopes for Red Light District cameras

A small majority of residents in the Amsterdam Wallen area is confident that camera surveillance will reduce criminality in the Red Light District. The cameras were installed about one month ago, but the survey indicated that 81 percent of residents still feel unsafe. Despite this, the survey indicates that a majority believe that safety will improve, news agency Novum reported.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news