Dutch news in brief, Monday 15 December 2008

15th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

Drink driving widespread among young motorists
Recent research sponsored by the justice and the public works ministries shows that drink driving among beginning motorists is much more widespread than previously thought, reports Today's AD.

The study is the first of its kind to focus on drivers who obtained their licences less than five years ago. Male drivers of 25 years old and over are the worst offenders: nearly 10 percent of them regularly drink and drive.

The justice ministry is concerned about the figures and has announced that more alcohol tests will be held at dance events and festivals to detain young drink drivers.

Stomach reduction gains popularity
AD reports on "an explosion in the number of weight-related operations". The paper reports that only 3,000 operations were carried out this year as compared to 500 such operations in 2000.

Most of the operations involve placing a band to reduce the size of the stomach, which forces patients to eat less.

Medical psychologist Gerbrand van Hout says the number of operations on obese patients will only increase further.

"Doctors agree that dieting often has little effect. Quite often, an operation is the only way to prevent these patients from literally eating themselves to death".

An estimated 40,000 Dutch citizens have a body mass index (obtained by taking a person’s weight in kilograms and dividing this by their height in metres squared, BMI=kg/m2) of 40 or over.

Many of these patients go to Belgium to undergo surgery, reportedly to avoid having to talk to a psychologist. In the Netherlands, a psychologist is always involved in this type of operation, because a change in behaviour is deemed necessary for the surgery to have a lasting positive effect.

Deputy education minister demands parental commitment
Protestant daily Trouw reports that Deputy Education Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt feels that parents should show some involvement in their children’s secondary school.

In an interview with Trouw, the minister said secondary schools should have the courage to make demands on parents.

Van Bijsterveldt said it is legitimate for a school to ask parents "which duties will you take on? I don't want to make this compulsory, but as a citizen you have a duty to show your commitment".

The deputy minister made her remarks on the occasion of the publication of School Performances, Trouw's annual survey of data on the quality of schools in secondary education.

She said parents should be able to make an informed choice about the school they want their child to attend, but once a choice has been made, they "should not just be critical consumers, but also take responsibility for the school."  

Cabinet announces 'second revolution' in health care
De Telegraaf, the paper with the highest circulation in the country, reports that following the 2006 privatisation of health care, the cabinet now wants to initiate a second revolution in the Dutch medical sector.

Health Minister Ab Klink said: “Our way of funding health care still disproportionately rewards fragmented care. Patients still cannot rely on doctors having all the information necessary for adequate care: regarding medicine use, for instance."

The chronically ill in particular will, reportedly, reap the fruits of this ‘care revolution’, which is aimed at create ‘coherent health care’.

"They must be able to receive adequate care close to home. Adequate in the sense that nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and specialists jointly attune their work to the needs of the patient."

Print media urges minister to create fair competition
The de Volkskrant writes that 44 publishers, editors-in-chief and directors of newspapers and magazines have written a letter to Media Minister Ronald Plasterk, demanding an end to the unfair competition by public broadcasting.

The printed media are facing decreasing sales and a drop in advertising revenues.

The signatories to the letter are calling for a level playing field for print media. It points at the EUR 500 million that public broadcasting receives from the government, which does not include the EUR 200 million public TV and radio sector receive from advertising revenue.

According to the letter, "Real media diversity does not benefit from governmental one-sidedness".   

In a reaction, Minister Plasterk said he does not want "to reinforce the newspaper press by choking off public broadcasting".

He emphasised the importance of serious and independent journalism, but rejects structural support for the printed media:

"Most newspapers don't want that, and neither do I".

Extremist Israelis give Geert Wilders standing ovation
De Telegraaf reports that Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders received a standing ovation following a screening of his anti-Islam film Fitna in Israel before an audience of members of that country’s right-wing National Union party.

The National Union believes Israel should be ethnically 'purified' by mean of the - if necessary, forced - departure of Israelis of Arabian descent.

Wilders, who said he did not "favour people being forced to leave", believes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ideological in nature.

"There is already a Palestinian state and it's called Jordan," he said.  

The Freedom Party leader is a regular visitor to Israel, which he believes is taking the first blows for the West in the fight against global Jihad.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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