Dutch news in brief, Thursday 20 November 2008

20th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

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

20 November 2008

Debate over cervical cancer vaccine
Thursday’s AD reports that "vaccinations of young girls could lead to more, instead of fewer deaths". In an article to be published Friday, the Nederlands Huisartsengenootschap (Dutch General Practitioners Society), or NHG, warns that a vaccination campaign against cervical cancer may have adverse effects.

The current practice of nationwide screening means discovers all viruses which cause cervical cancer. NHG researchers are concerned that in the future women will rely completely on the vaccination, neglecting the nationwide medical examinations.

However, the vaccine is only effective against 70 percent of the viruses which cause cervical cancer. The NHG fears that infections may not be discovered until too late.

In 2009, Health Minister Ab Klink will extend the national vaccination programme to an annual series of vaccinations of all 12-year-old girls. The NHG argues that the programme will at best save one life a year at tremendous cost, while undermining the effective system already in place.

NHG promotes using the vaccine only for those at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.    

Dutch mayors consider coffee shop policy
NRC.next conducted a survey among the mayors of 105 Dutch towns on coffee shops and soft drugs policies. The survey was prompted by the decision of the mayors of Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal to close down all coffee shops in their towns. A total of 66 mayors, or 63 percent, responded to nrc.next's questionnaire.

The paper writes that the results conflict with the current political mood in The Hague. Most of the mayors, 40 of the 66, support the current soft drugs policy. A few mayors even wanted more coffee shops. More than three-quarters would like the government to regulate the way coffee shops are supplied, and allow the controlled cultivation of cannabis.

Earlier in November, CDA leader Pieter van Geel argued for closing all coffee shops because the soft drugs policy failed.

Representatives of local councils will meet in the town of Almere on Friday to discuss coffee shop policy.

Institute reveals high cost of job training programs
De Volkskrant reports that helping one unemployed person find a job costs around EUR 537,000.

Research by the knowledge centre Nicis Institute shows that government reintegration efforts increase chances of finding a job by 3 percent. This is the first time that the price of successful mediation was calculated.

In 2007, local councils received EUR 1.5 billion in government subsidies to help people on welfare find a job. Of the 90,000 people who completed a series of training courses, 21,000 actually found a job. Thus, the average costs per job were EUR 69,000. However, Nicis found that if those who would also have found a job on their own were subtracted, the costs rose to a staggering EUR 537,000.

The institute argues that reintegration courses sometimes even make it more difficult for people to actively look for a job on their own.

Jouke van Dijk, a professor in regional labour market analysis and one of the Nicis researchers, says, “We find the Zuiderzeelijn (proposed rail link) too expensive. Each year, we spend an equal amount on reintegration without any results, but no change of policy is being contemplated."

Café and bar owners challenge the smoking ban
Thursday's De Telegraaf features the latest information on the continuing smoking ban debate between Health Minister Ab Klink and the nation's café, bar and disco owners. The paper reports that the entrepreneurs will no longer cooperate with the minister if he does not meet their demands for compensating the owners of small cafés and the penalisation of smokers.

At Wednesday's meeting of the sector 'Discotheques, café and bar businesses', it was clear that initial support for the nationwide smoking ban was gone. A spokesperson for the sector said: "Between 10,000 and 12,000 entrepreneurs have already put the ashtrays back on the table. There is no way the 200 inspectors of the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority can stop that."  

EUR 5 million for domestic violence hotline

In a letter to parliament, Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin, Youth and Family Minister André Rouvoet and Deputy Welfare Minister Jet Bussemaker announce that the cabinet assigned EUR 5 million for the creation of domestic violence hotlines in all major towns and cities.

Research shows that about 45 percent of all Dutch people were the victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. However, police reports are only filed in 12 percent of all cases.

The ministers hope that the hotlines will prevent or reduce domestic violence. Staff at the hotlines will be able to question people and make house visits.
[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]                                                                                                                        

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