Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 11 February 2009

11th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands for the latest news in the Netherlands.

Dutch captain awarded medal for bravery
As Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende visits the Dutch troops in Uruzgan, the army has a new hero according to De Telegraaf and AD.

Captain Marco Kroon is to be the first soldier to receive the Willems Order for "bravery, leadership and loyalty in the vicinity of the enemy" in over 50 years.

The captain himself is not aware of which act of bravery he is being awarded for. He will  find that out in May, when Queen Beatrix pins the medal on his uniform.

According to the newspapers, Captain Kroon may be commended for two possible acts – risking his life to seek contact via a laptop with US helicopter gunships to provide backup while his men seek cover as they strayed into an ambush and ran out of ammunition  and putting his own life at risk so that the seriously-wounded could be evacuated.

Wilders to go to UK despite ban
Controversial Islam critic Geert Wilders is defiant at the news that the British authorities will refuse to allow him into the UK to attend a viewing of his film Fitna in the British Upper House on Thursday.

De Volkskrant reports the Freedom Party leader will go anyway and see what happens. "You don't expect this from the world's oldest democracy," said Wilders.

Both left and right-wing parties in the Dutch parliament were astonished that one of their colleagues could be refused entry into the UK. Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told the British authorities the decision is "very regrettable," but opposition parties want him to go further and use the term "unacceptable".

In the US, fellow Islam critic and former Dutch MP, Ayaan Hirsi Ali said: "The developments in this soap are crazy. Whatever happened to free movement of persons and ideas in the European Union?"

Football coach Guus Hiddink has double agenda
Dutch football coach Guus Hiddink has a double agenda. Trouw reports that the current coach of Russia's national team is almost certainly going to help British club Chelsea out temporarily.

Hiddink explained: "I would have said no to any other club" but not to Chelsea as its club owner and oil billionaire, Roman Abramovich, is one of Russian football's main benefactors.

The three-month contract as interim trainer with Chelsea aims to help the team out of fourth position in the premiere league.  After which Hiddink will go back to Russia, where his contract is due to end in the summer of 2010.

New baby elephant born at Rotterdam zoo
AD published a picture of the latest arrival of a baby elephant at the Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam. The baby, born Tuesday, is named Tonya after the zoo's departing managing director Ton Dorresteijn.

In the photograph, the little elephant is seen in the herd, with her mother and the other elephants towering over her, looking a little bemused by all the attention.

[Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica]

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