Dutch Press review - Friday 13 August 2010

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Diplomatic row over Surinamese inauguration turns out to be much ado about nothing. Coalition partners agree to slim down government, while in Hilversum mud is being slung over expected cuts. A US Jewish group is not happy with Wilders’ support against Ground Zero mosque. And girls don’t fret, jeans never do fit properly!

Much ado about nothing at inauguration of Surinamese president The inauguration of Desi Bouterse as president of the former Dutch colony Suriname has made it onto most of the front pages today. Not least because of the fuss about whether or not the Dutch ambassador had been invited to attend the ceremony.

According to AD, the confusion arose because the ambassador Aart Jacobi had been invited by outgoing president Ronald Venetiaan, but Desi Bouterse’s entourage had said he was not welcome. In the end, Mr Jacobi – armed with an official invitation – just turned up. He wasn’t refused entry, but a chair had to mustered up to seat him. However, the egg was firmly on the new president’s face as not one head of state attended the ceremony.

The inauguration of Desi Bouterse is controversial because he first came to power in a coup d’état in 1980. He is also implicated of being involved in the December Murders in which 15 opponents were tortured and murdered in 1982 and in 1999 he was convicted in the Netherlands of drug smuggling. Because of Bouterse’s controversial past, outgoing president Venetiaan refused to hand over his presidential chain directly. Therefore protocol was broken so that the parliamentary speaker could do the honours. But nothing could spoil Desi Bouterse’s day. In his speech he triumphantly promised to “rid the country of the residues of colonial power”.

Not much attention is paid in the papers to a demonstration in The Hague against Bouterse. According to Trouw, only 15 people turned up. Meanwhile in South East Amsterdam Surinamese were celebrating. It appears Suriname is shaking off the shackles of its colonial past.

Coalition parties agree to merge ministries Trouw appears to have a scoop, as it is the only paper to report on the progress of the coalition talks. The paper says negotiators have agreed to merge a number of ministries. And, perhaps surprisingly, the conservative VVD and Christian Democrats have agreed not to cut the present development budget. This decision won’t make it any easier to find the 18 billion in cuts, as a result the paper’s sources say it is unlikely that agreement will have been reached by budget day on the third Tuesday in September.

In the plans, the ministry of transport and public works will merge with the environment, planning, and housing department. The police will come to fall under the justice department. Agriculture will be placed under economic affairs and the interior ministry will be slimmed down substantially. The ministries for housing, neighbourhoods and integration and youth and family will be scrapped at the beginning of the new cabinet period.

Meanwhile, De Telegraaf reports that Mark Rutte can no longer become the youngest ever Dutch prime minister. No wonder he was so keen to seal a deal by 1 July!

Mud slinging has begun in tinsel town While the coalition talks continue, mud is getting slung in the Netherlands’ tinsel town, Hilversum. NOS Public Broadcaster Director General Jan de Jong told a meeting that public broadcasting could be made much cheaper reports de Volkskrant. “We have to take a step before The Hague does it for us,” he said, but while some broadcasters thought he was jumping the gun, others said Hilversum has been discussing how Dutch broadcasting should develop for months.

At the moment there are 24 public broadcasting companies all vying for air time. Mr de Jong believes this could be reduced to three broadcasting clusters with television stations working together. This way Hilversum could save 25 to 30 million euros. Of course, he believes the NOS, “the Netherlands’ largest news organisation”, should be spared as there are already fewer and fewer journalists working on its news programmes.

According to AD, MAX, one of Hilversum’s youngest broadcasting stations for the over-50s, called the suggestion “cheap”. The director general of broadcasting station TROS, said the idea was “not very sympathetic” because it excluded cuts to the NOS itself, but he suggested cutting umbrella organisation NPO’s budget. The NPO and Catholic broadcasting station KRO think that the number of public broadcasting stations should be reduced to 15. Amazingly Radio Netherlands Worldwide, which often comes into the firing line when cuts are being discussed, was not mentioned this time round.

US Jewish lobby not happy with support from Wilders The Jewish pressure group Anti-Defamation League ADL opposes an Islamic cultural centre being built in the vicinity of Ground Zero. But at the same time it does not want to be associated with Geert Wilders, writes nrc.next. “Now we are being put on the same line as Mr Wilders and his intolerant American partners. Very frustrating,” says Oren Segal of the ADL.

The debate over the building was partly begun by the ADL, who say its location does not take the feelings of relatives of the dead sufficiently into account. This forced the moderate Muslims who took the initiative for the centre further into the defensive. The New York Times called this “the turning point in the conflict over the project”. Since then the debate has turned into a heated row, especially now that Geert Wilders has decided to address a demonstration on 11 September.

Geert Wilders has been invited to the demonstration by the US Stop the Islamisation of America movement. This movement shares many of Mr Wilders’ views and wants an end to Muslim immigration.

Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam comments go too far for the ADL, who say their protest is out of respect for the relatives of the dead. “It would be bad taste for someone with Wilders’ reputation to spread his message of intolerance and hate especially on a day like 11 September in New York. If he is really planning to do so, that illustrates a lack of sensitivity on his part.”

Getting the trousers to fit – no way Not everybody has got a figure like Jennifer Lopez, writes De Telegraaf. Well that’s a relief to hear. The paper has been inundated with reactions after it asked its female readers about finding the perfect pair of jeans. Apparently it’s impossible. “The perfect jeans don’t exist.”

According to the paper, it’s a love-hate relationship. Most women have too fat a bottom to fit properly into jeans. Even a slim waist does not guarantee success. And if you are too sporty, then your thighs are just too muscular to jam into a pair of tight denims.

But I’ve got the solution girls, just borrow your boyfriend’s jeans!


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