Press Review Monday 19 July 2010

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It's summer here in the Netherlands and real news is in short supply; the World Cup is over and the parties negotiating a new coalition government are maintaining a strict media blackout. This means the daily papers are scraping the bottom of the news barrel and the silly season has officially arrived.

However, there are a few interesting items glittering in amongst the dross; the row with Venezuela has been satisfactorily resolved; Geert Wilders has called on VVD leader Mark Rutte to abandon the Purple-plus negotiations and parishioners rally around a suspended priest.

Row with Venezuela resolved De Volkskrant reports that Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen managed to calm the simmering tensions between The Hague and Caracas during a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart at the weekend. Last week, President Hugo Chávez, whose popularity, according to the Volkskrant "is at an all-time low," accused the Netherlands of "violating Venezuelan airspace and carrying out spy flights for the US".   After the meeting, Minister Verhagen again said, "The accusations are absolutely baseless,” and announced that, "Venezuela shall forthwith refrain from making accusations and differences of opinion will be discussed by the interested parties in a reasonable manner".  

Wilders calls on VVD's Rutte to abandon Purple-plus talks AD leads with PVV leader Geert Wilders' plea to VVD leader Mark Rutte to abandon the coalition negotiations: "Mark, stop Purple-plus negotiations,” headlines the paper on the front page and then follows it up on page two with "Purple-plus is a nightmare for the VVD". According to the populist tabloid, Mr Wilders says that people who voted for the conservative VVD feel betrayed, "You voted for Rutte but you got the GreenLeft's Halsema instead".

  AD writes that the PVV leader says that if Mark Rutte continues down the left-wing road, "there'll be nothing left of the VVD". There appears to be some truth to Mr Wilders' contention; Maurice de Hond's weekly poll puts the PVV up nine seats to 35 seats and VVD down eight seats to 23.  

Parishioners protest priest's suspension AD reports that parishioners in Obdam have rallied in support of their parish priest after he was suspended for holding an "Orange mass to pray for the Dutch football team" on World Cup final day. During the pre-final mass, Priest Paul Vlaar, who was wearing an orange cassock and had decorated the church with orange flags, bunting and had set up a goal near the altar, kicked off the service - quite literally - with football songs and prayers for team unity.

  The paper says it was "a step too far for Bishop Punt," but not for the parishoners, who have set up a support group on a social networking site and wore orange t-shirts to mass on Sunday to protest Priest Paul's suspension.  

Another footballer gets married De Telegraaf opens with a huge photograph of Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder and his bride leaving church after being married. "A long and happy life," trills the headline. The populist broadsheet devotes an entire page to the happy couples' nuptials and packs the gushing report with photos of the pair and their guests.

  Several other papers cover the 'event' but none of them go quite so overboard as De Telegraaf.  

Dutch gamers break record There's more earth-shattering news this morning but the scoop belongs to Trouw: "Dutch gamers break record," is the slightly over-excited headline in the Protestant paper. Six Dutch gamers made it into the Guinness Book of Records at the weekend after playing Red Dead Redemption continuously for 50 hours.

  Silly season is well and truly upon us.


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