Press Review Thursday 15 July 2010

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A woman is left dead after freak storms hit the Netherlands and the newspaper spies case is thrown out by the judge. Councils are told to get tough on problem Moroccan-Dutch youths, boomerang kids come home and 'Jesus saves' man goes to EU court.

The weather hits most of today's front pages. No less than three major dailies run exactly the same photograph of two caravans bobbing around in a lake. They were blown there yesterday by a freak whirlwind during violent thunderstorms which lashed the Netherlands.   A woman was killed and eight other people injured during the incident, four of them seriously, De Volkskrant says. The wind lifted 20 caravans from a site in the east of the Netherlands close to the German border, depositing them in the nearby lake. Rescue efforts were hampered by roads blocked by fallen trees and other storm debris.   Jan Bongers, a 63-year-old local man, tells the paper he's never witnessed such ferocious weather before. "The tornado went on for about five minutes. Everything within a radius of a few hundred metres was blown away."   People also suffered injuries in Limburg in the south of the country, with one unlucky motorist being struck by lightning. The paper reports road accidents caused by the heavy rainfall and strong winds. Further north, in the province of Brabant, four lorries were blown off a motorway but, luckily, no one was hurt.   Trouw points out that this is the third time in just a few days that parts of the Netherlands have been hit by this sort of severe weather.   Judge throws out newspaper spies case No surprise about what monopolises the front page of today's De Telegraaf. "Bugging Telegraaf - illegal evidence" and "Spies acquitted" scream its banner headlines.   A Haarlem court yesterday acquitted two former Dutch intelligence agency AIVD workers of leaking state secrets to the paper. Well, it actually disallowed the evidence against them which the AIVD got through bugging the conversations of Telegraaf journalists.   An earlier case against one of those journalists was dropped because the evidence breached her right to protect her sources. Yesterday, the Haarlem judge went one further, saying that the evidence also could not be used to prosecute the sources themselves, the two former intelligence workers.   De Telegraaf warns its mass readership that the prosecution is appealing against the verdict. The leaks involved ended up in reports on Dutch intelligence failings in the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and on a visit by the Dalai Lama to the Netherlands in 2009. The judge found that the state-security considerations involved were not sufficiently grave to overrule those concerning press freedom.   Councils told to get tough on Moroccan youths The Protestant daily Trouw reports on MPs' anger at what they see as the failure of councils to tackle the problem of anti-social youths from the Moroccan-Dutch community. The paper says an extra seven million euros a year is being given to 22 councils, but that they are refusing to set themselves specific targets in dealing with the problem.   A far higher percentage of Moroccan-Dutch youths drop out of school, are unemployed or involved in crime than is the case in other similarly-aged groups 15-25. The integration ministry has agreed that frontline councils should ensure that there is a "downward trend" in the problem within two and a half years. MPs, however, find this far too woolly and are pushing for measurable targets to be set.   One Labour member fumes: "If you don't set targets, for example that the number of cases of serious nuisance and crime should be halved within two years, then you can't judge whether the measures introduced have had any effect."   Boomerang kids return home In one of its broad social reports, today's covers the growing number of young people who return to live with their parents after leaving home. In the 1990s, just 15 percent of young adults returned to the nest. Between 2000 and 2007, a whopping one in five young women moved back in with their parents.   The paper says that compared to other European countries, the Dutch welfare state makes it relatively easy to build up a life as an independent young person in the Netherlands. Why then, it asks, do these 'boomerang children' return home?   A sociologist points out that many come back home after the break-up of a relationship. The lack of affordable housing in many big cities compounds the problem. It is also said that many young people move to a different part of the country when they leave home and that homesickness can play a part in deciding to return to their roots.   However maybe 22-year-old Lisanne can fill us in on the real reason. "Before I came home, I told my mother: 'I'll do my own washing and ironing, you don't need to bother with it.' But, she still does it all - washing, cooking, cleaning. It's just like a hotel," she admits.   'Jesus saves' man to go to EU court Finally, AD says the evangelical Christian farmer who has JEZUS REDT Jesus saves painted in huge white letters on the side of his roof is planning to take his case to the European Court.   The latest twist in his court battle to save his religious message to the world or at least to local motorists follows a ruling from the Council of State. The highest court in the land has decided that the local council is within its rights to fine Mr Van Ooijen 15,000 euros if he does not remove the message.   The farmer is, however, standing firm: "We'll carry on the fight," he assures the paper, "and go on to the European Court."


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