Press Review Tuesday 10 August 2010

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The main story in this morning's papers is the clash between PVV leader Geert Wilders and the CDA; the official coalition talks have only just started and already two of the parties are at loggerheads, this does not bode well for the Netherlands.

Verhagen, Wilders clash over Ground Zero speech "Warning for Wilders: row with CDA over anti-Islam stance," bellows De Telegraaf on its front page. The official coalition negotiations started yesterday morning but the mass circulation paper confidently asserts, "Wilders' aversion to Islam biggest source of conflict with VVD and CDA".

The row broke over the weekend after a CDA senator criticised Mr Wilders' plan to speak at a demonstration against the construction of an Islamic cultural centre near Ground Zero in New York. Mr Wilders made it very clear that he has no intention of letting the CDA's concerns or anyone else’s for that matter about the Netherlands' image prevent him from saying whatever he wants, whenever he wants.   Trouw headlines "Verhagen tells Wilders, hold your tongue," and continues in its mild and reasonable tone "Maxime Verhagen says he assumes that Mr Wilders will respect the Netherlands' interests when he speaks in New York on 9/11".   AD sees it slightly differently and writes, "Maxime Verhagen warns Wilders to watch his tongue in New York".  

Dutch reject FIFA demands Representatives of football's world governing body FIFA arrived in the Netherlands yesterday to assess the joint Dutch-Belgian proposal to stage the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022.

The proposal has been the subject of a great deal of rumour and speculation, as the bid book has not been published. According to de Volkskrant, neither The Hague nor Brussels will amend their laws to accommodate FIFA should the organisation award the World Cup to the Netherlands and Belgium in 2018 or 2022.   It had been rumoured that FIFA was demanding control over all advertising in a two-kilometre radius around all World Cup venues, name changes for venues that incorporate brand names, a special lane on the motorways for FIFA officials and a complete sales tax exemption. The rumours, de Volkskrant says, "led to questions in the parliaments of both countries".   In response to questions, the joint Dutch-Belgian candidature committee has announced that none of the above is true, except the sales tax exception.  

Housing market at lowest ebb The housing market in the Netherlands is in serious trouble and the latest figures on house sales, in a report released by ING on Monday, do not make pleasant reading. Several papers cover the story but their approaches are very different: Trouw seems to be trying to avoid being the bearer of bad news and tucks a tiny little article away in the back pages. "Even fewer people planning to buy houses," is the rather mild headline in the Protestant paper.

De Volkskrant pairs a photo of several 'For Sale' signs with "number of people planning to buy house hits new low". The paper writes, "although the mortgage market stabilised during the first six months of the year, prospects are not rosy: never before have so few people had plans to buy a house".   AD doesn't mince its words at all: "Housing market has collapsed," asserts the paper confidently. Like the other papers, AD quotes comprehensively from the ING report although the tabloid emphasises that house prices are expected to fall even further.  

Supermarket bows to pressure over cheap meat De Volkskrant reports that a campaign by an animal welfare group has forced a major Dutch supermarket to stop its special cheap meat offers. Earlier this year, Animal Alert Wakker Dier surveyed supermarkets across the Netherlands and discovered that C1000 was the worst offender when it came to "kilo specials" or offers on very cheap meat. A spokesperson for Animal Alert tells the paper "a kilo of meat on special offer at C1000 is far cheaper than a kilo of cat food".

Animal Alert says stunt prices and special kilo offers have a knock-on effect throughout the meat industry and leads to a drop in living standards for animals raised for human consumption. De Volkskrant, quoting internal memos in its possession, writes that C1000 has substituted next week's kilo of pork special to "two loaves of bread for one euro".  

Octogenarian jailed for running dope plantation It appears that even old age pensioners are more than capable of criminal activities; de Volkskrant reports that an 82-year-old woman has been sentenced to six months in jail by a Maastricht court for running a marijuana plantation in her house for several years.

The paper writes, "She is without a doubt the oldest person to ever cross the threshold of a Dutch prison." Her lawyer had petitioned the court to sentence her to community service but the court rejected his plea, "even an 82-year-old is responsible for his or her actions".   Prosecutors estimate that the woman, who ran the dope plantation with her son, made about a million euros profit from her 'business'.

I suppose it's one way to supplement one's pension and with all the budget cuts on the horizon, we may well see more criminal grannies.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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