Press Review Tuesday 29 June 2010

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It's another day of beaming smiles and congratulatory hugs on the Dutch front pages as the Netherlands’ World Cup campaign rolls on into the quarter finals after a 2-1 victory over Slovakia.

The papers are still not impressed with the way the Dutch are playing but they're trying hard to believe that fancy football isn't everything. De Volkskrant describes the team as "a steamroller that sometimes stalls but still flattens all opposition." grumbles that "the Dutch game is still not pretty" but concludes "let's just be happy with the result."

De Telegraaf decides to let the scores speak for themselves: "That was the 23rd unbeaten match in a row for the Netherlands ... if the counter reaches 26 on 11 July then the Netherlands will have won the World Cup." No one's saying it will be easy though, especially not against their next opponents: Brazil. "They will need to pull off a masterpiece against Brazil" reckons de Volkskrant, while AD warns that although this Brazilian team are being criticised at home for being "tough but boring", "they can still swing when they have to".

The Dutch coach insists in that "we have the right mentality to take the world title" but there is some evidence of rumblings within the team. Striker Robin van Persie was clearly furious about being substituted in yesterday's game. AD notes "His team mates and coach went out of their way to defend him, but Robin van Persie was oozing discontent from every pore. ... the striker's attitude cast a shadow over the duel with Slovakia".

Luckily there are still some commentators looking on the bright side. In AD, former footballer and coach Willem van Hanegem writes "We'll never get another chance like this to become world champions." As he sees it "the level at this World Cup is very mediocre. And we are one of the few teams capable of rising above."

Pub tycoon found dead: blood on Heineken’s hands? There is news of a dramatic death on several front pages today. Sjoerd Kooistra, the owner of dozens of pubs and clubs in the Netherlands, has been found dead at his home. Mr Kooistra had been making the headlines in recent months due to a massive legal battle with beer brewer Heineken involving debts of over two million euros.

De Volkskrant describes Mr Kooistra as “Amsterdam’s biggest hotel and catering magnate for a long time”. De Telegraaf reveals that as recently as 2008 he was number 222 on the list of the richest people in the Netherlands but “investigations later revealed that he was far less wealthy than supposed and that he borrowed money from his own company on a large scale.”

So far police are saying nothing about the cause of death but speculation is already rife. De Telegraaf notes that “creditors were after Kooistra” and the tycoon’s lawyer Oscar Hammerstein is not mincing his words “Heineken treated him like a dog for the past six months. Their one goal was to destroy him. And now they have their wish.” In de Volkskrant, the lawyer describes Mr Kooistra’s death as suicide and says “Heineken has blood on its hands”.

Belgian Catholic sex abuse commission resigns Today’s papers also look at the decision by a commission investigating sexual abuse in the Catholic church in Belgium to stop its investigations. De Volkskrant reports that “the reason is the police raid on the commission’s offices last Thursday, in which all 475 dossiers were confiscated.”

Trouw says chairman Peter Adriaenssens is “embittered by the Justice Department’s actions” and quotes him as saying “we have been used as bait”. Mr Adriaenssens says many victims of abuse who testified to the commission did so in confidence and without calling for legal action. He believes that these people “now feel they have been abused a second time.”

The authorities are unapologetic, however. In a brisk statement to the Belgian press, the procurator general in Liege says “the commission can gather whatever it wants to, but it has to hand the dossiers over to us. If not, we can come and get them. That’s what happened on Thursday.” AD notes that “the Belgian authorities have launched a full frontal attack on the Catholic Church”. It calls the demise of the commission “a disappointing setback for many victims” and refers to the advice that victims should now seek the help of the church as “an offer they are unable to take seriously.”

No party time in the health care sector Amsterdam university hospital the AMC has rubbed a couple of papers up the wrong way by throwing a party for over 10,000 staff, costing a cool 2.8 million euros. Apparently a good time was had by all and performances by top Dutch stars such as Marco Borsato and rapper Ali B. were greatly appreciated. De Telegraaf is not amused, however. After listing all the health cuts recently announced by the government, it concludes “The healthcare sector is financed by people who pay their insurance premiums and taxes. Why should they pay towards a mega party, in full knowledge of the major challenges ahead?”

AD is almost as disapproving but takes a different tack, contending that more pay for health sector workers is the real issue: “the starting salary for a care assistant is 1400 euros … not all that much more than the minimum wage … It’s praiseworthy that the AMC wants to reward its staff … But if you’re going to do something, give the hard workers in the healthcare sector cash in hand. At least then you’re sending out the message that they don’t get paid enough.”

War widow receives news of long lost husband AD reports the touching story of a British war widow who has finally received news of her late husband’s final resting place. The paper recounts that the last Hope Uden heard from her husband was a letter saying “Dear Hope, I’ll be home on Wednesday around lunchtime all being well”. It continues “But 21-year-old Jack Uden never came home to his wife and two young daughters. On 26 May 1943 he crashed into the IJsselmeer lake with six other crew members.”

The paper reports that the elderly widow is too frail to travel all the way from New Zealand - where she now lives - to the Netherlands to pay her final respects, but says she is relieved that his body has been found at last, 67 years on. A niece who has since visited the site says “We really want our uncle to be buried alongside the other soldiers who died in the Netherlands.”

AD explains that this decision lies with the local authority, based on a report by an Air Force salvage crew. But the Aircraft Recovery Group Association who identified the wreckage and traced the family is adamant “These men gave their lives for the cause of freedom. The least we can do for them is honour them with a proper burial.”


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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