Press Review Wednesday 21 April 2010

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Stories about flights, delays, desperate travellers and compensation demands are scattered through this morning's papers like the cloud of volcanic ash that has been drifting over the European continent for the last six days. Most of the papers collect the aviation stories together, bunched up on the first five or six pages like thunderclouds of doom and gloom gathering on the horizon. However, one or two light-hearted stories break into the tales of mystery and chaos like rays of sunshine piercing a menacing thunderhead.

De Volkskrant isn't very positive about the resumption of flights in some parts of Europe and leads with "Chaos reigns in European airspace," adding that "some aircraft have been returning with ash from the Icelandic volcano in the jet engines". Trouw opens its coverage of the aviation situation with the reassuring news that "experts are carefully monitoring the movements of the volcanic ash cloud". Elsewhere, the Protestant paper tells us "people waiting at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport are fed up with the uncertainty".   The blame game has started and demands for compensation are becoming louder and louder. "Eurlings gleefully blames the EU," writes de Volkskrant, noting "the accusing fingers are all pointed towards Brussels". reports that Brussels has been blamed for the aviation chaos and asks whether the accusatory fingers are all pointing in the right direction. Given that the airline industry is demanding compensation, it's a multi-million euro question. Fortunately, gives us the answer "the decision to close national airspace was taken by the individual countries concerned".   The populist De Telegraaf goes for the human interest angle and reports that stranded travellers were finally able to "clasp their loved ones in their arms," at Schiphol airport yesterday. In between the tales of joyful reunions, one woman tells the paper, "it was quite a lot of fun, it's a great way to meet new people".   Labour publishes candidate list but voters don't care The papers have been dominated by aviation stories over the last few days and the news about the election campaign slipped out of sight. However, politics has reared its ugly head and galloped back into full view. The Labour Party published its list of candidates on Tuesday evening but it didn't generate much enthusiasm: the leftwing de Volkskrant sighs "few surprises on Labour's list of candidates".   AD tells us "voters don't care about the list of candidates," as most people just vote for the number one on the list. The populist tabloid goes on to say "position on the candidate list is only of interest to the parties themselves" – a sad comment on the state of political engagement in the country.   De Telegraaf disguises its sneer at the leftwing Labour Party as the title of a photo of leader-in-waiting Job Cohen being told where to stand at a photo shoot: "Cohen put in his place," writes the paper. The highest newcomer on the list is Ahmed Marcouch and the rightwing populist broadsheet takes another swipe at the Labour Party by describing the Dutch-Moroccan politician as "the pampered pet of ex-Labour leader Wouter Bos".   The name's Bond, van den Bond: more Dutch spies working abroad Trouw's front page has a curious set of headlines that swing wildly between alarmist, tabloid nonsense and its usual sober Protestant style: "Terror threat now mainly coming from abroad," writes the paper in large letters but adds underneath, "Muslim extremists in the Netherlands weakened," followed by "number of Dutch spooks spying abroad increases". It sounds like the outline for a B-movie but it's actually taken from the 2009 annual report from the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD.   Oddly enough, AD’s coverage of the same story is a model of rectitude and sobriety; the populist tabloid media reports that the Secret Service believes that threats to the Netherlands are mainly from abroad, and the organisation will be conducting more operations on foreign soil.   Ex-justice minister: okay to refuse to perform same-sex weddings De Telegraaf reports that the number two on Labour's election list, former deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak told journalists that civil servants should be allowed to refuse to perform same-sex marriages on religious grounds. The paper says her view is in direct opposition to "the progressive stance on refusenik civil servants taken by the party".   One wonders if she would allow a neo-Nazi civil servant to refuse to marry a Jew and a Gentile or if she would condone a refusal by a white nationalist civil servant to marry people of different races.  

Dutch government supports 2018 World Cup bid In unsurprising news from this football-mad country, the cabinet says it will support a bid to hold the World Cup in the Netherlands and Belgium in 2018. Most of the papers cover the story and they all seem to be using the same - rather unimaginative - headline as well: Cabinet wants 2018 World Cup.

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