Press Review Wednesday 28 July 2010

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The slow season is continuing and there isn’t much to report; MPs are on summer recess, the politicians holding pre-negotiation coalition talks are maintaining a strict news blackout and all the major sporting events have finished, so it’s not a surprise that the papers turned the Laura Dekker story into a major event.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Dutch court lifted the protection order imposed on the 14-year-old last year after she announced plans to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. The editors seem to have had little choice but to seize on the Dekker story as the other items on the front pages include a killer cat in Leiden, shorter chips due to a poor potato season and a lovesick, escaped eagle owl.

Court allows 'sailor girl' to attempt record AD, De Telegraaf and de Volkskrant all lead with the Laura Dekker story; AD has a photo of the teenager waving a bottle unopened of champagne and the headline, "Laura can sail the globe." De Telegraaf goes for the rather cheesy, "anchors away for Laura," along with a photograph of her standing at the helm.   De Volkskrant tries for a serious, quasi-literary tone with the headline, "Dekker 14 allowed to take to the briny deep," and prints a map of the world with the route that the teen plans to take in her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.   De Volkskrant rather dryly reports that a court in Middleburg lifted a protection order placed on the child and "placed her destiny in her parents hands again," and, "in effect gave the sailor girl the green light to attempt to sail around the world". The leftwing paper adds, "In making its decision, the court gave substantial weight to the fact that the relationship between the parents and the child protection authorities had deteriorated to the point of non-cooperation".   De Telegraaf and AD both present the story as a victory for a brave teen battling unfeeling government agencies that only exist to thwart dreams and desires. Both papers make much of her tears of joy and the fact that she's promised to do her schoolwork while battling the elements.  

Pre-negotiation talks continue Most of the papers bury news on the pre-negotiation talks on the inside pages because there really isn't much to report: Trouw sarcastically leads with "parties talk to each other, but not with the press". According to the paper, CDA leader Maxime Verhagen told journalists outside the parliament buildings in the Hague, "I'm not saying anything."

The Protestant daily writes that the leaders of the VVD, CDA and PVV will meet today for the third time and adds - rather superfluously - "the continuing news blackout appears to indicate that the three are still talking to each other".   De Telegraaf confidently announces "parties close to breakthrough in coalition talks," and predicts, "if today's negotiations on the budget progress smoothly, then official coalition talks can begin next week".  

Dutch scouts celebrate 100th anniversary NRC Handelsblad covers celebrations marking 100 years of scouting in the Netherlands; troops from across the Netherlands have gathered in Roermond for a five-day long jamboree to celebrate the centennial.

The paper has several photographs and the cubs and scouts just like they did 25 years ago: a bunch of teens in khaki uniforms and funny looking neckerchiefs fastened with a toggle, sitting around a campfire in a damp field.   According to the paper, Scouting Netherlands wants to emphasise that scouting is "modern and very 2010," and to emphasise the hip image they are trying to project, the gathering is called "JubJam100".  

Vandals target rail tracks AD reports that vandals attempted to saw through a section of train track between Lelystad and Almere earlier this week and disrupted services for several hours.

The paper says the latest form of vandalism shocked railway workers and Wim Eilert of the railway workers union tells the paper, "this is just first-class idiocy. We certainly come across some stupid things but this is just completely irresponsible". The union leader continues, "sawing out a piece of railway track and stealing it is the worst thing I've come across. It could derail a train".   Police have confirmed that the track was damaged but refused to release any further details, as the investigation is ongoing. ProRail, the organisation that maintains the rail infrastructure in the Netherlands, is more than fed up with the vandalism and the costs: AD writes, "starting from now, vandals will have to reimburse ProRail for the repairs".  

Silly season stories: crop circles and killer cats A fine selection of silly stories for you today: on the front page of this morning's De Telegraaf is the terrifying news that a neighbourhood in Leiden is being "terrorised by a killer cat". Worried residents tell the paper "a scrawny white and ginger tom is sneaking around at night and attacking other cats".

AD reports that an eagle owl that escaped from a zoo in Groningen last year is "doing well and has found the love of her life". The paper says the female owl, which was raised in captivity, has turned out to be a fine hunter and is now "head over heels in love with a seven-year-old eagle owl called Harry".   AD also reports that a farmer in Etten-Leur has turned "the 22 crop circles that suddenly appeared one night" into a tourist attraction. The paper says other farmers in the area are convinced that the crop circles are the work of bored teenagers but farmer Jacques Klep tells the paper, "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy," adding, "I'm not absolutely certain that humans made this".   And finally reports that later this year "a bag of chips will be more expensive and the chips will be shorter". The paper provides a helpful diagram of before-and-after chips just in case people cannot imagine what a shorter chip might look like.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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