Press Review Wednesday 4 August 2010

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The Dutch look like they might be getting a minority right-wing government with support from the far right. Blood diamonds may bring supermodel Naomi Campbell to Sierra Leone tribunal in the Netherlands. Teenager Laura Dekker sets sail in solo world circumnavigation attempt and a smelly couple are banned from public transport.

Dutch minority government on the cards Trouw headlines with “Rutte I gets a tolerance agreement”. The paper goes on to explain that for the first time in political history, the Dutch may be governed by a minority cabinet supported by a third party outside the government. There will be two contracts drawn up: a government agreement between the conservative VVD and the Christian Democrats and a so-called tolerance agreement between the cabinet and Geert Wilders’ far right Freedom Party.   At a press conference, formation mediator and former prime minister Ruud Lubbers said “There is a firm political will among the party faction leaders of the VVD, the Freedom Party and the Christian Democrats to reach agreement.” The formation mediator called it a “special majority cabinet” rather than a minority government. De Volkskrant writes “The right have a difficult job” referring to the 18 billion euros in cuts which have to be made.   De Volkskrant goes into the detail of the tolerance agreement, which will handle matters such as immigration, integration, asylum, and law and order. This means there could be agreements on family reunification, on newcomers paying into social security before being eligible to receive it. And even more controversially regulations on the clothing of civil servants could be introduced – which means headscarves and other religious symbols may be banned in the civil service.   Whether this all comes about will be down to the new “information” mediator, former mayor of Rotterdam, Ivo Opstelten. He will chair the actual negotiation stage of the cabinet formation. AD optimistically headlines “Problems? Opstelten solves them.”  

Top model may appear at Sierra Leone tribunal Top British model, Naomi Campbell, may appear in court in the Netherlands tomorrow at the trial of Charles Taylor, former rebel leader and president of Liberia. The trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone has been relocated to the Netherlands because security for the case could not be guaranteed in Freetown.

AD reports that hundreds of journalists from all over the world have asked to attend the trial. But the gymnasium converted into a courtroom only has enough space for 40 of them. A special press centre has been set up to accommodate most of them. According to the British press, the supermodel has demanded that no photos, sketches or films are made of her at the trial.   Apparently Taylor openly flirted with Ms Campbell at a charity do in South Africa. Later he appeared at her hotel room door offering six small uncut diamonds in a shabby piece of paper. Whether or not she was wooed by the gesture is not known. describes the model as a diva with a bad temper, a list of court cases for her aggression and a taste for trophy men.    Charles Taylor is on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He played an important role in the civil war in Sierra Leone, which AD describes as hell on earth between 1991 and 2002, supplying rebel soldiers with weapons in exchange for diamonds. The court needs to establish whether Taylor possessed diamonds from Sierra Leone. It is uncertain whether Ms Campbell will turn up. Up to now she has refused to cooperate with the case.  

Dutch teenager sets sail around the world You would have thought that after all the fuss that Laura Dekker’s wish to sail solo around the world caused, she would have received slightly more coverage in the Dutch papers today. But it was left to mass circulation De Telegraaf to report that 14-year-old Laura is leaving port in the Netherlands today for Portugal, from where she will set sail in an attempt to become the youngest ever sailor to sail solo around the world. When the then 13-year-old made her dream known, social services promptly moved to have her put under their guardianship. Last week a judge lifted a social services control over the teenager. Now a little older and hopefully a lot wiser, she has been given leave, well… to leave.

During the first leg of her journey, she will be accompanied by her father and they will check the instruments on her yacht Guppy. From Portugal she will sail alone to Canada, where she will wait for the end of the hurricane season, which may last until December, before going any further.   

Electronic car thefts difficult to trace Insurers are having a difficult time with a new kind of break-in according to AD. Electronic break-ins on cars are difficult to trace as there is no damage to the cars. The thieves only leave minute scratches behind on the inside of locking devices. Some just copy hire car keys – leaving no traces of a break-in behind.

Nowadays, there are more appliances available to copy electronic chips. Insurers admit they are behind the times with car theft as they usually do not pay out in such cases. Although recently, similar break-ins in homes have been compensated. In both cases, it is impossible to prove whether or not someone has simply forgotten to lock the door.   Nevertheless, after a spate of car thefts involving VW Golfs, the owners were reimbursed and some companies will accept a statement to the police as evidence.  

Smelly couple refused on buses A smelly couple has been told they are not welcome on board buses and taxis. The 91-year-old mother and her 52-year-old son say as a result they are “prisoners in their own home”. Rika Baars says she washes every day and her son who has a skin disorder, rubs a special cream on as well. Nevertheless, he can’t help leaving behind flakes of skin.

The local council tried to help the couple by giving them a special ticket for a regional taxi service as their drivers are used to driving people with medical problems, but even they are refusing to take the couple anywhere. “Every time, the taxi has to be cleaned. It is not just a question of airing it, they leave a lot of hair, flakes of skin and other filth behind.”   Mother Rika says she does not think she smells, and she should know. She says it is a lot of fuss about nothing. The social services even send cleaners uninvited to their house. Mother Rika is adamant that, in spite of her age, she could do a better job.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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