Expatica news

Dutch news in brief, 16 September 2004

Deaf teens guilty of repeated gang rapes

Eight deaf boys with learning difficulties were convicted and sentenced on Thursday to suspended youth detention sentences for repeatedly raping a 14-year-old girl at the Effatha school for the deaf. The court in The Hague sharply criticised the Zoetermeer institute over the case, asserting that it should have maintained better supervision of such a vulnerable group of students. The school failed to give adequate attention to issues of sexuality and disregarded indications of abnormal behaviour. The boys are aged 14 to 16 and the court considered them accountable for their actions. They were sentenced to suspended detention sentences ranging from one to four months. A ninth boy was acquitted. The girl reported the rapes in October 2003 and the case was made public in January 2004.

Study predicts flooding, longer droughts

The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly visible and the Netherlands is likely to face more flooding and longer periods of drought, a new study has found.  Commissioned by the Dutch Parliament, the study quotes researchers saying that in the coming century, greenhouse gas emissions will have to be cut by 60 to 80 percent to avoid irreparable environmental damage. The Netherlands aims to reduce emissions by 30 percent in 2020, Radio Netherlands reported on Thursday.

Pension age could rise to 67

The Cabinet is not planning to lift the age that Dutch workers can retire from 65 to 67, but is interested over the long-term in studying the financial benefits that such a plan would bring. In a leaked budget report to news agency ANP, the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) has calculated that raising the pension age would be extremely  beneficial for the economy, leading to lower pension premiums and lower taxes. The fact that the cabinet is set to officially publicise the CPB findings indicates it is seriously considering raise the pension age, Dutch public news service NOS reported. This could involve raising it to 66 next year and 67 in 2015.

Freeze-dry method set for Dutch funerals

Swedish biologist Susanne-Wiigh-Masak unveiled in Utrecht on Thursday a new way to dispose of dead bodies. The “freeze-dry technique” involves freezing a deceased person’s body and when the body is at 18 degrees Celsius a week and a half later, it is immersed in nitrogen making it breakable. The body is then shaken and it collapses into an organic powder. The water is then removed, leaving a dry powder. Finally, the powder is put through a machine that removes it of any metal. The director of the funeral service company Yarden, Peter van Wageningen, attended the presentation and said when a new form of funeral service is available in the Netherlands, it must be investigated to determine if it is technically and ethically possible. He subsequently gave the green light to the latest method available. Van Wageningen — whose company was involved in the research — believes that the freeze-dry method will be available in the Netherlands in about two years time.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news