The Dutch news in April 2005
1 April 2005 Threatened MP Wilders gains permanent secured housing Threatened right-wing MP Geert Wilders is to be given a secure home in the Randstad by the end of April. Wilders — who has been living at the Zeist jail since being threatened with death last year — has reached an agreement with the Justice Ministry over a permanent safe house. An ardent critic of Islam, Wilders went into hiding after the murder of Theo van Gogh by a suspected Muslim militant last November.
2 April 2005
Cabinet survives crisis as D66 backs coalition accord
Democrat D66’s rank and file back the new coalition accord at a party congress in The Hague. The meeting was called after D66 lost a vote in the Senate over the introduction of direct mayoral elections. Licking its wounds, it demanded policy concessions from government partners Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD, resulting in the new coalition accord. Had D66 members rejected the accord, the Cabinet would almost certainly have collapsed.
2 April 2005
Dutch tributes, sadness for ‘greatest ever’ Pope
As Catholics across the globe mourn the death of Pope John Paul II, churches, religious leaders and politicians in the Netherlands express sympathy and praise the Pope for bridging the gulf between the world’s various faiths. The Netherlands later welcomes the appointment of German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to replace the late Pope, but some Dutch critics are concerned that he will be too conservative.
5 April 2005
AIVD to investigate rise of right-wing Dutch youth
Police and security service AIVD are to investigate extreme-right youth, many who wear Lonsdale clothing, as police spark concern over the radicalisation of Dutch teens. The Cabinet wants to know how violent or dangerous these groups are, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner says. The latest incident saw teens dressed in Lonsdale clothing clash with Turkish immigrants in Venray on 2 April. The city council later bans several demonstrations to ward off renewed violence. In Uden, police arrest four youths following an arson attack in March at a local Islamic primary school. Despite the flash points, anti-Islamic violence has gradually declined since a sudden rise after the murder of Theo van Gogh last year.
6 April 2005
Muslim teen acquitted of planning Dutch attacks
Rotterdam Court acquits 18-year-old terror suspect Samir A. of planning terror attacks on government buildings and other key installations due to a lack of evidence. The prosecution appeals the ruling. Unimpressed by media attention as he is freed from jail, the Dutchman of Moroccan origin punches a photographer and is briefly detained. He will hear next month if he is to be charged with assault.
7 April 2005
Riot erupts as man admits sexual abuse in TV show
A riot erupts in Den Bosch after television station SBS 6 broadcasts its ‘anti-social neighbourhood’ programme ‘Probleemwijken’ in which a man admitted sexually abusing his step-daughter. Violence breaks out again the next night and riot police are stationed in the city district Graafsewijk over the weekend to prevent further unrest. SBS decides against repeating the episode as Den Bosch and Eindhoven threaten to sue for damages. It is also reported on 16 April that a 31-year-old man committed suicide in the Leeuwarden jail after being featured in the Groningen episode.
7 April 2006
House prices ’10pc too high’
House prices in the Netherlands are 10 percent too high, according to a new report by the Central Planning Bureau (CPB). The government’s macro-economic think tank based its assessment on the fact that interest rates are low, a pay freeze is in force, while unemployment is more than 6 percent of the workforce. But any concerns about a possible collapse in the housing market are unfounded because home owners are unlikely to lower the asking price for their property by 10 percent, the CPB said.
8 April 2005
Cabinet agrees on budget to cut tax, boost spending
The Cabinet reaches agreement over the 2006 Budget, allocating an extra EUR 1.2 billion in spending for education, public safety and a workplace accord for public servants. Plus, tax cuts of EUR 1.1 billion will also be included in next year’s budget. Full details will be unveiled in September. After massive budget cuts, the economy is forecast to record 2.25 percent growth next year.
8 April 2005
KLM in showdown with US over privacy breach claims
KLM plane bound for Mexico is refused entry to US airspace and is forced to return to Amsterdam. The US cities terror concerns for the decision and it is revealed that two Saudi Arabian men with alleged links to a 9/11 suspect were on board the flight. KLM demands how US authorities gained access to passenger details and it emerges later that Mexico passed the details on. But in a battle of will, KLM then bows to US pressure, agreeing to cross-check passenger lists with the US ‘no-fly list’, even on flights that do not land in America.
12 April 2005
Dutch commemorate liberation of Westerbork
The liberation by Canadian troops of the Westerbork transit camp from the Nazis 60 years ago is commemorated in the Netherlands. Thousands take part in a silent march to the National Monument Westerbork after survivors recited memories about their ordeal at the camp, located in Drenthe. Between 1942-45, an estimated 107,000 people passed through the camp, of which 102,000 did not survive the war.
13 April 2005
Mohammed B. breaks silence, OM probes conspiracy link
Mohammed B., the suspected Islamic militant accused of murdering filmmaker Theo van Gogh breaks his silence in the high-security Amsterdam-Osdorp courthouse. He refutes claims his brother wanted to smuggle a document out of the penitentiary hospital in Scheveningen, but says little more. In other developments, the public prosecutor suggests that others had prior knowledge of B.’s plans to kill Van Gogh. B. is expected to give a more detailed statement when his trial starts on 11 July.
15 April 2005
Shock as policeman kills family
Hilversum is stunned by the deaths of five members of a local family in a murder-suicide. A 46-year-old traffic officer with the national police force KLPD shot and killed his 42-year-old wife with his service pistol in the family home, before killing his three sons, aged eight, six and three. He then turned the gun on himself. The family was buried on 23 April at the cemetery Begraafplaats St. Barbara. Police say “a complex of factors” in the “private life” contributed to the tragedy.
18 April 2005
Football rioting brings Rotterdam to standstill
Police arrest 43 people as seven officers are injured in riots around Rotterdam’s football stadium, De Kuip, as Amsterdam club Ajax defeats home team Feyenoord 3-2. Interior Minister John Remkes proposes forcing hooligans to pay for damages and backs calls for banning away supporters attending matches. Dutch rail NS warns it might ban troublemakers also. Rotterdam Mayor Ivo Opstelten says police might arrest more than a 100 other suspects.
20 April 2005
Royals win damages in fight over stolen photos
Amsterdam Court orders gossip magazine Prive and commercial broadcaster SBS to pay EUR 15,000 and 10,000 in damages respectively for illegally using images and footage on a digital camera stolen from Princess Maxima. Both Prive and SBS must also apologise and are not allowed to use the material again. The camera was stolen from Princess Maxima last year during a trip to Argentina.
21 April 2005
First confirmed Dutch case of degenerative CJD diagnosed
A patient in a Dutch hospital has been diagnosed with Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of Mad Cow Disease. The Health Ministry said the patient is in the Mesos Medisch Centrum in Utrecht. The ministry said the patient was not a donor or recipient of blood or a human tissue donor and it is highly-likely the infection resulted from eating beef. This is the first time the brain-wasting condition has been detected in the Netherlands and the ministry has alerted EU authorities.
21 April 2005
Essent boss bows to pressure over salary
In a bid to end the very public wrangle about the size of his salary, Michiel Boersma gives to charity half his EUR 161,000 bonus he earned as boss of utility Essent. Several days later, the chief of public energy company Nuon, Ludo van Halderen, relents to shareholder pressure and agrees to forgo a bonus of EUR 97,000. Both companies are owned by provincial governments and municipal councils.
22 April 2005
City mourns as man admits murdering wife, daughters
Police reveal the 31-year-old Zoetermeer woman and her daughters, aged five and three, who were reported missing on 11 April were murdered. The woman’s husband has confessed he killed his family on 6 April, the public prosecutor’s office (OM) said. The buried bodies of the three victims were found in a nature reserve at Alphen-Chaam in Brabant. The motive for the killing is not yet known.
22 April 2005
NS train ran red light in peak-hour rail collision
The intercity train that collided with a goods train at Roosendaal last September ran a red light, the Traffic and Public Works Inspectorate (IVW) reveals. The collision occurred at 6pm and left 45 people injured.
25 April 2005
Anti-social tenants face life in ‘container homes’
Government and opposition MPs are teaming up in a legislative bid to house anti-social tenants in special iron huts to reduce city disputes and prevent people from being forced onto the street. The plan from the Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and opposition Labour PvdA is focused at troublesome tenants who have long been a nuisance factor. This is the first time that such a plan is being discussed on a nation-wide basis.
25 April 2005
Cabinet clean air plans doomed to fail
The Government Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) warns that carbon filters and higher diesel taxes will not bring Dutch air pollution into line with European Union guidelines. The RIVM said the measures devised by Environment Minister Pieter van Geel to combat air pollution do not go far enough. The emission of fine particles and nitrogen oxide will decline, but the limit in 2020 will be breached at every one the 164 motorway junctions analysed by the RIVM. Despite the warning, MPs later reject Van Geel’s plan to raise excise taxes on diesel to cut air pollution.
27 April 2005
Cabinet rejects cannabis boulevard
Cabinet reaffirms its opposition to a cannabis boulevard in border regions and rules out the legalisation of soft drugs. The statement comes after division appeared to open up between government ministers over the issue. Government Reform Minister Alexander Pechtold is in favour of the cannabis boulevard to combat inner city drugs problems, but Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner is keen to tighten the current policy of toleration. This is contrast to 20 mayors of the 30 largest Dutch cities who support the legalisation of cannabis.
27 April 2005
Sexy photos still causing headaches
The Friesland primary school teacher told to stay home a week for appearing in skimpy clothing in men’s magazine Foxy admits she tried to prevent the publication of new photos. Ingrid — who works in the village of Harkema — was featured in the April issue when she posed for a photo at an erotic fair in Utrecht. Three new photos of herself and a friend now appear in the May issue of the magazine. Editor-in-chief Peter Muller said the latest issue could not have been withheld. School director Willem Wouda has ruled out taking disciplinary action against the teacher: “As a teacher, you set an example, but this is of course not a hanging offence”.
27 April 2005
Campaign continues for asylum seeker amnesty
A political vote and a petition of 180,000 names are called upon in a bid to win a more generous amnesty allowing thousands of asylum seekers to stay in the country. Despite a vote in the Parliament against amending the government plan to deport 26,000 asylum seekers, Dutch celebrities will continue the campaign to win residence permits for long-term asylum seekers by way of a “royal gesture” from Queen Beatrix.
28 April 2005
PM: opponents to EU Constitution are lying
Campaigners for a ‘no’ vote in the 1 June referendum on the adoption of the European Union Constitution are spreading falsehoods about the EU and its charter, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende claims. Balkenende’s government initially decided against an active pro campaign unless opponents mounted a serious campaign for a no vote. But the prime minister has been stung into action following an opinion poll indicating 58 percent of the public intend to vote no.
28 April 2005
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[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Dutch news