Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thirty-Three People Arrested After International Soccer Game

After the international soccer game on Saturday night between the Netherlands and Scotland, 33 people were arrested, of whom 31 were Dutchmen. Seventeen were arrested for discriminatory slogans, insults and incitement. They had shouted anti-Semitic slogans such as “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.” Another 14 were arrested for violence, vandalism and drunkenness. The two Scottish fans were arrested for being drunk.

Attacks Reach Record Level

The police have not succeeded in fighting the wave of attacks in almost all regions of the Netherlands. The main victims are houses, restaurants, coffee shops and retail shops. In 2008 there were 230 more attacks than in 2007. In January and February there were 579 attacks which is an increase of 21% over the corresponding months of the previous year.

Dutch Bureaucrats Follow Moroccan Law

Some Dutch bureaucrats are serving the Moroccan authorities. They register Dutch children of Moroccan mothers not only as Dutch citizens but also as Moroccans, whether the parents want this or not. The Liberal Party is demanding clarification from the Dutch government on this matter. Parliamentarian Paul de Krom (Liberals) said that it is against the Dutch policy for the authorities to actively pursue Moroccan policy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Domestic Violence against Men as Serious as that against Women

Preliminary research has shown that domestic violence is as common against men as that against women. The Amsterdam municipal health services (GGD Amsterdam) have therefore begun a national research project on this subject, claiming that women report violence faster and more often than men. Questions include who are the perpetrators, how often and how long does the violence occur, do the victims discuss it or submit official complaints.

Netherlands Behind in Sustainable Energy

A report of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has found that the Netherlands is among the five least performing countries in the European Union concerning the use of sustainable energy. At present only 3% of all energy in the country is sustainable. Incentives in the Netherlands are below the European average. By 2020, 20% of all energy used in the EU must be sustainable. Minister of Economic Affairs Maria van der Hoeven (Christian Democrats) explained the backwardness by saying that the Netherlands cannot develop energy from water power.

Public Prosecutor Doesn’t Destroy Recordings of Confidential Phone Calls

It has been found that, in the investigation of murders in the Amsterdam underworld the public prosecutor’s office did not destroy 163 recordings of conversations between suspects and their lawyers. This is illegal. In the past the neglect in destroying such conversations has led to the cancellation of court cases. The best known such case concerned the Hell’s Angels.

Public Auditor’s Office Sees Increase in Noise Pollution

The office of the public auditor has found that the measures taken to protect citizens from traffic noise have been insufficient, mainly due to a lack of investment. Targets set by the authorities have not been met. Targets for air quality have also not been met. The main problem areas are around roads in western and southern Netherlands and several highways in other areas. The government has sent a request to the European Union for an extension in meeting the norms.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dutch Intelligence Service Failed Before Iraq War

Recent government evaluations have found that the Dutch intelligence service (AIVD) had misinformed the government before the current Iraq war. The AIVD had copied reports from foreign services without verifying the information in them. In 2002-2003 the AIVD trusted the information of the British intelligence service M-16. But later, a British inquiry found that the quality of these reports was extremely poor. M-16 had relied mainly on information of third parties without verifying the sources.

Police Force Makes Little Effort to Hire Women and Immigrants

Minister of the Interior Guusje Ter Horst (Labor) is extremely unsatisfied with the efforts of police units in recruiting women and non-western immigrants or their progeny. An investigation by the Inspectorate for Public Order and Security found that the units only use one-third of the measures agreed upon to recruit women and non-westerners. In some units those in charge are a barrier to recruiting such people and keeping them on staff.

Neighbors Make People Ill

The magazine gezondNU has found that many people suffer from their neighbors. Thirty-three percent of neighbors cause noise pollution, 11% quarrel, 11% do not keep their surroundings clean. Young people suffer more from their neighbors than older people. More than 50% of those under 30 complain about noise pollution from their neighbors, as opposed to only 20% over 60.

French Human Rights Organization Wants to Bring Wilders to Trial

The French ADDH human rights organization wants to bring Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders before a Dutch court. In New York last year, Wilders had said that in many French neighborhoods women cannot go out without a head covering. ADDH claims that Wilders is inciting against Muslims.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

After Attack on Employees, Railways Take Security Measures

The Dutch Railways (NS) and the trade unions have agreed on a number of security measures on the so-called Flevo route. Extra security staff will be put on the trains and after 8 pm security people will patrol with dogs at the Almere Central Station. This agreement was reached after six youngsters attacked two railway employees at that station. The trade unions had asked for even more security.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Owner of Prostitution Windows Blocks Municipality Plans

The Venekamp family, owners of buildings with many prostitution windows on the Amsterdam Old Church square and its surroundings, has refused to sell its real estate. The municipality has failed in its efforts to force the family to sell. The neighborhood council has just extended permits for the windows for the next three years. The family says that business has increased substantially, since so many other brothels have closed in line with municipal policy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Animal Activists Attack Mink Farm

Animal activists attacked a mink farm in Stavenisse and let 2,500 animals loose. Most of the minks were later caught, but a number of them were killed by cars as they went out into the road. The national criminal investigation department has begun an investigation of this incident. The college of attorneys-general has declared the problems with extremist animal activists a national priority.www.zeeuwseregio.nl/Archief/Alles/p/detail/200/Activisten+laten+nertsen+vrij+in+Stavenisse.html

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport Most Expensive in Europe

Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport is the most expensive one in Europe. It charges airlines tens of percents more than those of Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt, and three times more expensive than Madrid. In view of the economic crisis, the government has decided to cancel the environmental tax. However, it has demanded that Schiphol reduce its other fees as well.

Shareholders Organization: Central Bank President should Apologize

Jan Maarten Slagter, chairman of the Association of Shareholders (VEB), has said on television that of all Dutch bankers, Nout Wellink, the president of the Dutch Central Bank, has the most reasons to apologize to the public for the financial crisis. He added that Wellink had underestimated the problems in the financial sector and their impact on the economy at large.

PhD Thesis: Male Professors Prefer Male Candidates

Marieke van den Brink, who is presenting her PhD thesis at Radboud University in Nijmegen, has found that two out of three professorial appointments are determined in close circles, with professors searching for candidates within their own network. As most professors are male, it is likely that the new appointees will also be male. Only 11% of Dutch professors are female, among the lowest percentage in Europe. Only Belgium, Malta and Germany have a lower percentage of women professors.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Solicitor-General Found Guilty of Corruption

The Den Bosch court has found the Arnhem solicitor-general Jan K. guilty of corruption. The attorney-general’s office had accusied him of accepting bribes, falsifying IOUs and cheating an insurance company. The court found him guilty on all counts.

Trade Union: More Security Cameras Required on Buses

The FNV Bondgenoten trade union has requested that the Veolia bus company install security cameras on all its buses. It also wants the company to increase the number of inspectors from four to 50. This comes as a reaction to a case where a bus driver in Apeldoorn was attacked in the early morning and was forced to hand over his watch and a brief case. Since this took place early in the morning, the emergency alarm could not be used as the office staff had not yet come in. In response to this attack there was a short strike of bus drivers.

Dutch Soccer Club Punished by European Association

The European Football Association (UEFA) has fined the Dutch first division soccer club NEC 50,000 Euro. During a UEFA cup game against Hamburg SV, the referee was wounded by an object thrown by a spectator in the stands. NEC had already been fined 5,000 Euro earlier this year because of hooliganism during a game against Dinamo Bucharest.

Municipalities Careless in Protecting Road Workers

The Labor Inspectorate has found that more than half of the municipalities inspected do not take sufficient measures to protect road workers. About one-third of these workers have back, shoulder and knee problems. By law, any surface larger than 1,500 sq. m. must be paved by machine. However, the Inspectorate found that this was not the case in 166 places checked..www.trouw.nl/nieuws/nederland/article2057657.ece/Gemeenten_te_laks_met_veiligheid_stratenmakers.html

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Netherlands Could be Prosecuted for Coup in Surinam

The Netherlands could possibly be brought before the International Court of Justice for its role in Desi Bouterse’s coup d’etat in Surinam in 1980. This was announced by Romeo Hoost, the chairman of the Committee for Remembrance of Surinam Victims. Max Vegelin van Claerbergen, Dutch ambassador in Surinam at the time, said on TV that Hans Valk, who was then the head of the Dutch military mission in Surinam, had directed the coup. Parliamentarian Harry van Bommel of the left-wing Socialist Party said that the International Court should investigate since, according to Hoost, the Netherlands overthrew a constitutional state.

Tens of Arrests at Protest against NATO

Police arrested 35 activists who demonstrated against NATO near the Air Force base at Nieuw Milligen. Demonstrators tried to climb over the fence of the base; some succeeded. In various places parts of the fence were destroyed.

Crisis Costs Dutch Banks 39 Billion Euro

The major Dutch banks lost 39 billion Euro last year due to the financial and credit crisis. The Dutch Central Bank announced this in its quarterly report.

Dutch Minister: Pope’s Statement Extremely Damaging

Minister of Development Cooperation, Bert Koenders (Labor), said that Pope Benedict XVI’s statements against the use of condoms are extremely damaging. He added that the Pope is contributing to the enormous stigma and discrimination of people with the HIV disease.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Low Punishment for Corruption in the Netherlands

Greco, a working group of the Council of Europe states that Dutch punishments for corruption and bribery are too low and not in line with the Council’s guidelines. These punishments are also disproportionately low if compared to those applied in The Netherlands for other crimes such as theft and fraud. Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin (Christian Democrat) reacted that according to the report The Netherlands is not at fault. www.nrc.nl/binnenland/article1959229.ece/Lage_straffen_voor_corruptie_in_Nederland?service=Print

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wageningen University Threatened by Animal Activists

A spokesman of the University of Wageningen has declared that it feels threatened by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). An American website announced that a major bomb will explode at the university if it does not change its vivisection practices. Earlier cars at the university have been damaged, graffiti placed on buildings and stones thrown through windows.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ombudsman: Citizens Get Ensnared in Government Bureaucracy

The Dutch national ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer has published his annual report for 2008. He writes there that the government’s organization has become so complex that citizens risk to become ensnared in an opaque web. Brenninkmeijer adds that “when something goes wrong, citizens discover how complex government is structured and how difficult it is to undo mistakes.” As an example of complexity he mentions that five ministries and six ministers are involved in issues of youth care.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Parliament Attacks Fraud Concerning Children Support

The Parliament requests a more severe Government attitude toward those Moroccan and Turkish families who claim that their children go to school in their country of origin. If these children do not live with one of their parents there, the latter are entitled to double child support. A trial investigation last year found that 54% of the Moroccan claims and 31% of the Turkish claims for such double child support were fraudulent. The Freedom Party has requested an urgent parliamentary debate and obtained for this the support of all parties.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

One out of Five Service Providers Attacked Every Month

One of every five providers of services and help is attacked by beating or spitting at least once a month. Twenty-two percent of employees in this sector are confronted with verbal violence several times a week. These are the preliminary findings of an inquiry by the trade union Abvakabo FNV.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Police Unable to Find Perpetrators of anti-Semitic Incidents

The police have so far been unsuccessful in arresting the perpetrators of a series of anti-Semitic incidents at the beginning of this year. Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin (Christian Democrats) has reported this to Parliament. The incidents include arson at the Arnhem synagogue, as well as next to an Amsterdam synagogue, the breaking of synagogue windows in Haaksbergen and twice in Oss, the shooting at the Sinai Center in Amsterdam and vandalism near the Israeli National Tourist Office.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Amsterdam Court Bombarded with Hate Mail

The Amsterdam court has been bombarded with hate mail from people who do not accept its decision to bring PVV leader Geert Wilders to court for discrimination. The president of the court Leendert Verheij says that its members have been called “scum,” “left-wing vermin” and “hypocrites,” and added that these are among the more civilized curses. Wilders came out against the hate mail, saying that cursing and threatening are unacceptable.www.parool.nl/parool/article/print/detail.do?language=nl&navigationItemId=7&componentId=213381&title=&navigation

Labor Party: Special Prosecutor Needed against Animal Activists

Labor Parliamentarian Ton Heerts says that a special public prosecutor should be appointed to deal with animal activism. He has confirmed that the Netherlands serves as a base for animal activists from other countries. Animal activists are using increasingly violent methods to promote their case, such as threatening family members of employees of companies involved in animal experiments, or burning their cars.

Dutch Rating Site for Prostitutes

Since 2002 more than 120,000 Dutch men have registered on the website http://www.hookers.nl/ in order to report, often weekly, on their visits to prostitutes. More than 20,000 prostitutes are rated on the website. The site has about 25,000 visits every day. In 2004 it received major publicity when a then-Amsterdam alderman told a journalist that he always consulted the site before going to a prostitute.

Minister: White Police Chief Appointed Due to Lack of Choice

Minister of the Interior Guusje ter Horst (Labor) has finally appointed Teun Visscher as head of the Regional Police in Southern Holland South. The minister had opposed the appointment because Visscher is a white man and she would have preferred either a woman or a non-white. She had initially vetoed the appointment to this post even though it had been vacant for over a year already.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Massive Threats against Wilders

Freedom Party Leader Geert Wilders is the by far most threatened Dutch politician. The police in the region The Hague received last year 424 complaints about threats against politicians, of which 292 were against Wilders. This was announced by the public prosecutor’s office. Investigations showed that of the total number of complaints 304 were punishable threats and most of the other 120 were insults.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Seven Terrors Suspects Arrested in Amsterdam

Seven Dutchmen of Moroccan origin have been arrested in Amsterdam. They are suspected of preparing a terror attack in a major shopping center. One of the arrested is a relative of a terrorist who participated in the murderous bombings in Madrid in March 2004. The chief public prosecutor Bolhaar said that it can not be excluded that more arrests will follow.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Council of Europe Critical of Dutch Human Rights

Thomas Hammarberg, the Commissioner of Human Rights of the Council of Europe, has published a report critical of human rights in the Netherlands. He criticizes the policy for immigrants and asylum seekers, the low age at which children can be punished under law, and the Dutch plans to have accelerated procedures to deal with increased asylum requests.

Parliament Criticizes Cabinet on Attitude toward Wilders

A great majority of Parliament is criticizing the government for not raising the subject of Great Britain’s refusal to allow PVV leader Geert Wilders into the country, at the EU in Brussels. Several parliamentarians of various factions stated that the government doesn’t want to defend free speech. Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen (Christian Democrats) said that Britain, according to European law, has the right refuse Wilders’ entrance.

Liberal Party: Need of More Right Wing Public TV and Radio

Parliamentarian Johan Remkes (Liberal Party) says that many radio and TV networks are influenced by left wing perspectives. He said that there is a need for a critical media body with right wing views. As an example he cited the biased reporting of the state-subsidized TV news NOS. A study by two organizations, WAAR and Israel Facts found that the NOS reported in a pro-Palestinian way during the recent Gaza war. Remkes added that there were also factual mistakes in favor of the Palestinians.

Bus Drivers Strike after Continued Aggression

Tens of bus drivers in Ede called a strike after a driver was attacked. The police arrived only half an hour after the driver was attacked by youngsters. Last week there were three other incidents in which drivers were beaten or threatened. The trade union FNV Bondgenoten has established a hot line where drivers can complain by phone or by internet. www.trouw.nl/nieuws/nederland/article2051462.ece/Busstaking_in_Ede_wegens_onveiligheid.html

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Freedom Party: Protect Freedom of Journalists in Problem Neighborhoods

The Freedom Party (PVV) has asked Minister of Education Ronald Plasterk (Labor) to take measures to guarantee the freedom of journalists to operate in problem neighborhoods. The Association of Journalists NVJ thinks that journalists are increasingly avoiding these neighborhoods due to a fear of being attacked. The PVV says that, while journalists have been great supporters of mass immigration and multi-cultural societies, they are now being beaten up by non-western immigrants.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Does Queen Beatrix Have Two Nationalities?

Minister of Housing Eberhard van der Laan (Labor) has avoided giving a clear answer to questions by a Green Left parliamentarian Tofik Dibi. Dibi had asked if Queen Beatrix has two nationalities. The minister replied that she is a Dutch citizen.

More Mentally Handicapped in Youth Gangs

The Ministry of Justice is investigating the number of mentally handicapped youngsters who are active in youth gangs. This investigation will be carried out in the framework of a larger study on the nature of youth gangs in the Netherlands. This was announced by Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin after questions by the Christian Democrats referring to statements by the police that the number of mentally challenged in the youth gangs is increasing. There are an estimated 440,000 mentally handicapped young people in the Netherlands.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Amsterdam Subway Leakage Worse than Thought

The leakage problems in the walls of the Amsterdam subway are greater than originally thought. They affect not only the upper layer of sand but also the lower ones. More buildings are sinking. Among these is the 17th century building which houses the French consulate.

Schools Rot and Stink

Three-quarters of the elementary and secondary schools have very poor air quality. In 43% maintenance is inadequate. In an investigation of 600 schools it was found that some schools where uric acid has permeated the floors and there is always a bad smell in the school. In many schools facilities for the handicapped are lacking.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Parliament Criticizes Itself

Parliament thinks that it is guided too much by incidents reported in newspapers and on television as well as the government’s agenda. Many members of Parliament feel that they are hostages of government bureaucracy. The Parliamentarians agree on the problems, but not on the solutions. This is reported in a document prepared by the deputy chairmen of eight of the eleven factions.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Major Economic Loss due to Environmental Tax

Due to the Dutch environmental tax which has been imposed on air travel, 900,000 passengers have flown out from German and Belgian airports rather than Dutch ones. This was announced by KLM director Peter Hartman. Because of this the Dutch economy has lost 1.2 billion Euro in general sales. The government has collected about 250-300 million Euros from the tax. A spokesman for the Dutch employers’ organization – VNO-NCW – says that the tax is nonsensical and will impact negatively on employment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bosnian Serbs Bring Court Case Against Netherlands and UN

Bosnian Serbs have brought a case to court in the Netherlands against the country and the United Nations. They claim that Dutch UN soldiers did not provide sufficient protection for Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica during the 1992-95. The leader of the Serbian foundation Srebrenica Historical Project says that about a thousand Serbs were killed or went missing while the Dutch were supposedly protecting the enclave. www.trouw.nl/nieuws/wereld/article2045189.ece/Bosnische_Serviers_klagen_Nederland_en_VN_aan.html

More Intense Violence by Animal Activists

The government has developed a new plan to combat the extremism of animal activists. Police and the justice department will have to deal more harshly with them. While the number of incidents did not increase in the last year, they were more violent. There were 24 cases of vandalism, 17 incidents of people being threatened or attacked and three cases of arson. A special police team will be formed to deal with this problem.