Monday, December 31, 2007

Dutch Complain Even When Things are Good

Paul Schnabel, director of the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau,
has said that the Netherlands must put an end to the "doom thinking,"
which causes people to be fatalistic. He said that the Dutch, rather
than complaining about everything even when the situation is good,
should focus on what is going well in the Netherlands. He said that
the Dutch could learn a lot from the Americans and their optimism.

Amsterdam Municipality Apologizes to Hell's Angels

The Amsterdam Municipality has announced that it was wrong in presenting the Hell's Angels as the "invisible real dealers" of drugs in Amsterdam's red light district. The municipality recently published a report which said that, through a quick scan, it was found that behind a group of visible sub-dealers there was a group of invisible real dealers. It listed "Turks, Colombians and the Hell's Angels" as these real dealers and called them the main players in organized crime in the district.

Police Will Not Act Against Hizb Ut Tahrir Flier

A flier of the radical Islamic liberation movement Hizb Ut Tahrir has now also been distributed outside Amsterdam, in the towns of The Hague, Haarlem and IJmuiden. This flier called on Muslims for resistance against a movie in which the noble Quran is ridiculed. The police announced that it will take no action against the distributors of the flier, which is clearly aimed at Geert Wilders, leader of the Conservative Freedom Party, who is preparing a movie on the abuses of the Quran. In 2005 the government had announced that Hizb Ut Tahrir is a possible danger to democratic order in the country.

Youngsters Ignore Prohibition of Gathering in Dronten

Last Friday night fifteen youngsters ignored the prohibition on gathering in the center of Dronten, causing interference. Several of the youngsters threatened a policewoman. The town of Dronten had initiated a prohibition on gathering in the town center because hooligans had been causing many problems. Several areas of other Dutch towns have also imposed such prohibitions.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Web Video Shows Staged Murder of Dutch Politician

The major Dutch website is showing a video where it appears that the throat of Geert Wilders, leader of the Conservative Freedom Party, is being cut. The authors of the video call themselves Youssef & Kamal. They had made a previous video clip against Wilders two years ago. In the new version a person resembling Wilders is shown. Standing around him is a number of youngsters with hammers, saws, knives and fire weapons. At the end one of the youngsters cuts the person’s throat with a large knife. Wilders has complained to the police.

Radical Islamists Distribute Flier against Future Movie

The radical Islamist organization Hizb ut Tahrir (HUT) has been distributing a flier in the “Indonesian Quarter” of Amsterdam, protesting against a movie in which “the noble Quran is being ridiculed.” It doesn’t mention Freedom Party leader Wilders who is preparing a movie on “the abuses of the Quran”. In 2005, the Dutch government announced that HUT could be dangerous to the democratic order. HUT is prohibited in many Muslim countries and several European countries, including Germany.

Public Transport Personnel More Frequently Victims of Criminal Incidents

The personnel of the city and regional public transport systems are increasingly faced with criminal incidents. Last year 65% of the drivers and conductors in public buses, trams and metro, were confronted at least once by threats, theft and abuse. In 2006 the figure had been 56%. According to a poll the feeling of security among these employees has decreased in 2007. These data were published in the 2007 Safety Report by the Inspectorate for Traffic and Waterways.

Increase in Traffic Jams in 2007

The number of traffic jams increased by 8% in the year 2007. Between 10:00 am and 15:30 the so-called backup wait – defined as length of the backup multiplied by the time it lasts – has increased by 23%.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

PVV Leader: Queen Should Have Only Ceremonial Duties

PVV leader Geert Wilders has stated that Queen Beatrix should be stripped of her governmental tasks and have only ceremonial duties. Wilders criticized the Queen’s Christmas speech as promoting multiculturalism. He added that under the Dutch constitution, the prime minister is responsible for what the Queen says and thus he could not hold her responsible for her political positions. Wilders intends to introduce a motion to change the constitution accordingly.

Dutch Among Most Pessimistic Nations About 2008

In a German Emnid-Institute survey of 54 countries, the Dutch and the Austrians were the most pessimistic about the year 2008. Only 15% of those polled in the two countries expect 2008 to be better than 2007. The most optimistic were the people of Hong Kong where 71% expect the next year to be better than the current one.

Solicitor-General at Supreme Court Criticizes Attorney-General’s Office

J. Wortel, Solicitor-General at the Supreme Court, has criticized the Attorney-General’s Office due to its frequent appeals to the court, many of which have no chance to succeed. The Solicitor-General, who is an independent advisor to the Supreme Court, said that many appeals which have been submitted by the Attorney-General’s Office demonstrate, “insufficient insight into the substance” and cases “for which there is no support in the law and in jurisprudence.”

“Depression Hot Line” Busy during Christmas

Both the Depression Hot Line and the Hot Line for the Elderly were very busy on Christmas. According to their spokesmen, many people who are normally helped by specialists were distressed by the fact that their therapists were not available over the holiday. Furthermore, calls on Christmas were longer and more profound due to the fact that Christmas is a problematic holiday for the elderly and lonely people who have no family.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Majority of Dutch Population Hopes for Collapse of Cabinet

Fifty-five percent of the Dutch population hopes that the current Cabinet will collapse before it has served its full term. An opinion poll by the Dutch pollster Maurice de Hond gives the government a score of 4.7 out of 10. Forty-five percent of the population expects that their economic situation will be worse next year, whereas one-third thinks that their situation will remain the same.

Poor People Cannot Afford Healthy Food

For poor people to eat healthy food is almost impossible, says Jaap Seidell, professor of nutrition and health at the Amsterdam Free University. He claims that poor people buy cheap products which contain more fat, calories, salt and sugar and cannot afford healthier items such as vegetables and fruit. He predicts that the price difference between healthy and unhealthy foods will continue to increase. Due to large-scale production, prices of fast food and pre-packed meals will remain low, while fresh vegetables and fruit will become luxury products.

Former Minister: Immigration Creating New Problems

Former Minister of Affairs Concerning Foreigners and Integration Rita Verdonk, who has started her own movement, claims that the current government is creating new problems by allowing the immigration of foreigners who will cause trouble for many decades to come. She says that many Poles, Rumanians and Bulgarians in the Netherlands are criminals, and that there are many other problems with such immigrants. Verdonk says seems the government has not learned anything from previous waves of immigration.

Amsterdam Municipality Not Dealing Properly with Repeating Criminals

The Ombudsman says that the Amsterdam Municipality is not dealing properly with the placement of repeating criminals in rehabilitation institutions for such perpetrators. The Municipality should inform these criminals about the availability of such institutions after they are released from prison. There is insufficient cooperation between municipal authorities and other organizations dealing with rehabilitation.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Hell's Angels to Claim Millions of Euros from Dutch Government

The Hell's Angels' lawyers have announced that their clients will sue the government for millions of Euros now that a judge has acquitted them. The four-year process against the motor club came to an abrupt end when an Amsterdam judge concluded that the prosecution had, on a major scale, broken the laws forbidding transcribing conversations between the accused and their lawyers.

Dutch Parliamentarian Claims Government Intimidation

Geert Wilders, the leader of the conservative Freedom Party (PVV), has accused the government of intimidating him in order to force him to abandon his plans for a movie about the Quran. He claims that the Government is using the Attorney General's Office for this purpose. Wilders said that he still intends to bring out the movie at the end of January.

Did Dutch Soldiers Lie about Killing of Iraqi Civilian?

Dutch marines may have lied about the killing of an Iraqi civilian by their colleague, Sgt.-Maj. Eric O. The Nova news program broadcast fragments of conversations which contradict O's claim that he shot at a group of Iraqis because he felt threatened. His commander declared to a colleague of O. "I covered up for him because he is a colleague and out of respect for the marines. I know that he was wrong as there was no reason to shoot."

Five Percent of Dutch Soldiers in Afghanistan Need Psychiatric Help

Twenty percent of the Dutch soldiers who have served in Afghanistan have difficulties dealing with their experiences. Most, however, are able to solve their problems when they return home. Five percent of all soldiers require psychiatric treatment after they return to the Netherlands. This was announced by the Commander in Chief of the Dutch army, Gen. Dick Berlijn.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Money Collected for Tsunami Victims Reaches Terror Group

Money which had been collected for victims of the tsunami in December 2004 has probably been used to finance the terror organization Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. This was likely done through the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) in the Netherlands. The United States has put this Dutch body on its the list of terrorist organizations.

Amsterdam Municipality Admits Legalizing Prostitution a Failure

The Mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen (Labor Party) and Alderman Lodewijk Asscher (Labor Party) admitted at a press conference that the repeal of
the prohibition of brothels has been a failure. It seems that the Municipality has now lost control of the red light district. Businesses which sell sex, drugs and are involved in money laundering, have taken over the area. In addition the neighborhood also attracts drug dealers, addicts and the homeless. The Municipality has announced that it intends to take drastic measures to clean up the neighborhood.

Environment Tax Results in Negative Impact on Environment

The VNC, the largest trade union of airline cabin personnel, has written to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance regarding the negative effects of the new Dutch environmental tax on airline tickets. Low cost airlines are now moving to Belgium and passengers from the Netherlands are traveling there by bus in order to take advantage of lower fares. This has a more negative effect on the environment than the reduction in airline traffic, resulting from the tax. The VNC claims also that there will be a major decline in employment opportunities for its members.

Dishonest Dutch Competition in Belgian Construction Sector

The FNV Bouw trade union says that Dutch construction companies are involved in dishonest competition in Belgium. They hire workers from Eastern European countries who they claim are independent. The trade union says that the Social Insurance Bank is responsible for this as it grants work permits which show that these people pay social security insurance in the Netherlands.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Prosecution Blunders Cause Abandonment of Hell’s Angels Process

The prosecution has lost a major case against the Hell’s Angels. The Amsterdam court has decided that, due to errors by the prosecution in not destroying transcripts of conversations between the suspects and their lawyers, the process will be terminated. The judge said that the prosecution had made “serious, large-scale and repeated violations of the rules.”

Ban on Gathering in Hague Neighborhood

Mayor Wim Deetman has declared a prohibition of gathering in the neighborhood of Leidschenveen-Ypenburg. Youngsters have been systematically causing destruction in the area. They also cause nuisance with loud music, fireworks and fires. In November seven youngsters were arrested after they shot a fire rocket onto a police car, causing serious damage. Initially the prohibition of gathering is for three months, beginning 27 December. A similar prohibition had been announced earlier for the Kanaleneiland neighborhood in Utrecht.

Another Major Government Computer Project Fails

The Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment has abandoned a computerization project of its documentation and archives. The project had been going on for four years and cost 16.6 million Euro. In recent years there have already been important computerization problems with the tax authorities, the national employees’ insurance office (UWV), the army, the police and the immigration and naturalization service (IND). The Christian Democrats and the Socialist Party are both demanding a Parliamentary investigation of the subject.

Hospitals Negligent about Pain Measurement

The Inspectorate for Public Health (IGZ) has published that most Dutch hospitals are negligent in the measurement of pain of patients. Since there is no systematic method for pain measurement, they do not gain insight into the suffering of the patients from pain. The report also found that six hospitals have no doctor who is qualified to work in the intensive care department.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ten Percent Increase in Domestic Violence

Last year the police registered 63,131 incidents of domestic violence, a rise of 10% over the previous year (2005). One out of three perpetrators is a repeat offender. Eighty-five percent of the victims are women. This information is contained in a report which Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin (Christian Democrats) has sent to Parliament.

Police Announce: Minor Offenses Will Not be Fined

The three Dutch police unions NPB, ANPV and ACP have started an action by which policemen will not distribute any minor fines in the coming weeks. This is part of their struggle to obtain an increase in salary. Thus, for instance, minor speeding offenses will not be penalized. Earlier, a strike by the police had led to the cancellation of two major soccer games.

Confidential Minutes of Municipal Meeting on the Internet

The confidential minutes of a closed meeting of the municipal council of Utrecht were available on the Internet until Tuesday when this was discovered. The qualities of the various candidates for mayor of the town had been discussed at this meeting.

Better Regulations Needed for Taking Blood Samples

The Dutch Association for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (NVKC) say that more stringent regulations must be established for taking blood samples. This is in view of mistakes which have come to light recently. The NVKC says that in facilities other than hospitals and laboratories, blood tests are often administered by people with little training.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thirty Percent of Poor Households Don't Have Hot Meal Every Day

There are 660,000 poor households in the Netherlands. One hundred eighty-five thousand children live in poverty. Thirty percent of these households cannot afford to have even one hot meal a day. These are the findings of the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) in their biannual report on poverty.

Director of Football Association Apologizes to Police

Henk Kesler, director of the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), has apologized to the police for calling them "spoiled chappies" and saying that the minister should not give them even a penny's raise. Kesler has been criticized by the police trade unions and the Board of the KNVB for this statement.

Problems of Reusing Disposable Needles Discovered in a Second Clinic

After the problems in Almere of potential infection due to the reuse of disposable hypodermic needles, similar problems have been discovered at the clinic of a psychiatric detention center in Groningen. All people who had injections there since 1 April 2006 are now being asked to have a blood test to check if they have been infected with hepatitis.

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Council Chairman Unwelcome at Ceremony

Eight Dutch-Moroccan fathers who completed a course at the Islamic College, left its closing ceremony before the arrival of Ahmed Marcouch, Chairman of the Slotervaart Neighborhood Council in Amsterdam. They think that Marcouch speaks too much about Moroccans and not with them. He was supposed to hand out certificates for the course which dealt with how to handle problematic youngsters. It had been financed by the neighborhood council.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Police Furious with Dutch Football Association

The Council of Police Commissioners-in-Chief and the police trade union are furious with Henk Kesler, director of the Royal Dutch Football Association KNVB. He called the police strike “the work of spoiled chappies” and said the Minister of the Interior should not give them a penny’s raise. A leader of the ACP police trade union said that Kesler, who earns hundreds of thousands of Euro, should just once stand in the front line like the police and see what it’s like to be hit in the head by rocks.

More than 50 Million Euro Claims against Ministry Defense after Helicopter Accident

The Chamber of Commerce in the area estimates that damage to the business world is between 50-70 million Euro after a Dutch army helicopter crashed into a high power line. This caused a breakdown in electric service to a large area for two days.

Dutch Soldiers in Afghanistan Dependent on Private Contractors

The Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan are dependent on private contractors for air transport of food and fuel. If these contractors were to halt their services for any reason, the Dutch military would be incapable of taking over these tasks. This is the conclusion of the AIV, an independent body headed by former Defense Minister Relus ter Beek, which advises the government and Parliament on international policies.

Government Slow in Dealing with Problems with Youngsters in Slotervaart Neighborhood

Ahmed Marcouch, head of the Amsterdam Slotervaart Neighborhood Council, says that the government is too slow in dealing with the problematic youngsters in the neighborhood. “The result of this is that the terror in the neighborhood goes on unnecessarily. Residents have been suffering for years already from intimidation, destruction, physical attacks and thefts.” In October two policemen were stabbed in a police station, whereupon one of them shot and killed the attacker. This led cars being burned of cars and stones being thrown at the police office and journalists.

Monday, December 17, 2007

KNVB Football Association Intends to Claim Damages from Police Unions

The KNVB Football Association has announced that it will claim damages from the police trade unions for the two major football games that were cancelled due to the policemen’s strike. The KNVB thinks that TV companies should also claim damages as they could not broadcast the cancelled games.

20,000 Mistakes in Medication in Nursing Homes

In 2005 more than 20,000 mistakes in the administration of medications were made in the approximately 300 Dutch nursing homes. This includes for instance, nurses forgetting to give medication or giving wrong doses. These data are based on information from the Inspection for Health Care. The data also show that in one of 10 nursing homes, patients incur injuries due to being restrained.,1

Personal Data of 50,000 People Mistakenly Available on Internet

Due to a mistake in the computer system of the CZ insurance company the personal data of 50,000 people have become accessible on the Internet. These people had provided personal information in order to get an offer from the company.

Police No Longer Allowed to Use Drugs in their Free Time

Beginning on 1 January, police personnel of the Amsterdam corps will no longer be allowed to use drugs even during their free time. While until now policemen could not come to work drunk or under the influence of drugs, this will now no longer be allowed in their free time either, as they should be setting an example to the public. The Amsterdam section of the police trade union ACP considers this guideline as “going too far”, as the policemen are not paid during their free time.,2

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Twenty-five Murders in Three Provinces Related to Cannabis Growing

A new report “The World Behind the Growing of Cannabis” by the criminologists Henk van de Bunt, Toine Spapens and Laura Rastovic found that in the three southern provinces Limburg, Noord Brabant and Zeeland, twenty-five murders related to the growing of cannabis had occurred in the last five years. They also found that organized gangs can earn tens of millions of Euro within a few years through cannabis trade. Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin (Christian Democrat) intends to give more attention to cannabis growing in the framework of his actions against organized crime.

Judge: Police Entitled to Go on Strike at Upcoming Major Soccer Games

A judge has decided that policemen are entitled to go on strike when assigned to upcoming major soccer games. Police commanders had asked the judge to forbid the strike actions. Police trade unions have called for a strike demanding salary increases.

Soccer Games Cancelled Due to Police Strike

The mayors of Rotterdam and Amsterdam have cancelled the soccer games Feyenoord-AZ and Ajax-PSV, as security could not be ensured due to the strike announced by the police trade unions.

Amsterdam Municipality Greatly Concerned about Increase in Escort Prostitutes

The number of escort prostitutes in Amsterdam has increased greatly, from 500 in 1999to over 1,000 in 2007. This is partially due to the move away from “window” prostitution. The Amsterdam municipality is greatly concerned, as there is no control on this activity, which leads to exploitation and human trade. The municipality now wants to introduce permits for escort companies.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Train Conductors no Longer Allowed to Use Force

The Dutch railways (NS) have informed its personnel that train conductors are no longer allowed to use force against aggressive travelers, but will have to call for the help of specialized teams located at twenty major stations. This measure was severely criticized by Rover, the train travelers’ organization, which claims that aggressive passengers thus can leave trains at smaller stations without paying for their ticket or being punished.

Threatened Museum Director Gets Guards

Ranti Tjan, director of a museum in Gouda, will be getting special protection. He has expressed his willingness to have an exhibition of the pictures of Iranian photographer Sooreh Hera which were refused by the municipal museum in The Hague. Some of these pictures portray two homosexual men with masks who represent Mohammed and his son-in-law Ali.

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