Sunday, August 31, 2008

Minister Orders Investigation into her Past

Jacqueline Cramer, Minister of Environment (Labor) has requested that the accountants office Ernst & Young investigate to what extent she was involved in supporting the radical paper Bluf in 1986. Her name appeared on a list together with 177 others who had supported the reporting in the paper regarding documents concerning nuclear electricity plants.which had been stolen from the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More and Increasingly Severe Violence on Trains

Violence on trains is increasing and becoming more violent. These are the findings in a confidential report by the Dutch Railways. The police often do not come when there are severe incidents. The trade union FNV Bondgenoten considers this unacceptable. On one line from Hoorn to Alkmaar serious aggression has increased by 280%. On the line from Schiphol Airport to Zaandam there has been an increase by 100%.

Failed Computer Project at National Insurance Cost 87 million Euro

After two and a half years the National Insurance body UWV has stopped developing a computer project. The cost of the failed project was 87 million Euro. A study is underway to see if parts of it can be salvaged.

Young Doctors Insecure on Night Duty

One out of three Dutch doctors feels insecure during night duties. Young doctors in particular seem to suffer from this, with female doctors suffering from this more than males. This was published in the journal Medisch Contact.

Unclear Whether Dutch Development Aid has Impact

Terres des Hommes, a major child rights body, says that it is unclear what Dutch development aid is used for and whether it has any impact. This is the result of the fact that money is not earmarked for specific projects and goals, but is administered in a very general way. The organization criticizes this policy of Minister of Development Cooperation Bert Koenders (Labor).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Did Minister Support Radical Paper?

The Liberal Party (VVD) has asked Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende to clarify the role of Jacqueline Cramer, the Minister of the Environment (Labor), in the publication Bluf in 1986. At that time this radical paper published documents stolen from the ministry of economic affairs. Cramer’s name appeared among the supporters of the paper. VVD wants to know whether Cramer knew about the burglary in the ministry and whether she had spoken with the prime minister about this issue before she entered the cabinet. Cramer says that she had never permitted the use of her name as a supporter of the paper.

Municipalities Negligent in Preventing Crimes with Cars

Platform Detailhandel Nederland, the Dutch organization of retailers, and Mitex, the organization of fashion shops, claim that municipalities are negligent in protecting retailers. Every year hundreds of criminals drive their cars into shop windows. Many municipalities however, refuse to allow shopkeepers to install small pillars to prevent cars from coming up on the sidewalk.

Target for Reducing Number of School Dropouts will Not be Met

The Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) says that the government is unlikely to reach its target of reducing early school dropouts from middle schools to 35,000 per annum. In 2005-2006 there were 53,000 dropouts. The percentages are highest in schools with many non-western immigrant children. The dropout rate in one-parent families is double that of the rate in families with two parents.

Train Drivers of New Railway Company Drive through Stop Signs

Since Connexxion, a new company, took over the rail service between Amersfoort and Ede-Wageningen, there are more cases of train drivers going through stop signs. In one and a half years they ignored stop signs 13 times while the drivers of the previous operator Dutch Railways did so at most once a year.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Trade Union: Ministry Gives Little Attention to Soldiers on Bosnia Mission

Jan Kleian, chairman of the military trade union ACOM, claims that the Ministry of Defense does not give enough attention to the preparation of Dutch military personnel going to serve in Bosnia. They sometimes receive notice only at the last minute that they have to go abroad, get insufficient preparation and, at their posting there is sometimes insufficient medical care. In addition, the care they receive after they return to the Netherlands is poorly organized.

Independent Investigation into Police Crisis in Zeeland Province

An independent investigation will be carried out into the abuses reported by the police workers’ representatives in the Zeeland province. The workers have expressed their distrust in Koos Schouwenaar, police supervisor and the mayor of Middelburg. Earlier this month Fup Goudswaard, the head commissioner of the police in Zeeland, was forced to leave his position. According to him the intelligence service AIVD did not give him clearance They fear that he might be blackmailed in view of his extra-marital affairs.

Reserve Units Have Insufficient Equipment

Two of the five reserve units of the National Reserve have had to lend their machine guns to the Dutch units serving with the ISAF forces in Afghanistan, due to shortages of equipment there. The guns will only be returned when the Dutch forces leave Afghanistan in 2010.

Thousands of Shops Will Disappear in Poor Neighborhoods

The Council for Dutch Retailers has said that thousands of shops in poor neighborhoods will disappear in the coming years. This will make these areas even less attractive and poorer. The council proposes tax reductions and variable rental for shops in these neighborhoods in order to increase their chances for survival.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Amsterdam Subsidizing Bus Tickets of Criminal Illegal Immigrants

The Amsterdam Municipality is offering an international bus ticket to criminal illegal immigrants. So far 60 criminals have already made use of this incentive to leave the country. For years Amsterdam has been fighting a battle with people who commit multiple crimes in the inner city. Some of them are in the country illegally. But it is difficult to expel them as their nationality is not known and they do not cooperate in revealing it.

Police Unions Want Immediate Stop to Physical Condition Tests

In 2007 a quarter of the Dutch police were unable to complete a physical condition test. During the test two police agents broke their backs, and many suffered various injuries, some of them serious. The police trade union NPB is now asking that these tests be discontinued. The Council of Police Commissioners sees no reason to do this.

Minister Considers Stopping Subsidies to Environmental Bodies

Minister Jacqueline Cramer of the Labor Party wants to discontinue the subsidies to some environmental bodies. Several of these organizations have been heavily criticized by employer unions who have accused them of biased studies.

Main Dutch Complaints about Immediate Environment: Lack of Parking and Dog Excrement

A survey by USP Marketing Consultancy found that the main complaints by Dutch citizens about their environment were the lack of parking (24%) and dog excrement near their homes (23%). Twenty-six percent of Dutchmen have no complaints. In the rural areas the majority of people are satisfied with environmental conditions.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Burglar Ex-Parliamentarian: Media Careless in My Case

Green Left ex-Parliamentarian Wijnand Duyvendak has accused the media of being very careless in the treatment of his case, leading to his resignation. Duyvendak said that, in the Volkskrant a columnist called him “the Dutch Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein.” The website Geenstijl, owned by the daily Telegraaf called him the “Karadzic of the low countries”. The Telegraaf itself printed a ridiculous story saying that he had lived in a building with other activists where sperm had been mixed to create top revolutionnaries The story also referred to Nazi Germany.

Defense of Karadzic: 15 Dutch Soldiers Willing to Testify in his Favor

Milivoje Ivanisevic of the team defending Radovan Karadzic has said that at least 15 Dutch soldiers of the Dutchbat unit of the United Nations forces in Srebrenica, are willing to testify in favor of the former leader of the Bosnian Serbs. He added that they claim that Dutchbat had to defend itself against the Muslims rather than defending the Muslims against the Bosnian Serbs.

Fishermen: Greenpeace is a Criminal Organization

Ben Daalder, chairman of the Dutch Federation of Fishery Organizations, has called Greenpeace a criminal organization. The environmental body threw rocks into the sea near the border between Denmark and Germany. Daalder said that this could cause great danger because fish nets may get caught in the rocks, which could cause boats to sink.

Three Policemen Wounded in Summer Fest

Three policemen were wounded during a summer fest in the town of Elburg. Seven people were arrested.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Government: Sharp Debate about Islam Unavoidable

The Dutch government has admitted that the debate in the Netherlands on the impact of Islam in politics, media and society at large has increased, but says that this is unavoidable in a multi-cultural society. It states, however, that the debate has led to the exposure and solution of many problems. The cabinet was reacting to a report by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) which concluded that the public and political debate on integration worsened dramatically in the Netherlands in 2007. Turkish and Moroccan Muslims in the country have suffered in particular from this.

Extreme Rightists Throw Cream Cake at Parliamentarian

Former parliamentarian – and former burglar – Wijnand Duyvendak has presented his book An Environmental Activist in Politics in the Amsterdam public library on Wednesday. Right wing extremists of the Voorpost group threw pamphlets titled “Terrorist” into the crowd and one threw a cream cake in Duyvendak’s face.

Many Abuses in Pedigree Dog Breeding in the Netherlands

There are many abuses in the dog breeding business in the Netherlands. Geneticist Ed. J. Gubbels of the Genetic Counseling Services says that 45,000 pedigree dogs are bred every year with a total value of 32 million Euro. Forty percent are born with genetic illnesses or defects. Among the worst are dogs whose skull is too small for their brain. These animals die a miserable death.

Majority of Consciously Childless Dutchmen: Government Favors Parenthood

Fifty-seven percent of Dutchmen who are childless by choice think that the government financially favors those with children. These are the findings of journalist Anne Elzinga, together with the polling company RM Interactive. There are one million consciously childless Dutch; 75% are of the opinion that people who want to have children should be prepared to bear their cost.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

High Schools Teach Too Few Hours

Three-quarters of the country's high schools do not meet the minimum requirement of teaching 1,040 hours per school year.

Former Activists Distance Themselves from Repentant Parliamentarian

Many colleagues of former Parliamentarian Wijnand Duyvendak have distanced themselves from him because he has repented about his activist past. Some have reproached him saying that his apologies indicate that he considers these actions criminal, while they are proud of them.

Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce Sends Trade Mission to North Korea

The Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce is sending a trade mission to North Korea. It has the support of the Liberal and Christian Democrat parties. Alderman Leopold Lodewijk Asscher (Labor Party) is opposed to the mission, saying "North Korea has a horrible government. The life of a person is worthless to the authorities. We have nothing to seek there."

Many Investment Funds Fail in their Customer Information

The Association of Owners of Security (VEB) has investigated all 220 explanatory documents of investment funds which are quoted on the Dutch Stock Exchange. Sixty percent of the documents contain mistakes or do not meet legal norms. The organization claims that in some cases consumers get false

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Negative Economic Prospects for the Netherlands

Economic prospects for next year are poor. All households will lose at least 1% of their purchasing ability. Inflation is expected to reach 3.8% at least. The government intends to raise value added tax by 1%. Both employers and trade unions are asking to postpone this increase by at least one year.

Dutch Electorate More Negative about Europe

In 2006 55% of the Dutch electorate was against further European unification, 26% was in favor. In 1994, 38% were in favor and 30% against. Only 41% of the electorate is satisfied with the democracy in the European Union (EU), while 75% has confidence in Dutch

Politician Brings Complaint against Columnist for Incitement to Violence

Femke Halsema, the leader of the Green Left faction in Parliament, has submitted a police complaint against columnist Rikus Spithorst for incitement to violence. The latter, in a satiric article, had called for the burning of Halsema’s home. The attorney-general’s office must now decide whether Spithorst will be prosecuted. If so he risks a jail sentence of up to four years.

One of Ten Shops Expected to Close Down in Coming Years

The Council of Dutch Retail Businesses expects 5,000-10,000 retailers to close shop due to the coming economic recession. The sales of shoe shops have declined by 8% in 2008. Clothing and furniture shops are also already feeling the recession.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Former Policeman Says that Parliamentarian was Suspect in Terror Group

A former policeman has told the Telegraaf daily that in the late 1980s Green Left Parliamentarian Wynand Duyvendak – who has resigned in the last few days – was suspected of belonging to the hard core RaRa terror group. At the time the police raided the place where he was living. Duyvendak has denied ever being associated with this group and said that at the time the police were looking for someone else who lived at the same address.

Illegal Islamic Weddings Increase

While only 14% of Dutchmen marry in the church, the number of Islamic weddings is increasing. Religious weddings have no status in Dutch law and are allowed only after a couple has been married in a civil ceremony. Recently mayor of the Hague Van Aartsen threatened the extremist As Soennah mosque with a fine if it would continue to break the law. He pointed out that should the couple divorce, there would be no alimony, and if one of them should die, the other member of the couple would not be eligible for inheritance. Various parliamentarians are worried about these weddings as they may involve forced or polygamous marriages. The intelligence services (AIVD) have also expressed concern about these weddings in the context of their investigation of Islamic radicalism.

Impossible to Complain about Telephone Service of Tax Authorities

On the form where one can complain about the services of the tax authorities, there is no possibility to complain about the special tax telephone service. This is despite the fact that this service serves, among other things, for bringing complaints about the tax

Most Construction Workers Exposed to High Temperatures

The building trade union FNV Bouw & Infra claims that two of three construction workers are exposed to excessively high temperatures. This is the result of research among 1,100 workers. According to regulations special measures must be taken when people work for long periods in temperatures over 23 degrees.'Meeste_bouwvakkers_werken_bij_te_hoge_temperatuur'.html

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Green Left Parliamentarian Resigns Due to New Revelations

Green Left Parliamentarian Wijnand Duyvendak has announced that he will resign from Parliament in view of new revelations on his activist past. In addition to the burglary in which he was involved at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 1985, it has now become known that the publication of the names of officials of the ministry has led to threats against at least one of them. George Verberg, whose address was given in a radical left journal of which Duyvendak was an editor, published that as a result of this someone had tried to burn his house. Duyvendak now says that he regrets publishing the addresses and that he was not involved in the arson.

Labor Party Ends Collaboration with Columnist Who Incites to Arson

The Labor Party in Amsterdam will no longer publish a column on transport by Rikus Spithorst, the secretary and spokesman of Rover, the association of travelers. On another blog Spilhorst, under a pseudonym in a satirical column, called for the burning of Green Left Party leader Femke Halsema’s house.

Utrecht Hooligans Threaten TV Crew

A television crew of the RTV Utrecht station was threatened by hooligans in the Overvecht section of the city. In that neighborhood the prohibition against gatherings will be applied in a shopping center where hooligans have intimidated local residents, shop owners and shoppers.

Almere Needs Policy Against Radicals

Amy-Jane Gielen, who wrote a book about radicalization and identity, says that the new town of Almere needs a systematic policy against radicals. Last year a number of youngsters aged 19-20 were condemned in court for arson in a synagogue, an Islamic supermarket and a school. Several of them are right wing extremists, having come to these radical actions after having been violently attacked by non-western immigrants.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Burglar Parliamentarian Hero to Some Green Politicians

Several politicians from the Green Left Party think that the party should be proud of the activist past of its “burglar parliamentarian” Wijnand Duyvendak. They have criticized party leader Femke Halsema, who distanced herself from Duyvendak’s actions and the way he has made them public now. Amsterdam party leader and alderman Maarten van Poelgeest said “The leftist media and the intelligentsia loved the action at the time. However, now they remain silent.”

Trust in Politicians Reaches New Low

Ninety-three percent of the Dutch agrees with the statement “Politicians knowingly promise more than they can give.” The great majority of the Dutch electorate is in favor of reducing taxes.

More Questions about Registration of Polygamous Weddings

After Amsterdam, now municipal councilors in Rotterdam and Utrecht have asked the mayor and aldermen for clarification regarding the registration of polygamous marriages in their towns. In Rotterdam Labor Councilor Peggy Wijntuin asked what means are being employed to end polygamy and bigamy.

Special Attention to Antillean Crime in Leeuwarden

There have been many armed threats in the Antillean community in Leeuwarden. According to the police, victims are afraid to complain. The police are now intensely following 80 criminal Antilleans and have arrested seven who were in possession of two weapons and a commercial quantity of cocaine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Murder Suspect Given Recordings of Lawyers’ Conversations with Clients

The Council of Supervision of the Amsterdam Order of Advocates is investigating the contents of 19 DVDs containing over 1300 hours of recorded telephone conversations between a variety of criminal lawyers and their clients in the Amsterdam Bijlmerbajes jail. The DVDs were mistakenly given to a person suspected of murder. His lawyer had requested taped conversations relevant to the

Employers Massively Breaking Laws against Child Labor

Among summer holiday workers who are employed to work on Sundays, 34% are under the age of 16. This is against the law on child labor, by which youngsters of that age are not allowed to work on Sunday. Furthermore, many young workers are exposed to serious safety hazards. This was revealed in a study by CNV Jongeren, the Christian trade union for young workers.

Polygamous Marriages Registered in Amsterdam

If a person living in the Netherlands without Dutch nationality enters into a polygamous marriage in a country where this is permitted, it is registered by the Amsterdam administration as a legal marriage. Some of the known cases relate to Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan and India. Robert Flos, a representative of the Liberal Party (VVD) in the Amsterdam municipality, has requested clarification from the Mayor and aldermen. He said that these marriages are signs of the suppression of women and, instead of registering them, the administration should bring these cases to the attention of the police.

Ajax Soccer Club Condemns Behavior of Some of its Fans

The Amsterdam Ajax soccer team has publicly expressed disapproval of the behavior of some of its fans. They wear T-shirts with pictures of the bombardment of Rotterdam at the beginning of the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940 [in this attack many hundreds of Rotterdam civilians were killed]. People wearing these shirts will not be allowed to attend games in the Ajax

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Parliamentary Criticism of Environmental Organizations

Both the Christian Democrats and the Liberals are demanding that Minister of Environment Jacqueline Cramer (Labor) reprimand environmental organizations which received government subsidies, in view of the accusations of having published biased studies. Liberal Parliamentarian Charlie Aptroot has asked the Minister to discontinue all subsidies to activist environmental bodies. He added that the organizations should raise the money themselves for matters they consider to be important.