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Dutch News
Some 3,000 sleep at Schiphol, driving difficult on icy roads 12/19/2010
Some 3,000 sleep at Schiphol, driving difficult on icy roads
Some 3,000 people spent the night at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport as heavy snow brought air travel to a standstill. The airport had put up 1,700 camp beds and other people slept on chairs and benches, a spokesman told news agency ANP. Some passengers were stranded because of cancelled flights, others were unable to leave the airport because of public transport difficulties. Many Saturday morning flights have been delayed or cancelled and Schiphol expects problems to continue for much of the day. This is partly due to bad weather elsewhere in Europe, the airport’s website said. More heavy snow is expected to fall in Zeeland and Limburg on Saturday but there could be a light dusting nationwide, the KNMI weather bureau said. Temperatures will remain below zero all day, making driving on snow-covered roads particularly hazardous. Tow trucks were out all night bringing home stranded vehicles, some of which had been abandoned by their owners, ANP said. The A9 near Castricum remained congested until well after midnight. Dutch Rail (NS) says passengers are being faced by longer journey times and busier trains than normal but that services are running to an adapted timetable nationwide. International trains are not affected.
VVD is more popular but Afghanistan, theatre tax problems loom
The right-wing VVD Liberals will move into 2011 as the biggest party in the country, having added four seats to their election total of 31 in the final political barometer of the year. Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam PVV is second in the poll, with 26 seats, two more than it won during the general election, despite a string of revelations about the criminal convictions of several MPs. Labour, second in the general election with 30 seats, is now on 24 and is third while the Christian Democrats, who form a minority cabinet with the VVD, are on 19, two down on their general election total. Despite his popularity, prime minister Marc Rutte has two difficult issues to solve: the senate’s opposition to the increase in value-added tax on the performing arts and a lack of support in the lower house for a new Afghan mission. The cabinet will discuss the stalemate over the tax rise on Friday, although Rutte is in Brussels. Senators are threatening to block the passage of the entire 2011 tax plan unless ministers agree not to put up the tax from 6% to 19% in January. Moreover, according to the Telegraaf, Rutte is also having problems finding a majority in parliament to support a police training mission to Afghanistan. ‘We have to see if there is a parliamentary majority. But I have no guarantees,’ Rutte told the paper. The PVV, which supports the minority government on economic issues, opposes the mission, forcing Rutte to look for support from other parties.
Drop in unemployment levels off
The Dutch jobless total fell again in November but the decline has slowed on the previous nine months, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS. Corrected for seasonal influences, the jobless total fell by 1,000 in November, following declines of 2,000 in the previous three months and 6,000 in the first half. Year on year, the jobless total has fallen 14,000 to 403,000 or 5.2%. The number of people registered as job hunting rose almost 1% to 484,000 according to the national job centre organisation UWV. And the number of unemployment benefit claims also rose slightly to 264,000.
Daycare child abuser had German conviction for child porn
The 27-year-old at the centre of a child abuse case at daycare centres in Amsterdam was convicted of distributing and possessing child pornography in Germany in 2003. According to the Telegraaf, Roberts Mikelsons was working as a trainee at a daycare centre at the time and was given a suspended sentence. Mickelsons then apparently moved to the Netherlands where he was able to work with very young children without any checks on his criminal record abroad. MPs now want the VOG – the certificate of good behaviour which is supposed to prove that someone does not have a criminal record which would prevent them doing their job – be extended to a European police search. MPs also called for a European register of sex offenders to be set up.

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