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Dutch News
Muriel Joins Ghanaians to mourn President Mills 8/19/2012

My fellow Ghanaians are shedding tears and my fellow Ghanaians are asking why? This is too much for you. I feel too bad, not only because of the death of our President, but also the lost of our young brothers and sisters during the last two months. This is too much for us, Ghanaians, DAMIRIFA DUE, DAMIRIFA DUE. Ghanaians, most of you know me to be a Surinamer I see myself also as a Ghanaian, a mother and a sister to you, because of the way you handle me when you meet me on the street. The death of our president and that of our brothers and sister here in Amsterdam are not only your pain but also mine. When it comes to the death of our President, I cannot do much. The only thing I can say is Due, Kose, Yaako. When it comes to the death of our brothers and sisters here, my colleges and myself will not sit down for such sad events to continue. We have already contacted the GGD to start an investigation about the causes of the deaths. We are also going to organise series of information evenings for you on how to prevent such untimely deaths. I am sure Mr. Adusei has informed you more about these actions. I will end by saying: families, who have lost their relatives here, have my sympathy, President Atta Mills, Due, fellow Ghanaians, Yaako. God bless you.

Welfare claimants are not serious enough about jobs: minister

People claiming welfare benefits are not serious enough about finding work and councils should do more to make sure they do apply for jobs, according to junior social affairs minister Paul de Krom. There needs to be a ‘cultural shift’ to ensure benefits are seen as a last resort not a choice, De Krom said in a briefing to MPs. De Krom was reacting to the results of a ministry probe into people’s motivation for finding low-skilled jobs. The survey showed only 43% of welfare claimants think it important to want to find a job and 49% would not be prepared to put up with long commuting times. Nor are they keen on temporary jobs, the survey shows. Although claimants can face sanctions if they refuse to take suitable jobs, local councils rarely take action, the minister says. Just 14% said they had been given a warning or faced sanctions for not doing enough to find work. There are enough jobs in low-skilled sectors, ‘given that they are currently being done by 300,000 people from central and eastern Europe’, the minister said in his briefing. But employers want motivated workers, and this is where central and eastern Europeans score, the minister said. Just one third of welfare claimants have signed up at staffing agencies even though almost six out of 10 low-skilled vacancies are filled via temporary employment bureaus. ‘Benefit agencies must stimulate welfare claimants to accept temporary jobs. Temporary work is always better than benefits,’ De Krom said. ‘In addition, almost half of temporary workers end up in regular work.’ Some 350,000 people in the Netherlands currently claim welfare benefits, of whom a growing number are poor pensioners.

Sensible attitude to sex drives Dutch teen pregnancy rate to record low

Just 2,365 girls under the age of 20 had a baby in the Netherlands last year, the lowest figure ever, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS. This means fewer than five teenage girls in every 1,000 became a mother last year. Forty years ago, the figure was four times higher. Girls with an Antillian background are much more likely than others to have a baby while still a teenager but this figure drops sharply for second generation Caribbean immigrants, the CBS said. The Netherlands has one of the lowest teenage birthrates in the world, a fact which is widely attributed to its open attitude to information about sexuality and contraception. Most parents are also happy for their teenage children to sleep with a partner in the family home. Surveys show the majority of Dutch teenagers have sex for the first time around their 17th birthday, usually with a steady partner. They almost always use contraception.

Suriname president denies bailing out Amsterdam festival

Suriname president Desi Bouterse has denied giving €50,000 to bail out a financially troubled festival in Amsterdam. On Wednesday, Dutch media reported Bouterse had confirmed the offer to help the Kwakoe festival in Amsterdam''s Zuidoost district. However, this is not the case, ANP quoted Bouterse as saying. Instead, Suriname has agreed to the festival organisers'' request for mediation to help its financial problems. ‘Some people from the Kwakoe festival asked if they could use the Surinamese cabinet’s name to try to attract sponsors,’ he is quoted as saying. ‘We said yes and that may have made it possible to bring people together, so I don’t understand the commotion.’ The Kwakoe festival began as a football tournament but has now grown into a celebration of Surinamese and other cultures. On Tuesday, it was on the verge of closing down when one of the main suppliers threatened to pull out, claiming it is owed €150,000. The festival did not go ahead last year because it could not raise enough money.Local politicians took to microblogging service Twitter to condemn the alleged gift by Bouterse, who had a role in killing 15 political opponents in December 1982. Bouterse has also been sentenced to jail for drugs smuggling in the Netherlands but avoided jail because Suriname does not extradite its own citizens.

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