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Dutch News
New king and queen lay wreath at Remembrance Day ceremony 5/5/2013
King Willem-Alexander and queen Máxima have laid a wreath at the national war memorial in Amsterdam in their first public role since Willem-Alexander became head of state.
The wreath-laying ceremony was followed by two minutes silence and the first verse of the Dutch national anthem.
After other wreaths were laid, armed services chief Peter van Uhm gave a speech about equality, freedom and justice. Van Uhm lost his son in Afghanistan a day after he was appointed chief of the armed forces. Two weeks later he was in Amsterdam for the Remembrance Day commemorations.
‘They were dark days,’ said Van Uhm. ‘May 4 helped me to keep on course in the days which did so much pain.’
Princess Beatrix was not at the commemorations but will attend the Liberation Day concert on the Amstel river in Amsterdam on Sunday evening.
Other ceremonies were held in the Westerbork camp where Jews were held before being sent to the death camps and at the Waalsdorpervlakte dune area where some 250 resistance members were shot dead.

The Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day with fire and festivals

The Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day in the sunshine on Sunday, marking 68 years since Germany surrendered at the end of World War II.
The celebrations started in Wageningen around midnight where the Liberation flame was lit and torches were then taken by runners and inline skaters to other fires all over the country. The theme of this year''s event is ''freedom, make the deal’.
Germany signed the capitulation documents in Wageningen on May 5, 1945. The south of the country had been liberated months earlier.
Later on Sunday, the university town stages its traditional military parade, featuring veterans and their vehicles, a parachute drop and gun salute.
Fourteen formal Liberation Day festivals are being staged all over the country: one in each of 12 provinces and one in The Hague and Amsterdam.

Dutch artists Dio, Miss Montreal and Chef''Special will make a whistle stop tour of the 14 festivals by helicopter.
The celebrations end with the traditional May 5 concert on the Amstel river in Amsterdam, which is broadcast live on television.
The weather is set to be sunny everywhere, with temperatures ranging from 16 Celsius at the coast to 20 Celsius in the south.

Cut the number of benefits to combat fraud, experts say

The Netherlands has too many forms of social benefits for lower income households, making it difficult to spot fraud, various experts have told news website nu.nl.
Five million of the seven million Dutch households get some form of benefit – such as help with paying their rent, health insurance or childcare.
‘That is 70% of households,’ fiscal economy professor Peter Kavelaars told nu.nl. ‘It is an extreme total, the system is too generous. We are talking about €10bn. Whatever way you look at it, we are all paying through our taxes.’

Fewer payouts
Reducing the scope and focusing on a smaller group would make it more difficult to avoid checks, he said. ‘At the moment there is too little capacity to combat abuse.’
Groningen university researcher Albertjan Tollenaar agrees it is easy to get round the rules. ‘The rules are focused on distributing benefits rather than controlling them,’ he said.

‘Health minister Martin van Rijn wants 20% of personal healthcare budget payments to be checked. But that means 80% still go unchecked,’ Tollenaar said.
In recent weeks it has emerged that the housing and healthcare benefit system are open to widespread organised fraud because of the lack to checks on entitlement.
The health ministry has also announced plans to crackdown on fraud with personal health budgets - cash payments made to help the elderly and disabled remain living independently.

Phoning 0900 service numbers to be made cheaper

Phoning company 0900 service numbers will cost the same as an ordinary fixed line phone call from July 1, the economic affairs minister said on Friday.
Companies will only be able to add a fee of €1 per phone call on top of the normal phone costs for calls to 0900 and 18 information numbers. At the moment, some information numbers cost €1.30 a minute.
''This means customers will no longer be confronted with high bills when they phone a company they are a client of,'' economic affairs minister Henk Kamp said.
He is giving companies until June 2014 to make the changes.

Nursing care rule changes lead to surge in ''serious'' cases

A ''drastic swing'' in the categorisation of patients with chronic conditions from ''light'' to ''severe'' is underway, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.
The paper says experts are concerned that doctors are branding their patients as more serious cases so that they qualify for nursing home care.
Between 2009 and 2012, the number of people requiring ''limited'' care fell sharply while requests for more encompassing services rose 50% to 118,000, the Volkskrant says.


The shift is particularly clear in 2012, when new rules shifting the burden of care to friends and families were drawn up.
The new rules require the frail elderly, disabled and people with chronic conditions to be put into one of five categories. Since January this year, people in the lowest categories are no longer entitled to live in a nursing home.
But that is set to be tightened further and soon only patients classed as stage 5 will qualify for subsidies to live in a nursing home. The government says family and friends should do more to help the elderly and disabled live in their own homes.

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