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Soualiga Newsday Focus (1138)

Some like it hot: cinema-goers prefer the sunshine to movie theatres

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Cinema-goers are opting to stay away from theatres and to enjoy the warmer weather instead, according to research by ABN Amro.

The bank’s economists have been tracking data since 2012 and have detected a ‘significant’ relationship between outside temperature and going to the cinema, online news service nu.nl reported on Tuesday.

The total cinema audience fell by 12.6% in the first six months of 2018. The weather was much warmer in April of this year than April 2017 and visits to films were very much lower in that month, economist Sonny Duijn said.

Duijn suggested that cinemas could tie in marketing with the weather. For example, discounts could be offered when the outside temperature reaches a certain level. He said cinema-goers opt to see a film when prices are lower.

Moreover, many cities offer open-air film shows in the evening. (DutchNews)

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Syrian refugees set up weekend schools in NL to teach their children Arabic

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Syrian refugees in the Netherlands are setting up informal weekend schools all over the country to teach their children Arabic and, in some, about the Koran, the Volkskrant said on Tuesday.

Most of the several dozen schools are run by volunteers and teach between 20 and 100 children, the paper said. Between 2014 and mid-2016, 44,000 Syrian refugees, around one third of them children, were given five-year residency permits.

The aim of the schools, the volunteers say, is to make sure the children do not lose their Arabic culture as they integrate into the Netherlands. ‘Like all Syrians, we have a residency permit for five years and I don’t know what will happen then,’ Tarek Aldayeh, the chairman of the Pioneers foundation which organises weekend schools, told the paper.

‘If I don’t give my children extra lessons, they will never learn to read or write Arabic and how will they cope at school in Syria if the immigration service says we have to go back?’

Although Dutch officials assume most refugees will stay in the Netherlands, Syrian parents often think differently, the paper said. And parents sign their children up for Arabic lessons, so they can maintain contact with family members in Syria or in other parts of Europe.

Cultural differences are another factor, Deema Akras, of the Joury school foundation told the paper. ‘Some girls no longer listen to their parents,’ she said. ‘We remind them about the role of mothers in our country and that they should be respected.

But we also urge parents to act differently towards their children than they would in Syria.’ Trees Pels, a researcher with the Verwey-Jonker Institute, told the Volkskrant that weekend schools do not have to hinder integration.

‘It can be good for children’s development because they do not have to choose between the Dutch and the Arabic worlds,’ she said. ‘Cutting cultural links with the country of origin can damage children’s health and well-being in the long term.’ (DutchNews)

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Economics, management studies under pressure as more students sign up

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – English language economics and business studies courses are proving a major draw at Dutch universities this academic year and two courses have already imposed a cap on student numbers, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday.

The University of Amsterdam expects to sign up 1,800 first-year students for its business and economics courses this year, compared with 840 in 2016. Of them, between 40% and 50% come from abroad, the UvA told the paper.

‘Foreign students think it is cheap to study in the Amsterdam and the UvA has a good name,’ spokesman Peter van Baalen told the FD. ‘And of course, Amsterdam is a major draw.’

In Groningen, the number of first year economics students is set to go up from 1,040 to 1,350 while in Maastricht, 400 first-year economics students will start in September. Rotterdam School of Management, which has 550 places on its international business administration course, has had 2,400 applications this year, of which 75% came from abroad.

RSM has brought in a cap on student numbers and requires an average school leaving exam pass of at least seven out of 10. But only one in three Dutch school leavers achieves that grade.

‘This is worrying,’ said spokesman Adri Meijdam. ‘If too few Dutch school leavers qualify for a course with a cap in numbers, they face being pushed out.’ (DutchNews)

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Amsterdam is not lawless jungle, but it does need more police, says new mayor

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema says more police and street wardens are needed in the city centre to keep the crowds of tourists and partygoers under control.

The mayor told the Telegraaf she would do her utmost to persuade justice minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus to increase the number of police operating in the city’s red-light district and popular nightlife areas.

Halsema was given a tour of the city centre on Friday night and told the Telegraaf that the city is not the ‘lawless jungle’, as suggested by ombudsman Arie Zuurmond in an interview with Saturday’s Trouw.

In that interview, Zuurmond re-iterated comments he made in March about the ‘absence of authority’ in the city centre.

Tourist draw

‘At the moment, the number of police officers is based on the number of people who live here. But we are a major tourist draw and when measured in terms of the number of tourists, we have too few police and wardens,’ Halsema said.

Zuurmond, whose interview comments were picked up widely in the foreign press, told the Volkskrant later that the main problems in the city centre are the rise in violence and anti-social behaviour, the shortage of police officers, the huge amount of criminal money in circulation plus illegal taxis and rental boats.

‘If the red-light district is full, then at given moments it is impossible for the police to get through,’ he said. ‘You can’t chase a criminal who is getting away. If there is a fire, you can’t reach it.

If someone has a heart attack, the ambulance can’t get to them.’ Right-wing political parties have called for street wardens to be given batons and pepper spray to increase their effectiveness in controlling the crowds. However, this is opposed by the left-wing majority on the city council. (DutchNews)

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Police divers find body of boy, 11, in popular swimming lake

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Divers have found the body of an 11-year-old boy who disappeared at a popular swimming spot in Oldenzaal, in the eastern province of Overijssel.

Specialist divers were brought in after the boy’s bike was found at the car park next to the Het Hulsbeek recreational area but there was no sign of the youngster. According to local broadcaster RTV Oost the boy had not lived long in the Netherlands and could not swim.

A 20-year-old man drowned in the lake earlier this month. (DutchNews)

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One person killed in Rotterdam when storm brings down tree

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – One person was killed in Rotterdam on Thursday evening after a sudden thunderstorm brought down a tree, which hit the car they were sitting in.

A second person in the car was seriously injured and is being treated in hospital, broadcaster NOS said. Rotterdam emergency service workers said they had 150 calls about flash flooding and falling trees and branches after the storm hit.

Trees were also brought down in Brabant, where there was very heavy rain for a short period. The A58 was closed for a time because of fallen branches. More scattered storms and heavy rain are forecast for Saturday. (DutchNews)

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Safety board slams railway crossing deaths as ‘unacceptable’

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch Safety Board OVV has slammed the ‘unacceptable’ way an average of 11 people are killed in accidents on railway level crossings every year.

However, the fragmented approach and lack of focus at the infrastructure ministry are stalling efforts to improve safety at crossings, the OVV said on Thursday. The Netherlands is the only country within the EU where so many roads cross so many railways, the OVV said.

‘This is not a good combination.’ In particular, crossings without barriers are unacceptable in these days of high speed trains and junior minister Stientje van Veldhoven should show more ambition to make changes, the OVV said.

The OVV started its investigation after three major incidents on level crossings within a few months. A crash between a lorry and a train in Winssum left 18 people injured.

Then, four months later, a father and son were killed in an accident at an unmanned level crossing. A month later, another train hit a lorry, causing major damage. (DutchNews)

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Moroccan, born and raised in NL, faces deportation due to criminal record

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A 22-year-old Moroccan national, who was born and brought up in the Netherlands, has gone to court to avoid being deported because of his criminal record.

The man is one of six teenagers who were sentenced to youth detention for their role in the the death of a football linesman who was kicked by a mob after a youth game in Almere in December 2012.

The IND told the man two years ago that his residency permit would not be renewed because of his history, news agency ANP reported. He has been involved in other crimes, including one committed after he was told he faced being banned from the Netherlands, ANP said.

The man told the court that since then he has taken steps to improve his life and is undergoing intensive treatment for his problems. A psychiatrist told the hearing in Amsterdam on Thursday that he could become suicidal if deported.

His mother told the court: ‘Where should my son go? He does not speak Moroccan properly and he will be homeless when he arrives at the airport.’ It is unclear why the youth does not have Dutch nationality. The court will rule on the case in six weeks’ time. (DutchNews)

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Two-thirds of 2017 summer holidays were booked online says CBS

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Two out of every three people in the Netherlands booked their summer holiday on the internet last year, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday.

This applied mostly to holidays outside the country where 73% made reservations for overnight accommodation via the net. Just 56% of holidays within the Netherlands were booked on the internet.

The CBS defines summer 2017 as being between 29 April and 30 September and reported that 75% of the population (12.7 million people) took one or more vacations in that period.

Nearly 90% of the holidays were in Europe, with Germany as the most popular destination. The average summer holiday was for eight days and the total spend was €12.4bn, or slightly less than €1,000 per holiday maker. (DutchNews)

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Youth, 18, arrested in vicious Rotterdam rape investigation

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – An 18-year-old youth has been arrested in Rotterdam in connection with the vicious rape of a 21-year-old Indonesian exchange student last weekend.

The woman was attacked after locking up her bike when she returned home from the city centre at around 5am on Saturday. She was so seriously injured in the attack that she had to be rushed to hospital.

According to the Telegraaf, the teenager was picked up on the basis of eyewitness evidence and surveillance camera footage along the route where the young woman had cycled. (DutchNews)

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