Empty refugee centre beds are costing €240,000 a day: RTL

Empty refugee centre beds are costing €240,000 a day: RTL

Nearly 40% of the beds in the Netherlands’ refugee centres and emergency shelters are empty, broadcaster RTL news said at the weekend. The number of new asylum seekers arriving in the country has more than halved on a year ago, leaving thousands of places set up to cope with the surge in numbers empty. Last month, 2,260 refugees came to the Netherlands, compared with 4,789 in July 2015. The refugee settlement agency COA currently has places for 53,676 refugees, but just 32,900 are taken. That means almost 20,000 beds, or 37% of the total, are empty. Bill A bed costs an average of €12 a day, so the empty beds are running up a bill of nearly €240,000 a day, RTL news said. Neither the COA or justice ministry would comment on the vacancy rate. However, there is a top level meeting on September 8 to discuss how to cope with the shift in numbers, the broadcaster said. At the end of July the COA said it is closing 15 emergency locations in the next few weeks because of a falling number of new arrivals. The organisation is also shedding temporary staff and putting plans for new settlement centres on ice, director Gerard Bakker told the Telegraaf in an interview.  More >



PVV support falls again, new poll shows

Empty refugee centre beds are costing €240,000 a day: RTL Support for Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam PVV has fallen to its lowest level this year, although the party remains the biggest with the backing of 22% of voters, according to the latest Maurice de Hond opinion poll. The new poll gives the PVV a virtual 33 seats in the 150 seat parliament, down nine, or six percentage points, on their all time high of 42 seats in February this year. The ruling VVD, lead by prime minister Mark Rutte, remains in second place with 16% of the vote, an increase of less than 1% on the previous poll. The poll comes as Rutte apologised to voters for making election promises in 2012 that he could not keep. The prime minister also announced his intention to the lead the VVD into the next election in March 2017. Third term According to the De Hond poll, 40% of the electorate would like to see Rutte as prime minister for a third term and 31% consider him to be the country’s most capable leader. One in 10 PVV voters also back Rutte for PM. The De Hond poll is based on the responses of 5,000 people and was carried out on Friday, the day after the publication on the PVV election manifesto. In the one page document, the party called for a ban on the Koran, the closure of all mosques and an end to government spending on aid, the arts, wind turbines and innovation.  More >


Fewer teenagers own a moped

Empty refugee centre beds are costing €240,000 a day: RTL The number of youngsters who drive a moped has halved since 2007, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS. The CBS says 16 to 20-year-olds owned some 89,000 mopeds nine years ago, but this had plunged to 41,000 at the beginning of this year. By contrast, the number of over-50s with a moped soared by over 200,000 to 483,186. Industy association Bovag said the introduction of a separate driving licence for mopeds in 2010 has had an impact on their popularity among teenagers. In addition, electric bikes are also proving a hit with youngsters, Bovag said. The government is currently working on legislation which will ban all types of mopeds from bike lanes and require all users to wear a helmet. The CBS research covers two categories of mopeds: the brommer or scooter with a maximum speed of 45 kph and the snorfiets, which can travel at up to 25 kph and which does not currently require use of a helmet.  More >



Sexting teacher sacked for same offence

Sexting maths teacher was previously sacked for same offence: media The maths teacher under investigation for sending sex texts to several girls had been twice sacked from teaching jobs for the same offence, local broadcaster RTV Rijmond said on Friday. The 28-year-old was let go by both the Comenius College and the VAVO adult education group in Rotterdam and both schools had informed the schools inspectorate, the broadcaster said. Nevertheless, the man had been able to get hold of a certificate of good behaviour, which all teachers are required to have, when he applied for a job at the city’s theatre school and the VAVO college. Comenius College head Joany Krijt told the broadcaster that it had sacked the teacher in 2011 after it became clear he was sending sexual texts to a pupil. The school reported him to an education ministry hotline. Nevertheless, he was still able to get a job at the city’s theatre school. Then, in 2015, he moved into adult education. References ‘We gave him a year contract,’ a spokesman for the VAVO college said. ‘He had a certificate of good behaviour and references from previous employers. However, over the year it emerged he was in an amorous email exchange with an adult student. We suspended and later sacked him.’ The VAVO reported the issue to both the schools inspectorate and the police. The current case against the man stems from a complaint made by a theatre school pupil, the broadcaster said. He was arrested on Monday and was remanded in custody on Thursday for two weeks. He is being investigated for inappropriate conduct with minors and the possession of child pornography.  More >


Dutch study: coffee drinking is genetic

Coffee drinking has genetic link, says new Dutch study That urge for a mid-afternoon coffee hit could be partly genetic, according to a new study on Italian and Dutch drinkers. The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that people with a specific variant of the PDSS2 gene tended to drink fewer cups of coffee than those with other variants. Genetic testing was combined with a survey, including daily drinking habits, and the initial results from 1,207 Italians were mirrored in a study of 1,731 people in the Netherlands – although less strongly. Researchers believe the genetic variant might mean some people break down caffeine more slowly, so get a longer-lasting boost from each cup. “Coffee is protective against some types of cancers, cardiovascular diseases and Parkinson’s,” said Nicola Pirastu, who led the study, to The Guardian. “Understanding what is driving its consumption may help us understand what the effects on these diseases are, and so open new lines of research.” The Dutch drank more coffee each day, mostly filtered, but the researchers from Edinburgh, Trieste and the Netherlands did not speculate on the comparative quality of the cuppa in each country.   More >