Prime minister defends 'better dead' jihadi comments

Prime minister defends ‘better dead’ jihadi comments

Prime minister Mark Rutte made controversial comments about jihadis being better dead than back in the Netherlands in the context of the election campaign and as prime minister, he said after Friday’s cabinet meeting. Rutte said during a television debate with other party leaders on Thursday night he agreed it would be better if Dutch jihadis who travel to Syria died there rather than return to the Netherlands. ‘I think the same, whatever role I am in,’ the prime minister said on Friday afternoon. ‘You cannot differentiate.’ [banner] ‘If I am asked for my position on a statement which says it is better to die than come back here then I have to agree,’ Rutte said. Labour ministers in the coalition government have said they do not agree with the prime minister and distanced themselves from the comments. Deputy prime minister Lodewijk Assscher said earlier that such statements can be made because it was ‘very clear’ Rutte was speaking as the leader of the right-wing Liberal party VVD, not as prime minister. ‘But I do not think as a cabinet you should hope people die,’ he said, adding that those who commit crimes should be taken to court. Protect During the debate, D66 leader Alexander Pechtold said he was shocked by the prime minister’s position. ‘I think as prime minister you should put the rule of law first, but you are saying "go and die in the desert rather than face your responsibilities in court",’ Pechtold said. Rutte retaliated by saying that ‘people who go there know what they are part of’. ‘The only aim is to kill as many people as possible. Those people will soon be back to carry out attacks here as well. As prime minister, I am here to protect our people.’  More >

Dutch prisoners lose battle to stay put

Prime minister defends ‘better dead’ jihadi comments A group of prisoners who went to court in an effort to stop their removal to a 'less luxurious' jail have lost their case, the Telegraaf says on Friday. The 18 prisoners were angry they were being moved to make way for 242 Norwegian criminals who will be kept in the jail from September.  The men, all of whom are serving at least 10 years, are able to cook for themselves, keep chickens and grow vegetables. They also have their own recreational area. [banner] The court in The Hague did rule that junior justice minister Fred Teeven must offer the men 'an adequate alternative' for their present housing. 'This alternative must take into account the fact that these are long-term prisoners and that the regime in their new accommodation is appropriate to this,' the court said. Agreement The deal to transfer the Norwegians to the Norgerhaven jail in Veenhuizen was officially signed at the beginning of this week. The men's lawyer, Hettie Cremers, told the Telegraaf she is reasonably satisfied by the ruling. An appeal will depend on how Teeven responds, she said. The Netherlands is closing up to 19 prisons in an effort to cut costs and the deal with Norway will safeguard 239 full time jobs, Teeven said at the signing ceremony. Protests According to the Guardian, in Norway, prisoners and the wardens’ union are also opposed to the move. 'We’re very sceptical about the agreement because it violates several fundamental principles, primarily family proximity to the prisoner during detention,' said Hanne Hamsund, who heads an organisation representing Norwegian prisoners’ families. The Norwegian authorities have pointed out that the distance from Oslo to the north of the country is greater than to the Netherlands but 'not everyone lives in Oslo', Hamsund said. The agreement still has to be approved by both houses of parliament.  More >

Weekend temperatures set to heat up

Weekend temperatures heat up, could set new weather records Weather forecasters are predicting temperatures of at least 15 Celsius this weekend, as a high pressure zone hits the Netherlands. The wind is set to turn to the south and the cloud will disappear, bringing sunshine and mild weather to all of the country. On Saturday the temperature will reach 13 Celsius but on Sunday it could be as high as 17 Celsius in places, according to [banner] If the temperature does go above 16 Celsius, it will be the warmest March 8 since official records began in 1901. The current record was set in 2014. However, the warm weather will bring problems for hayfever sufferers because the alder trees will flower and give off pollen, experts at the Leiden University's allergy centre told news agency ANP.  More >

4% of managers at Dutch firms are female

Only 4% of managers at Dutch firms are female, but working mums do well Some 13% of working mothers who have a full-time job are in a managerial position, around the same percentage as fathers who work full-time, according to new research by the national statistics office CBS. However, only around one in four working women has a full-time position and, overall, just 4% of female staff have a management job. One in four men works fewer than 36 hours week. The government wants to ensure 30% of boardroom jobs are done by women by 2016 but the current figure is only around 16%. Earlier this week, the government and employers' organisation VNO-NCW published a database featuring 295 women considered good candidates for top jobs in industry. [banner]  More >

World's 'oldest' captive crocodile dies

World’s ‘oldest’ crocodile in captivity dies at Rotterdam zoo A crocodile given to Rotterdam's Blijdorp zoo by actress and singer Josephine Baker has died at the age of at least 85. Hakuna may have been the oldest crocodile in captivity by the time of his death, the zoo authorities said on Friday. The crocodile's exact age is hard to determine because he, and a female crocodile named Matata, were already fully grown when given to the zoo in around 1930. The two crocodiles were among the few animals in the zoo to survive the bombardment of 1940, the zoo's Facebook page says. Matata died in 2014. It is unclear why Baker gave the crocodiles to the zoo or where the animals came from. However, the national archive includes a picture of the actress visiting the zoo with 10 of her adopted children in 1959.  More >