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Dutch report Dutch report
by Euro Reporter
2011-10-23 11:15:37
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PM under fire over euro zone bailout

Dutch opposition parties took aim at Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Saturday, demanding the minority coalition government secure a definitive and sustainable solution to Europe's debt crisis or risk a loss of parliamentary support. The minority coalition government of Liberals and Christian Democrats needs the support of the pro-European opposition for any measures to solve the debt crisis because its main ally, the euro sceptic Freedom Party, is firmly opposed to bailouts.

"The package that comes from the summit must be sufficiently robust to actually lead us out of the crisis and we will ultimately judge the results from the summit on that basis," said Job Cohen, leader of the largest opposition party PvdA. Euro zone leaders will meet on Sunday and Wednesday in a bid to resolve the debt crisis.

Under pressure from the PvdA, Democrat D66 and Greens party, the two government parties agreed to back motions calling on Rutte to push for sustainable reform in Europe instead of more austerity measures and a division of retail and investment banks to stop them "gambling" with consumer savings. "This minority cabinet cannot simply take our support for granted," Greens leader Jolande Sap warned. Rutte earlier told parliament that negotiations in Brussels were already difficult and he was not in favour of complicating the talks now with the opposition parties' proposals.


Crime boss Holleeder fails to halt Heineken kidnap film

A Dutch court has rejected a gangster's bid to block the release of a film about his infamous 1983 kidnapping of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken. Willem Holleeder - the "Godfather of Dutch crime" - was sentenced to 11 years in jail for his part in holding Heineken hostage for three weeks.

He was unhappy with the portrayal of his character in the film, which fictionalises the events. But Judge Wil Tonkens rejected the suit without comment.

She said she would publish her reasoning on 28 October, reported the Associated Press news agency. The Heineken Kidnapping will now be released as scheduled in the Netherlands next week.


Maastricht bans marijuana sales to most foreign tourists

Coffee shops in a Dutch town on the border with Belgium will voluntarily ban foreigners from buying legal marijuana in an effort to discourage petty crime, traffic gridlocks and illegal drug dealing. The city of Maastricht, 130 miles south of Amsterdam, had tried to ban sales of marijuana but was rebuffed earlier this year by the Netherland's top legal body, the Council of State, which said the city couldn't regulate sales. The new effort skirts the ruling by inviting coffee shops that sell drugs to voluntarily participate in the prohibition.

The city says the legal drug trade is spilling into the streets and drawing unsavory dealers in illegal substances. In Amsterdam, the city is taking the opposite approach, saying any ban on tourists in drug-friendly cafes will have a negative effect on tourism.

In a nod to neighbors, Maastricht will allow Belgians and Germans to frequent the coffee shops even though they're technically foreign tourists. "Most" of the 6,000 daily visitors to the city's shops are from Belgium and Germany.

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