Dutch state pays for fortune-telling courses – with job guarantee


The government’s UWV benefits agency has paid for several people to retrain as a ‘spiritual consultant’ or hypnotist, according to an item by public radio programme Reporter Radio.

Since 2008, seven people over the age of 50 have had funding of almost €1,000 to follow courses run by Paradidakt in Zoetermeer, Nos reports. The courses include reading Tarot cards and fortune-telling using a crystal ball. In addition, the UWV has paid for reincarnation sessions in the Ardennes region of Belgium, the programme said.

The UWV has defended its decision because the course provider guarantees a job at the end of it. The new fortune tellers work via a premium rate phone line earning 29 cents a minute. In addition, Paradidakt is an officially recognised training institute.

Paradidakt spokeswoman Marianne van der Wilk said she understood that people would have their doubts about the course and say it should not be funded. ‘But we can give the unemployed who don’t have much chance of a normal job a useful function,’ she told the AD.

Netherlands: ‘Bullet-proof fashion’ store opens

Hey, maybe necessary in the new Europe!

A company selling “fashionable” bullet-proof clothing has opened its first store in the Netherlands.

Residents of Eindhoven can now stock up on the classic bullet-proof vest, but also suits, leather jackets and even ties, the Omroep Brabant website reports. The shop sells a Colombian brand of armoured clothing that is designed to look just like normal outfits, with vests thin enough to wear underneath a T-shirt. The clothes are mainly aimed at people who might feel at risk in their jobs, such as jewellers and staff at petrol stations, says company spokesman Staas de Wijs. They’re not meant to appeal to criminals, he adds.

The group that owns the shop, Panamera, says there’s been an increased interest in the products since the Paris terror attacks in January.

Norway to rent Dutch prisons to cut convict queue


(Reuters) – Norway plans to rent prison space in the Netherlands as the queue of convicts awaiting cells is growing and renovation work at Norwegian jails is expected to cut capacity, the justice ministry said on Monday.

“At the moment, the queue is at 1,300 custodial sentences, and there is a great demand for detention space,” it said in a statement. “The Netherlands has already leased prison capacity to Belgium for several years.”

Norwegian prisons are known for their relatively humane treatment of inmates, with non-violent offenders often held in open prisons with some free personal movement, jobs, recreation facilities and focus on rehabilitation.

A deal for several hundred prison places would allow Norway to avoid overcrowding and maintain its standards while prison renovation work costing up to 4.4 billion crowns ($700 million) is carried out.

The Nordic country’s incarceration rate is around 72 for each 100,000 people, about a tenth of the level in the United States, and its re-offending rate of around 20 percent is among the lowest in the world.

“In Norway there is a capacity shortage, and right now we have a surplus,” Fred Teeven, the Dutch state secretary with responsibility for prisons, said in a letter to the Dutch parliament.

Dutch supermarkets move to ban sweets from check-outs

Crazy; that’s the most profitable part of a grocery store!

Three big Dutch supermarket chains are working on plans to stop placing sweets and chocolate close to their cash registers in an effort to stimulate last-thought buys.

The AD reports on Friday that Lidl is removing confectionary from its main check-out – the one which is always open – and replacing sweets with bite-sized vegetables, nuts and rice cakes.

Jumbo and Plus are also looking into a ban on cash register confectionary at its 440 branches, the paper says. However, market leader Albert Heijn, by contrast, has no plans to make the change.

In Sweden and Denmark supermarkets are banned from placing sweets within the reach of children at check-outs, the AD points out. In Britain, Tesco and Lidl have already made the change.

Weird… People like their impulse buys, and won’t buy vegetables, nuts and rice cakes, I’m sure…