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Wage watchers: how much does a librarian earn?

Librarian Katia De Pooter, 35, from Bornem talks about what she earns and how she spends it. What do you do for a living? I work at the local public library, where I’m in charge of children’s books and everything youth-related. So I organise visits from school groups, I’m also responsible for our...

Sharp increase in asylum requests on homophobia grounds

A growing number of asylum seekers in Belgium cite their homosexuality as the reason for applying, saying they fled their country because of homophobia and the violence that accompanies it, reports Het Laatste Nieuws. In 2011, 823 such applications were made, compared to 116 in 2006. Of the 522...

Belgium could still face EU fine over deficit

Belgium risks being fined for missing its 2012 budget target and needs a convincing plan to rein in its deficit this year and next without relying on one-off measures, the Economic Times quotes an EU official as saying yesterday. Belgium’s government had aimed to reduce the public sector deficit to...

Prices soar after UK-Belgium gas pipeline closure

The fault that shut down the Interconnector UK-Belgium gas pipeline today has been found, but the line will remain closed while the problem is rectified, the operator said. “The fault [the failure of a water/glycol pump in the Bacton boiler house] has been identified and we are seeking to rectify...

Half of nightclubs ignore smoking ban

Bars and nightclubs are behaving stubbornly when it comes to the smoking ban, reports De Standaard. Spot-checks last year showed that one in four pubs was in breach of the law, while almost half of nightclubs were flouting the ban. Health ministry inspectors conducted 4,700 daytime and 900 evening...

NY Times charmed by Brussels arts scene

With cheap spaces, a friendly scene and a thoughtful audience, Brussels’ arts scene is making some noise, writes the New York Times’ Jim Lewis . “The Belgian system is more flexible than the French,” says Almine Rech-Picasso, who moved from Paris in 2006, bringing with her a branch of her deluxe...

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (Italy): Pizzica & Tarantella

Salento, the heel of the Italian boot, is the wellspring of a deep musical tradition that has in recent times been enjoying a spirited revival. Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino are a major force in this revitalization and since fiddler Mauro Durante took over the leadership from his famous father Daniele in 2007 the excellent ensemble have brought the ancient ritual trance dance of Pizzica Tarantata and traditional songs with roots in the Griko language a form of Greek spoken by a minority in Salento - to the enthusiastic attention of a new Italian generation and beyond.

Princesse Mansia M’Bila (RDCongo) | Christine Salem (Réunion)

This concert night focuses on two strong African women . Musician, singer and storyteller Princesse Mansia M’Bila accompanies herself on balaphone and sings a varied repertoire in Kikongo and Lingala, laced with a generous portion of humor. Christine Salem is one of the few female voices of Maloya. Accompanied by a kayanm, her favourite instrument, she sings in Creole, Malagasy, Comorian or Swahili, blending in music from the Indian Ocean and African rhythms. Rebel and untamed by nature, freedom is a necessity for Christine.

Balkan Blues: Valeri Dimchev Trio (Bulgaria) & Brussels Underground (Roma)

Balkan Blues presents an interesting double bill with the Bulgarian Valeri Dimchev trio and the cd-launch of the Roma band Brussels Underground. The Valeri Dimchev trio’s music is deeply rooted in the traditional rhythms and melodies of the Black Sea Region. Their distinctive sound comes from the instruments they use. Valeri’s long handled Tambura, Luchezar’s pastoral kaval (a sort of kawala flute) and Desislava’s unique feminine vocals make up the singular character of their music.

US top 50 worth €1.7bn to Belgium

The top 50 American companies in Belgium contributed €1.7 billion in taxes and social security payments to the state coffers in 2012. This finding, and many others, is contained in the recently released report The Importance of US Companies in Belgium, published by the American Chamber of Commerce...