Several surveys, already published or about to be, indicate that a majority of Belgians wan...
Members of Brussels’ Belarusian community held a picket in front of the city’s Swedish cons...
Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize plans to sell off its businesses in the US as it looks t...
Ethiopian activist Bogaletch Gebre has won an international prize for her campaign to eradi...
Today's Top Stories - August 16, 2012
Belgian francs still at large
The National Bank of Belgium exchanged over 68,000 old Belgian banknotes in the first half of 2012, for a total of €2.4m. This constitutes a significant increase on 2011. Ten years after the euro came to life in physical form, there are still 15.4m Belgian banknotes in circulation, totalling €159.5m (or 6.4bn old Belgian francs). The 100 franc (€2.5) note is the most widespread among “unclaimed banknotes” (9.7m still in circulation) while, at the other end of the spectrum, there are still150,000 unreturned 10,000 franc notes. Contrary to France, Finland, Italy and Greece, there is no time limit in Belgium for returning banknotes to the National Bank. The only exceptions to this are the 20 franc and 50 franc notes, which were issued by the Royal Mint.
KPN abandons Base sale
The Dutch telecommunications group KPN has abandoned its attempts to sell the Belgian mobile phone operator Base, reports FlandersNews.be. KPN broke the news in a statement issue on Wednesday morning. The continuing turbulence the financial markets have left KPN unable to get a good price for its Belgian mobile phone operator subsidiary. The company says that the offers that it has received for Base in no way reflect the company’s strong market position and prospects. On Monday, the Mechelen-based telecommunications company Telenet withdrew from the race to take over Base.
Read the full article on the VRT's Flanders News website.
Belgian politicians hold 6.5 mandates on average
Holding multiple offices remains something of a national sport for Belgian politicians, with an elected politician holding on average 6.5 mandates. Out of 7.500 elected politicians and high-ranking civil servants, only 334 hold only one mandate. The worst culprits are mayors, aldermen, local welfare officers and province councillors. Federal ministers and parliament members, on the other hand, are less inclined to accumulate mandates. Financial daily De Tijd has identified Woluwe-St-Lambert (Brussels) councillor Christian Dereppe as the Belgian politician with the highest number of paid mandates; he holds 18 remunerated positions outside of his political post. Politicians who fail to declare their extra-curricular mandates risk fines of up to €5,500.
World’s largest floating pool opens to public in Antwerp
The biggest outdoor floating swimming pool in the world has opened in Antwerp’s regenerated docklands. Baptised ‘BadBoot’ (“bath boat”), the floating pool is 125 metres long, 25 metres wide and has room for 600 swimmers. The project in Kattendijkdok, Eilandje district includes two event rooms, a 30 metre swimming pool, restaurant and lounge terrace. It is the result of collaboration between the city of Antwerp, a private partner and finance from Belfius bank. The pool uses the latest sustainable energy technology to maintain the temperature of its water at 28 degrees. In winter it will be converted into an ice-skating rink.
Green Party calls for more public water fountains
Many Green (Ecolo) MPs in Wallonia have asked each commune in Wallonia to draw up a map of its drinking water fountains. “The communes have an essential role to play in providing access to this fundamental right,” said Green MP Isabelle Meerhaeghe. MPs propose that all existing water facilities should be identified before informing the public of their whereabouts and then encourage communes to extend the network. They said children and the elderly were in need of fountains, particularly in the event of a heat wave, while the homeless had a constant need for the facility. A map of Brussels’ water fountains is already on display in metro stations and homeless shelters.