The personal data of patients in Belgium is not being used as efficiently as it should be,...
Belgian mathematician Pierre Deligne yesterday received the Abel Prize, unofficially known...
Chinese legislator Zhang Dejiang yesterday met Belgian parliament speaker André Flahaut in...
The B-52’s, Primal Scream, Tinie Tempah, Anvil and The Fratellis are among the acts added t...
Today's Top Stories - August 27, 2012
More and more twentysomethings in debt
A growing number of Belgians in the 20-35 age bracket are accumulating debt, sometimes up to €25,000, De Morgen reports. Bailiffs are increasingly being called on to intervene in cases of unpaid debts involving young adults. “I frequently see young people earning a decent living, and wonder how they managed to get themselves into so much debt,” explains Ivo Goeyens, president of the Professional Association of Bailiffs. Twenty- and thirtysomethings tend to accumulate small debts through buying products or services of varying necessity which, once added up, prove impossible to repay. Typical purchases include smartphones, city trips, laptops and second vehicles.
Tenfold increase in requests for CCTV at work
The Commission for the Protection of Privacy received 520 requests from employers to have surveillance cameras installed in the workplace last year. This is a tenfold increase on 2007. “Employers see surveillance cameras as a miracle cure,” says Eva Wiertz of the commission. “They use them to monitor productivity but also for their dissuasive effect. Some employers use them to specifically check on their staff – we receive many complaints from employees in that respect.” The use of CCTV in the workplace is tightly regulated: employers must inform staff of the presence of surveillance cameras, which cannot be pointed at one person continuously. In theory, cameras at work are allowed only for the specific purpose of monitoring productivity, but the vast number of complaints show a propensity among some bosses towards snooping.
New immigration fraud using parenthood scam
Public prosecutors in Brussels are investigating a new form of immigration fraud, reports FlandersNews. The fraud involves people falsely recognising children as their own, and is similar to the bogus marriage scam. The investigation began after it emerged that a Belgian man of Congolese descent had recognised 17 children. As a result, the children were awarded Belgian nationality and were able to come and settle in Belgium. The man registered his children in various municipalities to avoid suspicion. Migration secretary Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal) has asked the Immigration Department to investigate.
Read the full article on the FlandersNews website.
New York Times singles out Knokke as most exclusive seaside resort
When a member of Brussels’ upper classes says he is going à la mer, or to the seaside, it is understood that the destination is upmarket Knokke-Heist, 110km from the capital, writes Nick Foster in the New York Times. While much of Belgium’s 70km North Sea coast has become a high-rise concentration of apartment blocks, hotels, shops and restaurants, Knokke-Heist was designed to be different. In the area known as Zoute, a seven-bedroom, five-bathroom house built in 1948 is available for €4.2 million. While a mansion in Zoute usually sells for €2.5 million to €6 million, the highest prices on the Belgian coast, the average cost of a detached house in town is around €1.2 million. For apartments, the average is €482,400, according to Statistics Belgium.
Read the full article on the New York Times website.
Four die in plane crash caused by lightning
A business jet travelling from Antwerp to Switzerland crashed outside the French village of Solemont on Friday, killing everyone on board. All four victims are Swiss nationals. Witnesses say the plane, a Pilatus PC 12, was hit by lightning. The wreckage was discovered by rescue workers 40 minutes after it emitted an emergency signal. The mayor of Solemont, Didier Grillot, said the entire area had been hit by heavy weather on Friday.