More than half (53%) of Walloons would opt for a republic should Belgium disappear and Wall...
Amnesty International’s annual report reveals that Belgium is unable to control satisfactor...
Belgian postal operator bpost today announced that it would list a minority stake, currentl...
Several irregularities undermine the legality of Brussels’ annual Car Free Sunday event, pr...
Today's Top Stories - August 8, 2012
Unfair mark-ups on medical fees
More and more hospital patients are being asked to pay for “extras” on top of standard medical fees, reports the Christian health fund (Mutualité Chrétienne). While there are no precise figures for the mark-ups, the number of complaints is constantly increasing. One supplement in particular is being questioned: post-operative aesthetic finishing work, which is normally part of the surgical procedure. Other reasons invoked by hospitals and surgeons for unexpected add-ons include the use of cutting-edge technology such as robots. By law, patients have a “right of informed consent”, which means that doctors must provide patients with clear and precise information about medical and financial implications of any procedure they propose to undertake. Mutualité Chrétienne is asking doctors to respect the law – and specifically not to (over)charge for “add-ons” that are already taken care of financially through the patient’s health fund. Furthermore, patients must be more cautious and ask as many questions as they want about documents they are required to sign; moreover, health funds often provide free legal advice.
Rue Neuve closed all day following fire
Fire fighters are still working to secure buildings following a fierce fire that broke out on Tuesday night on the roof of the H&M shop in Brussels’ Rue Neuve. Most of the busy shopping thoroughfare will remain closed today (Wednesday). Three shops were damaged by the fire and numerous others by water as fire fighters doused flames. A spokesman for Brussels fire service said the water level in some shops was almost a metre-and-a-half. Firemen also need to close part of the street to remove a massive crane from the site. One of the 60 fire fighters on the scene last night was slightly injured following a fall.
14% of Belgian workers drink too much
More than 14% of salaried employees in Belgium drink too much alcohol, according to a study by HR company Securex that questioned 1,525 workers in January 2012. The criteria ‘too much’ is more than two units of alcohol per day for women and three for men and is not confined to the workplace. It said more men (18%) than women (10%) were excessive drinkers. Middle managers were pinpointed as setting a bad example as 18% reported excessive consumption, compared to 16% of manual workers and 12% of office workers. Securex pointed out that alcohol abuse leads to problems of concentration and poor work performance. It recommended that companies establish good practices concerning alcohol.
Almost one million young people in Belgium live with their parents
It is being described as a new phenomenon: more youngsters aged between 18 and 34 are remaining at home with their parents. The economic crisis is being cited as one reason for the rise in figures, which is growing in the 18-24 age group. There has been a constant increase in this number since 2004 as many prolong their studies, reported the Institute for Sustained Development. Generally more boys than girls over the age of 18 continue to live with their parents and two-thirds of 25-34 year-olds are male. A recent EU study has also confirmed that young men are flying the nest later than women. Three-quarters of 25-34 year-olds are in employment and the majority full time rather than part time. Many young people said rising rents and an unstable job market were delaying their departure from the family home.
Lars Von Trier to direct erotic film in Ghent
Danish director Lars Von Trier will soon be in Ghent to shoot his new film The Nymphomaniac. The film is an international coproduction involving, among others, Belgian production company Caviar. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg will play the lead roles, according to Belgian movie website Cinevox (although Caviar would not confirm this). Location Flanders, the official film commission providing assistance with shooting in Flanders, also declined to confirm the production schedule, although it is known that cast and crew will be in Ghent at the end of August for a total of nine days, the rest of the film being shot in Germany. The Nymphomaniac will come out in two versions, one deemed “hot” and the other “even hotter”.