Belgian court documents and Western counterterrorism officials have revealed that a potenti...
Some simplified tax forms, which are already filled in by the tax authorities, contain inac...
Belgian green energy retailer Lampiris doubled its market share last year as customers dese...
Federal economy minister Johan Vande Lanotte is willing to scrap the Thalys service between...
Today's Top Stories - July 11, 2012
Brussels is Europe’s fourth most congested city
This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who regularly gets stuck in traffic in the Belliard tunnel during rush hour, but Brussels holds the dubious honour of being the fourth most congested city in Europe, according to a study by sat-nav manufacturer TomTom. Travel times are on average 34 percent longer during periods of congestion than when traffic is smooth. During evening rush hour, the time increase goes up to 86 percent. The TomTom Congestion Index looked at 31 cities across Europe with populations of more than 800,000. Brussels was fourth behind Warsaw, Marseille and Rome. This is an improvement of sorts: two years ago, the Belgian capital came second in the same study.
Belgians wary of internet fraud
A study by the Federal Public Service for Economy reveals that the Belgian public is wary of internet fraud, despite official figures showing that cyber-crime in Belgium is decreasing. According to the study, 61 percent of Belgians think they are not given enough information about the risks of internet fraud, while one in 10 internet users has been the victim of online identity theft. However, according to figures released by the federal police, the number of acts of internet fraud went down from 5,052 in 2010 to 4,632 in 2011.
Schools turn away army recruiters
Schools and universities are routinely refusing to grant access to recruiting officers from the Belgian Army, defence minister Pieter De Crem (CD&V) claims. ‘Active recruiters’ are specially trained officers who have recently started visiting schools, colleges and universities to advertise military careers. The fact that they do not get to offer career advice is “not a structural problem”, De Crem says. Party colleague Gerald Kindermans blames the “short-sightedness” of school authorities and their “lack of knowledge about the Belgian Army”, adding that he “wouldn’t be surprised if those headmasters were former conscientious objectors”.
Railway station surveillance cameras on the rise
The number of surveillance cameras in Belgian railway stations has increased almost tenfold in five years, from 323 in 2006 to 3,117 in late 2011. By the end of last year, 95 stations were equipped, compared to only six in 2006. “The locations are chosen on a risk-evaluation basis, which takes into consideration the global risk level of each station,” explained Paul Magnette, minister for public undertakings. The increase is not only quantitative but also qualitative: since April 2010, all CCTV equipment in Belgian stations has been digital and high-resolution.
Five Brussels pools to close for maintenance
Should summer finally make an appearance in Belgium, opportunities to cool off in a public swimming pool will be scarcer over the next two months. Five of Brussels’ 20 municipal pools will be closed for renovation and maintenance: Uccle, Laeken, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Ganshoren and Schaerbeek. These maintenance works often have knock-on effects on neighbouring municipal pools and summer activities. Uccle local councillor Thibaud Wyngaard underlined the problems linked to moving such activities to open air as most are ill-equipped to deal with the demand. He is also concerned about the organisation of compulsory swimming classes when schools reopen in September.