Normal service has resumed at Brussels Airport, spokesman Jan Van der Cruysse announced thi...
The use of aspirin has increased by 25% in Belgium in four years, with around 1.1 million B...
Belgium’s nuclear safety regulator will recommend reopening two GDF Suez nuclear reactors c...
Belgian pop/rock outfit Balthazar have arrived in Birmingham brimming with confidence for t...
Today's Top Stories - July 30, 2012
Low turnout for expats registering to vote in October’s local elections
Foreign residents in Belgium have less than 36 hours to register to vote in the country’s council elections on October 14. The deadline for registration is July 31, but organisations fighting for expats’ right to vote in Belgium fear the turnout could be lower than for previous local elections in 2006. The Belgian parliament granted EU nationals in Belgium the right to vote in 1994 which was extended to non-EU citizens in 2004. According to latest figures, 102,909 EU nationals have so far registered to vote, which is 15.75% of the total number of European citizens who meet the necessary conditions. The figure for non-EU nationals is even lower. On July 21, only 12,347 voters were registered, less than 8% of the total number of the eligible population. Various interest groups have been busy mobilising potential voters all weekend.
Parking in disabled spots on the up
The number of drivers fined for wrongfully parking in disabled spaces is on the rise for the second year running, writes Het Laatste Nieuws. Last year, a total of 42,618 drivers were fined for the offence – an increase of 7% on the 2010 figures, and of 15% on 2009. The statistics were released by the office of the State Secretary for People with Disabilities, Philippe Courard. Police authorities, meanwhile, say that they hadn’t been targeting any specific offences, and that therefore the number of fines handed out was a fair reflection of people’s behaviours.
Green Party wary of hasty conclusions in sexism debate
The Belgian Green Party yesterday warned against stereotyping and facile characterisation in the media frenzy that follows a TV documentary shown last week. In Femme de la Rue (“woman of the street”), young filmmaker Sofie Peeters walks about her adopted neighbourhood, Anneessens, a predominantly North African area in the centre of Brussels, only to be repeatedly wolf-whistled, propositioned and verbally abused. She collected the footage over a two-year period using a hidden camera. Interior Minister Joëlle Milquet promised swift legislation, prompting several politicians to jump on the bandwagon. Zakia Khattabi, leader of the Green Party in the Senate, calls on parties of the ruling coalition not to legislate in a kneejerk manner. She moreover points out that “sexism is far from being the preserve of young Arab males,” explicitly referring to the disgraceful recent events in the French parliament, when Housing Minister Cécile Duflot was continuously cat-called by male colleagues during a live debate.
Brussels marks the opening of the Olympics
Autoworld was the location chosen by the British Embassy in Brussels for an Olympic Opening Ceremony party. Hosted by British Ambassador Jonathan Brenton (who made a point of greeting every guest in person as they arrived), the party was soon in full swing. During a short address, Brenton (above) playfully asked his guests to save special cheers for the Belgian and – naturally – British athletes during the ceremony, which was shown on several giant screens. Guests tucked into typically British snacks (pork pies, sausage rolls, bacon baps) while taking in Danny Boyle’s breathtaking ceremony. See pictures of the evening on The Bulletin’s Facebook page.
Peter Doherty turns up – physically, at least
“Where’s Pete?” - it was the one question on everybody’s lips at the Ronquières Festival on Saturday, Le Soir reports. Peter Doherty’s presence at the first edition of the Walloon festival had been called off by the organisers, only to be confirmed by the singer himself. Against all the odds, not only was Peter Doherty there, but he also got on stage four minutes early. Equipped with only an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, the erstwhile Libertines and on/off Babyshambles frontman gave a performance described as uninspired at best, ridden with lyrical memory lapses and bum notes. Not having bothered with a setlist, he even spent parts of his set idly strumming his guitar for minutes on end. “At least he did turn up, I suppose” was a recurring comment overheard after his erratic concert.