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 - July 9, 2012
Legal threat over rainy forecast
Tourism officials on the Belgian coast are so unhappy about a long-term forecast for a miserable summer that they are considering legal proceedings against the weather service. They claim a report by private weather bureau Météo Belgique, which was published in Het Laatste Nieuws and predicted only five days above 25C in July as well as bad weather in the first half of August, was terrible for business, with immediate repercussions. “Those predictions are unscientific. They predicted the first two weeks in August to be bad and we got cancellations immediately. That is unacceptable,” said Daniel Despiegelaere, head of tourism in the seaside resort of Knokke-Heist. Members of the local hotel and restaurant federation are now considering their options, including legal action.
Afghan asylum-seeker deported
Young Afghan asylum-seeker Parwais Sangari has been deported. The 20-year-old, who arrived in Belgium in 2008, had run out of legal avenues to stay in the country. Late last week he gained a reprieve against the deportation, but this turned out to be temporary. In the four years since his arrival in Belgium, Sangari had learnt Dutch and found a job – as well as an adoptive family. Maggie De Block, secretary of state for asylum and migration and for social integration, now wants Belgium to join the European Return Platform for Unaccompanied Minors project. The scheme, financially supported by the European Commission and already implemented by Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway, facilitates the deportation of young Afghan refugees whose asylum claims have been turned down.
New mobile speed cameras a success
Recently introduced mobile speed cameras on Belgian motorways have yielded excellent results. The mobile devices are used on parts of the motorways where road works are taking place and where speed restrictions are applicable. After four months, the number of speeding offences at road works is 21 times lower, the police claim. Last year, speeding offences alongside road works were clocked every eight seconds – with the new system, offences take place every three minutes. In spite of this, more than 7,000 speeding offences have been committed alongside road works since April.
‘Mentally deficient’ man to stand in local elections
Didier Peleman, 41, is to stand in the forthcoming local elections on October 14, in spite of having a mental disability. His disability, which affects his speech and writing, is mild, and Peleman himself prefers to use the term ‘deficiency’. He is a popular figure in Ghent, where he is the treasurer and contact person for the non-profit organisation Onze Nieuwe Toekomst (Our New Future), which offers help to people with disabilities. “I am just like any other person,” he says, “except that I have difficulties with speaking and writing. If elected, I will need someone to coach me, but it is definitely feasible.” His party (Flemish Christian-Democrats CD&V) denies wanting to bank on the sensitivity of the issue, and instead points to Peleman’s years of work as a volunteer for disability organisations.
Belgian claims Ironman title
Marino Vanhoenacker yesterday won gold in the Frankfurt Triathlon, a competition which acts as the unofficial European Championship of the Ironman circuit. The Ostend-born dietician, 37, who works for the Belgian Army, finished with a time of 8 hours, 3 minutes and 31 seconds, beating Germany’s Sebastian Kienle and Spain’s Clemente Alonso. He was ninth after the 2.4-mile swim but came good in the 112-mile bike ride (at the end of which he led Kienle by three minutes), before increasing his lead in the marathon. It was his ninth win on the unforgiving Ironman circuit.