Kurds in Syria abandoned by EU and US

Kurds in Syria abandoned by EU and US

President Trump announced last Wednesday in a Tweet that the US would withdraw its diplomats at once from Syria and the remaining 2,000 American special forces in the north of the country within a short period. Ignoring the geopolitical consequences of the decision, his motivation for the sudden decision was that US does not want to be the policeman in the Middle East and that he had promised his electoral base to withdraw the troops. The decision took his own administration and the rest of the world by surprise. His…

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Man opens fire with machine gun at restaurant on Avenue Louise in Brussels

Man opens fire with machine gun at restaurant on Avenue Louise in Brussels

A man opened fire at a restaurant on Avenue Louise Monday morning at 9.50 am. The establishment, ‘La Parisienne’, is situated on Avenue Louise 412 in Brussels. According to initial information, no injuries have been reported. The individual who fired the shots fled the scene, and has still not been identified. The prosecutor office has opened an investigation.

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Doel 4 to remain out of action for another week

Doel 4 to remain out of action for another week

The Doel 4 nuclear reactor in East Flanders that has been out of service since Friday won’t re-enter service until Monday 31 December. The reactor was to have started producing electricity again today. However, the energy production and supply company Engie Electrabel’s spokeswoman Anne-Sophie Hugé has told the press agency Belga that maintenance work on the reactor will take longer than was originally planned. On Friday Doel 4 a clogged filter in a secondary circuit caused production at the reactor to be stopped. Work to resolve to issue was to…

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Belgian fishers welcome new quotas and accent on sustainability

Belgian fishers welcome new quotas and accent on sustainability

The EU fisheries council has set fishing quotas for 2019, with an accent on sustainability of fishing stocks. Representing Belgium was Flemish environment minister Joke Schauvliege: the country’s fishing industry is concentrated along the North Sea coast in Flanders. Belgian fishers are active in ensuring the sustainability of stocks of the fish species they catch, both through industry organisation Rederscentrale and the scientists of the government’s Institute for Agricultural, Fisheries and Food Research (ILVO). According to researchers, Schauvliege said, Belgium has made progress in reaching a sustainable level in most…

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Non-transparent EU funding to NGOs

Non-transparent EU funding to NGOs

The European Court of Auditors (EAC) criticized on Tuesday the way in which EU funding is channelled through NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations). The current system of classifying organisations as NGOs is not reliable, warn the auditors, and the European Commission does not have sufficiently detailed information on how the money is spent. There is a similar lack of clarity when EU money is paid to NGOs indirectly through United Nations bodies. NGOs help the European Commission to design, implement and monitor EU programmes in many policy areas, such as humanitarian and…

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Young woman dies after being hit by a Stib bus in Brussels

Young woman dies after being hit by a Stib bus in Brussels

A pedestrian passed away after having been hit by a Stib bus, Wednesday evening in Schaerbeek. The accident took place Wednesday evening at about 6 pm at Avenue des Cerisiers in Schaerbeek. The victim, a young woman 23 years old, was declared dead on the spot. The bus driver was given an alcohol test that proved negative. He was then taken to hospital in a state of chock.

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SNCB and Bpost’s schedules slightly modified during holidays

SNCB and Bpost’s schedules slightly modified during holidays

Opening hours of SNCB ticket offices, and train schedules will be slightly modified during the school holiday period, the railway announces on its website.The holiday season will also have an impact on other public utilities, such as bpost. From Saturday 22 December to Saturday 5 January, certain P trains will not run. On 24 and 31 December, several S, IC and P train routes will be modified, while on Tuesday 25 December, and Tuesday 1 January, the trains will run according to Sunday schedule. For more details: www.belgianrail.be. As for…

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EU Commission prepares for no-deal Brexit

EU Commission prepares for no-deal Brexit

The European Commission has begun taking measures to plan for the departure by the United Kingdom from the European Union with no formal agreement, the so-called No-Deal Brexit, according to La Libre. The date set by law for the British departure is now fewer than 100 days away, while the British parliament remains seriously divided over the arrangement negotiated by prime minister Theresa May and agreed by the remaining 27 member states last month. The Commission identified several sectors which would suffer immediately from the departure of the UK with…

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Brussels centre pedestrianisation at halfway mark

Brussels centre pedestrianisation at halfway mark

The transformation of the pedestrian walkways along the capital’s central boulevards is at the halfway mark. Work on De Brouckère Square will be completed by Spring 2019, while the renovation of the subway station, which had been delayed, will be finished, and the redesigning of the emblematic Stock Exchange Area will start in February, officials of the Brussels construction agency, Beliris, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders and Brussels Mayor Philippe Close indicated on Wednesday during a visit to the works. Road traffic has been banned since 29…

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Prosecutors ditch charges against Fortis execs

Prosecutors ditch charges against Fortis execs

Fortis supremos Maurice Lippens and Jean-Paul Votron will now not have to face a trial. Prosecutors say that proving fraud would be too difficult. After the collapse of Fortis Brussels prosecutors opened an investigation into possible attempts to mislead investors. Five years later it decided to prosecute seven leading Fortis figures including former chairman Lippens and former CEO Votron, his successor Herman Verwilst, former financial director Gilbert Mittler as well as Filip Dierckx, Reginald De Gols and Lars Machenil. Charges included misleading investors during the 2007 capital enhancement because a…

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