The production of organic food in Belgium could be better

The production of organic food in Belgium could be better

Belgium produces only 5.8% of its food by organic means, below the EU average of 6.7%, according to figures produced by Biowallonie, the organisation that groups together organic producers in the Walloon region. At the same time, the spending on organic food has doubled over the last ten years. Between the year 2000 and 2017, the number of organic farms went up almost fourfold from 435 to 1,625, with the sector now representing 12.8% of all producers. However Belgium is lagging behind the European average, and far behind the leader…

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What is GDPR and how will it affect you?

What is GDPR and how will it affect you?

You may think that Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a law created to fill your inbox with identikit warnings from every company you have ever interacted with online that “the privacy policy has changed” and pleas to “just click here so we can stay in touch”. But GDPR is far more than just an inbox-clogger. The regulation, seven years in the making, finally comes into effect on 25 May, and is set to force sweeping changes in everything from technology to advertising, and medicine to banking. What is…

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Shell faces a shareholder challenge in its approach to climate change

Shell faces a shareholder challenge in its approach to climate change

Royal Dutch Shell faces a shareholder challenge over climate change this week, as investors insist oil and gas firms should offer more transparency and action on carbon emissions. A growing number of pension funds have backed a resolution at Shell’s AGM on Tuesday that calls on the company to set tougher carbon targets that are in line with the goals of the Paris climate deal. The proposal has been backed by the Church of England, the Dutch pension fund Aegon and, most recently, Nest, the workplace pension scheme set up…

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Test-Achats, enbro launch website to help consumers reduce energy costs

Test-Achats, enbro launch website to help consumers reduce energy costs

Test-Achats consumer protection group and enbro energy consultancy have launched a free website designed to help consumers find the most affordable energy prices. The new Gaele platform can save consumers more than 200 euros a year, according to Test-Achats. Although users have been free to choose their own energy suppliers for about 10 years now, only one-third have already changed their providers since the Belgian energy market was liberalized, the consumer protection group said. “One in five Belgians say they do not feel like searching for information on the possibilities…

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Number of billionaires worldwide surged to 2,754 in 2017

Number of billionaires worldwide surged to 2,754 in 2017

A record 357 new billionaires were minted last year as the already very wealthy saw their combined fortunes soar to an all-time high of $9.2tn (£6.8tn) – more than three times the UK’s gross domestic product. The number of billionaires worldwide increased by 14.9% to 2,754 in 2017 as the wealthy benefited from the “remarkable performances in equity markets and global economy”, according to a report by ultra-rich research firm Wealth-X. The Wealth-X billionaire census 2018, published on Tuesday, found a “dramatic improvement” in billionaires’ assets, with their combined wealth…

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IMF to launch a global database of public and private borrowing

IMF to launch a global database of public and private borrowing

Given that global debt is now at record levels, the international monetary Fund has established a database of public and private borrowing in 190 countries – almost all over the world – since the 1950s. In April the fund said the global economy was more indebted than before the financial crisis and immediate action needed to be taken before the next downturn. It said worldwide debt now stood at $164tn, equal to 225% of global GDP and up from a previous record of 213% in 2009. Central banks, which have…

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Trump’s economic sanctions will have a negative impact on Belgian companies

Trump’s economic sanctions will have a negative impact on Belgian companies

The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal and impose economic sanctions on Tehran will have an impact on Belgian companies, the Wallonia Export-Investment Agency (Awex) and the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB) said on Wednesday. Walloon companies were hoping to conclude contracts in Iran soon, particularly in mechanical engineering, infrastructure and environment. According to Awex, Belgium’s exports to Iran came up to almost 550 million euros in the first 11 months of 2017, while imports from the Middle…

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Financial authority warns against crypto-currency investment attacker

Financial authority warns against crypto-currency investment attacker

The financial services and markets authority, FSMA, warned Monday against platforms offering cryptocurrency investments, and said it had compiled a list of about 40 platforms suspected of fraud. The FSMA explained that these operators claim to offer the best trading platforms, enabling anyone, from beginners to professionals, to trade in crypto-currencies instantaneously and in all confidence. Some also propose other financial products supported by crypto-currencies such as savings accounts with supposedly guaranteed earnings and management mandates. Consumers who invested in such scams complained that they never recovered the money they…

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The new reality: can VR to resurrect the amusement arcade?

The new reality: can VR to resurrect the amusement arcade?

The rise of the gaming console has left its mark on living rooms and bedrooms around Britain – but it has also hit the high street. There were around 1,000 amusement arcades in the UK in the 1980s, but that number had halved by 2011, according to the amusements industry trade body, Bacta. Now, the next generation of gaming – virtual reality – is once again making the arcade the prime venue for playing cutting-edge games. Back at the inception of gaming, fans went to video-game arcades. Japanese coin-operated games…

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ULB, Thales come together to train experts on cyber security

ULB, Thales come together to train experts on cyber security

Brussels free University, ULB and the giant of electronics and the defense industry, Thales, on Wednesday signed a three-year partnership agreement to train tomorrow’s best cybersecurity experts, announced the two bodies in a joint press release. The university will develop and implement educational, research and training projects, capitalizing on the company’s expertise in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity experts have become highly prized in the past few years and, according to Thales, about 2,000 will be needed by the year 2020 in Belgium. The company plans to recruit 50 persons in the next…

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