Iran unrest: EU laments “unacceptable loss of life” in Iran

Iran unrest: EU laments “unacceptable loss of life” in Iran

The head of European diplomacy, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, lamented on Tuesday “the unacceptable loss of human life”, in conjunction with the movement in Iran. She is calling upon “all those involved to” abstain from “ violence.” Since Thursday, the country has been in the grip of violent protests against the economic problems and the regime. In total, 21 people have been killed in violence linked to these protest gatherings. Ms Mogherini stressed that the European Union “is closely…

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New year, new rules: what changes around the world from 1 January

New year, new rules: what changes around the world from 1 January

British rail fares will rise again this year and Californians will be able to buy marijuana legally for recreational purposes. Saudis and Emiratis will pay more tax, the Swiss will pay less, Brits will start taking more expensive train journeys and China will stop taking in the world’s rubbish. These are some of the changes that will take effect as the world ticks over into a new year. In the US, New Yorkers will receive a more generous family leave entitlement, and more than 40 years after the summer of…

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New Year: individuals set fire to Haren police station – 37 arrests during the night

New Year: individuals set fire to Haren police station – 37 arrests during the night

Brussels police announced on Monday that individuals set fire, during the night, to the local Brussels Capital/Ixelles police station in the Haren area. Two suspects were arrested. In total, the Brussels police apprehended 37 individuals during New Year’s Eve night for questioning. In 23 such cases, these police questionings gave rise to administrative arrests, mainly for being drunk and public order offences. The fire was set off at the entrance to the police station, located on Rue de Verdun in Haren. However, the police quickly extinguished the flames, which enabled…

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Belgium, Netherlands to swap territory on January 1

Belgium, Netherlands to swap territory on January 1

Belgium and the Netherlands will conduct an official territorial swap on the 1st of January, the Governor of the Province of Liège, Hervé Jamar, announced on Friday in a press release. The two countries had decided in 1961 to improve the link between the Juliana Canal and the Albert Canal. The bed of the Meuse River was thus modified at the towns of Visé, Maastricht and Eijsden-Margraten. Plots of Belgian land thus became enclaves in the Netherlands while the same occurred with bits of Dutch territory. As a result of…

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Record drop in homicides in Brussels in 2017

Record drop in homicides in Brussels in 2017

According to the first annual assessment of crime in Brussels for 2017, the number of homicides in the capital region was at a historic low this year, La Dernière Heure daily reported on Thursday. The Office of the Public Prosecutor (OPP) in Brussels registered 43 homicides since the 1st of January 2017, twice as few as in 2014, according to OPP spokesman Denis Goeman. Since 2014, the number of homicides has decreased continuously, from 87 cases in that year to 60 in 2015, and 46 in 2016. Since the period…

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Applicants for Belgian nationality to supply birth certificate

Applicants for Belgian nationality to supply birth certificate

Foreign nationals wishing to acquire Belgian nationality in future must follow the full Belgian civic integration process. This means that they must show their birth certificate from their country of origin. The point was decided on Friday by the Cabinet. The Justice Minister, Koen Geens’s, department indicated on Wednesday that he thus intends to stop the acceptance of numerous consular attestations with an “entirely relative value.” The Cabinet approved several alterations to the law on nationality last week. It is mainly those applicants for Belgian nationality who will see the…

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Army chief announces medals for soldiers on street duty

Army chief announces medals for soldiers on street duty

The commander of Belgium’s land army, Major-General Marc Thys, visited various Belgian cities on Sunday to thank his men and women deployed for three years now in Operation Vigilant Guardian (OVG), a domestic security operation in support of the police. In Anvers, he said he hoped to be able to send these members of the military “as soon as possible” on missions abroad, although Defence staff has planned keeping them in the streets throughout 2018, and is preparing for 2019. Gen. Thys gave the gift of an external battery that…

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King Philippe gives his Christmas speech – “dare to wonder, rise above threats and cynicism”

King Philippe gives his Christmas speech – “dare to wonder, rise above threats and cynicism”

Dare to look at the world in “another light”, choose “creative wonderment”, which is an antidote to cynicism. It also allows commitment to “the future of our democracies”. This is the message King Philippe gave during his Christmas speech on Sunday. The Head of State does not want to negate “the personal difficulties we face, the uncertainty of today’s world and the threats to global stability”. But he thinks it’s necessary “to dare to see things in another light, one that goes beyond what is missing, what is wrong: one…

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François Bellot agrees with Alexander De Croo on Re-federalising Mobility

François Bellot agrees with Alexander De Croo on Re-federalising Mobility

In an interview published in La Libre Belgique on Saturday, the Federal Mobility Minister François Bellot said regionalising Mobility had been “counter-productive for the Belgian economy”. He joins Open VLD vice-Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s appeal. “Regionalisation in Belgium severely slows progress. The current Mobility situation is dramatic and holds progress back. It’s awful when I see the energy my cabinet puts into this cooperation every day when it could be focusing on other things”, the MR Minister says. Mr Bellot says the cooperation between the four Mobility Ministers has…

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EU extends sanctions against Russia by six months

EU extends sanctions against Russia by six months

The European Union (EU) on Thursday extended by six months its economic sanctions against Russia for its presumed involvement in the conflict that has wracked eastern Ukraine for more than three and a half years. The EU Council, made up of the union’s 28 member states, said in a press release that it “has prolonged economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2018”. The Council said it regretted that the 2015 Minsk agreements, whose provisions include a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine, had still not been…

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