More than 100,000 Brusselers did not go to the ballot box in Sunday’s elections

More than 100,000 Brusselers did not go to the ballot box in Sunday’s elections

The Brussels Local Government Regional Public Service is indicating that no less than 100,789 Brusselers did not go to their local polling station on Sunday. The Capital region’s rate of absenteeism was 16.47%, a slight decrease compared to the 2012 municipal election (17.13%). In total, 534,539 people fulfilled their citizen duty out of the 635,328 voters registered in the 19 communes. This figure includes European residents registered on electoral lists. Amongst those going to the ballot box, 502,738 people posted a valid vote, whilst 31,771 others submitted a blank or…

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Office block in voluva threatening collapse, will be demolished in a day

Office block in voluva threatening collapse, will be demolished in a day

An empty office block on the busy Avenue de Tervuren in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre in Brussels was demolished at emergency speed on Tuesday. The building had shown signs of imminent collapse. The building – the former Chien Vert office block – was in the process of being converted into apartments. Builders on the works noticed the construction was beginning to sway, and raised the alarm. A safety perimeter was established, and residents of neighbouring blocks evacuated to a nearby sports centre. Police and fire service were present, and gas and electricity were…

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Lack of doctors to conduct medical examinations

Lack of doctors to conduct medical examinations

Certimed and Mediwe, companies that carry out medical examinations, say current labour legislation needs to be amended given the shortage of doctors required to check, at the request of an employer, whether an employee has a legitimate medical reason to be absent from work. In 2017, Certimed did 190,000 such checks, a figure that has gradually been decreasing since 2015, when it reached 190,000. About 300 doctors perform the checks but, Certimed argues, this is an insufficient number. The company recruits five additional examining doctors each year but, ideally, it…

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A 400 years old “book of love” auctioned in Brussels

A 400 years old “book of love” auctioned in Brussels

A “book of love” comprising 74 French love songs, aged 400 years old, will be auctioned on October 12th and 13th at the Brussels auction house, Arenberg Auctions. The well-preserved work had been ordered by a Hainaut lord in 1620. Its value is estimated at between €70,000 and €80,000. The manuscript has no less than 33 illustrations painted upon vellum and highly detailed, or more than twice a similar example – coming from the collection of the Russian Imperial family – conserved at the Brussels Royal Library. The work contains…

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Brussels minister-president pleads for changes to language laws

Brussels minister-president pleads for changes to language laws

Rudi Vervoort, minister-president of the Brussels-Capital Region, has called for a thorough review of the language laws of the region. At present, the region is nominally equal French-Dutch, although the proportions are something closer to 90-10%. Vervoort himself is bilingual, although he represents a French-speaking party and is himself originally French-speaking. Vervoort, originally the mayor of Evere, was asked a question by two Dutch-speaking members of the city council following a report by the region’s vice-governor which pointed out a record number of employees of the region’s personnel who had…

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All aboard the Lego train!

All aboard the Lego train!

The TrainWorld national railway Museum and Lego educational toy manufacturer have joined forces in a new exhibition that will open on Tuesday, October 2. Over the next four months, visitors to Train World, which is located in the former station building in the Brussels municipality of Schaarbek, will learn about the history of the Belgian Railways, depicted in dozens of scale models made of Lego. One of the most impressive of these is a modal of the Schaarbeek Station building, a Neo-Flemish renaissance structure that was built in 1913. In…

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Ryanair CEO urges unions to cancel the strike

Ryanair CEO urges unions to cancel the strike

Ryanair CEO Michael O’leary urged the airline’s unions to cancel the strike scheduled for Friday. Speaking on Wednesday at a news conference in Diegem, he said the strike was being held even lthough the low-cost Irish carrier had recognized the unions, agreed to switch to local contracts and accepted to apply local laws in 2019. He urged the unions to call off the strike which, he said, was not supported by the vast majority of Ryanair employees. The press conference was held two days before the planned date of the…

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Scientists worry about the foundations of the welfare state

Scientists worry about the foundations of the welfare state

Sixteen University professors have come together to warn against the damage that unemployment benefit reforms can cause. The warning came in an open letter published on Monday in Le Soir and the Standaard and signed by renowned academics from Belgian universities – Francophone and Flemish – and the London School of Economics. The academics feel it is extremely risky to make unemployment benefits more degressive, as was decided this summer under the Jobs Deal, a Government programme aimed at dealing with skills shortages. They note that there is no scientific…

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Brussels gets second batch of electric scooters

Brussels gets second batch of electric scooters

The American company Bird on Tuesday placed 100 folding electric scooters in different parts of Brussels, becoming the second company to do so, after Troty in late June. The scooters will be available free of charge between 07.00 a.m. and 09.00 p.m. They will be placed each morning at strategic locations such as train and subway stations. Users, who will have to be at least 18 years old, will be able to unlock the vehicles using an application they can download to their smart phones. They are asked to leave…

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The Belgian court refuses the Spanish side in extradite of the rapper

The Belgian court refuses the Spanish side in extradite of the rapper

The Belgian court rejected the request of Spain to extradite the rapper sentenced to prison on charges, including insulting the monarchy, said the representative of the Prosecutor’s office of the city of Ghent. Valtònyc, 24, whose real name is Josep Miquel Arenas, fled to Belgium in May after being sentenced in Spain to three and a half years for his lyrics, in which he also praised terror groups. “For the moment he is free and he is free definitively in Belgium,” his lawyer Paul Bekaert told Reuters TV in Ghent…

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