Body found in Molenbeek, criminal inquiry launched

Body found in Molenbeek, criminal inquiry launched

Police have launched a criminal investigation after a body was discovered in the Brussels municipality of Molenbeek at the weekend, the public prosecutor’s office confirmed Monday. Several police patrols of the Brussels-West police zone were called to Molenbeek on Saturday to recover the body of an unidentified person, according to Belgian media. The body was found in Avenue Jean Dubrucq, between the municipality’s Parc Elisabeth and the Tour & Taxis site. A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said that a federal forensics team was called to examine the scene, and…

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Global warming increases risk of armed conflict, says UA study

Global warming increases risk of armed conflict, says UA study

Global warming will have the effect of increasing the chance of armed conflict, according to a group of researchers including a team from the University of Antwerp. Global warming, the study admits, has less of an effect on the situation that, for example, socio-economic circumstances and the effectiveness of the state. Nevertheless, in some circumstances, global warming could double the risk of armed conflict within a state. Over the past 20 years, according to the study – which is published in the latest edition of the journal Nature – climate…

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New Brussels parliament holds first session

New Brussels parliament holds first session

The Brussels-Capital Region’s newly sworn-in parliament held its first session on Tuesday afternoon, inaugurated by the regional parliament’s interim president, Pierre Kompany. The new legislative term will be led by a deeply revamped parliament, after last month’s legislative elections brought in a wave of first-time lawmakers into the parliamentary chambers. Kompany, the 71-year-old mayor of Brussels’ municipality Ganshoren, will lead the regional parliament until negotiations on the formation of a new majority conclude. During the first session, each party designated a leader, some on a temporary basis as the negotiations…

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What is Pentecost and how is it celebrated in Belgium?

What is Pentecost and how is it celebrated in Belgium?

Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday is the holiday held the day after Pentecost, a religious holiday of the Christian faith celebrated by devotees the world over, and marked by a public bank holiday in many European countries, like Belgium. The holiday falls the day after Pentecost Sunday, which commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles after the death of Jesus, leading to the first sermon and marking the birth of the Christian Church. The two days of Pentecost change each year, as Pentecost Sunday is set 49…

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Artwork by Koen Vanmechelen found dumped in skip

Artwork by Koen Vanmechelen found dumped in skip

Parts of a work by artist Koen Vanmechelen, divided up for members of the public and much sought-after not a year ago, have turned up dumped in a rubbish skip in Gullegem in West Flanders. In Ypres last year, Flemish artist Koen Vanmechelen exhibited a work titled Coming World Remember Me, a commemoration of the First World War which ended a century earlier, consisting of a massive clay sphere and 600,000 smaller versions (photo), one for each life lost in the conflict, much of which took place in and around…

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Medieval Market called off as storm shuts Brussels parks for the weekend

Medieval Market called off as storm shuts Brussels parks for the weekend

The yearly Medieval Market in Brussels’ Parc du Cinquantenaire has been cancelled, as a looming windstorm makes its way into Belgium from Friday. As Storm Miguel makes its way north from France, authorities have announced that all regional parks will be shut down from 12:30 on Friday, halting the three-day-long medieval fest only hours before it was set to kick-off. Gusts of up to 80 km/h are expected to sweep into the country, meaning fans of the middle ages will have to forego taking part in the festival’s traditional activities…

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Harassment accusations engulf Brussels university

Harassment accusations engulf Brussels university

Two professors of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) have been suspended and an internal investigation launched after revelations emerged that the institution had for years failed to respond to several harassment complaints filed by students against faculty personnel. University Dean Yvon Englert announced the measures on Wednesday, in a video posted on Facebook in which he also declared to be “personally shocked” over a nearly hundred-page report into the matter students submitted to him a day prior. “Past reports and signals were not taken into account and did not…

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‘Move your money, or we do’: Belgian banks pressured to divest from fossil fuels

‘Move your money, or we do’: Belgian banks pressured to divest from fossil fuels

Account-holders of Belgium’s four biggest banks have pledged to drop their accounts there unless the banks adopt more sustainable investing and financing policies, by signing an online petition which has so far gathered over 10,000 signatures. The petition called “Move your money, or we do,” specifically targets the country’s four biggest financial institutions —Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING and KBC—, handing them an ultimatum to better align their investment policies with the Paris Climate Agreement by June— or watch clients, and their money, walk out the door. The petition asks…

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Telsa electric car catches fire while charging in Antwerp

Telsa electric car catches fire while charging in Antwerp

A Tesla electric car caught fire while it was plugged into a charging station in Antwerp during the early hours of Saturday morning. The fire department said the charging station was also damaged by the flames. The fire department were able to quickly determine that the fire was caused by a technical problem with the vehicle. It was submerged in a container of water to stop it bursting into flames again. “It takes a lot of time to cool the battery in this type of car down correctly. Our firefighters…

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Paris bans smoking in 52 parks and gardens

Paris bans smoking in 52 parks and gardens

Smoking has been banned in 52 parks and public gardens in Paris, in a move that, the mayor’s office hopes, will make the city “an even more welcoming capital”. Anyone found violating the ban, which came into effect on Friday, 31 May, faces a fine of 38 euros. The new no-smoking zones represent about 10% of the green spaces in Paris. However, the ban does not apply to the city’s biggest parks, popular with picnickers and revellers in the summer. The level of cigarette smoking is slightly higher in France…

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