Nieuport storm: inquiry opened after crane falls causing one death

Nieuport storm: inquiry opened after crane falls causing one death

The West Flanders Public Prosecutor’s Office (Furnes division), has opened an inquiry following the toppling of a crane, which caused the death of one person in Nieuport on Wednesday. The Public Prosecutor, Filiep Jodts, indicated that an expert had gone to the scene of the accident to examine the circumstances. So far it appears that a storm made a crane swing. It then overturned onto an apartment block and several cars. The incident happened on Wednesday. One fatality, aged 73, was discovered under the wreckage. The crane in question had…

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Increasing numbers of foreign doctors practising in Belgium

Increasing numbers of foreign doctors practising in Belgium

The number of foreign doctors practising in Belgium significantly increased between 2010 and 2015. This emerged from a response from the Minister for Health, Maggie De Block, to a parliamentary question from the PTB deputy, Marco Van Hees. The number of foreign doctors registered with Inami (the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance) with a Belgian qualification went from 59 (or 4.8% of the total) in 2010 to 113 (6.59%) in 2015. Those who studied abroad went from 227 (10.5% of total) to 359 (21.09%) in the same period….

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CGRA had pinpointed the risks faced by repatriated Sudanese

CGRA had pinpointed the risks faced by repatriated Sudanese

A confidential note on the issue of asylum applications by Sudanese, addressed by the Office of the General Commissioner for Refugees and Stateless Persons, CGRA, to the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, has been circulating for days, Le Soir daily reported on Tuesday. In the note, dated 24 October, the CGRA indicated broad categories of people who could be considered to be in danger if they returned to their country. According to the document, anyone from a non-Arab ethnic group from Darfur or from Blue Nile…

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The ban on smoking in schools will apply to the whole of Flanders

The ban on smoking in schools will apply to the whole of Flanders

When the next school year starts, smoking will no longer be allowed on school premises 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This was announced by the Flemish government. It was among the measures drawn up during a huge Minister’s meeting which took up most of Friday evening and the early hours of Saturday. Currently, the smoking ban applies to all school premises and those used for extra-curricular activities. For open areas like playgrounds, the ban applies on weekdays from 6:30 to 18:30. “A total ban will reinforce the…

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Bilal El Makhoukhi is still on remand as part of the Brussels attacks

Bilal El Makhoukhi is still on remand as part of the Brussels attacks

There have been further developments in the investigation opened following the Zaventem and Brussels attacks, which took place on March 22nd, 2016. The Brussels Court in Chambers decided, on Thursday, to extend the remand of Bilal El Makhoukhi for a further two months. This was indicated by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office. Bilal El Makhoukhi is suspected of having supplied logistical assistance to Mohamed Abrini and Osama Krayem. He was accused of taking part in terrorist group activities and aiding and abetting terrorist murders. This is in the context of…

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Belgian efforts insufficient to meet sustainable development objectives

Belgian efforts insufficient to meet sustainable development objectives

Belgium will not be in a position to meet the objectives which it has promised to meet by 2030, if a series of policies are not improved. This is the view of Federal Planning Bureau cited by Le Soir on Wednesday. The Federal Planning Bureau summarised the 17 “global objectives for sustainable development”, adopted in 2015 by the UN. It emerges that the pace of improvement of the situation in Belgium is not sufficient. Moreover, current projections by the Federal Planning Bureau show that the 2030 objectives for poverty and…

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Brussels to ban use of ponies in fairs

Brussels to ban use of ponies in fairs

The Commission on Environment in the Brussels regional parliament on Tuesday unanimously passed a draft ordinance banning the use of ponies in merry-go-rounds at fairs throughout the capital region from January 2019. The region’s Secretary of State in charge of Animal Health, Bianca Debaets (CD&V – Christian Democratic and Flemish Party) who initiated the bill, said using ponies in a noisy environment and limited conditions of well-being was outdated. “We had received many complaints by citizens and animal rights organisations about the totally disrespectful conditions reserved for ponies at fairs,”…

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Police violence towards migrants continues in Brussels

Police violence towards migrants continues in Brussels

The violence and precarious living conditions justify the bulk of medical complaints which migrants come forward with. This is reported on Monday by Médecins du Monde (“MdM”). Since October, the association has conducted medical, social, and psychological consultations with migrants in transit in Brussels. “Statements from individuals taken in indicate that police violence is still an issue.” Two-thirds of people seen in 746 consultations were from Sudan (between 40% and 55%) and Eritrea (between 15% and 25%). These follow the trends of migrants originally from Libya, Syria and Iraq. This…

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The refugee crisis is subsiding while political fallout is going strong

The refugee crisis is subsiding while political fallout is going strong

Though the flood of immigrants in 2015 and 2016 has subsided, Europe is ending the year without having prepared for the next migration wave. Meanwhile, many immigrants are languishing. This year, German refugee applications declined to levels not seen since 2014. Greece and Italy, which bear the brunt of migrant arrivals across the Mediterranean have also gotten a little more breathing space. In part, that can be explained by the winding down of the Syrian war, in part by the efforts to shut down the routes that most asylum seekers…

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Oliver Schmidt jailed for seven years for Volkswagen emissions scam

Oliver Schmidt jailed for seven years for Volkswagen emissions scam

A senior Volkswagen executive was sentenced to seven years in prison by a US court on Wednesday after being found guilty of concealing software used to evade pollution limits on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles. Oliver Schmidt, a German national who was the general manager in charge of VW’s environmental and engineering office in Michigan, had pleaded guilty to his part in the cover-up and argued he was “misused” by VW in its attempts to circumvent US emissions tests. But at the sentencing in Detroit judge Sean Cox sided with the…

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