Brussels central station evacuated amid heightened security fears

Brussels central station evacuated amid heightened security fears

Brussels central train station was evacuated for about an hour on Sunday because of a suspicious suitcase amid heightened security fears in the Belgian capital after a huge anti-terror operation led to three men being charged with terrorism offences. The suitcase later turned out to be a false alarm but shows Belgium’s high state of alert as the Euro 2016 soccer tournament is under way in neighboring France, three months after Islamist bombers killed 32 people in Brussels. Investigators say the attackers had links to militants who carried out attacks…

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This Vintage-Inspired Royal Wedding in Belgium

This Vintage-Inspired Royal Wedding in Belgium

Another weekend, another royal wedding across the Atlantic that’s giving us all the bridal envy. The lucky couple are Belgium’s Princess Alex de Ligne and France’s Earl Guillaume de Dampierre who met at a party in Paris in 2010 and got engaged in February. Their wedding reception was held at the bride’s family chateau (#casual), also known at the Versailles of Belgium, and was attended by give or take … 800 guests including the Grand-Duke Henri of Luxembourg and his wife the Grand-Duchess Maria Teresa. The bride was stunning in…

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Beer Guy: New Belgium collaboration

Beer Guy: New Belgium collaboration

With New Belgium Brewing’s 25th anniversary happening this summer, the brewery has released something special: a box set of beer inspired by its flagship Fat Tire amber ale, but made by five outstanding American craft breweries. The Fat Tire and Friends collaborative box set is in stores and New Belgium’;s Asheville brewery has them all on tap in its Liquid Center tasting room, which has quickly become one of the most comfortable and popular brewery spots around the mountains. This was an interesting project. While all the beers are branded…

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Belgium charges three men with terrorism offences after overnight raids

Belgium charges three men with terrorism offences after overnight raids

Belgian prosecutors charged three men with terrorism offences on Saturday following overnight raids that took place amid heightened security in Belgium and France due to the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. Three months after Islamist bombers killed 32 people in Brussels, police searched dozens of houses across the country and arrested 12 people the night before Belgium’s Euro 2016 game against Ireland. Nine of them were released after questioning but three Belgian nationals identified as 27-year-old Samir C., 40-year-old Moustapha B., and 29-year-old Jawad B., were charged with “having attempted to…

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Man with ‘salt and biscuits’ suicide vest sparks Belgian security operation

Man with ‘salt and biscuits’ suicide vest sparks Belgian security operation

Prosecutors are still investigating whether the suspect, who has psychiatric problems, has genuine links to militant groups. A man with psychiatric problems, who was carrying a fake suicide belt full of salt and biscuits, was arrested on Tuesday after he triggered a major anti-terror operation at a Brussels shopping mall, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said they were still investigating whether the man – who had once claimed he had been urged to join the Islamic State group in Syria – had any genuine links to terrorism. The 26-year-old man, identified only…

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Belgium: Police free six arrested in connection with 2015 failed train terror attack

Belgium: Police free six arrested in connection with 2015 failed train terror attack

Six men arrested in connection with the August 2015 attack on a high speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris have been released without charge. Two people were injured by the Kalashnikov-wielding attacker on the train before he was overpowered by passengers. “They were released as planned after some checks,” a spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor told Reuters. “There were no charges, either.” Four of the men who foiled the train attack were subsequently awarded France’s highest honour, the Legion d’honneur. The alleged perpetrator, Ayoub el Khazzani, remains in…

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New Zealand Government: New Ambassador to Belgium named

New Zealand Government: New Ambassador to Belgium named

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has named diplomat Greg Andrews as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Belgium. He will also be accredited to Bulgaria, Luxembourg and Romania. “New Zealand’s relationship with Belgium is important, as a large proportion of New Zealand’s exports to the European Union enter through the Belgian ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge,” says Mr McCully. “We also have strong historical links with Belgium through the First World War battles of Messines and Passchendaele, which will be commemorated in 2017. “Building closer relations with all four countries will…

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Brussels diamond robbery nets ‘gigantic’ haul

Brussels diamond robbery nets ‘gigantic’ haul

Armed robbers have made off with a “gigantic” haul of diamonds after a rapid raid at Brussels Airport. Disguised as police, they broke through a fence on Monday evening and broke into the cargo of a Swiss-bound plane to take the gems, estimated to be worth $50m (£32m; 37m euros). They escaped back through the same hole. Police later found a burned-out vehicle close to the airport. Police are looking for eight men, a prosecutors’ spokeswoman said. Caroline De Wolf, of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, estimated the haul at…

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Brussels attackers meant to target France, says Belgian prosecutor

Brussels attackers meant to target France, says Belgian prosecutor

Terrorists were surprised by investigators’ speed of progress and decided to strike in Belgium instead, says prosecutor. The terrorist cell that killed 32 people in attacks on Brussels last month had initially intended to strike France again, but swiftly decided to target the Belgian capital because the police investigation was closing in on them, prosecutors have said. Belgium’s federal state prosecutor said on Sunday that “numerous elements” in the investigation showed the group “initially had the intention to strike in France again” following November’s Islamic State attacks on Paris that…

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Brussels attacks: Police reach ‘deal to reopen airport’

Brussels attacks: Police reach ‘deal to reopen airport’

Our officials have reached a deal on security at Brussels airport, paving the way for a reopening of the facility which has been shut since last month’s suicide attack, a police union says. They say the government agreed to the unions’ demand for passengers to be checked before they enter the terminal. Both sides say they now expect the airport to re-open in the coming days. The so-called Islamic State claimed the twin bombings at Zaventem airport and in the metro, which killed 32 people.

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