Port of Antwerp deploys first autonomous drone

Port of Antwerp deploys first autonomous drone

The Port of Antwerp today deployed its first autonomous drone, intended to be the first of a network to support the port authority in its core tasks. The port of Antwerp covers a territory of more than 120 square kilometres, or about ten times the size of Heathrow airport. Not only is it huge, it forms part of the country’s critical infrastructure, with the presence of strategic industries and Seveso facilities. The drone is intended to carry out safety tasks, and eventually be joined by more of the same, covering…

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400 horeca employers must ask staff to repay premium paid by mistake

400 horeca employers must ask staff to repay premium paid by mistake

About 400 employers in the hospitality industry have been asked to recoup a premium accidentally paid out twice to employees, because of a computer problem, according to the Gazet van Antwerpen. The problem occurred in the system of paying out year-end premiums to workers in the industry, which has been closed down since November. It has nothing to do with temporary unemployment payments related to the lockdown. “When paying year-end bonuses in the sector, the Fund acts as a third party payer. This means that the Fund does not calculate…

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Trade policy should by greener and more assertive, Commission suggests

Trade policy should by greener and more assertive, Commission suggests

A tougher approach with partners and more focus on climate and labour rights will be key pillars of the new EU trade policy outlined by the European Commission on Thursday (18 February). The Commission’s executive vice-president responsible for trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said that the three key words of the new approach will be “open, sustainable and assertive”. He explained that any future deal will include the Paris climate commitments as an “essential element”. The EU’s approach could include liberalisation of trade in certain green goods and services, or agreements to…

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Marc Van Ranst theory explained: the pandemic as a market stunt

Marc Van Ranst theory explained: the pandemic as a market stunt

A much-discussed video of a lecture given by prominent Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst, in which he details his experiences as the country’s flu commissioner in 2009, has found itself at the heart of a conspiracy theory. Excerpts of the video shared online – making it seem as if Van Ranst is explaining how to use a pandemic for personal gain – have sparked accusations that he is supposedly manipulating the public. For some time now, parts of the video taken out of context, showing Van Ranst giving a lecture…

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Consultative Committee of Belgium gathers tomorrow: what should we expect?

Consultative Committee of Belgium gathers tomorrow: what should we expect?

We expect to see 70+ freaks… It’s a joke! Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet again on Friday to evaluate the situation and discuss the possible reopening of the hairdressers and other contact professions. As announced during the previous Consultative Committee, the authorities will assess if the figures have evolved favourably enough to reopen hairdressers, beauticians and other non-medical contact professions on 13 February. On Wednesday, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke opened the door for a reopening, but stressed that hairdressers would “an isolated issue,” and “should not be seen as…

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Johnson & Johnson could apply for EMA approval in February

Johnson & Johnson could apply for EMA approval in February

US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson may submit an official application for approval of its Covid-19 vaccine to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in February, according to European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine would be the fourth, after that of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna (which are both already being administered) and AstraZeneca/Oxford (for which an application was submitted on Monday) that could be approved. The vaccine, “Ad26.COV2.S”, is administered in a single dose, and has been undergoing a rolling review by the EMA since the beginning of December….

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Scottish fish can’t find its way to Europe, Brexit and COVID are to blame

Scottish fish can’t find its way to Europe, Brexit and COVID are to blame

Scottish fishermen are finding it impossible to sell their catches to the continent because of administrative delays associated with the new rules on trade between the UK and the EU. The problem is that the delays mean that by the time the fish landed by Scottish boats arrives at auction, it is no longer fresh enough to meet the demands of traders and customers. As a result, The Independent reports, the price of some fish have collapsed by as much as 80%. The British fishing industry exports 70% of its…

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New Covid-19 restrictions leave UK travellers stranded in German airports

New Covid-19 restrictions leave UK travellers stranded in German airports

Passengers on several flights from the UK to Germany were left stranded in German airports on Sunday night due to measures over a new coronavirus strain in the UK. A group of 63 passengers who flew from the UK to Hanover was not allowed to leave the airport immediately, having to pass a coronavirus test first. Tests were carried out at the airport by medical personnel. The results of those tests will probably be known on Monday. In the meantime, cots were installed in the airport for passengers to spend…

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Belgium’s TOP-20 cars of 2020

Belgium’s TOP-20 cars of 2020

The Volkswagen Golf tops the list of Belgium’s top 20 cars of 2020 after the worst year for new car sales in over 20 years, according to automobile federations Febiac, Traxio and Renta. The Golf is trailed by the Renault Clio and the Mercedes A Class, the Volvo XC40 and the Skoda Octavia. The Citroën C3, Peugeot 208, Renault Captur, Volkswagen Polo and BMW X1 make up the remaining part of the top 10. These cars are followed by the Opel Corsa, BMW 1 series, Hyundai Tucson, BMW 3 series…

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Brussels start-up has its finger in the dyke of water loss

Brussels start-up has its finger in the dyke of water loss

The Brussels-based tech start-up Shaype has raised €1.9 million euros in fresh investment capital for a system to tackle huge water losses in buildings. Shaype was set up in 2017 by three partners to work on a system to use technology to tackle the problem of major water losses in large buildings, whether industrial or residential, including apartment blocks. According to the company, one in three large buildings suffers from water leaks, 95% of which go undetected. In 3% of buildings, leaks will lead to water damage. In the rest,…

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