Belgium’s most biodiverse nature reserve under threat

Belgium’s most biodiverse nature reserve under threat

Ever since the old Schaerbeek-Josaphat marshalling yard fell out of use in 1994, nature has slowly taken back the site. The result is an unparalleled, urban nature reserve known as “Friche Josaphat”: the most biodiverse place in Belgium. Because the site is not accessible to the public, insects, birds, and mammals such as foxes, have begun calling this wild cityscape their home. Biologists were astounded to find more than 1200 animal species on the mere 24 hectares of land. One-third of the 360 wild bee species that are found in…

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Kenes Rakishev to send innovative batteries to a space mission

Kenes Rakishev to send innovative batteries to a space mission

Kenes Rakishev, one of the early investors in StoreDot Israeli startup, has reasons for a celebration. NASA has approved a series of experiments that will be done at the International Space Station. StoreDot company hopes that the experiments will help in further development of 5-minute XFC batteries. Kenes Rakishev and the team hopes that it will bring eXtra Fast Charging batteries closer to everyday use in Electric Vehicles. One of the companies Kenes Rakishev invested in, StoreDot, a maker of fast-charging battery technology for smartphones, drones and electric vehicles, said…

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Belgium could vaccinate 16-17-year-olds during summer holidays

Belgium could vaccinate 16-17-year-olds during summer holidays

People aged 16 and 17 could potentially receive their coronavirus vaccination during the summer holidays, according to a proposal by the Vaccination Task Force. This scenario is currently being discussed by the task force, which is preparing an opinion on the Covid-19 vaccines for children and adolescents, De Morgen reported on Monday. “That minors who want to be vaccinated should be able to do so has been obvious for a long time,” says Pierre Van Damme of the University of Antwerp, a vaccinologist and member of the Task Force. “In…

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What Belgium’s two ‘milestones’ for relaxations mean

What Belgium’s two ‘milestones’ for relaxations mean

Besides a decreased number of patients in intensive care, two “milestones” in Belgium’s vaccination strategy should also lead to further relaxations, the Consultative Committee decided on Wednesday. Following the restart of schools and the lifting of the non-essential travel ban on 19 April, and the end of the “Easter pause” on 26 April, the next relaxations will be based on milestones in the vaccination campaign, announced Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. First milestone: 70% of over-65s vaccinated “The first milestone is when seven out of ten people over 65 years…

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Police peacefully disperse young people gathered in Leuven town square

Police peacefully disperse young people gathered in Leuven town square

Dozens of young people came together in a square in the centre of Leuven last night, in what seemed to have been a largely coronavirus-compliant gathering. At least for the first part of the evening, groups were kept to a maximum of 10 people and police officers reported that most were adhering to the social distancing measures intended to lessen the spread of the virus, according to De Standaard. “It was busy, but not too bad,” one of the young people in attendance told reporters. “We really enjoyed this. We…

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Scientists probe new theories on whether AstraZeneca shot linked to blood clots

Scientists probe new theories on whether AstraZeneca shot linked to blood clots

Scientists are exploring several possibilities that might explain at least 18 reports of extremely rare blood clots in the brain that occurred in individuals in the days and weeks after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, writes Julie Steenhuysen. European investigators have put forward one theory that the vaccine triggers an unusual antibody in some rare cases; others are trying to understand whether the cases are linked with birth control pills. But many scientists say there is no definitive evidence and it is not clear whether or why AstraZeneca’s vaccine would…

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Biden underscores need to maintain Northern Ireland peace, will not weigh in on UK-EU row

Biden underscores need to maintain Northern Ireland peace, will not weigh in on UK-EU row

US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday (17 March) it was “critically important” to maintain Northern Ireland’s peace process, but a senior aide said the US government would not take sides in a UK-EU rift over movement of goods to the British-ruled province. ‘Critically important’ to maintain Good Friday agreement: Biden As Biden held a virtual meeting with Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin (pictured) on St. Patrick’s Day, he underscored his support for the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement that ended decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland. In a joint…

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Belgium’s failed coronavirus response is the final straw

Belgium’s failed coronavirus response is the final straw

To be frank, the Belgian response to the pandemic has been an insult. From curfews imposed without evidence that it would halt the virus, to the kafkaesque restrictions on which house guests can use the toilet, to the decision to strip us of our freedom of movement without consultation, the big-government approach of the Belgian government has resulted in naught but disaster. The coronavirus has flourished. The economy is gone. Mental health has collapsed and jobs have disappeared. No one can call this a success on any level. The idea…

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Temporary shortage leaves Brussels vaccine centre unavailable ’til 2022

Temporary shortage leaves Brussels vaccine centre unavailable ’til 2022

Issues continue to crop up in vaccination centres in Brussels, after the latest one left people temporarily unable to book appointments to get vaccinated in 2021 due to a shortage of vaccines in the Pacheco centre. While there are no issues for people who want to come in for their second dose or people who already booked last week, everyone else who received an invite to get vaccinated is currently being told they cannot register for an appointment in the coming year, when this is not actually the case. Asked…

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The fall of the Sky: secure messaging hack led to mass arrests at Antwerp

The fall of the Sky: secure messaging hack led to mass arrests at Antwerp

When Dutch and French police came crashing down on organised crime in the Netherlands last year, criminals in the Belgian underworld of kidnapping, money laundering, cocaine, and weapons trading didn’t break a sweat. After all, they were using ‘the world’s most secure messaging app’ for their illicit dealings in everything from drug trafficking to torture and murder, and the Port of Antwerp was their playground. The reason Belgian crime lords slept soundly at night was due in part to their faith in a Canadian company. Sky ECC sold expensive custom…

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