Germany rejects EU executive call to ease COVID border curbs: letter

Germany rejects EU executive call to ease COVID border curbs: letter

Germany told the European Union it would uphold its latest border restrictions imposed to curb the spread of new coronavirus variants, snubbing calls from the bloc’s executive European Commission, Austria and the Czech Republic, write Gabriela Baczynska and Sabine Siebold. The Brussels-based executive last week asked Germany and five other countries to ease unilateral restrictions on movement of goods and people, saying they have “gone too far” and were putting a strain on the bloc’s cherished single market. But Germany’s EU ambassador replied in a March 1 letter, which was…

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It’s time for Greece to follow Israel’s example and recognize Kosovo

It’s time for Greece to follow Israel’s example and recognize Kosovo

This week marks the 13th anniversary of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia. The declaration came about a decade after the Serbian authorities launched an ethnic cleansing that aimed to eradicate the Albanian majority population of its then-province. A full-fledged genocide was stopped in 1999 by NATO’s intervention. Since 2008, the Republic of Kosovo has joined international organizations, has become a vital part of the international community, and has been a key factor of stability in the Balkans. In terms of democratic standards, Kosovo fares better than some of its…

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Don’t expect significant easing of coronavirus measures, Frank Vandenbroucke warns

Don’t expect significant easing of coronavirus measures, Frank Vandenbroucke warns

No significant easing of restrictions should be expected to come out of next Friday’s Consultative Committee meeting, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke warned on Sunday. “Within three weeks, the British variant of the coronavirus will be dominant in Belgium and we will be able to assess how contagious it is,” he told VTM. However, Vandenbroucke said that new variants should not be feared, if we continue to follow the rules. “We have built a solid dike,” he said. “The problem arises if there are holes in the dike.” “In other…

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Adult entertainment workers protest against Brussels’ landlords

Adult entertainment workers protest against Brussels’ landlords

Several sex workers from the Brussels North Quarter in Saint-Josse-ten-Node are filing a complaint against their landlords for the high rent prices during the coronavirus crisis, sex worker union UTSOPI announced on Thursday. The sex workers themselves had been summoned to court earlier, for not paying their rent. However, the workers are now stating that the landlords are taking advantage of their difficult financial situation. “Since the beginning of the health crisis, sex work has not been allowed nine out of twelve months,” a spokesperson for UTSOPI told The Brussels…

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Students flee police raid on 100 person party in Ghent

Students flee police raid on 100 person party in Ghent

Around 100 students fled from the police in Ghent after gathering on the Sint-Pietersplein in the city’s student neighbourhood on Wednesday evening, violating Belgium’s current coronavirus fighting measures. It is unclear whether it was an organised party, however there was music playing and people were dancing upon the arrival of the police, who said the large number of people present made them think it wasn’t spontaneous. “We first received a report about this incident around 6:15 PM and arrived at the square maybe ten minutes later,” spokesperson for the Ghent…

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Van Ranst refuses Belgium’s payment for experts after Twitter clash

Van Ranst refuses Belgium’s payment for experts after Twitter clash

Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst refuses to accept the compensation that the GEMS experts will soon receive for their advice to the government, he announced on Twitter. In recent days, Van Ranst made headlines across the country for getting involved in a fierce discussion on social media with Georges-Louis Bouchez, the leader of the Francophone liberal MR party. Bouchez repeatedly claimed that the experts were already getting paid by the government, adding that they should conform more to political decisions. Van Ranst, however, stated that the experts were not being…

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Belgium passes mark of 670,000 coronavirus infections

Belgium passes mark of 670,000 coronavirus infections

More than 670,000 Belgians have been infected with coronavirus as daily infections continue to rise, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on Thursday. Between 4 and 10 January, an average of 2,082.7 new people tested positive per day over the past week, which is a 28% increase compared to the week before. The total number of confirmed cases in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is 670,249. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases…

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What’s open in Belgium on 1 January?

What’s open in Belgium on 1 January?

As the first public holiday of the year, 1 January will see many shops and businesses – which are allowed to be open under the current coronavirus measures – close down for the day. As with other public holidays, public and administration services, such as postal services, will not operate on 1 January, and neither will banks. Some Carrefour shops will be open on New Year’s Day, as well as some of Delhaize’s smaller Shop’n’Go markets, but Aldi and Lidl will remain mostly closed on the first. Colruyt shops will…

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Everyone will suffer minor side effects from Covid-19 vaccination

Everyone will suffer minor side effects from Covid-19 vaccination

All people will experience some minor side effects from being vaccinated against Covid-19 once the vaccine is on the market, health officials said during a press conference on Monday. The clinical studies have shown that these are often mild side effects immediately after the vaccination took place, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht. “It is quite normal for the skin or the place of injection to feel a little hard and swollen, and to feel slightly flu-like for a few days after administering the vaccine,” he…

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Mysterious monolith spotted on Belgian potato field

Mysterious monolith spotted on Belgian potato field

An object resembling a mysterious monolith whose recent appearances in remote areas in the US and Europe have sparked curiosity and speculation has now popped up on potato field in northern Belgium. It remains unclear who placed the mirrored rectangle in the middle of a muddy field in Baasrode, in the northern city of Dendermonde, East Flanders. The event on Tuesday spurred local interest, with media reporting “astonished reactions” from passers-by who ran into the glimmery item. While it was described as “less impressive,” online speculation was also rife on…

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