Belgian news in brief, 17 August 2005

17th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

Free public transport becoming a rage

Free public transport becoming a rage

More and more people are taking up the offer to give up their cars by handing in their licence plate to obtain a free pass with Flemish bus and tram transport company De Lijn. Last month, some 974 drivers took up the offer, easily topping previous months, broadcaster VRT reported. The project was launched three years ago by then Transport Minister Steve Stevaert. One year later, the number of people participating amounted to 9,500, which rose to 18,500 the next year and is now totals some 30,000. If a family gives up its only car, every family member receives a free bus and tram pass with De Lijn for 3 years. Families with two cars or more which give up one car, are entitled to one free pass.

Belgium stays calm as bird flu spreads

The Federal Food Agency has opted against taking extra measures against the spread of the avian bird flu, despite the fact Dutch poultry farmers have been ordered to keep their birds inside. The Belgian farmers union has requested the same measures be taken in Belgium as the bird flu spreads from Asia to Russia, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported. However, the food agency said keeping poultry inside is simply a "panic reaction". Some 50 people have died in Asia from the bird flu since 2003, but no human deaths have been reported in Russia.

One in six Belgians is a collector

One out of every six Belgians are collectors, an internet survey of 1,600 people by research bureau InSites has revealed. The most popular collectables are antiques, coins, stamps and beer accessories. The survey also found that Belgians spend two to five hours each week on their hobby and buy on average more than one object a month, newspaper 'Het Laatste Nieuws' reported. The trend has a played a role in the growing success of jumble markets, collectors fairs and internet sales. Wallonians buy more things than the Flemish, but the Flemish spent more money on their hobby. The survey was commissioned by internet auction house eBay.

New computer virus reaches Belgium

A new computer virus has manifested itself in Belgium. The worm virus affects primarily PCs with a Windows 2000 or an older version of Windows XP as an operating system. The virus turns the computer automatically on and off. The problem appeared in the US on Tuesday and even affected news broadcaster CNN. Consumers have been warned to install a Windows update, Belgian broadcaster VTM reported.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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