Belgian news in brief, 4 July 2006

4th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

No talks over fire brigade reforms

No talks over fire brigade reforms

The Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) and its Wallonian counterpart UVCW have broken off talks with Interior Minister Patrick Dewael over proposed fire brigade reforms. The cities and municipalities claim the present plan does not guarantee funding due to the lack of a proposed budget. The two associations also regret that "mega zones" of more than 250,000 residents have been included in the proposals and that mayors will not be given a managerial role. They also fear administrative hassles.

Windmills 'no air safety threat'

Wind turbines of less than 150m in height will no longer be classified as "aviation obstacles" unless they are located in a military area or near an airport. Transport Minister Renaat Landuyt said this means that all obligations for red warning signs and lighting will be dropped. This will reduce the cost price for new wind energy farms and reduce visual pollution, an argument often used by residents to protest against windmill parks. Landuyt said the nation's laws could no longer be blamed if more windmill parks are not built. The decision comes after talks with the aviation sector and guarantees maximum safety.

Four men held over Brussels kidnapping

Four men have been arrested over the kidnapping of the 15-year-old son of a Brussels businessman at the end of May. The boy was kidnapped from school and the kidnappers demanded EUR 500,000 ransom money. Police rescued the boy a day later and arrested two men. Raids were carried out again on Monday and another four suspects arrested. Two underage suspects were also arrested.

Lottery tickets sold to children

The Belgian National Lottery has been accused of failing to carry out checks to ensure that lottery tickets are not sold to minors. A survey carried out by the consumers' organisation OIVO has revealed that 85 percent of retail outlets for lottery products sold scratch cards and lottery tickets to children. It is illegal to sell lottery tickets to children. But the national lottery association has said it is impossible for the orgnisation to conduct inspections.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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