Belgian news in brief, 5 January 2006

5th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

Westhoek region worst suicide rate

Westhoek region worst suicide rate

The Westhoek region in Flanders has the highest suicide rate in Belgium. However, authorities cannot easily explain why. Especially youths (aged 15-24) and the elderly (aged 60-84) commit suicide more often in comparison with other Flemish people of the same age. In 2002, there were 1,150 suicides in Flanders, 38 of which took place in the Westhoek, the Catholic University of Leuven said.

Belgium ends 2005 in the black

The federal government has reported a balanced budget for 2005, making Belgium one of the few eurozone countries to end the year in the black. Only Finland and Spain outperformed Belgium. Budget Minister Freya Van den Bossche said the government closed the year with a slight surplus of EUR 120 million. She said this was a good achievement considering economic growth was below expectations.

Flu epidemic might occur in February

No flu epidemic has been reported in Belgium this winter, but such a scenario cannot be ruled out. Virologist Marc Van Ranst warned on Thursday an epidemic might occur at the end of February or the start of March. Belgium experienced an epidemic at the end of 2002, start of 2003. However, if an epidemic occurs late in winter, the impact is expected to be less severe, commercial broadcaster VTM reported.

Appeal in Madonna plagiarism case

Music firms Warner, EMI and Sony will appeal a November 2005 Bergen Court ruling that stated Madonna's song 'Frozen' was plagiarised. Madonna is alleged to have based her song on a number compiled by Belgian Salvatore Acquaviva, of Moeskroen, in 1979. Acquaviva's lawyer, Victor-Vincent Dehin, said the appeal will be lodged on 24 January and the hearing will be held four to five months later, newspaper 'Het Nieuwsblad' reported on Thursday.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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