Belgian news in brief, 5 July 2005

5th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

Rail commuters face seat shortages

Rail commuters face seat shortages

Belgian rail authority NMBS-SNCB will need to invest to cope with the increasing demand on commuter services created by the introduction of free home-work train travel. By 2009, there will be a shortage of 30,000 seats, rising to 70,000 in 2012. Public Enterprises Minister Johan Vande Lanotte said the NMBS currently has 1,248 carriages, giving 277,174 seats. It means there are 50,000 seats too many, but not every carriage is used each day. Public servants have been able to ride for free to and from work since March 2004. Commercial sector workers have had that right since January 2005 if their employer contributes financially, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported.

Belgian couple moves to adopt Donna

The Belgian couple who initially asked a Flemish woman to bear them a child has started adoption proceedings. Geertrui Praet and husband Bart Philthens are applying to become foster parents and to adopt baby Donna. Praet said she will be 42 in two months time, the age limit to adopt a child in Belgium, newspaper 'Het Laatste Nieuws' reported. Despite agreeing to bear the baby Donna for the Herk-de-Stad couple, the surrogate mother later gave the baby to a Dutch couple. A Belgian court ruled last week the baby should be returned to Belgium.

Internet tax problems persist

The problems plaguing the new Belgian TAX-on-web system have still not been entirely solved. The internet tax returns are being received by the treasury without problem, but the system is still calculating incorrect amounts that need to be paid or refunded. The system will undergo further adjustments before the end of this month, broadcaster VRT reported.

Chernobyl children visit Limburg

A group of 20 children from the Chernobyl region in Belarus are staying for a month with host families in Heusden, Limburg. The children are aged seven to 17. The trip is being organised by the group 'Hulp aan Belarus'. Spokesman Marcel Vandeweyer said the children live in an area still contaminated by the nuclear disaster. The trip is being funded by Tessenderlo Chemie and the Mol municipality, newspaper 'Het Belang van Limburg' reported.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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