The Belgian news in August 2006

6th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

The Belgian news in August 2006

1 August 2006
Illegal immigrants beating Oostende scanner

The scanner used at Oostende to intercept illegal immigrants on their way to Britain is not working. The scanner is a heartbeat detector that can reveal the presence of human beings in containers awaiting shipment. Oostende port authorities are waiting for more UK cash before they can step up efforts again. But human-trafficking organisations are apparently aware of the problem at Oostende and are taking advantage of it.

2 August 2006
Mp3 murder suspect back in Brussels

The youth arrested in Poland on suspicion of the murder of Brussels teenager Joe Van Holsbeeck arrives back in Belgium. A plane carrying the 17-year-old Pole, Adam G., touches down at Melsbroek Airbase near Brussels at around 12:30pm after Warsaw Court granted his extradition at the end of July.

2 August 2006
Fixing cigarette prices - Belgium under fire

Belgium and France are under fire from the European Commission for fixing minimum retail prices for cigarettes. The EC believes that such prices do not respect community law, distort competition and benefit manufacturers only by safeguarding their profit margins. In order to reduce tobacco consumption - a positive step towards boosting public health - the EC advocates increasing the excise duty on cigarettes. It sent a 'reasoned opinion' in June 2006 to both countries - this is an early stage in possible legal action by the Commission against member states. The document details the grounds for possible legal action and sets a date for the matter to be resolved.

3 August 2006
Unmanned plane 'was shot down'

The unmanned Belgian plane that crashed recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo was allegedly shot down and did not suffer a mechanical failure as was originally thought. The B-Hunter plane crashed while on a test flight not far from Kinshasa Airport. At first, it was thought that a fault in the plane's software had caused the crash. However, sources in Kinshasa now say that the plane was shot down.

5 August 2006
Tributes abound as Flemish nationalist dies

Flemish politician Hugo Schiltz dies in the Antwerp University Hospital. He was 78. Schiltz is remembered as one of the great architects of the federalised Belgian state together with Wilfried Martens and Jean-Luc Dehaene. He became an honorary Minister of State in 1995. Following news of his death, tributes across the political spectrum were offered to Schiltz and his contribution to modern Belgium.

9 August 2006
Marcinelle mine disaster commemorated 

A commemorative service is held in Marcinelle to mark the 50th anniversary of the Belgian mine disaster that left 262 miners dead. Hundreds of people attended the service, including Socialist PS stalwart Jean-Claude Van Cauwenberghe and Charleroi City Council representatives. A large number of miners also converged on Marcinelle to pay their respects to the victims of the 8 August 1956 disaster, in which fire broke out in the Le Bois du Cazier coal mine.

10 August 2006
Purchasing power falls due to high oil prices

The purchasing power of Belgian households fell in the past year as prices rose faster than wages and the high cost of oil increasingly made a dent in family budgets. KBC figures indicate the trend has been noticeable since the second half of last year and was confirmed in the first half of this year. The KBC figures are supported by ING studies indicating that purchasing power declined in 2005.

10 August 2006
Citizenship delays despite 'quicker' process

An application for Belgian citizenship currently takes 18 months to be processed compared with six to nine months prior to the passing of the accelerated Belgian nationality law in March 2000. But a spokesman for the lobby

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