The Belgian news in March 2006

5th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

The Belgian newsin March 2006

1 March 2006
Bird flu lock-up order comes into force

A compulsory lock-up order for poultry comes into force to ward off a threatened outbreak of bird flu. On order from the federal government, poultry must be kept inside or screened from wild birds by gauze or netting. The measure applies to both professional and hobby poultry farmers. Authorities later indicate that the lock-up order might be lifted at the end of May. Meanwhile, chicken sales are estimated to have fallen by up to 30 percent due to consumer fears.

1 March 2006
Natural disaster insurance takes effect

New federal legislation automatically insuring the public against natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes comes into effect. It means insurance against natural disasters will automatically become part of a policyholder's fire insurance.

4 March 2006
Deported Belgian expat arrives 'home'

A 32-year-old Belgian woman who spent a month and a half in a US prison lands at Zaventem Airport in Brussels. Victoria Vannerom was arrested on 26 January near Boston and detained in prison for working in the US while on a student visa. She had lived 11 years in the US.

7 March 2006
Record number of repatriations in 2005

A record 3,755 asylum seekers opted to return home last year courtesy of a Belgian repatriation scheme. The repatriation scheme is co-ordinated by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). "We buy the flight tickets and give them a premium of EUR 250 for adults and EUR 125 for children," IOM spokesman Pascal Reyntjens said. "By arrival in their home country, the returnee signs a contract in which they promise not to come back to Belgium for the next five years."

8 March 2006
Zaventem named Europe's best airport

Zaventem Airport in Brussels is crowned equal best airport in Europe along with Copenhagen Airport in Denmark by the international association of airports (ACI).

9 March 2006
Throat infection instead of bird flu

The 32-year-old Belgian businessman admitted to a Brussels hospital is found too have a throat infection and not bird flu as initially feared. The man was admitted to hospital on 6 March with bird flu symptoms after returning from China and emergency precautionary procedures were put into motion. 

9 March 2006
Ministers survive vote of no confidence 

Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx and Interior Minister Patrick Dewael survive a no-confidence motion in Parliament. Opposition party Christian Democrat CD&V lodged the motion in response to the controversial escape of Turkish militant Fehriye Erdal late last month. However, MPs rejected the motion, giving both ministers breathing space until the police and intelligence service supervisory committees have completed their investigations into the scandal.

10 March 2006
Watchdog demands energy merger sell-offs 

Belgian energy regulator CREG demands French firms Suez and Gaz de France (GdF) offload some of their interests in the Belgian energy market to prevent them gaining a monopolistic position. The strict demands are outlined in advice given to Energy Minister Marc Verwilghen. The recently announced merger of Suez and GdF threatens the fragile competition in the Belgian gas and electricity market.

10 March 2006
Half of sexual abuse cases are dismissed

While 20 complaints of sexual abuse are lodged with public prosecution authorities each day, almost 46 percent are eventually dismissed. There were 35,443 complaints of sexual abuse repo

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