Expatica news

Belgian news in brief, 20 July 2005

Belgium celebrates 175 years

Belgium will celebrate 175 years of independence and 25 years of federalism with diverse festivals and parties across the nation on Thursday. For the full listings of festivities on offer in your city or region, click through to the Belgian government’s official Independence Day site at www.175-25.be.

Storms classified a natural disaster

The Cabinet on Wednesday officially recognised the storms on 3 and 4 July were a natural disaster. It means the residents of municipalities across East and West Flanders will be able to lodge a claim for damages with local authorities from 25 July. Recognition the storms were a natural disaster allows compensation to be paid from the national disaster fund.

Belgium has lowest pensions in Europe

Belgium has Europe’s largest difference between a workers last salary and their pension, Pensions Minister Bruno Tobback said. He added that the figures from the Strategic Pensions Report 2005 illustrate that Belgian pensions must be increased rather than reduced. Despite the fact Belgian has the oldest population across the EU, it pays a low pension. Workers who retire retain in principle just 66.1 percent of their last salary.

Warning over new illicit drug

The Academic Institute for Public Health issued on Tuesday a warning against a new dangerous drug circulating in Belgium. The drug was first found on 7 July when 36 pills were seized at a nightclub in Ninove. Tests revealed that two of the pills contained CCP, a substance that is used in anti-depressants. A young man who used the drug was hospitalised earlier this month at the Rock Werchter festival and rushed to hospital in Leuven. Doctors found traces of cannabis, cocaine, MDMA and GHB in his urine. It is not yet unknown how dangerous the new pills are, but CCP is known to cause panic attacks, headaches, stomach pains and dizziness.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news