Expatica news

Belgian news in brief, 29 July 2005

Inflation at highest level in 4 years

The price of consumer goods in Belgium was 3.14 percent higher in July compared with the same month last year. This is the highest inflation rate since May 2001. And compared with June 2005, prices rose in July by 0.6 percent, the National Bank (NBB) said. The rising cost of crude oil was blamed for the rise in inflation.

Sharp fall in hit-and-run accidents

The number of hit-and-run accidents in Belgium has declined spectacularly. There were 2.6 times as many hit-and-runs in 2000 compared with 2003. Transport Minister Renaat Landuyt said 14,244 hit-and-run accidents were reported in 2000, compared with 11,961 in 2001 and 5,466 in 2003. There were 8,964 hit-and-run accidents in Flanders in 2000 and just 3,821 in 2003. In Wallonia, the figures were 3,740 and 1,289. The number of people convicted of a hit-and-run accident remained stable at 9,089 in 2000 and 8,999 in 2002.  It is not known how many hit-and-run accidents go unsolved. While the culprit remains unknown, the incident is simply recorded as an ‘accident’ in statistics.

Weapons trader ‘sold guns illegally’

A Belgian weapons trader from the Dinant region is alleged to have illegally sold 250 guns in France, including to the crime world. Dinant justice authorities carried out a check on 1 July and discovered that the man imported guns from Luxembourg and the Netherlands without officially registering them with police. Since October 2003, the man is alleged to have passed on 250 guns, gun parts and ammunition at double the normal price. The guns are suspected to have been sold to collectors and the crime world in France. The suspect was also allegedly active in Spain.

Ambitious casino, apartment project

By 2009, Belgian coastal town Knokke will have a new casino 98m high and built in the shape of a sail. US architect Steven Hall has drawn up a design to redevelop the existing casino and build above that building 55 apartments and a hotel with 155 rooms. At a height of 60m, a thalassotherapy centre will be located with an open-air swimming pool while the first floor will be a restaurant and terrace. Knokke Mayor Leopold Lippens said the plan was the greatest architectural project since the Atomium.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news