Expatica news

Belgian news in brief, 29 September 2005

Belgian hostage taker jailed in Germany

A 26-year-old Belgian who helped Spanish anarchists take a couple hostage in 2004 has been jailed. A court in Aix-la-Chapelle in Germany jailed the Belgian for three-and-a-half years and the main hostage takers for 14 and 13 years each. The gang took the couple prisoners during a police check.

Rwanda ‘thinking’ of extraditing Belgian priest

Rwanda’s foreign minister Charles Murigande has said he is seriously considering the request of his Belgian counterpart Karel De Gucht to let the Belgian priest charged with inciting the 1994 genocide face trial in Belgium. Murigande made the statement to the Rwandan paper New Times. De Gucht had phoned him to ask for 60-year-old Guy Theunis to be extradited. Theunis denies he incited genocide by republishing articles from an extremist publication.

Job centre cutting more benefits

The first six months of this year saw a rising number of those on unemployment benefit being penalised by the job centre. The Flemish newspapers Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen reported that 9,717 people on the dole saw their benefits cut from between one to 26 months – 15 percent more than the same time last year. In most cases, the reason was because the job-seekers refused to take a job or were responsible for their own dismissal.

Record cigarette smuggling in Antwerp

A suspect has been arrested after customs officers seized a record haul of smuggled cigarettes at Antwerp port. Some 18 million contraband cigarettes were found hidden in two containers which had travelled from China, reported Le Soir. The packets were stamped with fake Belgian tax symbols and, if they had reached the black market, would have defrauded the tax system of EUR 2.6 million.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news