Belgian news in brief, 8 February 2006

8th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

Police arrest 'slumlords' in Brussels

Police arrest 'slumlords' in Brussels

Schaarbeek police have arrested two men on charges of human smuggling. The men are accused of renting out uninhabitable houses. Police raided seven premises near the business area around Brussels North train station on Wednesday, discovering 90 residents. Some families with children were living in rooms no bigger than 16sq m. The residents — mainly illegal immigrants from Romania — had to pay EUR 500 per month to the two suspects. The Red Cross has offered them emergency shelter and any illegal immigrants will be repatriated. Those allowed to stay will be given alternative housing.

2006 Belgian Grand Prix scratched

The 2006 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps was officially cancelled by the FIA on Wednesday. The race has been dogged with controversy due to financial scandals. Last-minute talks between Wallonian authorities and Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone failed to rescue this year's event. Ecclestone had demanded redevelopment of the historic circuit but due to time constraints, the FIA has confirmed that Belgian authorities have requested that this year's race be scratched.

Saddam artwork banned

Seaside town Middelkerke has banned an artwork of Saddam Hussein for fear it will put off tourists and offend Muslims. The piece, called Saddam Hussein Shark, shows the handcuffed former Iraqi dictator wearing underpants while suspended in liquid. Mayor Michel Landuyt said the work could "shock people", including Muslims. "They wanted to put this piece in a location where many children come, so that couldn't be allowed," he told the BBC. The work, by Czech artist David Cerny, will now be displayed in a museum in Oostende.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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