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2,600 drivers breathalysed in nationwide operation

More than 2,600 drivers were breathalysed on Belgian motorways during an operation conducted by the federal traffic police from Saturday night to Sunday morning. A total of 98 people, or 3.6%, were above the legal limit, the federal police said yesterday. The results are consistent with previous...

Belgian ‘shot dead in his sleep’ in Syria

A Belgian national who left the country to go fight in Syria is thought to have died in the Middle East. He has been named as Tarik Taketloune, a twenty-year-old car mechanic from Vilvoorde, who was studying at Mechelen’s Technical Institute. According to his father, the youngster was killed by a...

Unspoiled medieval buildings gave Belgium edge for BBC drama

The White Queen, the BBC's new flagship drama about the Wars of the Roses, was filmed in Belgium because, producers claim, England lacks unspoiled medieval buildings, writes the Daily Telegraph’s Claire Duffin . The film crew moved to Belgium, where the architecture is as enticing as the tax breaks...

Walibi offers no-queues pass… for an extra €35

Customers willing to pay an extra €35 for their Walibi tickets will no longer have to queue for rides, several papers report today. The amusement park refers to the scheme as "an additional service for those who want more comfort". With the €35 ‘Speedy Pass’, visitors avoid long queues; they can...

Paralympic supremo re-elected to Belgian Olympic board

Anne d’Ieteren, President of the Belgian Paralympic Committee since 2009, has been re-elected as a member of the governing board of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC), the Paralympic Movement’s website reports. D’Ieteren, a former dressage champion, has been representing...

Culture beat - June 6

Forget the Antwerp six, Belgium’s fashion scene is now flourishing across the country. Brussels designers and artists take centre stage in a first edition of the festival MADIFESTO , running until June 16. Organised by Brussels’ fashion and design house MAD it is aimed at the general public and...

Valentino Chocolatier

Leen De Leener and Willy Roelandts have been making chocolate since 1978 when the couple took over a little artisanal shop in the Koekelberg commune of Brussels. Remaining a small family business, Valentino has developed into one of the country’s most highly reputed chocolatiers, with their products sold in more than 60 shops across Brussels and Flanders. In the 1990s the company moved its headquarters to Schepdaal, about five kilometres outside Brussels, where they make the products and maintain their own shop.

One in 300 lunch vouchers goes to waste

Lunch vouchers worth a total of €35m were either lost or unused by Belgian employees between 2007 and 2011, Le Soir reports today, quoting figures from the ministry of employment. Wild figures had circulated in recent years about the number of ‘wasted’ meal tickets, with commerce and services...

Belgian tax on foreign bank interests ‘unlawful’

The EU’s highest court has ruled that Belgium violated European Union rules by granting a tax exemption to savers with money only in domestic bank accounts, reports Bloomberg’s Stephanie Bodoni . Belgium’s argument that the measure is needed “to prevent tax avoidance and evasion in the context of...

Missing Belgian teacher is alive in Syria

The Belgian teacher Pierre Piccinin da Prata, who went missing in Syria in April, is alive, reports Le Soir. He had a brief conversation with his parents – who live in Gembloux, Walloon Brabant - on Thursday afternoon, the foreign affairs ministry confirmed. The Italian journalist who was with him...

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