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Scientist suggests Belgium markets cannabis

University of Leuven toxicologist Jan Tytgat has urged the Belgian authorities to set up a pilot scheme to market cannabis on their own behalf, reports Flanders News . He says this would help to counter the growth of illegal cannabis plantations in Belgium and provide guarantees for the quality of...

A Delicate Truth by John le Carré

Hell hath no fury like a junior-to-mid-ranking civil servant scorned. Or, if not fury, at the very least perseverance and resourcefulness. John le Carré’s 23rd novel centres on the inner turmoil of Toby Bell, private secretary to a junior New Labour Foreign Office minister, a greedy, nasty piece of work with neo-con leanings – but publicly hailed as a man of the people.

Swapping notes: the Brussels Bookswappers Club

Brit Karen Garside runs the Brussels Bookswappers Club How did you get involved with the Bookswappers? A neighbour told me about the Brussels Bookswappers Club, which at that time was meeting in a smoky city centre pub. I went with her to a meeting in 2009 and thought how nice it would be to come...

Brussels DC ‘not on the cards’

The Brussels metropolitan project, scheduled in the reform of the State, will not in the short term lead to the creation of a kind of ‘Brussels DC’, by analogy with the US capital, according to a study by researcher Caroline Van Wynsberghe published in Brussels Studies . The metropolitan community...

Belgium sells ‘bad bank’ credit portfolio

Belgium has pared back its public debt with the sale of the structured credit portfolio held by its ‘bad bank’, Royal Park Investments (RPI), to US private equity firm Lone Star and Credit Suisse, reports Reuters’ Ben Deighton . The announcement was made by the finance ministry on Saturday. Finance...

Copper thief caught red-handed in Brussels

A copper thief was caught in the act on Friday night by a witness at Brussels Midi. The suspected thief is a Bulgarian national, aged around 50, who is staying illegally in the country, the Brussels public prosecutor said on Saturday. The man was seen on Friday evening at around 23.00 on land next...

Brendan Gleeson to play Marvin Gaye’s Belgian friend

Irish actor Brendan Gleeson has joined the cast of director Julien Temple’s much-anticipated Marvin Gaye biopic. He will play the late Belgian music promoter Freddy Cousaert, who convinced Gaye to live in Ostend towards the end of his career and encouraged him to put his past drug abuse behind him...

Belgians in Premiership Team of the Year

Two Belgian footballers feature in the Premier League Team of the Year, in the shape of Tottenham Hotspur’s Jan Vertonghen and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Both players only joined the Premier League last summer and are now featured in an all-star XI alongside the likes of Leighton Baines, Juan Mata,...

Murder, mystery and mayhem

When Helen Grant lived in Bad Münstereifel for several years with her family, she fell in love with the local legends and folklore of the historic German spa town and used them to fuel her debut novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden . Her next two equally ghoulish novels, The Glass Demon and...

Wage watchers: how much does a chip shop owner earn?

Chip shop owner Sandy Siebens, 38, from Puurs talks about what she earns and how she spends it. What do you do for a living? I’ve owned a chip shop with my husband for 17 years. We originally took over the chip van where we’d eat every week. It wasn’t very practical though – you’re never home. So...

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