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Belgium’s political pandas to arrive 23 February

Belgium’s two anticipated Chinese pandas are slated to arrive this Sunday, 23 February. Hao Hao and Xing Hui will make their debut at the Wallonia animal park Pairi Daiza after making the long trip with courier DHL. The pandas are expected to have a traditional going away ceremony before they leave...

Antwerp sacks prize-winning city architect

Antwerp’s city council has decided to dismiss city architect Kristiaan Borret ( pictured ) and look for a new candidate with “experience in Belgium and internationally”. Borret’s role was to ensure a high standard and consistency in new architecture in the city. Appointed by Patrick Janssens’...

Real estate agents continue to work under the table

New, stricter rules brought into effect 1 January that were supposed to limit cash payments to prevent money-laundering are being ignored by real estate agents, according to news reports. The latest Belgian legislation forbids payments exceeding 3,000 euros to be made in cash, and in real estate...

VRT closes news bureaux in Washington and Beijing

The Flemish public broadcaster VRT is closing its permanent news bureaux in Washington, DC, and in Beijing from next year, switching to the use of “pop-up correspondents” instead, the organisation announced yesterday. The broadcaster said that the change was part of a plan to extend international...

Wage Watchers: How much does a Volvo canteen chef earn?

What do you do? I work as a chef in the kitchen of the automobile company Volvo. Beyond the daily demands of working in a large corporate kitchen, when the big Volvo bosses come to eat, we are expected to serve higher-end dishes, such as lobster or oysters. To deal with that demand, our kitchen has...

“Children should do multiple sports”

Children should practise a variety of sports rather than devoting their efforts to a single one in order to fully develop their motor skills, according to Job Fransen of Ghent University, who found that children were better able to develop basic motor skills through a variety of movement and...

1,500 Belgian pubs flouted smoking ban in 2013

According to the latest statistics, smoking habits continue to be very hard to break. Despite hefty fines for lighting up indoors, a quarter of the pubs inspected last year were found breaking the law on smoking. About 1,500 watering holes broke the rules, resulting in fines of €160 for the smoker...

Brussels region bans open-air GMO crops

The Brussels-Capital Region has banned the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the open air, fearing the contamination of classic crops. According to the region’s agriculture minister, Céline Fremault, who introduced the ban, it is almost unavoidable that pollen or seeds from...

Belgium lifts ban on Madonna’s hit ‘Frozen’

For the first time in over eight years, one of Madonna’s hit singles can be played and bought in Belgium. The 1998 single ‘Frozen’ was banned from Belgium’s airways and store shelves in November of 2005 when the artist lost a copyright infringement case. Belgian songwriter Salvatore Acquaviva won...

Belgacom CEO’s salary exceeds €650,000 cap

The new CEO of Belgacom, Dominique Leroy, will be allowed to earn more than the new salary limit set by the government for state-controlled concerns, the federal minister of government enterprises said yesterday. Leroy’s salary could go as high as €800,000, once bonuses and other benefits are taken...

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