Headlines – Friday 24th May 2013

Belgian Rail And Government To Reduce Cable Theft

Last year, 1,400 cable thefts were reported, which caused a significant amount of disruption to the rail network and cost NMBS 8 Million Euros. This was an 80% increase on 2011. Four Ministers are meeting to discuss tackling the problem, which will include replacing the valuable copper in signalling cables with aluminium.

Wet Weather Causes Surprise Bell Ringing

At 5.30am yesterday morning, water from torrential rainfall entered the fuse box in Saint Peter’s Church in Leuven causing a weather contact, making the church bells ring continuously for an hour and a half. Local residents in the city centre were woken up amidst the ringing, some of whom had assumed something very serious was heppening!

 

Child Poverty Increases

Child poverty figures continue to increase. in 2011, 9.7% of Flemish children were born in an underprivileged family, increasing from 8.2% in 2009. The organisation who presented the figures, Decenniumdoelen, set 6 aims in 2007 to cut poverty by 50% by 2017, which now appears to be unlikely.

 

Prince Albert Promises to Protect Antarctica

Prince Albert II of Monaco has promised that measures will be taken to protect Antarctica from exploitation and to protect the South Pole, at the 36th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting” in Brussels.

Belgium has had a research base on Antarctica since 2009, and pressure is mounting to extract the natural resources under the thick layer of ice on the continent.

Walloons opt for Republic

1,003 Walloons aged 18-75 took part in an online survey, which shows that 53% of Walloons would choose to opt for a republic, in the event of Wallonia becoming independent via a Belgian split. Half of respondents chose Namur as the capital of a Walloon republic. The most republican group emerged in the 18-24 age group category with 62%.

 

Belgian Arms Checks Criticized

Amnesty International have stated in their annual report that Belgium cannot control the final destination of the weapons it sells abroad due to inadequate checks. It also criticises the judicial system for not granting Lahoucine El Haski, suspected of terrorism, the right to a free trial.

 

Red Devils’ Call For More Females

Belgium’s national football team is calling for more female fans to attend matches. As part of this, a stand has been reserved for the 7 June match against Serbia in the World Cup preliminaries. All female fans have been invited to fill the stand, for which there are no tickets. Fans’ chances of getting a seat are increased if they send a photo or video to the Belgian FA to prove they are ardent fans of the team. They have promised to make better publicity for women’s soccer if the challenge is met.

 

US Boy Scouts Council Approves Gay Members

The Council of the Boy Scouts of America has approved a plan to allow openly gay boys to join the organisation, effective on the 1st January 2014. However, the ban on allowing gay Scout leaders remains in place.

 

Tornado Wreckage Clearout and Rebuild Can Begin

After three days of searching through the wreckage, all residents of the town of Moore, Oklahoma have been accounted for and the clearing of the wreckage and subsequent rebuilding of Moore shall begin. This confirms a total count of 24 people who have lost their lives as a result of the category 5 tornado.

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