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Brussels region to ban diesel cars by 2030, petrol cars by 2035
25 June 2021 - he Brussels regional government announced on Friday [25 June] a ban on diesel cars in the region by 2030 and petrol cars by 2035 in an effort to meet the European Union's carbon neutrality goal by 2050. The ban will also apply to vehicles running on compressed-natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and hybrids from 2035. (more)

Belgium uses giant 'vacuum cleaner' to remove plastic from nature reserve
8 October 2020 - Engineers have built a giant 'vacuum cleaner' to rid a Belgian nature reserve of millions of pieces of plastic litter too small to collect by hand. Port authorities last year launched a competition to design a solution to decontaminate the area, which is home to endangered bird species. (more)

20,000 paper birds help fund COVID-19 units at Belgium hospital
10 August 2020 - A flock of 20,000 multicoloured origami birds has been installed in a cathedral in Brussels, Belgium, as part of a fundraising artwork that has paid for two COVID-19 units at a local hospital. Each bird was matched by a donation from companies including French energy firm Engie, raising 101,625 euros ($119,744) for two units for COVID-19 patients at the Erasmus hospital in Brussels. (more)

Uplifting idea: Cranes in Belgium reunite families in corona crisis
14 May 2020 - Tristan Van den Bosch, an operator of mobile platforms, saw his equipment stand idle because of the coronavirus pandemic and realized too many families could not see their locked-up elderly in care homes. Two problems created one solution and Van den Bosch has been driving his cranes to care homes in several towns across Belgium to lift the spirits of all involved. (more)

Michelin-star chef serves Belgian homeless after coronavirus closure
17 April 2020 - The chef at one of Belgium's oldest and most prestigious restaurants, which has been shuttered by the coronavirus, is feeding homeless people once a week, echoing initiatives by chefs across Europe. Lionel Rigolet of Comme Chez Soi, whose elaborate dishes cost as much as 265 euros ($287), began cooking and serving food to 100 homeless people every Thursday from his kitchen since Belgium went into lockdown on March 18. (more)

With doors closed for coronavirus, Belgian chefs cater for hospitals
7 April 2020 - Belgian chef Nils Proost did not sit back when coronavirus restrictions forced the closure of his restaurant. He is now one of 30 top cooks serving meals to health sector workers across the country. ... He asked suppliers if they had food they could spare and called fellow chefs. Now his '#feedthenurses' initiative has some 30 chefs cooking meals for 40 hospitals as well as some care homes. (more)

Belgian video-calling robots to keep elderly connected during coronavirus
17 March 2020 - A Belgian robotics firm is lending a fleet of robots to elderly care homes to help residents stay connected after the government banned visitors to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 'We said, in the coming weeks we will not be able to sell, the stock is just going to sit here. Instead of letting the stock sit here, why not put it to use in a good way?' Zorabots co-CEO Tommy Deblieck told Reuters. (more)

Volvo installs solar power at Belgian factory
5 October 2018 - Autos giant Volvo has installed 15,000 solar panels at a car factory in Ghent, Belgium. 'Installing solar panels in Ghent ­adds to our broader efforts to minimize our environmental footprint,' Javier Varela, head of manufacturing and logistics at Volvo Cars, said in a statement. The company has said it wants its global manufacturing operations to be carbon neutral and fully electric cars to account for 50 percent of global sales by 2025. (more)

Despite summer heat, Brussels' flower carpet emblazons city center
16 August 2018 - Belgian flower growers bested the summer's blistering heat to lay out 500,000 blossoms on the central square of Brussels, in this year's edition of the world famous flower carpet. ... organizers once again arranged an 1,800 square-meter flower carpet on the city's landmark Renaissance town square, which this year drew inspiration from the Mexican region of Guanajuato. (more)

Refugee chefs serve up treats at Brussels food festival
22 June 2018 - In the bustling kitchen of the upscale Le Mess restaurant in Brussels, Majid Akbari ... inspects his dessert, making sure the cardamom tea, rose water rice puddings, and orange cakes are well plated before being served to customers. The Iranian refugee of Afghan descent was among a group of refugees who became chefs for a few days this week at restaurants in Brussels as part of an international festival seeking to bring people together at the dinner table. The festival, which began two years ago in Paris, has become a global event ... Customers have responded enthusiastically to the initiative. The festival has served as a launch pad for some. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
Short Summaries of Top Stories

Belgium: Peace Assemblies in Brussels create harmonious atmosphere for EU leaders' summits
10 March 2014 - European Union Summit meetings bring together heads of state in Brussels, Belgium, every few months to make important decisions for the whole EU. Brussels is also the seat of the European Commission, European Council, and European Parliament. A few hundred metres away, special Peace Assemblies of advanced Transcendental Meditation practitioners have been held coinciding with the summits, with the aim of creating a coherent, harmonious atmosphere for EU leaders' deliberations, so that they will have the most life-supporting effect for all of Europe. (more)

Belgium: Consciousness-Based Education expert tours five cities
12 May 2013 - Dr Ashley Deans, an expert with many years experience in the field of Consciousness-Based Education, recently toured Belgium speaking on its benefits for both students and educators. Dr Deans' five-city tour started in Brussels with a well-attended press conference, and went on to visit the major Belgian educational centres and cities of Leuven, Ghent, Hasselt, and Antwerp, returning at the end to Brussels. (more)

Coherence-creating conference of advanced meditators convenes in Brussels 'to support unity and stability in Europe' during EU summit
6 March 2013 - A four-day conference of advanced Transcendental Meditation practitioners is in progress in Brussels, Belgium--'to support unity and stability in Europe' during the current summit of European Union leaders, organizers said. Scientific research has found that large groups practising these advanced technologies of consciousness reduce social stress and create a measurable influence of coherence and harmony in the surroundings. Similar conferences held during EU summits last year had 'remarkable' effects, said Dr Stijn van den Bosch, director of the Transcendental Meditation programme in Belgium. The first was held in June during an important EU summit meeting about the financial crisis. 'Although expectations for a good outcome were very low, heads of state came to an agreement on the first day.' A news article commented, 'After 20 failed EU summits, here is finally one that has some good results.' (more)

Belgium: Transcendental Meditation group established to create coherence, harmony for EU
21 January 2013 - In Brussels, Belgium, where many key institutions of the European Union are based, a group of advanced Transcendental Meditation practitioners dedicated to supporting unity and stability in Europe has been established nearby in two adjacent, dignified city-centre buildings. The group's purpose is to create through their daily meditation practice an influence of coherence and harmony in the collective consciousness of Europe--one of many initiatives of Maharishi's Invincible Defence programmes in Belgium and other countries around the world. (more)

Coherence-creating conference of meditators gathers to lend quiet support to EU summit in Brussels
25 September 2012 - A conference of meditators who practise the Transcendental Meditation technique will be held in Brussels, Belgium, coinciding with a European summit convened to discuss the future of the continent. Lt. Col. (Ret.) Gunter Chasse, a decorated officer in the German Air Force, said that the meditators are 'coming to perform their powerful coherence-creating programme in the Maharishi Invincibility Centre, just a few hundred metres away from where the political leaders will be meeting.' Scientific research has documented the measurable decrease in social stress and conflict, and rise in social coherence and harmony, generated by large groups practising Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programmes. (more)

Conference in Brussels aims to create coherence during EU summit
8 June 2012 - Advanced Transcendental Meditation practitioners from throughout Europe will convene later this week for a special three-day conference in Brussels, Belgium. The conference is planned for 28-30 June, coinciding with the European summit in Brussels. Participants will meet for twice-daily extended practice of Transcendental Meditation and its advanced techniques, to create an effect of coherence and positivity to support the proceedings of the European leaders. (more)

Belgium: Progress in expanding Consciousness-Based Education, Maharishi Ayur-Veda health care
22 January 2011 - The past year has been one of significant progress in implementing and expanding programmes of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, especially those in education and health care, in Belgium. (more)

Belgium launches Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture projects, EU petitions GMOs
20 November 2010 - Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture projects are underway at the Maharishi Invincibility Centre in Belgium. At the same time, European attitudes toward GMOs are becoming are moving in the direction of increasing food purity and safety, in accord with principles of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Vedic Science and technologies of consciousness. (more)

Belgium: Maharishi Spa expands offerings, new Vastu construction underway
20 November 2010 - Programmes at the Maharishi Spa in Brussels, Belgium, are expanding with the recent training of two new Maharishi Ayur-Veda technicians, who will be offering new treatments to guests. The Spa is now also supported by regular visits from Vaidyas (expert Ayurvedic physicians from India). In other news from Belgium, another Vastu home is under construction, the second in the nation to be designed and built according to Maharishi Vedic architecture. (more)

Belgium: Maharishi Vedic Architecture, Consciousness-Based Education, Maharishi Ayur-Veda health care expanding
28 July 2010 - The programmes of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the fields of Vastu architecture and building construction; Consciousness-Based Education; and natural, prevention-oriented health care are undergoing great expansion in Belgium. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Experts: Belgium often comes up short in preventing attacks
24 March 2016 - Belgium has come up short in its efforts to prevent extremist attacks time and again, experts say -- failing to coordinate intelligence, investigate suspects, and control its borders. No country has a perfect record, but Belgium's is especially bad. Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London, called it 'depressingly predictable' that a major attack would occur in Brussels. (more)

Islamic State claims deadly bombings in Brussels
23 March 2016 - Islamic extremists struck Tuesday in the heart of Europe, killing at least 34 people and wounding scores of others in back-to-back bombings of the Brussels airport and subway that again laid bare the continent's vulnerability to suicide squads. European security officials have been bracing for a major attack for weeks and warned that IS was actively preparing to strike. The arrest Friday [in Molenbeek] of Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the November 13 attacks in Paris, heightened those fears, as investigators said many more people were involved than originally thought and that some are still on the loose. (more)

In Belgian district, many feel a dead end fuels militancy
20 December 2015 - Brahim Abdeslam seemed no different from his peers in Molenbeek, one of Belgium's poorest districts, where drug use is rife and many of the young men are unemployed. One November evening, he passed the time smoking pot in a parked car with two of his friends. But the next day, Abdeslam drove to Paris, and on November 13 he blew himself up outside a cafe on Boulevard Voltaire, part of the wave of attacks claimed by the Islamic State group that killed 130 people. The Molenbeek district of Brussels was home to a core number of the participants in the Paris attacks. Home to generations of immigrants and Belgians of North African descent, Molenbeek feels like a dead end for many of its youth, residents say. With few opportunities, they feel neglected by authorities and rejected by the rest of Belgian society -- giving an opening for radicals to seek recruits. (more)

Brussels under serious threat after Paris attacks
21 November 2015 - Heavily armed police and soldiers patrolled key intersections, subways were closed, and many stores shut their doors in Belgium's capital Saturday as the government warned of a threat of Paris-style attacks. At least one suspect from the deadly Paris attacks is at large and was last seen crossing into Belgium. Prime Minister Charles Michel said the decision to raise the threat alert to the highest level was taken 'based on quite precise information about the risk of an attack like the one that happened in Paris ... where several individuals with arms and explosives launch actions, perhaps even in several places at the same time.' (more)

Paris attacks rooted in Brussels bring question: Why Belgium
21 November 2015 - The family homes of the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks and one of the suicide bombers stand only a few blocks apart in the Belgian capital's Molenbeek neighborhood. After a string of attacks in recent years linked to its grimy streets in central Brussels, a key question arises: Why Belgium? The tiny nation renowned for beer, chocolates, and the comic book hero Tintin is now suddenly infamous for Islamic extremism -- and the easy availability of illegal weapons. Belgium has a central location in Europe; few border controls; a common language with prime jihadi target France; and a political divide between French and Dutch speakers that has long created bureaucratic disarray in justice and security. From the Prime Minister down, there is widespread acknowledgment of a complicated and disjointed national structure that hampers the fight against extremism. (more)

Young jobless on the rise in Europe's rich north
21 September 2012 - Youth unemployment is notoriously a problem of southern Europe. What is less obvious, as the euro zone slips into its second recession in just three years, is the scale of the problem in the north. A quarter of 18-to-25 year olds in Antwerp, Belgium are now jobless, up from 19 per cent in 2008. In some parts of Brussels, the Belgian and European capital and the third-richest region in the European Union, youth joblessness is as high as 40 per cent. In France, Britain, and Sweden, as many as one in five young people are now out of work. The rising pool of jobless youth is fuelling class and racial divisions, according to youth workers and some politicians. Many experts blame joblessness for outbursts of violence such as last year's riots in Britain. Southern Europe has long struggled with youth unemployment. In Italy, the rate has not dropped below 20 per cent in more than two decades, according to the EU's statistics office Eurostat. In Spain, the rate has averaged 30 per cent since 1990. (more)

Street crime wave hits Europe's capital
8 November 2011 - A wave of theft and vandalism has hit the downtown of Europe's capital, only blocks away from where leaders have been trying to fix the continent's debt crisis, provoking the local police chief to blame immigrants and drug addicts. While government heads pulled up in the past few days in luxury cars shielded by security vehicles, the streets nearby revealed a cruder side to Europe's economic troubles -- shattered car window glass lining one major avenue and a slew of store windows smashed in a nearby neighbourhood. Pickpocket incidents in the year up to 1 November were up to 3,020 this year from 2,509 in the same period of 2010. Violent robberies rose to 1,955 from 1,725. Thefts from vehicles declined to 6,200 in the period this year from 6,500 last -- but in October they went up by 16 per cent. (more)

Belgian government collapses, economy at risk
22 April 2010 - Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme's government collapsed on Thursday after the Flemish liberal party pulled out of his five-month-old coalition, causing a crisis that could damage its fragile economy. Economists have expressed concern that political paralysis in the linguistically-divided country of 10.6 million people as it recovers from the global economic crisis would harm the prospects of reducing Belgium's budget deficit. (more)

Infant swimming in chlorinated pools tied to lung infection, asthma
28 January 2010 - Children who start swimming before the age of 2 may be at increased risk of a common infant lung infection, and possibly asthma and respiratory allergies later in life, a new study suggests. The findings, reported in the European Respiratory Journal, add to evidence that exposure to chlorinated pools may affect children's respiratory health -- particularly if they have a family history of asthma or respiratory allergies like hay fever. Experts have suspected that the air quality around pools, particularly indoor ones, is to blame. In the new study, Belgian researchers found that infant swimming -- whether in indoor or outdoor pools -- was linked to a heightened risk of bronchiolitis. Among children who had used only indoor pools for more than 20 hours before age 2, the risk of bronchiolitis was 3.5-times higher compared with children who had never been to a chlorinated indoor pool at that age. Children who had spent that much time at an outdoor pool showed a two-fold increase in their risk of the lung infection. (more)

Is swimming pool chlorine fuelling the allergy epidemic?
14 September 2009 - Swimming in a chlorinated pool may boost the odds that a child susceptible to asthma and allergies will develop these problems, a study released today indicates. 'These new data clearly show that by irritating the airways of swimmers chlorination products in water and air of swimming pools exert a strong additive effect on the development of asthma and respiratory allergies such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis,' Dr Alfred Bernard, a toxicologist at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, Belgium, noted in an email to Reuters Health. 'The impact of these chemicals on the respiratory health of children and adolescents appears to be much more important -- at least by a factor of five -- than that associated with secondhand smoke,' Dr Bernard noted. (more)


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