News in brief

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Antwerp is the world’s second-best city to live in, along with Brussels, according to a survey carried out by human resources consultancy ECA International. Top of the list was Copenhagen, which also came first last year. All of the cities in the top 20 are European, while Kabul and Baghdad came last.  --

Antwerp is the world’s second-best city to live in, along with Brussels, according to a survey carried out by human resources consultancy ECA International. Top of the list was Copenhagen, which also came first last year. All of the cities in the top 20 are European, while Kabul and Baghdad came last.  --

Children in all Flemish secondary schools will this week receive a lesson pack aimed at raising awareness of the need for road safety. The pack contains a DVD with the testimony of victims of road traffic accidents explaining how their lives have been changed forever. Research has shown that road accidents are the leading cause of death in Flanders for young people aged 15 to 29.

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Parents wishing to enrol their children in the few places available in Dutch-speaking secondary schools in Brussels will in future not be forced to camp out at the school gates weeks in advance of registration. From next year, enrolments will take place via a website or call centre. This year’s record was set by a man in central Brussels who set up camp in a motor home outside the doors of the Sint-Jan Berchmans College 20 days before the rolls opened to be sure of a place for his child. A similar change for primary schools is expected to follow eventually.

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Two top Flemish researchers have been omitted from an international list of the top 100 experts on Alzheimer’s Disease. The Flemish Institute for Biotechnology describes this as “an error in calculation”. The list ranks researchers according to the number of papers published since 1985, which works to the disadvantage of younger researchers such as Christine Van Broeckhoven of the University of Antwerp, who is only 55, and Bart De Strooper of Leuven University, who is 49. “Nearly everyone on the list is over 65,” De Strooper said. It also ranks only those papers with the words “Alzheimer’s Disease” in the title.

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The Flemish government is to back the construction of two new tram lines serving Brussels Airport, employment minister Frank Vandenbroucke announced. The two lines – one from Vilvoorde, Machelen and Zaventem town and the other running from Evere and Nato – are intended to make it easier for people to take jobs in the airport and surrounding area.

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Students at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) have become less left-wing over the past 20 years, according to research revealed last week. New students to the social sciences faculty have been polled over the last two decades, revealing a trend away from the left towards the centre parties – mainly the CD&V of former Prime Minister Yves Leterme.

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The province of East Flanders will hand out free seeds in April to encourage the growing of wild flowers in an effort to save the bee population. The seeds will include yellow mustard, radish, coriander and cornflowers, all of which produce flowers attractive to bees, whose population has been suffering recently from a mysterious colony collapse.

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Some 42 magistrates have signed a complaint against Glenn Audenaert, head of the federal judicial police, following what were described as sexist remarks he made two weeks ago on the subject of female magistrates (see Flanders Today, 11 March). Audenaert is alleged to have said he would prefer there to be no women magistrates – remarks he later qualified to mean that he supported reforms allowing women to combine job and family more easily.

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The tax authorities in Belgium could bring in an extra €10 billion a year if they were as efficient as those in neighbouring countries, according to a professor at Antwerp University. Michel Maus, an expert in tax law, blames the problem on the prevalence of the black economy in Belgium. Recent research showed that 6% of all workers had worked in the black, and 56% know someone else who does. That form of fraud, Maus said, is 5-7% higher in Belgium than elsewhere.

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