News in brief (17/07/2013)
Homeopathic remedies may only be prescribed by a qualified doctor, dentist or midwife under a new law agreed by federal ministers last week, and only by those qualified personnel with a diploma in homeopathy. The much-contested preparations are currently handed out by 340 homeopaths who are members of a professional federation, of whom 20% are estimated not to fall into the three categories now permitted.
An official investigation has turned up no evidence of sexual or other abuse of children at Blokkendoos pre-school in Antwerp, city mayor Bart De Wever said. The school closed early last month after demonstrations by parents, some of whom had made abuse allegations. De Wever promised those who had stirred up the campaign against the teachers concerned would be pursued for making false accusations. The ringleader is reported to be a member of the extremist group Sharia4Belgium.
Flemish minister-president Kris Peeters was among the guests at a lunch given by the outgoing and future kings. This week the retiring king tours the three language communities in the run-up to the succession to the throne of Prince Filip on Sunday. Meanwhile, Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort said it was “not necessary” for a weekly meeting to be held between the new king and the regional ministers-president, something Peeters said he would push for.
Heritage and tourism minister Geert Bourgeois last week opened a new extension to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum in Zonnebeke, West Flanders, which includes an open-air recreation of a network of British and German trenches. It’s one of the main projects commemorating the centenary of the First World War. The museum received subsidy of €819,000 as part of a grant of almost €2 million for the Legacy of Passchendaele project.
The four laureates for this year’s Flemish Monument Prize have been announced. They are C-Mine, on the former mine site of Winterslag in Genk, Limburg; St Dionysius church in Sint-Denijs-Westrem, East Flanders; the Grote Post cultural centre in Ostend and the Villa Elza in Wenduine, West Flanders. Each receives €2,500, with the overall winner, announced on 2 September, receiving a further €12,500.
Every Flemish municipality will from next year have a single reference point for childcare, allowing parents a broad view of local childcare, the government of Flanders has decided. And from April, all childcare facilities whether subsidised or private must obtain the same certificate covering safety, infrastructure and communication, the family organisation Kind & Gezin said.
Three South African soldiers thought to have died during the Allied attack on Passchendaele in September 1917 were reburied last week in Tyne Cot military cemetery in Zonnebeke, West Flanders. The three, whose identities have not been established, were found near a brickworks in Zonnebeke in 2011. They join 93 other South Africans buried in Tyne Cot.
Exports by Flemish technology companies fell by 7% to €54.87 billion last year, to make up 29.1% of all Flemish exports, the sector federation Agoria said. Agoria warned that 2013 would also be a difficult year, as shrinking demand for Flemish exports in traditional European markets would not be compensated for by increased sales to emerging economies.
The monks of the Norbertine abbey of Averbode in Flemish Brabant are to resume brewing beer after a break of almost 100 years, to raise funds to renovate the abbey. The abbey produced beer until 1917, when the German military commandeered the copper brewing kettles during the occupation. The new beer and an Averbode cheese are expected to come to market next spring.
A Japanese TV company is to make a documentary based on the case of Els Clottemans, the 29-year-old convicted in 2010 of the so-called parachute murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Clottemans was accused of tampering with the parachute of love rival Els Van Doren, causing a fatal fall in Opglabbeek in Limburg. The verdict and sentence caused controversy due to the lack of physical evidence and the failure to investigate other potential suspects.
The Brussels parliament has approved a compromise plan to allow the introduction of high-speed 4G mobile data signals in the region. Operators will be allowed to measure signals according to whether they are 2G, 3G or 4G, and apply the three-volt-per-metre radiation restriction for each signal separately. The region will also help determine new sites for masts and set up a group of experts to look at health risks. 4G is already operating in cities in Flanders, where radiation restrictions are less strict.
Prince Filip will use both versions of his name in signing acts of parliament into law when he becomes king. He had previously announced he would use only the French version – Philippe – which appears on his birth certificate. However, the government last week approved an amendment to the law which will allow him to use French and Dutch versions interchangeably.