News in Brief
A 12-metre inflatable duck travelling through Limburg has been seriously damaged by stormy weather. The duck is an artwork by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, and was moored in Hasselt during June and early July (photo). However on its first stop on a tour of Limburg, in Genk, it suffered severe damage after it was picked up by a gust of wind and thrown 50m. "We're going to have him repaired and then get him on his way as quickly as possible," said Ann Vanderheyden of art centre Z33.
Herman De Croo, former speaker of the federal parliament, has cancer of the vocal chords, he announced last week. The condition was discovered at an early stage and the prognosis is good, he said. Later he complained that radiotherapy treatments only take place five days a week instead of seven. "I've been known my whole life long for talking too much," he said. "I can't keep quiet. But now I'll have to."
Artist and poet Marcel van Maele died last week in hospital in Antwerp. He was 78. Van Maele was one of a group of artists known as the Zestigers, a reference to the 1960s, and he was a co-founder of the experimental poetry journal Labris. Described as a "master provocateur," he was frequently arrested and spent time in mental institutions, hated working and considered the need to write "a curse".
Senior judge Guy Delvoie, chief magistrate of the Brussels appeal court, will replace Chris Vanden Wyngaert as Belgium's judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for the next 15 months, the foreign ministry announced. Van Den Wyngaert has been appointed to the International Criminal Court. Delvoie hit the headlines when he refused to recuse magistrates looking into the Fortis case, accusing politicians of breaching the separation of powers. That led to the resignations of then-justice minister Jo Vandeurzen and prime minister Yves Leterme, coincidentally now at foreign affairs.
Toots Thielemans has won the Jazz Award 2009 awarded by the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Toots, now aged 87, will accept the award on 11 August. The award, instituted in 2002, is given annually to an artist of international renown.
Deaf people in Mechelen will now be able to use a special SMS number to send emergency calls to the police. The system replaces the old fax system in use until now. At present technical difficulties make it impossible for national emergency calls to be sent by SMS, but some local police zones have set up their own projects. The Mechelen number is for the use of registered users only.
In the issue of Flanders Today of 22 July we stated that "government ministries have been reduced from 11 to nine as part of the new government's round of spending cuts". We should have said that the number of ministers had been cut to nine (as against ten in the previous administration and a legal maximum of 11). The number of ministries remains unchanged at 13. For details of the nine ministers and their responsibilities go to the press room section of our website: www.flanderstoday.eu