The week in brief: 6 June


Brussels Airport’s departures hall back to normal, First World War bomb discovered near Ostend train station and the rest of the week's headlines

An overview of the week's news

The departures hall of Brussels Airport returned to full operation last week, more than two months after the bomb attacks of 22 March. The temporary structures in place since then and still being used by 21 companies last week are no longer required, the airport said. “This is easier for passengers, who will no longer be confused about where to go,” said spokesperson Nathalie Van Impe. “Everyone goes to the departures hall, just like before the attacks.”

Delfine Persoon held on to her WBC world lightweight title at the weekend with her fourth defence of her belt against Dominican-Greek boxer Christina Linardatou. Persoon won the fight on points at the Sporthal Schiervelde in Roeselare, and then dedicated her triumph to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who died last week. “This victory is dedicated to the greatest boxer of all time,” she said.

Train services to Ostend were suspended for a time last week after construction workers uncovered an unexploded bomb from the First World War while carrying out digging work close to the station. Trains were terminated in Bruges, and passengers were carried to Ostend by bus. Houses within a 500m radius of the bomb site were evacuated, and traffic diverted outside a 900m perimeter. The bomb, one metre long and containing 100kg of explosive, was dismantled by bomb disposal squad Dovo.

The municipality of Schaarbeek in Brussels will later this month deploy the Scancar, a car equipped with six high-definition cameras capable of automatically checking up to 20,000 parked cars a day. The Scancar will patrol in the blue and red zones, passing once to record number plates and locations, then two hours later to record cars still present but without a resident’s pass or a blue disc.

Cycling legend Eddy Merckx has been accused of corruption by the Brussels prosecutor, who alleged that Merckx gave expensive custom bicycles to the police chief of the Anderlecht, Vorst and Sint-Gillis police zone in return for being awarded the contract to supply 46 bikes for patrol officers. Police chief Philippe Boucar, who is alleged to have passed information on competing bids to Merckx, is also accused of corruption in this and other instances.

The Brussels-Capital Region government has approved a low-emissions zone starting in 2018, after which diesel vehicles dating from 1997 or before with Euro value one will no longer be allowed to enter the city. A ban on vehicles with Euro value two will follow in 2019, and numbers up to five will follow in later years. The European Commission has taken Brussels to court for failing to meet emissions levels for fine particulates, which are estimated to be responsible for 620 premature deaths in the city a year.

Shopping centre Docks Bruxsel near the Van Praet bridge in Laken will include an indoor adventure park called Koezio when it opens its doors later this year, the project’s developers announced. Koezio has three parks in France; this is its first venture into Belgium.

Unions representing postal workers have announced a 24-hour strike on 13 June, covering the whole country. Socialist and Christian unions are protesting the continuing pressure of work caused by staff shortages, as well as the possible privatisation of the service. As Flanders Today went to press, the liberal union was due to decide whether it would join the action.

Mobile operator Base is granting all its subscribers free access to every match of the Belgian side in the European Championships later this month, allowing them to search the internet or watch matches on mobile devices without charge and without counting toward data limits. The free access runs from one hour before the match until one hour after.

The city of Vilvoorde has approved a social-economic permit for Waterside Park, a new shopping centre on the former Renault site, which will be the fourth such new complex in the area around Brussels. Vilvoorde has been one of the most vocal opponents of the Uplace complex in nearby Machelen. The city has imposed conditions on Waterside: only large-scale units that have no effect on retailers in the city centre – effectively only department stores and garden centres. Waterside will offer nearly 20,000 square metres of retail space and sport and leisure facilities.

A 52-year-old woman from Ronse, East Flanders, died three years ago because her gynaecologist did not dare to tell her she had cervical cancer, a court in Oudenaarde heard last week. Daniella B was head of gynaecology at the AZ Glorieux Hospital in Ronse in 2005 when she noted abnormal values in the results of a smear test on Adelheid Wijnant. The same thing happened two years later, and a third time in 2009, but cancer was only discovered when Wijnant complained of blood loss in 2010 and had a test carried out when B was on leave. She died of the cancer in 2013.

The Dutch rail authority NS has withdrawn all Belgian rolling stock from the Amsterdam-to-Brussels route, after news that the doors of carriages opened by themselves while the train was moving. The trains will be replaced by Dutch rolling stock.

Photo courtesy Brussels Airport / Instagram