• Flemish dialects dying out, warns Unesco

    24 Feb 2009 by Ad Min
    The dialects of West Flanders and Limburg could be threatened with extinction, according to the latest Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger of Disappearing. The Atlas lists around 2,500 languages – 230 of which have been extinct since 1950. Languages are organised in categories ranging from “not safe” – still spoken by children but only in restricted circumstances, such as in the home – to “critically endangered”, where the youngest surviving speakers are grandparents.Full story
  • Ferdinand Foch

    News in brief

    24 Feb 2009 by Ad Min
    Leuven mayor Louis Tobback almost caused an international incident last week after he said that he wanted to rename the city’s Marshal Foch square, named after the French military leader whose orders in the First World War sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths in pointless military operations. Full story
  • News in brief

    23 Feb 2009 by Ad Min
     Data disclosureBrussels hospitals have to allow the Flemish Brussels Committee (VKB) access to data on staff appointments and the language competency of employees, the Council of State has ruled. The VKB wants to ensure that hospitals in the capital conform to language requirements. At present, Flemish watchdogs claim too many staff are monolingual French speakers, which presents problems for the proper treatment of Dutch-speaking patients.Full story
  • Fortis - the "no" vote won

    Fortis vote leaves doubts

    23 Feb 2009 by Ad Min
    The CEO of Fortis has called on all parties to come back to the negotiating table following the rejection of the agreement to sell to BNP Paribas, in a vote by shareholders in Brussels last week. The decision left the bank in the hands of the government and brought calls for the resignation of finance minister Didier Reynders.Full story
  • Lucien Verkest, pictured outside his factory in Deinze

    Sentences in dioxin case

    17 Feb 2009 by Ad Min
    A court in Ghent last week sentenced two businessmen – a father and son – to two years suspended for their role in the dioxin crisis that hit the Belgian food industry in 1999. Lucien Verkest and his son Jan were tried along with five other men in relation to the contamination of animal fat for the manufacture of animal feed. The fat was found to contain machine oil mixed with toxic products.Full story
  • Louis Cheung, second-in-command at Ping An, whose vote could embarrass the government

    Fortis deal hanging by a thread

    17 Feb 2009 by Ad Min
    The Belgian government’s proposed sale of bank-insurer Fortis to the French BNP Paribas hung in the balance this week as Fortis’ main private shareholder switched its vote to oppose the deal.Full story
  • Antwerp can damage your health

    4 Feb 2009 by Ad Min
    The average resident of Antwerp has a life expectancy around two years shorter than in other cities in Flanders, according to figures collected by the city council and a social aid agency. According to recent estimates, a boy born in Flanders in 2006 has a life expectancy of 77.7 years and 82.9 for a girl. The life expectancy in Antwerp is currently 76.4 years for a man and 81.2 for a woman.Full story
  • Immigrants and natives live together, but not in harmony

    Dismay at Islamophobia study findings

    4 Feb 2009 by Ad Min
    Politicians, academics and social workers have reacted with shock to the report released last week that shows that half of all Flemish people think that Islam represents a threat to Europe’s cultural values. The report, based on research carried out by the Institute for Social and Political Opinion Research (ISPO) at Leuven University, also found that 37% of Flemings think that Muslims living here have no respect for local values and that 46% believe that Islam has no positive contribution to make to Western culture. Full story
  • Christine Van den Wyngaert, professor elected

    Antwerp professor elected to International Court

    28 Jan 2009 by Ad Min
    Belgian jurist Christine Van den Wyngaert was last week elected to the post of judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Van den Wyngaert was one of 21 candidates for six vacant positions on the bench and was elected by representatives of the 108 countries that have ratified the treaty founding the court. “It was a very emotional moment,” she said. “While I was watching Obama explain his dream on TV, my own dream came true.”Full story
  • 7,000 people silent march in Sint-Gillis Dendermonde

    Dendermonde killer on suicide watch

    28 Jan 2009 by Ad Min
    The 20-year-old man accused of killing two babies and a child minder at the Fabeltjesland (“Fairy Tale Land”) crèche in Sint-Gillis near Dendermonde was refusing food in Bruges prison this week and maintaining his silence in the face of investigators’ questions. He has been placed on suicide watch at the prison, and was due to appear before a judge as Flanders Today went to press to determine whether he is sane enough to stand trial on three charges of murder and 12 of attempted murder.Full story