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January 24, 2009

Details emerge on fatal stabbing at Belgian day care centre

Details emerge on fatal stabbing at Belgian day care centre

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Belgium
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  • 15 February 2015: Netanyahu calls for European Jews to move to Israel
  • 26 June 2014: Belgian men’s goalball team departs for Finland for World Championships
  • 26 September 2013: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development credits Icelandic parental policy with ‘hopeful’ changes
  • 26 September 2013: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development suggests Australian women are doing okay
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Prosecutor Christian Du Four has released more details on the fatal stabbing in a day care center in East Flanders, Belgium, yesterday, in which two children (six and nine months old) and one employee were killed. Ten children and two adults were injured.

The alleged perpetrator, a 20-year-old man from nearby Sint-Niklaas, was arrested in the neighbouring municipality of Lebbeke shortly after the crime. Belgian news website nieuwsblad.be have named the arrested man as Kim De Gelder.

The attack

The attacker wore a bullet-proof vest under his clothes and a backpack containing a knife, an axe and a fake pistol. Two other knives were found near the crime scene.

The prosecutor confirmed that the man’s face was painted white with blackened eyes as he committed the crime, which led international media to make comparisons to the Joker, the villain from the Batman series.

“I have a question,” the killer told the first employee he encountered, after which he immediately stabbed her, and started his rampage. One female day care worker attempted to disarm the killer while others locked the doors. The killer stabbed employees trying to carry children to safety.

The arrested man is not cooperating with the investigation and has not confessed. The prosecutor described his attitude as “passive”. “He says nothing to his questioners. He is absolutely uncooperative,” the prosecutor explained. Yesterday, media reported that the killer was laughing at the officers who were questioning him, but the prosecutor today denied these speculations.

According to the crime scene investigation, the man entered the building through an unlocked side-entrance which gave immediate access to the room with the babies. He stabbed several of them, then went to another room where he stabbed other children. He then fled on the bicycle on which he had arrived.

Location of the stabbing.

Panic struck in Dendermonde amidst fears that the man would attack more crèches or schools. There were reports that the killer carried a note with names and addresses of other day care centres or schools nearby, something which the prosecutor could not comment on. The Associated Press says three judicial officials anonymously confirmed that the attacker carried addresses of three other nurseries. Following news of the stabbings, all schools in Dendermonde were ordered to keep all gates shut.

Eyewitness Hans Staelens told reporters that he had noticed a suspicious character in the street where the day care centre ‘Fable Land’ was located. He described him as “not too tall, thin, red hair, dark eyes, like make-up”.

The alleged killer lived alone and was unemployed, but does not have a criminal record. “There is no element whatsoever that makes us believe he has a psychiatric history,” the prosecutor told the press at a conference today. He has commissioned three psychiatrists to examine the man. Kim D. was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Victims

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One child and one woman died in the day care centre itself, with another child dying in hospital. All injured are reported to be in stable condition. Three children and one adult remain in intensive care. Five others also remain hospitalised, although several are expected to be discharged at some point during the weekend.

54-year-old Marita Blindeman, who was killed in the attack, worked in the day care centre, which was sponsored by social services, since she was 18. Since the death of her father, she lived with, and took care of, both her mother and her sister, who has a learning disability. Just two years ago, she started having a relationship with a man, according to her son in a letter to newspapers.

Only six of the 18 children in the crèche, all under the age of three, were uninjured. Meanwhile, the decision has been taken not to reopen the day care centre, but to provide day care in other facilities. Six employees were present during the attack.

Response to the incident

Friday evening, the Belgian crown prince and his wife visited the crime scene. The couple, who have four children, were moved deeply by the killings.

Some hundred people have signed a mourning registry in Dendermonde’s city hall, and flowers and teddy bears were left at the day care centre. A silent demonstration is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon and a mourning ceremony will be held on Monday evening.

Several media outlets have discussed the safety of day care centres. Minister Veerle Heeren said she would consider additional safety measures if the investigation suggests it, but also added that, “a day care centre should be a haven, not a prison.”

Related news

Fatal stabbings kill three at Belgian day care center” — Wikinews, January 23, 2009

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January 23, 2009

Fatal stabbings kill three at Belgian day care center

Filed under: Archived,Belgium,Crime and law,Europe,Flanders,Ghent, Belgium — admin @ 5:00 am

Fatal stabbings kill three at Belgian day care center

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Belgium
Other stories from Belgium
  • 9 March 2015: Five dead after bar attack in Bamako, Mali
  • 15 February 2015: Netanyahu calls for European Jews to move to Israel
  • 26 June 2014: Belgian men’s goalball team departs for Finland for World Championships
  • 26 September 2013: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development credits Icelandic parental policy with ‘hopeful’ changes
  • 26 September 2013: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development suggests Australian women are doing okay
…More articles here
Location of Belgium

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Two children and a woman have been stabbed to death by a knife-wielding man at a crèche (day care center) in Dendermonde, Belgium. Officials have confirmed that the deaths occurred due to knife wounds inflicted by an unidentified man wearing white face paint with blackened eyes, who arrived by bicycle at the crèche in East Flanders.

Dendermonde town centre
Image: Vitaly Volkov.

The Associated Press reports local prosecutor Christian Du Four telling a news conference, “We have three people dead and 10 in various hospitals.” The injured have been taken to the University Hospital in Ghent and other neighbouring hospitals.

The alleged attacker, said to be a 20-year-old, rang the doorbell of the crèche at 09:00 UTC (10:00 local), then ran upstairs when the door was opened. He fled the scene by bicycle and was arrested at 10:30 UTC. He was reported as being injured as he was detained. State broadcaster VRT described the man as being local, whilst AP reports Leene Du Bois, a Flemish government official, as saying that he had no connection with the crèche.

The crèche had 18 children in its care, with six adults in attendance.

Police arrested the suspect at a nearby shop. Reuters reports that Belgian media believe the suspect to be a psychiatric patient.



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July 6, 2008

Triathlon national championship held in Belgium

Filed under: Archived,Belgium,Europe,Flanders,Original reporting,Sports — admin @ 5:00 am

Triathlon national championship held in Belgium

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Men’s podium: (1) Simon Decuyper (centre), (2) Stijn Goris (right), (3) Lander Dircken (left).

Women’s podium: (1) Joke Coysman, (2) Sofie Goos, (3) Katrien Verstuyft.

The athletes before the start.

Today, the open national championship Olympic distance triathlon has been held in Belgium in the city of Kortrijk, West Flanders. The 1.5 km swim (0.93 mi), 40 km bicycle race (24.8 mi) and 10 km run (6.2 mi) turned out to be a thriller event in both the men’s and the ladies’ event.

Simon De Cuyper, proud to be the new Belgian champion.

The new Belgian champion Simon Decuyper was only 13th out of the water but was the fastest to complete the 4 bicycle laps, with still energy left to catch up with and run away from Stijn Goris halfway the second of three laps. Lander Dircken finished third, beating Marc Geerts by only a few meters in the final spurt. Geerts, who won last year in Kortrijk, may have lost a precious 30 seconds when he fell with his bike upon entering the transition area -fortunately not sustaining any serious injuries. Local athlete Bart Colpaert came in fifth.

In the women’s race, a group of eight women came out of the water within a minute of each other, among them winner Joke Coysman and Katrien Verstuyft who finished third. In this drafting race, Coysman soon took the lead in the cycling in a group of four. Behind them, Sofie Goos managed to close in with the help of Marjolein Truyers. Goos managed to run past everyone except Coysman, and Truyers managed to take fourth place before Christel Van Eesbeek.

In the category up to 18 years old, Gilles Cottyn and Jolien Lewyllie took the gold medal. In the age group 40 and older, Gert Goedhart and Christel Van Eesbeek won. In the category 50+, Luc Geerts (Marc Geerts’ father) fulfilled his favorite’s role.

Weather conditions were favourable with only a few rainshowers during the footrace. Mayor Stefaan De Clerck handed out the medals.

Results

Men’s race
Rank Athlete Time
1 Simon De Cuyper 2h 01′ 16″
2 Stijn Goris +07″
3 Lander Dircken +2′ 15″
4 Marc Geerts +2′ 16″
5 Bart Colpaert +3′ 29″
Women’s race
Rank Athlete Time
1 Joke Coysman 2h 20′ 27″
2 Sofie Goos +2′ 24″
3 Verstuyft Katrien +3′ 40″
4 Marjolein Truyers +4′ 12″
5 Christel Van Eesbeeck +5′ 53″



Sources


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March 20, 2008

After 9 months, Belgian coalition delivers government

After 9 months, Belgian coalition delivers government

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

File:Yves Leterme campagne foto.jpg

Campaign photo of Belgium’s new Prime Minister Yves Leterme.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Belgium
Other stories from Belgium
  • 9 March 2015: Five dead after bar attack in Bamako, Mali
  • 15 February 2015: Netanyahu calls for European Jews to move to Israel
  • 26 June 2014: Belgian men’s goalball team departs for Finland for World Championships
  • 26 September 2013: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development credits Icelandic parental policy with ‘hopeful’ changes
  • 26 September 2013: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development suggests Australian women are doing okay
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After almost nine and a half months, government formation talks in Belgium have resulted in a new government. New Prime Minister Yves Leterme was sworn in by King Albert II today, together with 15 new Ministers and 7 Secretaries of State. After the election on June 10 last year, a confidence vote in the parliament in Brussels on Saturday is expected to confirm the coalition’s promise of a government in time before Easter.

In his inaugural speech, Flemish Christian Democrat Leterme replied to criticism from the media and opposition that his government’s manifest was vague and that there was no mutual trust between the coalition partners: “We want to increase the faith in the government, not with empty promises, but with specific measures, by investing in health care, the environment, safety and governmental services.”

The coalition partners have set out several deadlines for major decisions on which agreement still could not be reached during the formation. By July 15, a council of ‘wise men’ has to fill the current empty space of the promised constitutional reforms. Yesterday, a survey published in the media showed that the majority of Belgians lacked confidence in the new government, and believed it will collapse within months. On a party convention yesterday, Leterme pledged he would keep his promise to his constituency, vowing to break up the government if more powers are not devolved to the regions.

The record-breaking political stalemate had promised to be difficult from the start, after the Christian Democrats won the elections in Flanders in coalition with the nationalist party N-VA. The cartel promised more regional autonomy for the northern Dutch-speaking two-thirds majority of Belgium. Negotiations promised to be tough in a country where separate parties for the main ideologies exist in each half of the country.

Political map of Belgium showing Dutch-speaking Flanders (yellow), French-speaking Wallonia (red), German-speaking area (blue striped) and bilingual Brussels Capital Region (orange).

Leader of the separatist N-VA Bart De Wever expressed his disdain about the new government: “There are more Francophone than Dutch-speaking members in this administration, which doesn’t respect the proportions: Flanders has two thirds of the population and three quarters of the wealth.”

During the political crisis the previous PM Guy Verhofstadt, who recognised his defeat in the elections and had seemingly withdrawn from the political stage, returned to head a caretaker government at the request of the Belgian King. In his inaugural speech today, the new PM expressed his gratefulness to Verhofstadt for his services. After almost 9 years as the Belgian PM, Verhofstadt presented his successor with the keys of his new residence at Rue de la Loi 16/Wetstraat 16 (“16 Law St.”), in Brussels.

‘Madame No’ Joëlle Milquet, leader of the Walloon Christian Democrats, gave her Flemish colleague Leterme a hard time during the coalition talks because she consistently resisted the Flemish demands for regional autonomy. In the new government she becomes the federal Minister of Work, a department that the Flemish nationalists want to devolve to the regional level.

As the largest political fraction, the liberals seem to have weighed heavily on the coalition. They deliver the vice-Premier and the Ministers for Constitutional Reforms, Finances, Economy, Internal and Foreign Affairs, Asylum and Migration, Agriculture, Sciences and Humanitarian Aid. The French-speaking socialists joined the coalition talks late in the process, while the Flemish socialists remain in the opposition, giving an unprecedented asymmetry to the federal government.



Related news

  • “Belgium still without government, new record set” — Wikinews, November 5, 2007
  • “Belgian voters decide fate of socialist-liberal coalition tomorrow” — Wikinews, June 9, 2007
  • “Belgian formation talks: King consults incumbent PM” — Wikinews, December 3, 2007

Sources

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November 6, 2007

Belgium still without government, new record set

Belgium still without government, new record set

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A voter during the federal elections of June 10, 2007. 149 days later, there is still no new coalition.

After federal elections on June 10, 2007, coalition talks in Belgium have still failed to result in compromises on the main electoral issue. The previous record from 1988 was broken today after 149 days without a new government.

Christian Democrat Yves Leterme won the elections in Flanders together with his nationalistic coalition partner, and they promised more powers for the Dutch-speaking majority. Wallonian parties however remain reluctant to give in to unilateral demands and are asking for symbolic gestures and compromises in symbolic debates over the electoral district of Brussels and Halle-Vilvoorde.

Flemish politicians argue that the time is high to split the district now, because a high court ruling from 2003 found the district unconstitutional. But their counterparts believe that everything works in two directions in Belgium, and unilateral demands have no place in a federal state.

Some progress has been made in such areas as economical reforms, but the key debate of the elections lingers on. More than ever, the future of Belgium as a federal state is at stake, although immediate independence of the economically flourishing Flemish region is not currently being discussed by the negotiators.

On Wednesday, a commission of the Flemish parliament will vote on the topic of voting rights in Brussels, and it is expected that this will again stress Flanders’ call for progress on autonomy for the region. Walloon Christian-Democrat Joelle Milquet, already dubbed Madame Non (Madame No) in Flanders because of her refusal to set aside her electoral promises to her constituency, warned during the weekend that such a move would be perceived as hostile, and that she would leave the negotiations table.

Candidate Prime Minister Yves Leterme has called for unity last Friday: “It’s time for government negotiators to assume their responsibility in the national interest. It’s time to stop mutual provocations.” Many Walloons perceive Leterme as a defender of Flemish rather than Belgian values, as a notorious quote marking the Wallonians as intellectually incapable of learning Dutch, haunts him.

Political map of Belgium showing Dutch-speaking Flanders (yellow), French-speaking Wallonia (red), German-speaking area (blue striped) and bilingual Brussels Capital Region.

Belgium is a federal state made up of some 6 million Dutch-speaking citizens in the north and some 4.5 million French-speaking inhabitants south of the language border. Brussels is bilangual, and there is a minuscule German-speaking community.

With no new coalition to follow them, the previous ruling parties continue to meet under former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt on a regular basis to make a few straightforward but necessary decisions, to avoid too many complications of the enduring political vacuum.



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June 23, 2007

Walloon region of Belgium officially recognises mosques

Walloon region of Belgium officially recognises mosques

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Belgium
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Belgium’s French-speaking Walloon region has officially recognised 43 mosques, thus giving Islam the same rights as accorded to other religions in the region. They will be permitted to build minarets on their mosques, and Imams will be added to the government payroll, as is the case – for example – with Catholic priests.

Moves are afoot to apply for official recognition of a number of mosques in the other two main regions of Belgium: Brussels, and Flemish-speaking Flanders.

Most of the immigrant population in Belgium are Muslims, but until now the mosques were not yet officially recognised. The traditional faith in Belgium is Roman Catholicism. Other minor faiths are Protestant Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, and Judaism.

Buddhists also recently applied for official recognition as a religion in Belgium.

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June 9, 2007

Belgian voters decide fate of socialist-liberal coalition tomorrow

Belgian voters decide fate of socialist-liberal coalition tomorrow

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

The federal elections in Belgium tomorrow will decide the fate of the 8-year-long coalition of liberals and socialists, and will shake the cards for what politicians admit will be long and difficult negotiations.

Voting is mandatory in Belgium, and Belgians abroad have already voted, although their votes will only be counted tomorrow. A recent survey in the French-speaking part of Belgium shows that if voters could choose, 1 out 3 would stay at home.

The poll results

On the Flemish side, the final poll predicted a 29,9% victory for the Christian democratic party, which supports Flemish independence in a cartel with nationalist party N-VA. The far-right party Vlaams Belang was predicted to become the second largest political party with more than 20% of votes. The Flemish socialist and liberal parties would follow, the latter with the greatest setback of more than 8%.

The Flemish green party would get over 5% and get into parliament again, after their electoral loss 4 years ago, when the liberals and socialists decided to govern without them. The new right party of ex-judo wrestler, coach and politician Jean-Marie Dedecker would fail to do so, with only 3,8% of votes.

On the Walloon side of Belgium, no spectacular changes are expected. The socialist party of Elio Di Rupo might lose a few per cents, but with 33.1 per cent of votes would remain the largest political fraction in the south part of the country. The liberal party would become the second largest party, before the Christian democrats and the green party.

In the polls, some 20% of voters remain undecided.

Difficult coalition talks

Elio Di Rupo, leader of the Francophone Socialist Party.
Image: Luc van Braekel.

Yves Leterme, leader of the Flemish Christian Democrats.
Image: Smetty.be.

The Christian democrats are on a shared election list with the nationalist party NV-A, and remains to be seen how much of their demands for Walloon concessions will uphold in the negotiations after Sunday’s vote. Both Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian democrats) and Elio Di Rupo (Walloon socialists), the expected winners of the elections, are seen across the language borders as great threats to the other part of the country, Leterme because he strongly supports more Flemish autonomy, and Di Rupo because he symbolises the need to negotiate toward that goal. Leterme partially owes this perception to an interview in which he questioned the intellectual capacity of his French-speaking compatriots to learn Dutch.

The Flemish politicians who support more independence for Flanders have argued during the campaign that voters could trust them to break the force of the Walloon socialist party. While socialists and Christian democrats in Wallonia seem to be heading for a coalition, the leader of the Flemish socialists made it clear that he would not let his bigger sister party dictate their course, not excluding the possibility of an asymmetrical coalition in the two regions.

Topics during the elections

Following closely after the French presidential elections, the campaign focused more on the leaders than on the content, and gave the impression at times that these elections were about who would succeed Guy Verhofstadt (Flemish liberals) to become Prime Minister of Belgium.

Also, for the first time in 20 years, the elections have not centered around the far-right party Vlaams Belang, although topics of immigration and integration played an important role in the campaigns.

The importance of the federal relations to the elections was highlighted early on, when a spoof emission on the Francophone TV station RTBF in December last year reported that Flanders had separated itself from the federal Belgian state.

The relations between the French- and Dutch-speaking parts of the country, and related constitutional reformations, were an important topic during the campaign. Most Flemish parties support the idea that some responsibilities should be transferred from the federal level to the regions, but the opinions differ on the exact extent. The Flemish parties also want the electoral district around Brussels to be split.

The opposition parties during the campaign fiercely criticised the way the Ministry of Justice was handled during the past 8 years, and have blamed the liberals and socialists for the crowded situations in and escapes from the prisons.

The environment has also been an important element in the debates leading to the elections. All agree that there is a need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The left parties want to close the nuclear power plants to be sure that solar panels and windmills are fully developed, whereas the others disagree with this strategy and think nuclear power plants will be needed to ensure power supply.

In the ethical discussions, an interesting question was if the euthanasia laws, which make the act legal in Belgium, should be extended to include elderly patients who suffer from dementia, and to minors.

Other traditional elements such as taxes, employment, and social security also were present in the electoral campaigns of most parties.

Related news

  • “Wikinews Shorts: June 5, 2007” — Wikinews, June 5, 2007

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June 5, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: June 5, 2007

Wikinews Shorts: June 5, 2007 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: June 5, 2007

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A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, June 5, 2007.

Moderate earthquake shakes central Greece

Flag of Greece.svg

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake struck near Patras and its surrounding areas in central Greece on Tuesday afternoon, just before 3 p.m. local time (1200 GMT). There were no reports of injuries or damage.

“The strong earthquake was measured at 5.3 with the epicenter on the edge of Trichonida lake, some 110 kilometres [70 miles] west of Athens,” an Athens Geodynamic Institute official said.

Sources


Flemish Minister-President will not call Armenian massacre ‘genocide’

Yves Leterme.
Image: Kristof Persoons.

Minister-President of Flanders Yves Leterme in an interview with the Turkish newspaper Zaman showed a hesitation to call the Armenian Genocide a genocide.

“Before a politician can judge if something is a genocide, the international institutions must speak out about it. …As a politician it is not wise to speak about a genocide until experts have judged it. I don’t stand alone with my view and I have nothing to add to this,” Leterme said.

The matter of the so-called Armenian Genocide lies very sensitive with some Belgian voters of Turkish descent. The situation reminds of the Dutch elections, when Wouter Bos from the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) refused to speak of an “Armenian genocide”. The polls project that Leterme’s party CD&V is to become the biggest political party of Flanders in the upcoming federal elections in Belgium next Sunday.

Related news

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Mudslide buries Valley of Geysers

A satellite view of the Kronotsky volcano.

Russia’s Valley of Geysers, Eurasia’s only geyser field and the second largest concentration of geysers in the world, was largely destroyed by a mudslide on Sunday.

Millions of cubic meters of mud and rocks fell into the 6-kilometre-long basin, wiping out about two-thirds of the valley, which contains around 90 geysers and many hot springs. Located in the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, the valley wasn’t discovered until 1941, and had only opened to foreign tourists in 1991.

Sources


Back to the wild for pygmy kangaroos

A Red-Necked Pademelon, which is similar to the Dusky Pademelon.
Image: Gaz.

Indonesia’s foresty ministry said Tuesday it will release 17 endangered Dusky Pademelons into the wild in the remote Papua province on New Guinea.

Also known as pygmy kangaroos (similar Red-Necked Pademelon pictured), the animals have been rescued over time from illegal animal traders and from people’s homes, where the little kangaroos were kept as pets. The species, Latin name Thylogale brunii, belongs to a family of seven kangaroo-like mammals that are found in forests of Papua, Western New Guinea and Papua New Guinea.

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May 21, 2007

Belgian bus company knows solution for car parking problems

Belgian bus company knows solution for car parking problems

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Monday, May 21, 2007

The Belgian bus company De Lijn parked a red MGB on top of one of their buses.

Do you have a hard time finding a parking space? Take the bus or tram if you go to the city. That’s the message Belgian bus company De Lijn (The Line) is sending to promote public transport as a solution for car parking problems. As a part of their media campaign, they have jokingly suggested that people use the top of the busses as parking space.

Another idea they are using in their media campaign: maybe you could park your car on the bottom of a canal? The bus company is using an invented diving company called Cardive, which has divers that offer to dump your car in the canal. The divers walk around in cities and hand out free bus tickets and maps of the bus network.

The sight turned many heads today in the city of Leuven.

To reach car drivers who are not using public transport, the media campaign has several radio commercials that present other solutions to the car parking problem. You could use “asphalt-spray” to camouflage your car, making it invisible for policemen (although you then need to remember where you’ve parked). Or you could use the “flat tire kit”, which comes with a fake flat tire and an inflatable dummy, so it looks like you’re replacing your flat tire. The final idea the bus company has is to use a View-Master to fool parking guards into believing that your car has been stationed correctly.

A survey among 4000 customers of De Lijn shows that two out of three car owners who use public transport, do so to avoid parking space troubles, and in cities this percentage rises to 90%. The survey further shows that 39% use the bus to go shopping.

The car with licence plate BBC 000 is on display until May 31.

During the month of May, the auto-bus and the divers tour several cities in Flanders (Leuven, Hasselt, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp).

Sources

Press Release:Vermijd parkeerproblemen met De Lijn!” — De Lijn, May 19, 2007 (Dutch)

Wikinews
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External links

  • (Dutch) Cardive: shows how divers park your car at the bottom of the canal.
  • (Dutch) Carmouflage: demonstrates how you could use a covering to camouflage your car so you can park it anywhere.
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May 12, 2007

Longest coffee table symbolises World Fair Trade Day in Belgium

Longest coffee table symbolises World Fair Trade Day in Belgium

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

People gathered in Leuven for a coffee table of 100 meters.

A petition in the form of a coffee filter hopes to put pressure on European lawmakers.

Oxfam and several other fair trade-organisations organised coffee tables all over Flanders to celebrate the World Fair Trade Day. The combined length of the tables at different locations was meant to exceed 2015 meters (to remind people of the U.N. millennium development goals for 2015), but eventually reached over 3000 meters.

The fair trade organisations distributed a petition addressed to European commissioners for Trade Peter Mandelson and commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel, in which they asked for:

  • Market regulations to compensate the small farmers for the instabilities in the natural resource prices
  • Access to information about the coffee market
  • The right for networks of small farmers in Africa to join negotiations.

Hundreds of volunteers across Flanders lured people to the tables with free fair trade coffee, hot chocolate and cake. The action came at the end of a month were films and debates brought the situation of small coffee farmers in Africa under the attention.

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