Wednesday, April 26, 2006
As the sun was going down on Anzac commemorations in New Zealand yesterday it was rising on those in the fields of Flanders and surroundings towns, attended by several hundred Antipodeans. New Zealand's 29,967 World War I and II death toll was highest in France, with the second highest number of war dead buried in Belgium. Most of those are in the region immortalised by the 1915 John McCrae poem which begins "In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place..." READ ON
The deadline for tax returns this year has been pushed back to 19 July, Finance Minister Didier Reynders said on Tuesday.
Tax specialists who lodge claims for clients via the tax-on-web system must do so by 31 October.
Initially, tax returns had to be submitted by 30 June, but Minister Reynders's spokeswoman denied the postponement was due to delays or other problems at the treasury.
The extra time will give the public who are issued their documents last the legally-required four weeks in which to lodge their tax returns.
The deadline for personal income tax returns was postponed to 31 August last year due to a series of problems at the tax office.
The killer of Joe Van Holsbeeck has been identified by Polish investigators. The 17-year-old is still on the run and is thought to be staying in Poland. The Polish Prime Minister has promised that his country will do everything possible to find the perpetrator. Meanwhile, the murder has become front page news in Poland as well. READ ON
Monday, April 24, 2006
Worldwide consumption of wine has slowly crept up over the past decade, and the United States is on track to overtake France as the biggest guzzler in the next two years, according to new studies.
Global consumption hit 235.6 million hectolitres (6.22 billion gallons) last year, the Paris-based International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) said in a report released Thursday.
Although that represented a mere 0.1 percent rise over 2004, the average annual increase over the past decade is in the order of 0.5 percent, it said, noting that a dip recorded up to the mid-1990s had now reversed itself.
OIV director general Frederico Castellucci said he expected the increase to continue this year, by around one million hectolitres.
France, though, is continuing to suffer from a slump in consumption. Last year saw a 1.6 percent drop over the previous year to 32.6 million hectolitres, or 55 litres per inhabitant per year.
If that trend continues, the United States, currently in third place behind Italy in the consumption stakes, is set to become the biggest wine-drinking country in the world in 2008, according to a study by British firm ISWR/DGR.
OVI said US consumption in 2005 jumped 3.3 percent to 25.4 million hectolitres, and ISWR/DGR estimates it will reach 27.66 million in two years' time when France's consumption dives to 26.9 million.
Castellucci said: "In Britain and the United States, we have the pleasure of seeing that people are drinking more and more wine, to the detriment of beer."
Italy has a slender lead over France in terms of wine production, putting out 50.556 million hectolitres to France's 50.550 million. Spain follows with 35.3 million, then the United States with 23.5 million — though the latter is rapidly growing.
France's loss of prestige in a market it once dominated is all the clearer in the export numbers. There, it fell to third place in 2005, sending abroad less wine than Italy and Spain.
Large numbers of people marched through to commemorate the death of Joe Van Holsbeeck. The young man was killed for an MP3 player last week. Protesters passed the Central Railway Station where Joe was killed. The parents of Joe thanked all the people who came. READ ON
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Philip Winikoff is seen in an undated police photograph. Winikoff, claiming to be a doctor, went door-to-door in a Florida neighborhood offering free breast exams, and was charged with sexually assaulting two women who accepted the offer, police said on Thursday.First of all, who in their right mind would let a guy who's last name sounds suspiciously like *wackmeoff*, examine their breasts? I mean, other than my ex wife and her sister.I love the picture though, the only thing that's missing is that his glasses should have those spinny circles like you buy at a gag shop. READ STORY HERE
Friday, April 21, 2006
The Stanley Cup made an unusual journey through London, England this week, passing puzzled Britons on its way to the same shop where Lord Stanley bought the original in 1892.
The shop now sells jewelry to exclusive customers, serving them champagne as they browse through diamonds.
Workers at the shop weren't sure what to make of the large, silver cup - a replica, in fact, with the original retired and now sitting inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. READ ON
A retiree in northern Germany flushed some 30,000 marks down the toilet, believing the old bank notes were worthless, police said. Officials were alerted by a blocked pipe in the northern city of Kiel. A cleaning company employee extracted soggy bundles of bank notes, but more money got away as the water started flowing again. Investigators then discovered that the retiree had reported a blocked pipe at his house the same day. They visited the "slightly bewildered" man at his apartment and he confirmed that he had flushed the money away, a police statement issued late Wednesday said.
Switzerland's Tourist Board has launched an advertising campaign featuring some of the country's most attractive men to lure Europe's desparate housewives away from the soccer World Cup this year. But will it work?
Marital break-ups usually peak during major sports tournaments as men stay glued to their TV sets and become drunk and abusive, and there's no reason why that trend should be any different during the 2006 football World Cup in Germany. READ ON
The Belgian and Dutch football associations have agreed to investigate the feasibility of jointly hosting the World Cup in 2018.
Representatives of the two associations agreed on Tuesday that the study should be completed by the end of this year.
"We met with the Dutch FA late last night in Eindhoven to discuss the possibility and the initial indications were positive," a Belgian FA spokesperson said on Wednesday.
"We will carry out a study before the end of the year and speak with our governments about getting their backing. Our president Jan Peeters believes it is possible."
The starting point for the proposal is the 2000 European Championship
finals which were co-hosted by the two lowland countries.
"We played then in 10 stadiums, divided equally between the two countries. This is the idea once again," Henk Kesler of the Dutch Football association (KNVB) said.
The results of the assessment will depend largely on the attitude taken by the governments in Brussels and The Hague.
"Naturally, we can't do this on our own," Kesler said. "Such an event can only be a success if we all put in the work. Then it will succeed."
Kesler said everyone was sceptical when the Dutch and Belgians proposed taking on the organisation of the European Cup in 2000. "Yet, that tournament was an enormous success. Why wouldn't it work now?"
The Netherlands hosted the World Cup for the under 20s last year and next year the European finals for players under 21 is also being organised by the KNVB.
British Airways has launched a bold challenge to its no-frills and flag-carrier competitors by slashing air fares on its European short-haul routes by as much as 50pc. In a move that could spark a price war in the skies, the airline is cutting some fares from Heathrow and Gatwick to as little as £29 one-way, while continuing to offer frills such as in-flight meals and free carriage of golf clubs and skis. READ ON
Thursday, April 20, 2006
A Longmont man has been ticketed $50 for suspicion of interfering with a traffic signal, but he says he really enjoyed using it.Jason Niccum told The Longmont Times-Call that he bought a device that let him change traffic lights from red to green, called an Opticon, on eBay for $100.He told the newspaper the device "paid for itself" in the two years he had it, helping him cut his time driving to work.Niccum was cited on March 29 after police said they caught him using the strobe-like device to change traffic signals. Police confiscated the Opticon, and informed Niccum it was illegal to possess it.READ ON
Catching sight of a pretty woman really is enough to throw a man's decision-making skills into disarray, a study suggests.
The more testosterone he has, the stronger the effect, according to work by Belgian researchers.
Men about to play a financial game were shown images of sexy women or lingerie. READ ON
This morning, the funeral of Joe Van Holsbeeck takes place in Haren, in Brussels. The family of the boy, who was murdered for an mp3 player last week, has chosen for a prayer service to be held instead of a traditional Roman Catholic service as many members of the ethnic minorities are expected to turn up. Meanwhile, investigators receive increasingly more tips to help them find the two killers, who are still on the run.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Make sure your girlfriend is always at the right place with these GPS Panties. These panties will monitor the location of your daughter, wife or girlfriend 24 hours a day, and can even monitor their heart rate and body temperature.Based on pioneering research developed by the U.S. military at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), we have brought this revolutionary technology, previously only available to the military, to you!No honey, of course not, it's just a tiny flower, it's the design...
A hospital patient being treated with a flammable gel for a skin condition has died after being engulfed in flames as he lit a cigarette. It is believed the 60-year-old was smoking on a fire escape at Doncaster Royal Infirmary on Monday. He was taken to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield with serious burns but later died.
Coca-Cola Co.'s (KO) North America unit said Tuesday it plans to launch a new line of premium blended beverages with Godiva Chocolatier called Godiva Belgian Blends.
The line, scheduled to launch July 31, will include three flavors: dark chocolate mocha, milk chocolate mocha and french vanilla latte.
Financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.
Godiva Chocolatier is a unit of the Campbell Soup Co.
After a long internal debate that has been lasting for at least three years, the Belgian Government could soon issue new regulations applying to the online gambling sector. Casino style, poker and slots will probably be included.A new law draft is being presented to the Minister of Justice. This draft has been created by the commission on gambling on the basis of the results af a long lasting investigation in which emerged that at least 100,000 Belgian citizens are playing on the Internet and they spend 1 billion Euro per year. Betting via the internet is still considered illegal in Belgium but people are not prevented by doing this thanks to the presence of 9,000 websites connected with Belgium. Instead of banning online gambling the studies made by the Commission have lead to the decision of give licences to nine Belgian casinos that should handle the online gaming activities such as payouts, the time per game, bets, age of access to betting, pay backs, loss thrshold per hour. This, states the Commission, would permit to deliver a legal and controlled offer for betting business.
Belgian police are releasing video images of the killers of Joe Van Holsbeeck, the seventeen-year-old who was murdered in the Central Station last week for his mp3 players. The killers were captured on video for a full two minutes.
From the pictures it is clear that the killers hung around in the Central Station for a while before the murder. CCTV footage captured Joe's murderers on video for several minutes.
The two killers were also filmed after the murder, when they ran off, by a CCTV camera installed on a shop in the neighbourhood.
Only pictures on which the two suspects are clearly identifiable will be available.
The police are not releasing pictures of the killing itself.
On Tuesday the police released two identikit pictures of the killers.
The two murderers are aged between 16 and 18, have dark hair and dark eyes, but the features of their face are not particularly clear.
The police say that a Nike training jacket worn by one of the suspects is the clearest indication towards his identity.
The identikit pictures have been circulated among detectives specialised in youth crime for a few days now, but with little result.
By releasing the pictures to the public at large the public prosecutor's office now hopes to force a breakthrough.
The identikit pictures were compiled using eyewitnesses and CCTV footage in the Central Station.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
A U.S. Marine squad was marching north of Faluijiah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist, badly injured and unconscious. Onthe opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state. The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened. The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road. "I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein is a miserable, lowlife scumbag, and he yelled back that Senator Ted Kennedy is a good-for-nothing, fat, left wing liberal drunk. So I said that Osama Bin Ladin dresses and acts like a frigid, mean spirited lesbian!" He retaliated by yelling, "Oh yeah? Well, so does Mrs. Clinton!" "And, there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us"
More than one third of Brussels citizens who work in the capital of Europe do not always feel safe on STIB-MIVB public transport.According to a survey presented on Tuesday by Flemish MP Carla Dejonghe, 36.55 percent of the 487 people questioned, who live and work in Brussels "occasionally do not feel safe on public transport"."Brussels inhabitants tend to use STIB-MIVB transport more in the evening, which might be why they do not always feel at ease," the Liberal VLD Brussels parliamentarian said.The Flemish University of Brussels (VUB) carried out the quantitative investigation from 16-20 March 2006 to illustrate the transport habits of Brussels's working population. While 36.55 percent of Brussels residents feel unsafe, the survey showed that 23.9 percent of people who live outside the capital but commute there each day also feel ill at ease. Lack of travel information, insufficient lighting, deserted stations and poor cleanliness were also cited as contributory factors. The Flemish MP is working towards improving public transport with suggestions for clearer passenger information, improved closed-circuit monitoring and making the subways inaccessible for people without a valid ticket. "To travel, it is not just about getting from A to B," Dejonghe said. "It is also a way of life in the city - this is why we want to present several constructive proposals to the Brussels Transport Minister [Pascal Smet]."
No matter how much luggage you are allowed to carry on your flight, there is now a maximum weight limit per piece at Brussels Airport. Pieces of more than 32 kg are no longer accepted at check-in, on any carrier. If you have a piece of baggage that is heavier, you will be requested to redistribute the weight over several bags.If needed, extra bags are provided by a number of airlines, or can be obtained at the Airport Shop in thedepartures hall at a very competitive price. This measure is installed as a health and safety precaution for airport workers at Brussels and all over the world, who handle your luggage.
Smoking is no longer permitted in Brussels International Airport, Zaventem, as of Friday 14 April. BIAC, the company that runs Zaventem Airport, has decided to prohibit smoking in all public places in the airport, including its bars, restaurants and lounges. A partial smoking ban had been adopted earlier this year, but until Friday, smoking was still allowed in designated areas. However, a complete smoking is now in force and all ash trays have been removed. Many smokers crave a cigarette after a long flight, but they will now have to wait until they've claimed their luggage and passed passport controls before they can go outside to have a smoke. One man found smoking outside, in front of the airport building, said the complete ban is a bit exaggerated, arguing that the temperature difference can be a problem. He had only just come back from Southern Europe and was still dressed in his t-shirt.
One of Belgium's main high street banks, Dexia, has announced a hike in mortgage rates.It's the first time in two-and-a-half years that a Belgian bank has increased its rates - the standard interest rates for people taking out a 20-year loan will amount to 5 percent in future. The announcement was expected, as interest rates - both short and long-term - have been increasing around the world recently. An economic revival and rising inflation are believed to be the major contributory factors. "We have no choice but to increase our interest rates if we want to keep a profit margin," Gunther De Caluwé of Dexia told the financial
newspaper 'De Tijd'. As a result, more and more people building a house or buying property are opting for a fixed-rate mortgage. This is slightly more expensive, but it protects borrowers against any future increases in mortgage rates. Other Belgian banks are expected to follow suit - KBC has also announced an increase, but is not sure when it will come into effect. Fortis, the biggest mortgage supplier in Belgium, will also increase its rates, while ING adapts its interest rates on a weekly basis.
Friday, April 14, 2006
A teenager was stabbed by two youths in the busy Brussels Central Railway Station late Wednesday afternoon. The young man was killed for not handing over his mp3 player.
The victim and a friend were waiting for another fiend's train to arrive at Brussels Central Rail Station.
Even during this Easter Holiday period, the ticket hall, that normally sees around 140,000 people passing through every day, was bustling at 4 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon.
Two other youths approached the couple in the ticket hall and attempted to take the victim's mp3 player.
One of the robbers produced a knife and stabbed the teenager when he resisted.
The 17-year-old was taken to Saint Peter's Hospital but died a few hours later from his wounds.
The Brussels Public Prosecutor's Office is currently investigating the case.
Good description of offenders
Police say that a good description of the two culprits has been given by the victim's friend and another witness.
So far there is no sign of the perpetrators, who are thought to be of North African origin, but police are hopeful that the incident was recorded on CCTV.
Sex 'theme park' without any rides - but lots of interactivity
The world's first sex theme park opens in London this summer. Terrified of being labelled sleazy, the "park" (housed in the Trocadero, Piccadilly) is pimping itself as a health and education experience - "a Kinsey-type institute for generation X and Y to bring modern thinking around sexuality" (whatever that means) - and as an alternative new venue for corporate hospitality.
The faux prudishness is rather belied by spokesman Alex Rayner who says: "It may be a theme park but there aren't any rides.
"Instead, there will be interactive exhibits, which are currently being built in Los Angeles."
Sounds like a ride to me - especially at £15 a pop.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Thought to be the world's most expensive Easter egg, this monster piece of chocolate will be guarded by security guards at the La Maison du Chocolat shop in London. The 2ft tall egg is worth around £50,000 and is adorned with 100 0.5 carat diamonds. It took three weeks to make and should a buyer decide to break open the egg, they will find it contains peach and apricot chocolates along with pralines.
Credit and debit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are racking up "abnormal" and "excessive" profits for banks, European Union antitrust chief Neelie Kroes said Wednesday.
"Paradise is over," she warned, telling the card industry to make changes or face antitrust investigations that could force them to reform their business or pay fines.
"The more the payment card industry does on its own initiative, the less they are likely to face action under antitrust rules," she said.
In its first report from a wide-ranging investigation into payment cards in Europe, the European Commission said customers are paying too much because the industry was still split along national lines and new card providers find it hard to set up shop. Credit cards are a "very profitable" business, it said. READ ON
Starting in June cars will be banned from the centre of the Belgian capital. The City of Brussels is introducing a car free zone at the heart of the capital.
In the streets bordering this car free zone a maximum speed of 30 km/h will apply.
Streets surrounding Brussels' historic market square will only be accessible to pedestrians.
The city authorities are also taking other measures to discourage motorists from heading into the city centre.
The direction of some one-way streets is being altered to ensure that drivers will not be able to cross the city through the city centre.
Instead motorists will be led back into the direction in which they entered the centre.
A carefree stroll through Brussels...
In future pedestrians will be able to walk from the central Station down to the Beurs (stock exchange) and the night spots on the Sint-Goriksplein without having to watch out for cars.
A number of streets are being resurfaced so that pavements can be widened.
The plans to ban the car from the city centre have been toned down somewhat. In order to allow residents and traders to access their property by car the number of streets that were to be made car free initially has been reduced somewhat.
All parking spaces in streets where a 30 km/h speed limit applies will be reserved for local residents.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Eurostar services have returned to normal after trains were disrupted due to a house collapsing in south London.
Routes between Bromley South and Shortlands were suspended and Eurostar trains to Brussels and Paris were unable to go in to or out of Waterloo.
The rail disruption was caused by the collapse of the semi-detached house in Ridley Road, Bromley, near the track on Tuesday. Fourteen homes were evacuated.
No-one was injured but a 40-metre exclusion zone has been set up.
Fire crews were called at 0430 BST on Tuesday when a family found their front door had become jammed.
Treated for shock
Within hours, two large cracks appeared in their house and the road, eventually causing the side of the property to cave in.
A police spokeswoman said the family was treated for shock.
Gas engineers were dealing with escaped gas while surveyors investigated the cause.
Early signs suggest the property may have collapsed as a result of subsidence.
A spokeswoman for Bromley Council said residents from all the evacuated homes were staying with friends or family.
As a result of the collapse, Eurostar passengers were being directed on to trains from Waterloo East station to Ashford International Station in Kent, where they could join the Channel Tunnel service.
But following huge queues, Eurostar later advised passengers against travelling to Ashford and said tickets could be exchanged for another date or refunded.
The Hof Van Cleve is the best place to eat in Belgium according to the British magazine "Restaurant". The UK's leading publication for the catering sector dished out awards for the worlds top 50 restaurants on Monday night. Three Belgian premises made it onto the catalogue of culinary class.
The World's 50 Best Restaurants, first published in 2002 and now in its fifth year, was announced on Monday at the World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards Ceremony, held at the British Science Museum, in London's fashionable South Kensington.
Three Belgian restaurants made it into the exclusive club of the very best in gourmet indulgence.
The international panel of judges found Hof Van Cleve, in Kruishoutem (East Flanders), to be the ultimate high point of Belgian cuisine. Peter Goossens' establishment made it to 23rd place in the restaurateurs' premier league.
Bruges' renowned De Karmeliet more or less retained its place of high standing coming in 47th with Brussels' Comme chez Soi (photo above) close on its heels at number 49.
It's a tough job but someone's got to do it
Around 560 top chefs and journalists scoured the globe for the ultimate in dinning delight.
Relentlessly tasting, soaking up the atmosphere and challenging their highly tuned sense of taste and olfactory skills to the limit, the intrepid judges selected THE top 50 places to eat on the globe.
The absolute upper extremity of culinary delight is to be experienced at Ferran Adrià's El Bulli in Spain. This year's pinnacle of perfection has surpassed last year's title holder; Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, just outside London's M25 ring road.
France and UK agree on something
The Brits seem to share their taste with the French as the very same three Belgian restaurants were awarded three stars each in the latest Michelin Guide.
This is the first time that the list includes three Belgian restaurants.
This year's list of the world's top 50 restaurants includes ten French, eight in the United States and six British establishments.
The Netherlands have to be content with just one; the Oud Sluis in Zeeland, although it commands a proud 19th position.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
InBev's brewery in the Flemish Brabant village of Hoegaarden is to close. The management at InBev rejected union proposals to save 12 of the 59 jobs at the brewery, where the famous Hoegaarden White beer is produced.
The unions had suggested transferring a barrel-filling line from the Dutch city of Breda to the bottling plant at the Hoegaarden site.
Although the Hoegaarden White brewery is to close, the bottling plant will remain operational.
The management rejected the unions' proposals and said that the barrel-filling line will be installed at either its Leuven (Flemish Brabant) or Jupille (Liège province) site.
The unions will announce on Thursday whether they are to take further industrial action or they are prepared to start negotiations with management on redundancy terms. The closure of the Hoegaarden Brewery is part of InBev's restructuring plans.
The multi-national drinks company is to shed some 430 jobs at various sites throughout Belgium.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Welcome to A Pole New Fitness, a unique exercise venue designed to improve muscle tone and self esteem, one pole dance at a time.
Sorry guys, this one's just for the ladies. Little said she saw enough downtrodden women in one year at her club to know that they needed, well, something to brighten their days. READ ON
Internet touts have used a legal loophole to buy thousands of Europe's new internet addresses, thwarting attempts to crack down on cybersquatters and unscrupulous traders.
The new addresses, ending in .eu, went on sale yesterday after years of planning by European policymakers. For the past decade websites have used suffixes such as .com and .co.uk, but organisers said a continental equivalent could prove pivotal for the European internet industry.
It quickly emerged, however, that some traders have been using a loophole in trademark law to claim ownership of generic words such as "fashion" and "football", or names such as "Africa" and "Glasgow". The result is that many of the most valuable domains went to private dealers before the public sale started.
Belgian police have caught a Bulgarian right when he was withdrawing money from an ATM with a cloned card, media reported.The 40-year-old man was caught red-handed in the city of Liege with a copy of a card that belonged to a Norwegian man. When interrogated by the police, the Bulgarian citizen confessed that since he had arrived in Belgium he had used seven fake ATM cards with the same number. The fraudster had already withdrawn EUR 36,000 in less than three days. Police suspect that the man was part of a gang that had used fake cards to take about EUR 90,000 from Belgian ATMs over the past several days.
Mesen Flanders' smallest city
The West Flemish city of Mesen has a population of only 988 and is Flanders' smallest city. Mesen was granted city status again, when a special law was passed on 19 July 1985. Not only does Mesen have the smallest population, but with a surface area of only 358 hectares, it is also Belgium's smallest city.
In 1057, Duchesse Adela of France set up a monastery for French aristocratic ladies in Mesen.
The Austrian Empress Marie-Theresa dissolved the monastery in 1776 and set up a school for orphans.
The Royal Institution of Mesen is still in existence today, despite almost the entire city having to be rebuilt, after it was raised to the ground in World War I. Small is beautiful
On 1 January 2006 Mesen, which is situated in the south of West Flanders, about 6km from the French border, had a population of 988.
The city has a total of 25 streets with 6 bars (including an Irish pub!) and tea room, as well as its very own post office.
There are also a some 5 monuments commemorating the Great War. The city is also home to an Irish Peace Park, which was opened in 1998 by King Albert II of Belgium, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and the President of the Irish Republic.
The park was set up in memory of the great sacrifice made by Irish soldiers during the First World War.
The city is also home to a British war cemetery and even a Japanese peace pole.
Durbuy says it's smaller
While no one disputes the fact that Mesen is Flanders' smallest city, the locals in the Walloon city of Durbuy claim that their city is the smallest in Belgium.
Despite the area covered by Durbuy City Council having a population of some 10,534, the good people of the picturesque city in the Belgian Ardennes say that only the those living in the historic Old Town area of the city should be counted as being true citizens of Durbuy.
As only 400 people live in the Old Town, Durbuy claims that it is Belgium's smallest city. Whether or not this is true is open to debate.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Daly teeing off during a practice round at the Masters yesterday, in a photo from The Augusta Chronicle. If you ever had any doubt as to why John Daly is popular, that doubt should now rest. Yes, yes, a tradition unlike any other.
Marbella was always one of Spain's Mediterranean jewels.
Known for being the Costa del Sol enclave preferred by aristocrats, Arab princes, actors and singers, it numbers among its residents Antonio Banderas, Bruce Willis and Julio Iglesias.
The city, which has a population of 124,000, enjoys a beautiful spring micro-climate all year round and, like Los Angeles, Marbella also has a Hollywood Boulevard of sorts - known as the Boulevard of Fame - where well-known personalities can leave their handprints and signatures in concrete.
But despite the glitz and glamour, the resort city has seen its reputation nosedive with a flood of recent corruption cases.
In recent years it has acquired a reputation as a beach haven for gangsters of various nationalities.
It has taken another blow with the arrest of its mayor and other officials in a multi-million euro corruption scandal. READ ON
The chairman of a British low-cost airline has condemned French strikers protesting at new youth labour laws, posting a message on his firm's website calling for "lazy frogs" to go back to work.
Jet2.com boss Philip Meeson's comments -- illustrated by a toy frog reclining in front of an air traffic control tower -- were prompted after students staged a sit-in on the runway at Chambery airport in the Alps.
Flights were grounded after air-traffic controllers supported the action against controversial plans to introduce contracts for under 26-year-olds that employers can terminate without explanation during a two-year trial period.
In the message published March 30,
Meeson wrote: "Jet2.com condemns French strike action and calls for lazy frogs to get back to work!"
He added: "What exactly are you striking about? Or just in case you don't understand that, 'pouvez-vous nous expliquer pourquoi exactement etes-vous en greve?'
"After a token stoppage why can't you just sort the matter out amicably without bringing thousands of people around the world, who, I would like to add, give your country huge economic wealth, into the argument?"
The comments, widely reported in British newspapers Wednesday, were condemned by the French air traffic controllers' union, who were said to have called Meeson's language "unacceptable".
A CGT spokesman was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying: "If people in France do not agree with the government it is a very good reason (to strike)."
British members of the European Parliament also rounded on Meeson for "cheap and derogatory" remarks.
But Meeson, whose firm operates low-cost flights out of northern England, was unrepentant, telling the Daily Telegraph: "It was tongue in cheek."
Brewer InBev will increase the price of beer in hotels and cafés by 3 percent from 15 May.
The same price rise will take place in shops from 1 July.
InBev blamed the prices rises on the high cost of energy, news agency Belga reported on Friday. The latest price rise comes after InBev upped its prices last September by 3 percent also.
Rival breweries are now expected to follow suit again.
Retailers and bar owners do not have to pass the costs onto the public, but a glass of beer usually becomes more expensive for the public with each price rise.
The new female chief at InBev recently declared she wanted to increase domestic beer
sales via marketing and innovation.
The beer sector therefore responded negatively to the price rises on Wednesday, stressing that higher prices were not the way to boost sales.
The hotel and cafe industry also reacted with a measure of displeasure.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Yes, she's an attractive woman, with the most intriguing hairstyle since Princess Leia's twin headbagels. But she's also an economist, and she was a key supporter of Viktor Yushchenko in the Orange Revolution that outsted the Yanukovych regime. She was tossed out of Yuschenko's government for corruption, which in Ukraine is really saying something, but I'd vote for her.
Greenland, the only place to have left the EU, will be brought back under the influence of Brussels as part of a global scramble for the mineral riches of the Arctic.
Brussels will give the semiautonomous part of Denmark, which is home to 57,000 people, €43 million (£30 million) a year in return for control over policies including scientific research.
Greenland has been of little geopolitical interest, 90 per cent of it being covered in ice. However, geologists believe that it has as much oil as the North Sea basin. Prospecting licences have tripled in the past three years.
Almost 17,000 applications for a web address with the European domain name .eu have been lodged from Belgium.
Some 320,000 applications in total have been lodged, 5.2 percent of which were made in Belgium, newspaper 'De Tijd' reported on Tuesday.
Almost 1,400 Belgian .eu addresses are already in use and only Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK are performing better.
"The number of applications is high in comparison with the size of Belgium," said a spokesman from EURid, which administers the .eu domain names.
"It can be explained by the popularity of the local .be addresses and by the large number of accredited registration offices in Belgium ."
Companies and public authorities have until Thursday to register their name or product name with EURid. Up until then, the owners of a registered brand name are being given priority.
From Friday, anyone can register a .eu website, also with registered brand names. Businesses will then be at risk of being locked into fierce competition to take possession of their domain name.
About 6,500 applications for .eu websites with the names of Belgian companies have been lodged. Examples are colruyt.eu or omegapharma.eu.
The application by brewer InBev is the only one to have been approved so far. The others are still being considered or have been rejected because documentation was lodged too late.
Georges Duboeuf, the man who launched the phenomenal success of Beaujolais Nouveau wines, appeared in court Tuesday to answer charges that his company adulterated the equivalent of some 300,000 bottles. Widely known as the 'King of the Beaujolais' after his marketing genius in the 1960s turned Beaujolais Nouveau into a worldwide hit, Duboeuf admits there was human error during grape-sorting at his Lancie site in autumn 2004, but says none of the affected wine ever went on sale. READ ON