This Monday saw the start of the operation to remove the damaged tanks from the scene of the accident, 10 days after the derailment of the train carrying the chemical acrylonitrile. The six rearmost carriages, which were not derailed, were hosed down and attached to a locomotive to be towed to Dendermonde, about 15km away.
Two people were still in intensive care as Flanders Today went to press due to the accident.
A 550-metre area surrounding Wetteren, Serskamp and Schellebelle was evacuated, and people living within a one-kilometre radius were advised to keep doors and windows closed. More homes were later evacuated when it was reported that toxic substances had been washed by fire service hoses into the sewers, from where the vapours could enter houses.
While a final figure had not yet been announced as Flanders Today went to press, Friday’s pledges alone topped the half-million mark, with more money flowing in over the weekend.
Among those taking part were crooner Helmut Lotti, who made a video explaining why donations were required and hosted a tea party. Drinking tea was the theme of the event, as the offering of tea to guests in Syria is an important ritual. Ghent city council also organised a tea party and made a donation of €18,000.
The Sinksenfoor is Antwerp’s annual fair held in the weeks following Pentecost. Last week a judge in the city issued a decision to ban the carnival from taking place in the southern docklands in response to a complaint brought by local residents concerning the noise caused by the 150 fairground attractions and crowds.
The Brainleap project is an initiative of professor Michele Giugliano, who leads the Laboratory of Theoretical Neurobiology and Neuroengineering at the University of Antwerp (UA). Giugliano also co-ordinates the activity of participating researchers from the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Israel. Together, they want to find out how brain cells – also known as nerve cells or neurons – interact to determine the behaviour of animals and humans.
Last week, Dimitri Bontinck from Antwerp was in Syria looking for his 16-year-old son, Jejoen, while another father from Vilvoorde was reported to have departed on the same mission. As Flanders Today went to press, neither had made contact with his son.
Peeters signed a memorandum of understanding between the governments of Flanders and Malawi, including a pledge for funding worth €25 million in support of Malawi’s agriculture over the next five years. “We believe that president Joyce Banda is making the right decisions, and we have agreed that this money should be used in agriculture, which is the top priority area in our agreement,” Peeters told the country’s Daily Times.
School groupings will begin to take shape in 2017. Each group will be made up of several schools, with a total student body of at least 2,000 and an average of 6,000. The creation of co-operative groups will not be obligatory, but Flemish education minister Pascal Smet held out the possibility of offering financial incentives to move to a group system. Management staff might be eligible for more pay if they work at a group level, while teachers would move towards being employed by a group rather than a single school.
During the month-long trial, De Gelder never denied that he entered the crèche armed with a knife and an axe, striking out at anyone within reach. One week earlier, De Gelder had murdered an elderly woman in her home in Vrasene in order, he said, to still the voices in his head urging him to kill.