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No Dirty Linen in Belgium

  • August 24th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

belgium-washing.jpgWhile the kingdom of Belgium muddles through a political crisis of its own kind, members of the public in that country have other worthy matters to occupy their minds.

Flandersnews reports that in a blow to convention King Albert has been forced to interrupt his Summer holidays, and return home to help the political parties form a new coalition government; something they’ve been trying to do without success since elections on 10.6.07.

In the meantime, a kind of normality continues to rule: there are police with too much money; holidaymakers displaying a fixation with white laundry, and a cartoon strip from the 1930s that keeps on pleasing new publics.

SLOWING DOWN BRINGS IN THE EUROS

The Belgian traffic police are reportedly scratching their heads over what to do with extra money brought in by unexpectedly high levels of compliance and safety enforcement.

Belgium has a die-hard reputation for harem-scarem conduct on the roads, though visitors to the country have noted that it’s been on the improve in recent times – not really fully secure but safer by half.

Now the Het Nieuwsblad Flemish daily is saying (20.8.07) the phenomena of more speed cameras on the road, and more people coming forward to pay their fines, have brought on a certain embarrassment of riches.

Increased proceeds from a good “pinch” rate are funneled directly to local police services for use in promoting road safety.

That particular kind of promotion is not quite a tradition, so there’s been some experimentation – free lottery tickets given out for good conduct and the like.

Traffic fines brought in €40-million (A$66-million; dcerates.com 24.8.07) in 2004 and the figure is up to €100-million (A$165-million) now.

WHITER THAN WHITE

The lily-white cleanliness of the traffic constabulary was reflected in a certain drive for hygiene, and fame, down at the beach – Belgium setting a new world record for the world’s longest line of white washing (Picture).

Hundreds of volunteers got together (17.8.07) at the coastal resort of Wenduine, in Flanders, to hang up 60000 items of clothing lent to them by a charity organisation – using 180000 clothes-pegs to complete the two-day job.

The display stretched out over more than 35 kilometres of line, beating a previous world record set in Turkey.

TINTIN’S STABLEMATES

Celebrations for the centenary of the birth of Hergé, the Tintin cartoonist, roll on and on.

It’s been announced that two of his lesser-known characters, wildly popular in Belgium itself, will become the stars of a special twelve-episode series, to appear in the press in India.

They are Quick and Flupke, two boys from the working class Marollen area of Brussels who made their comic-strip debut in 1930, and have not aged one day since.

They get into many scrapes to the delight of their public, and hopes have been expressed that if they do well in India, other places soon may see them as well.
Reference: Flandersnews. http://www.flandersnews.be (23.8.07)

Picture: Flandersnews – Belga

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