thumbnail

Diposting oleh On 05.52

Wallonia, Belgium, to install 120 new EV charging stations

Wallonia, Belgium, to install 120 new EV charging stations

Jean-Luc Crucke, the Energy Minister of the French-speaking part of Belgium, Wallonia, has decided his region will soon have 120 new charging stations. These would come on top of the 280 charging points that are already operational.

By 2020, Wallonia will have 688 charging stations. For comparison: the Dutch-speaking part of the country will have 7,436 by the same date.

Train stations in particular are public places where more charging stations are planned. At this time, only five train stations are equipped with them.

Image: Liège Guillemins train station

Authored by: Benjamin UyttebroeckSafety & Environm entTechnology and InnovationBelgiumSource: Google News Belgium | Netizen 24 Belgium

thumbnail

Diposting oleh On 05.52

Five Spain players banned for referee confrontation after Belgium defeat

  1. Five Spain players banned for referee confrontation after Belgium defeat BBC Sport
  2. Five Spain players given combined 121-week ban for abusing referee after controversial Belgium game Telegraph.co.uk
  3. Rugby Europe issues hefty bans to Spanish players over controversial Belgium match RugbyPass
  4. Full coverage
Source: Google News Belgium | Netizen 24 Belgium

thumbnail

Diposting oleh On 05.52

Belgium Illegally Shipped 96 Tonnes of Sarin Precursor to Syria

Jeff Deutch from Syrian Archive, additional reporting by Kristof Clerix from Knack

Knack and Syrian Archive reveal today that Belgian companies have violated EU sanctions against Syria, according to the summons of an upcoming lawsuit.

Based on information found through the UN Comtrade database, freedom of information requests, and confirmed by the Belgian Customs, we can reveal that a criminal case regarding exports of chemicals to Syria has been opened in Antwerp Criminal Court. This case is brought by the Belgian Customs against three Flemish companies, one managing director and one manager, according to court press judge Roland Cassiers citing the summons.

Since EU sanctions from September 2013 made export licences compulso ry for the export of isopropanol to Syria in concentrations of 95% or higher, Syrian Archive and Knack can report that Belgian companies exported 96 tonnes of isopropanol, a sarin precursor, to Syria between 2014 and 2016.

Sarin is the nerve gas used by the Syrian government in the Khan Shaykhun attack that killed 74-100 people in April of last year, as attributed by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to Belgian toxicologist Jan Tytgat (KU Leuven), victims of sarin die a painful death. “Diarrhea, urinary flare, narrowed pupils, spasms that give you the feeling of suffocation, vomiting, lacrimation and saliva production: the victim quickly becomes paralyzed, suffocates and dies. The lethal dose of sarin for adults is estimated to be less than 1 milligram.”

Video by Hadi Alabdallah of a factory next to the impact site which was targeted by a chemical bomb in Khan Shaykhun

The Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), that oversees compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, examined samples from and around the impact crater in Khan Shaykhun, finding in laboratory tests that isopropanol was used in the production of sarin used in the attack.

Isopropanol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is considered a “dual use” product, much like chlorine, which has ordinary industrial uses (such as in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals or acetate, where it is favoured due to its low toxicity and small amount of residue). It can also be used in the synthesis process when manufacturing chemical agents such as the nerve agent sarin. Like all chemical weapons, the use of sarin has been banned since the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.

The question is: where did Syria get its isopropano l from? In October 2013, Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention. “It was then necessary to destroy its stocks of isopropanol,” says Jean-Pascal Zanders from consultancy firm The Trench, a Belgian expert on chemical weapons.

According to the OPCW, Syria liquidated a stock of 133 tonnes of isopropanol. However, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs found evidence that since 2014, the Syrian regime has tried to acquire “dozens of tonnes of isopropanol.”

Data found by Syrian Archive staff in the UN Comtrade database shows that since 2014, an estimated 1.28 million kilograms of propanol and isopropanol (both propanol and isopropanol are registered under the same code) were exported by various countries to Syria, the largest majority coming from United Arab Emirates and Lebanon with a combined 674,880 kilograms since EU sanctions were introduced. See below:


Source: UN Comtrade. Reported exports of isopropanol and propanol to Syria in kilograms (2013-2017). See the data here.

The UN Comtrade statistics show that Belgium was the only EU member state that continued to export (iso)propanol to Syria since EU sanctions were imposed in 2013. After this discovery, we contacted the Belgian Customs for a reaction.

According to Francis Adyns, spokesperson of the Belgian Federal Public Service Finance (the government department to which the Customs belong), “appropriate permits were not submitted to the Belgian Customs (…) The established facts were the subject of a criminal investigation. The prosecution was initiated at the Criminal Court of Antwerp at the end of March.”

Through information from the Antwerp Criminal Court, we now know that ‘The customs authorities summon three Flemish companies, one managing director and one manager,’ says press judge Roland Cassier s, citing the summons. “The companies are AAE Chemie Trading from Kalmthout, a wholesaler of chemical products for industrial use; Anex Customs from Hoevenen, a business office that provided administrative services until it went bankrupt in 2017; and Danmar Logistics, a logistics company from Stabroek.” Cassiers stresses that they are only charged but that ‘the facts are not declared proven yet’. The opening session of the lawsuit at the Antwerp Criminal Court is set for 15 May 2018.

Francis Adyns, spokesperson of the Finance department, confirms that the Customs had proposed to A.A.E. Chemie a friendly settlement.

That proposal referred to a first, closed part, of the investigation. AAE Chemie did not agree with the proposal. When the customs performed additional investigative acts in this case, in which the involvement of AAE Chemie came up again, AAE Chemie referred to the proposal of a friendly settlement. But because the company had not accepted the proposed settlement, the Customs did prosecute the company in the end.

Contacted by Knack, the three companies stress that they were not aware that export licenses were compulsory for exports of chemicals to Syria, as they had been exporting chemicals to private companies in Syria for over a decade. They state that they acted in good faith and that they did not have the intention to hide anything. They argue that the Belgian Customs’ information system on legal obligations (TARBEL/TARWEB) was not up to date, and that the Belgian Customs scanned and controlled all exports to Syria for 100%. According to the companies, the Customs never refused any of the exports.

The summons of the lawsuit shows that the Belgian Customs only determined that the appropriate export licenses had not been submitted by the companies after the chemicals had already been exported to Syria.

That chronology raises questions, especially bearing in mind public statements made by the Belgian government last month on the 100th anniversary of the first chemical weapons attack, which took place in Belgium in 1917. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Minister of Defence Steven Vandeput released a statement that “Belgium condemns the use of chemical weapons by the regime and rebel groups in Syria. These constitute war crimes which must be punished.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Minister of Defence Steven Vandeput and Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

In Belgium, the granting of export licenses is a responsibility of the three regions: Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders. Answers received after Freedom of Information Requests show that no export licenses for isopropan ol were requested to the Walloon or Brussels authorities since 2013.

Public documents from the Flemish authorities show that in October 2016 a requested export license was denied for the export of dual-use chemicals to Syria, totaling €1.93 million. That case did not concern isopropanol, Flemish authorities confirm. But it shows that Belgium is not willing to grant export licenses for the export of dual-use chemicals to Syria.

The upcoming trial at the Antwerp Criminal Court not only concerns the export of isopropanol to Syria. According to the summons cited by court press judge Roland Cassiers, 24 shipments of sanctioned chemicals from Belgium to Syria and Lebanon took place between May 2014 and December 2016, in which 165 tonnes of isopropanol (69 tonnes to Lebanon and the remaining shipments to Syria), 219 tonnes of acetone, 77 tonnes of methanol and 21 tonnes of dichloromethane had been exported without the appropriate licenses.

According to Francis Adyns of the Belgian Federal Public Service Finance, the Belgian Customs have no indication that the isopropanol exported from Belgium has been used for the production of sarin. “Isopropanol is used, among other things, as a solvent in the paint and varnish industry, as a disinfectant in health care and as a coolant. The Customs have no information about any other use than for the paint industry. The export has already been taking place for a decade to the same customers.”

In its response to Clerix, AAE Chemie itself confirmed the transport of isopropanol in a concentration of 95% or higher to Syria but claims that Belgian Customs also bear responsibility for what went wrong.

∗ The citations of Roland Cassiers, Jan Tytgat, Francis Adyns, Jean-Pascal Zanders, and the reactions of the companies are translations of the citations published in the Knack article ‘Isopropanol-schandaal: hoe een grondstof voor gifgas door de handen van de Belgische douane glipte’ from 18 A pril 2018.

Syrian Archive

SyrianArchive.org is a open source platform that collects, curates, verifies, and preserves visual documentation of human rights violations in #Syria | Twitter: @syrian_archive

Join the Bellingcat Mailing List:

Enter your email address to receive a weekly digest of Bellingcat posts, links to open source research articles, and more.

Source: Google News Belgium | Netizen 24 Belgium

no image

Diposting oleh On 15.01

EU clears acquisition of Eurogrid by Elia, both of Belgium

The European Commission said on April 16 that it has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control of Eurogrid International by Belgium’s Elia System Operator.

Eurogrid invests in electric utility-related companies and provides support services to its customers. It also owns 100% of 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, one of the four transmission system operators in Germany.

Elia, jointly controlled by Eurogrid, owns, operates, maintains and develops Belgium’s high- and extra-high-voltage grid.

The Commission said the EC concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because it would not result in any overlaps. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn+ Source: Google News Belgium | Netizen 24 Belgium

thumbnail

Diposting oleh On 15.01

New Belgium Brewing Releases Bicycle Kick Kolsch

FORT COLLINS, Colo. â€" As the world prepares to unite over a soccer-packed summer, New Belgium Brewing has come together with five breweries from five continents to create Bicycle Kick Kolsch, a crisp and refreshing beer crafted by an international dream team.

This all-star brewing roster consists of Adnams (England), Baird (Japan), Bodebrown (Brazil), Devil’s Peak (South Africa) and Primus (Mexico). As key players from each brewery collaboratively formulated a recipe, the question frequently kicked around was how to best capture the beautiful game in a beer. The answer came in the form of two unique ingredients â€" chamomile, the national flower of Russia, where soccer fans will turn their attention this summer, and lemongrass, representative of playing tur f.

“We decided to brew a kolsch because we wanted to make something light and sessionable that allowed us all to experiment while staying true to our craft roots,” said Ross Koenigs, New Belgium Research and Development Brewer. “This easy drinker is perfect for the pitch, especially if your team is playing across the globe with a start time of 7 a.m.”

Bicycle Kick Kolsch pours a very light gold color with a light haze and a creamy sip. This light-bodied beer starts with a hint of sweetness before hitting the back of the net with a bitter finish.

Bicycle Kick Kolsch

Malts: Caramel and Pale

Hops: Nugget and Willamette

ABV: 5.1%

IBU: 12

Special Ingredients: Chamomile and lemongrass

Availability: Now globally for a limited time in 12 oz. cans and draft

Each participating brewery will brew and distribute Bicycle Kick in their respective markets, making for a true global collaboration.

“It is so satisfying and enjoyable to be a part of this global community of friendly and collaborative craft brewers,” said Bryan Baird, Brewmaster at Baird. “It’s even better being a beer lover with a keen affinity for crisp and refreshing styles like kolsch, particularly ones deftly and creatively spiced or fruited. I can’t wait to tear into several pints of Bicycle Kick Kolsch this summer while cheering on my team.”

For more information about New Belgium or any of its beers, visit www.newbelgium.com.

About New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work, one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses and tops Bicycling Magazine’s Best Companies for Cyclists. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium brews sixteen year-round beers: Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Fat Tire Belgian White, The Hemperor HPA, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale, Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA, Sour Saison, Honey Orange Tripel, Dayblazer Easygoing Ale, Tartastic Fruit Beer Series, 1554 Black Lager, Bohemian Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Style Ale, Trippel and a gluten-reduced beer, Glutiny Pale Ale. To learn more, visit NewBelgium.com and follow the brewery on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Source: Google News Belgium | Netizen 24 Belgium

thumbnail

Diposting oleh On 15.01

K Falls jeweler heads to Belgium on diamond quest

× Tired of seeing surveys on articles? If you are a subscriber, simply log in or Subscribe now! Holliday Jewelry Antwerp trip, 2017 Buy Now

Ray Holliday, owner at Holliday Jewelry in Klamath Falls, examines a find in Antwerp, Belgium, the diamond capital of the world, during a group trip in 2017.

From left: Holliday Jewelry owner Ray Holliday and store manager Derek Porter often take two trips a year to Antwerp, Belgium, the diamond capital of the world, to find specific diamonds for customers.

Buy Now

Here are several diamonds from Antwerp, Belgium, from a Holliday Jewelry diamond-buying trip in 2017.

Buy Now

Antwerp, Belgium, has been considered the "diamond capital" of the world since the 15th century.

For 15 years, Ray Holliday, who owns Holliday Jewelry in Klamath Falls, has taken trips to buy diamonds halfway across the world.

Holliday and his store’s manager, Derek Porter, often visit Antwerp, Belgium, twice a year. The custom-made jewelry store’s latest trip â€" between April 13 and 19 â€" is organized through the Independent Jewelers Organization, a retail group based in Connecticut that has about 1,000 members worldwide.

As for Holliday Jewelry’s annual trips, one often happens in the spring while another comes closer to October. They usually have about 10 customers based out of the Klamath Falls area who m ake specific diamond purchase requests.

“That’s really neat â€" everybody’s working for that one call (buyer) just for somebody in Klamath Falls,” Porter said.

Porter is now on his first solo diamond excusion with nearly a dozen other store representatives across the nation. Two others also come from Oregon: One jeweler is from Astoria, while another hails from McMinville.

The ‘diamond capital’

Antwerp, a city of roughly 500,000, has been considered the “diamond capital” of the world since the 1400s. Holliday and Porter described the sights of their past trips, mentioning everything from classic cobblestone streets to entire avenues dedicated to diamond shops.

For his first solo trip, Porter said he is ready to rely on his expertise, instincts and knowledge of the diamond-buying process. He’s seeking a pair of heart-shaped diamonds for one of his customers.

“You never know what you’re going to find,” Porter said before leaving on his trip last week. “It’s pretty neat.”

Tight market controls

Preparation before and after the trip is somewhat unconventional: Each diamond they find must be shipped through special, secure couriers.

“The import and export of diamonds is very, very tightly controlled in Belgium,” Holliday said. “We’re not allowed to carry any loose diamonds into Belgium or out of Belgium.”

The diamond district itself does not allow cars past a certain point, with pedestrian traffic being most prominent in the area. During past trips, Porter and Holliday say they would visit several shops, searching for diamonds that best meet the descriptions of their customers.

This process often involves putting several diamonds on hold for a 24-hour period.

“You’re hiring us to be your diamond brokers â€" to go over and do it just for you,” Porter said. “This is what we do and we go halfway across the world to do it.”

Working with buyers

Prices, according to Holliday, could range anywhere between $500 to the hundreds of thousands depending on what people want or can afford.

Many times, Holliday and Porter have also taken in some of the diamond shops’ most prized possessions.

“Sometimes they’ll bring out their personal vaults and stuff like that,” Holliday said. Some of these diamonds could easily be worth $250,000 to $500,000.

Holliday and Porter said they’ll do everything they can to work with customers based on their needs and desires. If someone has closer to $500, the jewelers said they would still go above and beyond.

“We treat them with the same respect and give them the same energy as someone who wants a $20,000 diamond,” Holliday said. “That’s what’s going to be important to them. It’s fun for us and we get to make a lot of people happy.”

“Every diamond has a story and every piece of jewelry has a story, too” Holliday added.

Source: Google News Belgium | Netizen 24 Belgium