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This year, the Chinese New Year will start on 10 February, and signals the beginning of two weeks of celebrations.
- This year will be the year of the snake. The snake represents wisdom, intelligence and self-control. This year will come with risks and benefits. You can read more about what 2013 holds in store for us and how we can act to oppose several risks, read this ...
Advertising & Media
Death of a printed newspaper
The really great German Financial Times (FT Deutschland) died officially last Friday, with humour reflected in articles such as "our last wish" or a picture showing the whole team bowing towards readers saying "sorry".
- After 12 years of a dynamic life and regularly excellent articles, the team provided their last issue, having fun with the planning and writing.
The website will still be available for some time so right now you can enjoy reading the last article at www.ftd.de ...
Newsweek killed paper version, only available by online subscription
On 31 December 2012, Newsweek, born in New York in 1933, stopped its loved printed editions.
- Newsweek will continue to exist in an online version, which is available by subscription on "The Daily Beast" website.
The Daily Beast website seems maybe funnier than the Newsweek. However, if you really miss the Newsweek, you can subscribe here www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek.html ...
The Brussels Connection wishes you a very Happy New Year!
23 January marks the start of the Chinese New Year and two weeks of family reunions and festivities.
Like the year 2000, 2012 will be the year of the Dragon, symbol of power and prosperity.
Unsurprisingly, no Chinese astrologist is currently taking the risk of giving indications of what 2012 could be holding in store for us at global level. Besides the spreading economic downturn ...
Several major websites, amongst which Wikipedia, have been undertaking "blackout" actions today in protest against SOPA.
The draft US “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), proposed in October by Representative Lamar Smith together with other IP Right Bills, is bringing the world’s online giants up in arms. It will be further discussed by the House in January.
The proposal would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, ...
About the EU
Martin Schulz elected new President of the EU Parliament
MEPs elected Martin Schulz to be the new European Parliament President with 387 votes in favour out of 670 cast. The 56-year old German MEP will lead the European parliament for two and half years, until the beginning of the next legislature in July 2014.
Martin Schulz (S&D, Germany) replaces the outgoing President Jerzy Buzek (EPP, Poland).
In a brief address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg immediately after the vote, Mr Schulz said: "We must grasp the fact that people in Europe have little time for institutional debates because they are too busy ...
Those of you who follow the European Parliament’s activities might find it useful to print out the yearly Parliament Calendar for 2012, showing the plenary meetings, committee and political group meetings and the constituency weeks.
An Egyptologist‘s delight: Tutankhamun exhibition in Brussels
Visit “Tutankhamun, his tomb and his treasures” at Brussels Expo, until 6 November 2011.
Covering a surface of 4,000m2 this innovative exhibition, showing several educational multi-media presentations and over 1,000 replicas of artefacts, also features three funerary chambers reproduced at real size.
This exhibition will be complemented for its entire duration by the Egyptology Department of the Musée du Cinquantenaire, which is ...
A new website for parents to find a babysitter or a nanny
Are you searching for a babysitter or a nanny in Belgium, the Netherlands or Luxembourg? This new website puts babysitters, nannys and parents in contact with each other via an online database.
You can register as a parent on this website and you can easily search and find babysitters in your neighbourhood. The database contains babysitters and nannies living and working in the Benelux. You can browse through their profiles, complete a request, and send an E-mail message to them. All these ...
Arts and Culture
Art and Finance in Europe exhibition
Since 2008 the European Association of Public Banks (EAPB) and the Royal Museums of Fine Art of Belgium have set up a cooperation around the Sequence "Art and Finance in Europe". The sequence started in 2008 with works of art of the 15th century. This year’s exhibition will show “18th Century Masterworks in a new light” and opens on 29 April 2011.
The exhibition ‘Art and Finance in Europe, 18th Century Masterworks in a New Light’ will last until 4 September 2011 and has been convened under the patronage of László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and Tamás Fellegi, Hungarian Minister for National Development, in the frame ...
On Saturday 26 March, for the 2011’ edition of the “Earth Hour”, launched by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2007, over 4000 towns around the world turned off lights on their main monuments for one hour, whereas families turned off lights at home.
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change.
In 2010 a record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action. Iconic buildings ...
The Green Planet
The party is over: nuclear energy shows true colours
Yesterday, Japanese authorities warned that Tokyo’s tap water was unfit to drink for babies, after radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. Above normal levels of radioactive iodine have also been found in spinach and milk, which the government asked to avoid consuming.
The courageous struggle to keep the Fukushima Daichi four ailing reactors on a total of six from creating further damage have been watched all over the world. The damages to the reactors were caused by the 11 March massive earthquake which then triggered an extremely powerful tsunami, destroying whole villages ...
Following the corruption scandal involving three MEPs, including Ernst Strasser, former Interior Minister, who has now resigned from the European Parliament, the Austrian Justice Minister, Claudia Bandion-Ortner, announced a “Lobbying Law” for this year.
Mrs Bandion-Ortner says she was thinking of legislative restrictions, to establish transparency at national level by further regulating lobbying practices. Work on a proposal has apparently already begun. In any case, she said that for the kind of behaviour shown by Ernst Strasser, there will be “zero tolerance”.
Corruption allegations against three MEPs by Sunday Times journalists
On 20 March, journalists from the UK Sunday Times sent a detailed investigation to the European Parliament alleging that three MEPs had accepted offers of up to €100,000 per year, for proposing amendments.
During eight months, the journalists posed as lobbyists and contacted around 60 MEPs, to see whether some would be ready to accept to push through specific amendments, in exchange of remuneration.
Three MEPs which are Ernst Strasser from Austria, Adrian Severin from Romania and Zoran Thaler from Slovenia, all ...
Women’s Day 2011: equality still far away - only 3% of major companies chaired by a woman
On 8 March, the European Parliament celebrated the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day. Parliament President Jerzy Buzek regretted that there are too few women in the EP, with its current 35% of women, which is still slightly more than most national Parliaments.
In business, only 3% of women chair a major company. The pay gap between genders is also quite astonishing: on average and across the whole economy, women in the EU earn 17.6% less than their male counterparts per hour. Mrs Mariya Nedelcheva (Bulgaria, EPP), from the Women’s Rights Committee, proposed ...
In the global obesity debate, one government gives finally the right advice: eat less
On 31 January, the US Government published its Dietary Guidelines, in the form of a 112 page-long report, which for the first time ever, gives the realistic and practical advice to “eat less”.
The Federal government advises Americans to “enjoy your food, but eat less”. The more practical suggestions include drinking water instead of sodas, filling your plate with fruits and vegetables and cutting down on processed foods too rich in salt, fat or sugar.
It also suggests to eat less ...
Siim Kallas urges EU’s airport CEOs to plan for heavy snow in winter
Following the major air travel disruptions of December 2010, Commission Vice-President Kallas invited CEOs from major EU airports to discuss possible actions to prevent similar problems in future.
“Volcanic ash is difficult for the aviation industry to predict, but we know that winter arrives every year and we should be ready for it.” He added that “we need to introduce minimum service and quality requirements at European airports for our passengers. Those requirements will form part of ...
Inter-institutional working group agrees elements of Transparency Register
The draft text which has been agreed within the inter-institutional working group, laying down a common Code and elements for registration has been sent to the Commission and the Parliament for consideration and final approval.
The high level inter-institutional high level group is composed of MEPs Diana Wallis (ALDE, UK), Isabelle Durant (Greens/EFA, BE), Jo Leinen (S&D, DE), and Carlo Casini (EPP, IT) and Vice-President Maroš Šefcovic, for the European Commission.
On 7 October, the group already agreed to change the name of the ...
Nearly there: EU companies’ invoices must be paid within 30 days
On 14 September, the European Parliament and the Council have agreed on an EU-wide 30 days payment deadline both for B2B transactions and transactions with public authorities, in the updating of the Late Payments Directive. Hooray!
Since 2000, the Late Payments Directive establishes that late payment constitutes a breach of contract and applies to all payments made as remuneration for commercial transactions between companies or between companies and public authorities. Late payment, says the Directive, entails the payment of an interest rate ...
Searching for a stable investment? Try original comic strip books
Besides collector cars which have sold extremely well and at high prices during this economic downturn, original editions of comic strips are also excellent investment items as they gain value over time.
A “Superman” comic strip from 1939 has been estimated at €200,000 for example, whereas “Les Aventures de Tintin au Pays des Soviets” from 1930 is valued at €28,800. “De Vrolijke Avonturen van Doris Dobbel” from 1952 is evaluated at €15,000 and “Donald Duck finds Pirate Gold” from 1942 is ...