Belgium in Brief: New Year, same struggles?

Belgium in Brief: New Year, same struggles?

The turn of the year always signals a period of reflection on the previous 12 months and sights are set on the 12 to come. Headlines have been dominated by the ever-present pandemic and each variant provokes a fresh flurry of media attention and speculation.

As the world faces another mutation that has set new records for daily infections but, mercifully, seems to be less severe for those who contract it, health experts and governments the world around are wondering how to move beyond the coronavirus and restore many liberties that, until recently, we had taken for granted.

But serious as the pandemic is, there is also widespread fatigue as many yearn for something new or different to think about. And though much has changed in recent months, some things never seem to change. It’s not only reports of extra-terrestrial invaders or concerns about Europe’s green transition, some trends have continued despite the turmoil of the past two years.

One that is particularly glaring is the rising inequality that sees wealth become ever more concentrated in the hands of a few. In 2021, the world’s richest augmented their personal fortunes whilst many are under increasing financial pressure. Many smaller retailers feel unable to compete with the unbeatable prices offered by online giants such as Amazon.

This is hardly new news but is worth considering nonetheless. As a new calendar year marks a new start and we hope to finally reclaim our pre-Covid lives, let’s hope that we can turn our attention towards the other issues, big and small, that have been too easy to overlook.

What do you expect from the year ahead? Let @OrlandoWhitehe6 know.

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Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1.Belgium Covid-19 infections double in a week

The number of coronavirus infections in Belgium continues to rise rapidly, as the daily average doubled to over 10,000 cases per day over the past week, according to provisional data of the Sciensano national health institute. Read more.

2.World’s 10 wealthiest people earned over €350 billion in 2021

Three of the world’s wealthiest (L-R): Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos

The world’s 10 richest people added over €350 billion to their already substantial fortunes last year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Read more.

3. Decline in new Covid-19 cases in Belgium slowing down

The number of new coronavirus cases being recorded in Belgium is continuing to drop, however, the pace at which it is decreasing is starting to slow down. Read more.

4. Belgium discusses new quarantine rules for Omicron this week

With numerous countries including the United States, France and Switzerland deciding to relax their quarantine strategies for the seemingly less severe Omicron variant, Belgium will discuss a similar strategy this week. Read more.

5. Nuclear and natural gas: European Commission accused of ‘greenwashing’

The European Commission’s has been accused of “greenwashing” following its decision on 31 December to classify energy from nuclear and natural gas as “green” on its taxonomy list. Read more.

6. Large drop UFO reports in Belgium in 2021

Reports of unidentified flying objects (UFO) in Belgium dropped significantly last year in comparison with the number of observations reported in 2020. Read more.

7. Hidden Belgium: A little bit of everything in an authentic Brussels bar

Downtown Brussels is changing fast. But there are still some old places that have kept their authentic Brussels charm. Café Monk is one of them. Read more.

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