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    Here’s some good news to take you into the weekend

    © Planckendael Jonas Verhulst

    There’s not a lot of good news around these days, after eight weeks of lockdown, but we looked hard, and we found some.

    The American fast food chain Dunkin’ Donuts has confirmed it will open its first outlet in Belgium, in Antwerp. The new store will be on the De Keyserlei, directly in front of the Central Station, on the spot previously occupied by the bakery Van Opstal – Van Boxel.

    Another 14 are planned. No dates have been revealed.

    The stork colony at Planckendael animal park near Mechelen has grown to 77 nests, 11 more than last year. The colony now counts 180 birds, 20 more than last year, and the breeding season is well under way, said spokesperson Ilse Segers.

    One nest has already produced five chicks, where the normal average is two or three.

    While the rest of us talk only of crisis, teenagers in Flanders have more positive than negative feelings, according to a survey carried out by the university of Ghent. One in four reported feelings of anxiety, but only 15% said they see the future as dark.

    One in three felt isolated, but three-quarters said they were using social media more than before the crisis.

    Animal rights organisation Gaia has welcomed the decision by the national security council to allow pet-care salons to open from Monday – before even their equivalents for humans.

    Without good care, animals can sometimes be confronted with painful problems,” a spokesperson said. “It’s not really a question of aesthetic treatment, more on essential care.”

    The corona crisis has made almost half of all Belgians more attentive to healthy and sustainable food, according to a poll by Fairtrade Belgium. And one in four said they would opt more often in future for fair trade products. 42% were buying more local produce since the lockdown started, and while coffee consumption was up by 19.8%, sales of fair trade coffee rose by 25.5%.

    Finally, tour operator Sunweb will freeze the cost of holidays for one year for anyone who had to cancel this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. If those disappointed customers want to rebook when it again becomes possible, they will pay no more than they paid before.

    If they want to book a different holiday, they can do so using a voucher issued by Sunweb, but then they will pay the current price.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times