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Belgium in Brief: April Fools Is Disappointing 

Credit: Belga

You know that feeling when you hear something and it sounds impossible, but you want to believe it?

Then you tell someone and realise it was actually a joke?

I’m sure you feel a little silly, and that’s ok.

But imagine if that actually had an impact on your day to day work. April Fool’s Day is funny for some, but as a journalist, it’s a day full of disappointment.

The chances of an April Fool’s joke making it to publication might exist always, but more than anything today is just 24 hours of seeing story ideas you really wish were real.

When you’ve spent the bulk of a year covering a pandemic, it’s just even worse.

We really just want to write about other things, too.

With that being said, what’s the best joke you’ve seen so far? A Haribo/ Crayola crossover is mine.

Let @johnstonjules (me) know on Twitter.

Another thing I learned, people really like endives. 
Feel like you’re missing out?
There’s a load of recipes from readers here.

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

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. SNCB’s CEO threatens to suspend all train travel to coastal destinations

The CEO of Belgian rail company SNCB, Sophie Dutordoir, is threatening the government with the suspension of train traffic to coastal stations if it does not review measures affecting train travel. Read more.

2. Belgium told to lift ‘all Covid measures’: what changes?

On Wednesday afternoon, a Brussels court ruled that Belgium’s current coronavirus measures do not have a sufficient legal basis, and gave the State 30 days to provide that basis.

But what does that actually mean? Click here to find out.

3. Experts fear ‘collateral damage’ as patients postpone health care

The postponement of non-essential health care in times of pandemic could have collateral damage that makes itself felt long after the initial emergency is over, according to a study from the universities of Louvain-la-Neuve and Leuven.

The problem of renunciation of care – where sick people decide not to seek medical help – is well known in the health sector, but is normally related to financial difficulties, the cost of care or the need to stop working. Read More.

4. Europe’s ‘unacceptably’ slow vaccination roll-out prolonging pandemic, WHO says

The European branch of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has criticised the slow vaccination rollout in the region’s countries and has urged for vaccine production to be increased.

The organisation warned that the region’s situation is more worrying than it has seen in several months and that the current vaccination campaigns are giving governments and citizens a “false sense of security.” Read more.

5. National Bank: A degree brings 28% more pay for men, 27% for women

A higher education qualification carries a serious income advantage of 28% more pay for men and 27% for women, according to figures from the National Bank (NBB).

But even a secondary school diploma brings an income benefit, of 9% for men and 6% for women, compared to their contemporaries who left school without one. Read More.

6. Pigeon population in Brussels reduced by 30% following contraceptive experiment

The pigeon population in the Brussels district of Laeken dropped by 30% in one year as a result of a pilot experiment conducted by the City of Brussels to tackle the problem.

At the end of 2019, when the region first decided to tackle the problem, local authorities decided to spread contraceptive seeds on Place Clémentine in Laeken, and as a result, the population dropped by 30% from 180 pigeons in February 2019 to 130 pigeons one year later. Read More.

7. Eurovision Song Contest can go ahead with live audience as test event

The Eurovision Song Contest, which was planned to take place next month in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, will be going ahead as a test event with an audience of 3,500 people per night, who will be tested for the coronavirus beforehand.

The organiser of the annual festival, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), has welcomed the decision from the Dutch government that, if circumstances allow, fans can attend the event in person. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times