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Belgium in Brief: Busy Brussels

For those of us still kicking around Belgium in August, a curious thing has happened.

Tourism has returned.

The metros and trains are busy again with (mostly) mask-wearing tourists, staring slack-jawed at a world that is far beyond the confines of the four walls they have spent the past year stuck inside.

The roads have cars on them – some people hate that – the shops have people and the rules have relaxed.

Has the almost-but-not-quite-new-normal snuck up on us without us noticing?

Ha, no, but maybe we’re getting there.

We’re booking seats again, we’re hiding from the rain inside, and visiting the outside world doesn’t require an elaborate planning mission.

Lots of things suck still, but as we enter into August… this is good.
Have you seen this trend? Or am I going mad?

Let @johnstonjules know.

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1. Belgium is EU leader when it comes to consuming sugary drinks

One in five people aged over 15 in Belgium drinks sugar-sweetened soft drinks at least once a day, the highest figure of all countries in the European Union. Read more.

2. Water scarcity as floods rage: Belgium’s climate change contradiction

When people think of countries facing water crises and water shortages, Belgium is probably not the first to come to mind, especially considering the floods that affected the country on 14 and 15 July. Read more.

3. EU Covid Certificate now also recognised by Vatican City and San Marino

The European Digital Covid Certificate to facilitate travel within the EU is now also accepted in Vatican City and in San Marino, the Commission announced on Monday. Read more.

4. Pukkelpop organises smaller event after cancellation of large-scale festival

The organisers of music festival Pukkelpop announced on Tuesday that they will be organising a smaller version of the event after it was cancelled at the end of last month due to complications with coronavirus measures. Read More.

5. EU flight slot policy could result in ‘ghost flights’ from Asia

The recent change in the EU’s landing slot policy, which will force airlines to fill a certain percentage of their reserved landing slots, could result in empty planes travelling from Asia. Read More.

6. New rules on the use of fireworks at football matches

Football fans will soon be faced with stricter rules on the use of fireworks at matches in Belgium following new measures announced by Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden on Monday. Read more.

7. July sets records for rain, temperatures and lack of sunshine

This past July will go down in the history books as one of the gloomiest months Belgium has experienced in decades, with new records in rainfall, low temperatures and a lack of sunshine, according to the monthly climate report from the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI). Read more.