Summer is upon us, the holidays have started, the lockdown is steadily being lifted, but we still need a dose of good news, and here it is.
• A rare pine marten has been spotted in the Heverleebos in Leuven, according to the Flemish agency for nature and woodland. The animal (Martes martes), a medium-sized predator related to badgers, otters and weasels, was last seen in the area ten years ago, but is now to be found in the Sonien Forest by Brussels. About 53cm long with a 25cm bushy tail, the pine marten prefers large areas of woodland with a varied source of food.
• The Foire du Midi will take place from August 1 to 30, to the relief of fairground traders. However closure during the lockdown means the Fair is unlikely to compensate for earlier losses, operators said. The city council, meanwhile, has worked out a traffic plan and will employer stewards to ensure health and safety regulations are observed.
• All but one of Belgium’s 28 bathing beaches have been awarded the European Union’s Blue Flag for sustainable tourism. Only Middelkerke missed out. “To obtain a Blue Flag, not only water quality is important,” says Simon Reijniers of Blue Flag. The water at Middelkerke in fact improved on last year, but the resort failed on other criteria, which include the presence of lifeguards, a first aid post and the proper facilities for waste.
• Federal health minister Maggie De Block yesterday became a grandmother for the first time, when her daughter Julie gave birth to a son, John (3.63kg and 51.5cm). But the minister will not be paying a visit immediately, as only new dad Jimmy is allowed to visit according to hospital rules.
• Supermarket chain Colruyt has announced it will add two new beers to the range that currently includes Cara Pils. The Majeur line includes a red beer at 7.5% alcohol, and a stronger blond beer at 8.5%. None of the beers is brewed by Colruyt itself; the brewer is a closely guarded secret.
• Actor Dimitri Leue has found a way to get around the restrictions on the number of audience members allowed at cultural events – he intends to give seven performances a day of his play Maura en de zeven magen (Magda and the Seven Virgins) for seven days for a maximum of 49 people each time. The audience will be housed outdoors in voting booths to maintain social distancing.