Category Archives: Lifestyle

BRAFA Art Fair to resume in January 2023

Brussels 04.10.2022 The Brussels Fine Arts Fair fair will take place from Sunday January 29th to Sunday February 5th at Brussels Expo, Heysel, the organisers report. According to them 130 exhibitors will participate in the 68th edition of BRAFA, which is back on the international art fair calendar.

BRAFA will be the first major European art fair to visit in 2023, positioning it, as per tradition, as a
true barometer of the art market. The 68th edition of BRAFA will take place from Sunday, January
29 th to Sunday, February 5 th at Brussels Expo at the Heysel in Halls 3 and 4, where 130 exhibitors will
be taking over the entire space. This venue, the new setting for BRAFA since June, was greatly
appreciated by its visitors at the last event, both for the openness of its aisles and for the very
pleasant atmosphere that reigned there.


Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke, the Chairman of BRAFA, explains: “We had a kind of trial gallop with a
first BRAFA outside of our usual standards, since we proposed an event in a new space and at a
different time due to a disrupted schedule. January will therefore be both a return to normality in
terms of dates and also the writing of a new page in our history with Brussels Expo. Our current goal
is to get back to our rhythm and our loyal customers, whilst developing the potential of the space.”
For this 2023 edition, a theme has been chosen in correlation with the initiative of the Brussels-
Capital Region, which will make 2023 a year devoted to Art Nouveau. BRAFA will be highlighting this
movement in several ways. The King Baudouin Foundation and some galleries specialised in this field
will be presenting exceptional Art nouveau pieces. The creation of the BRAFA 2023 carpet will be
based on original drawings by Victor Horta, and art lovers will be able to attend two “BRAFA Art
Talks” devoted to Art nouveau.

Wolf attacked Ursula vd Leyen’s pony

Brussels 02.09.2022 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s favorite pony died attacked by a wolf, German media reported.

One of the predators attacked von der Leyen’s favorite pony on Friday night, stealing it from a pasture at the official’s estate in Lower Saxony, northwest of the country, just a hundred meters from the family’s home, the Bild newspaper reported.

The deceased pony was discovered in her estate on Friday morning by von der Leyen’s husband. An employee of the agricultural chamber and a veterinarian were dispatched to the scene to collect samples.

“The whole family is terribly upset by this news,” von der Leyen told Bild.

The official has been riding horses since childhood.

Estonian PM against Russian tourists

Brussels 24.08.2022 Estonia joined calls of Finland and Latvia to the EU to close its borders to Russian tourists, echoing a warning from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting #Europe is a privilege, not a human right,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted, a day after Zelensky urged the West to opt for a travel ban.

“The most important sanctions are to close the borders — because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with the Washington Post published Monday, adding that Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy.”

Finland Prime minister Kallas pointed out that most easy enter to the EU through the bloc’s eastern border with Russia, putting a burden on Estonia, Latvia and Finland as the “sole access points.”

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that her “personal position is that tourism should be restricted,” and that she expected the issue to be discussed at upcoming EU leaders’ summits.

“It’s not right that at the same time as Russia is waging an aggressive, brutal war of aggression in Europe, Russians can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists. It’s not right,” she told Finland’s national public broadcaster Yle.

No health benefits from alcohol

Brussels 16.07.2022 There are no health benefits from alcohol consumption in people under 39, according to a new global study published in medical journal The Lancet.

The study suggests that alcohol recommendations should be based on age and location, with the tightest restrictions on males between the ages of 15 and 39, the journal continued.

For the study, researchers used alcohol estimates from 204 countries calculating that 1.34 billion people drank harmful amounts in 2020. They also used data from the Global Burden of Disease 2020 report to measure how much a person can drink before risking their health.

They found in every region, the largest portion of the population drinking unsafe amounts were males between the ages of 15 and 39.

Although the study concluded that there may be small benefits from some alcohol consumption for adults over the age of 40, there is no benefit to younger people.

“Our message is simple: young people should not drink, but older people may benefit from drinking small amounts. While it may not be realistic to think young adults will abstain from drinking, we do think it’s important to communicate the latest evidence so that everyone can make informed decisions about their health,” senior author Emmanuela Gakidou, professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, communicated in a press release on July, 14.

The study found that males between the ages of 15 and 39 can consume one tenth (1/10) of a standard alcoholic drink before incurring health risks.

But despite small benefits for older adults, the recommended daily intake for this age group remained below two drinks per day, according to the study.

“Even if a conservative approach is taken and the lowest level of safe consumption is used to set policy recommendations, this implies that the recommended level of alcohol consumption is still too high for younger populations,” the study’s lead author Dana Bryazka.

“Our estimates, based on currently available evidence, support guidelines that differ by age and region,” Bryazka continued. “Understanding the variation in the level of alcohol consumption that minimizes the risk of health loss for populations can aid in setting effective consumption guidelines, supporting alcohol control policies, monitoring progress in reducing harmful alcohol use, and designing public health risk messaging.”

A separate study published earlier this month found that people who drink alone early in life run the risk of developing alcohol use disorder later in adulthood.

Young people who drank alone at age 18 were 35% more likely to report symptoms of alcohol use disorder, while people who reported drinking by themselves in their early twenties were 60% more likely to report these symptoms.

Close to 25% of adolescents aged 18 and 40% adults aged 23-24 reported drinking alone.

EU: ban on trophy hunting imports call

Strasbourg 06.07.2022 137 NGOs around the world call for a ban on hunting trophy imports

BRUSSELS (July 6, 2022)—In a joint position paper, 137 conservation and animal protection organizations from all around the world, including 45 NGOs from African countries, speak out against trophy hunting and urge policymakers to ban imports.

Mona Schweizer, Ph.D., from Pro Wildlife says: “Trophy hunting stands out among the worst forms of wildlife exploitation and is neither ethical nor sustainable. In the face of the man-made global biodiversity crisis, it is unacceptable that exploitation of wildlife simply for acquiring a hunting trophy is still permitted and that trophies can still be legally imported. It is high time that governments end this detrimental practice.”

Between 2014 and 2018 almost 125,000 trophies of species protected under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) were imported globally, with the US and the EU featuring as the biggest importers.

Trophy hunting can adversely affect the survival of species and undermine conservation efforts. Trophy hunters often target rare and imperilled species or animals with impressive physical traits and remove individuals who are essential for reproduction and stabilizing social groups. By targeting such animals, trophy hunters, directly and indirectly, contribute to population declines, disrupted social structure, and reduced resilience. The industry drives demand for parts and products of endangered species and incentivizes and prioritizes their killing through award schemes and other promotions.

Furthermore, shooting animals of protected and endangered species is often a privilege of foreign hunters, while access to wildlife and land is often restricted for locals. This disenfranchisement of local communities coupled with the social destabilising effects of trophy hunting on many species can fuel human-animal conflict rather than mitigate it. Such situations are further exacerbated by the fact that the trophy hunting industry fails to deliver meaningful economic benefits to local communities, contrary to what is claimed by the pro-trophy hunting narrative. In fact, as most hunts are conducted on private land and the hunting sector is plagued with corruption, trophy hunting revenues usually end up in the pockets of hunting operators, private farm owners and local elites.

Mark Jones, Ph.D., head of policy at Born Free, commented: “At Born Free, we have long campaigned for an end to trophy hunting on moral and ethical grounds. In this time of crisis for wildlife and biodiversity, it cannot be right for European hunters to be able to pay to kill threatened wild animals, either within the EU or overseas, and ship the trophies home. Trophy hunting causes immense animal suffering while doing little or nothing for wildlife conservation or local communities. Indeed, in many cases trophy hunters remove key individual animals from fragile populations, damaging their social and genetic integrity. It’s time for the European Union’s policymakers to listen to the overwhelming majority of their citizens, and bring trophy hunting within the EU and the import of trophies to a permanent end, while seeking alternative, more effective ways of resourcing wildlife protection and local community development.”

Trophy hunting not only hampers conservation efforts and generates minimal economic benefits, but also raises ethical and animal welfare concerns. Shooting animals for fun simply to obtain a trophy as a status symbol is ethically unjustifiable, disregards their intrinsic value by reducing them to commodities, and puts a price tag on death reflecting the amount foreign hunters are willing to pay for
the kill. Moreover, trophy hunters frequently employ and incentivize hunting methods that increase the suffering of the animal, such as the use of bows and arrows, muzzleloaders, handguns or dogs chasing animals for hours to exhaustion.

Joanna Swabe, Ph.D., senior director of public affairs at Humane Society International/Europe, said: “Economic benefit – which is minimal at best in the trophy hunting industry – is no excuse to allow the inhumane killing of animals for entertainment or to make up for the often irreversible biological and ecological damages it causes to protected species when there are alternative, more lucrative revenue streams available for development and conservation efforts. As the largest importers of hunting trophies in the world, the US and EU have a moral obligation to stop contributing to this harmful industry through hunting trophy imports and to institute policies that support ethical forms of foreign aid, tourism and industry.”

In many countries around the world, citizens oppose trophy hunting and the import of hunting trophies. Surveys in the EU, Switzerland and the US confirm that between 75% and 96% of respondents oppose trophy hunting and support import bans for trophies. In South Africa, the major African exporter of hunting trophies of protected species, a majority of 64% respondents disapproves of trophy hunting.
Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals, concluded: “With the unethical practice of trophy hunting harming species conservation and the economy for decades, a policy shift is long overdue. Together, with a united voice of 137 NGOs from all around the world, we call on governments to take responsibility for the protection of species and biodiversity–and to ban the import of hunting trophies.”

NATO supper at Prado Museum

Madrid 29.06.2022 The leaders of 44 countries participating in the 32nd NATO Summit organised in Madrid, the capital of Spain, had dinner at the Prado National Museum.

The dinner event offered to the leaders by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez brought together the heads of state and government, foreign and defense ministers from 30 NATO member countries, and also 14 countries that participated in the Summit as guests.

The meal was prepared by Spanish chef Jose Andres, who went to Ukraine for humanitarian aid in the first months of the war, and the Kiev Symphony Orchestra also gave a concert.

The leaders also had the opportunity to see some of the works of famous Spanish painters Diego Velazquez and Francisco de Goya in the museum.

Biden’s granddaughters, daughters of Hunter, Maisy and Finnegan fill in for Jill at a lavish NATO dinner.

BRAFA: glorious Brussels art fair

Brussels 17.06.2022 Anna van Densky The 67th edition of the international BRAFA Art Fair takes place from Sunday 19 and Sunday 26 June 2022 at Brussels Expo. A unique occasion for art lovers to admire several millennia of artistic creation presented by 115 established and new art galleries.

img_0904

From 10,000 to 15,000 works ranging in different categories: from archaeology to contemporary art and design will be presented in Brussels. From a unique Murano blown glass luminary, to the painting ‘Les amoureux aux deux bouquets et le peintre’ by Marc Chagall, both collectors and art lovers will have the opportunity to enjoy exceptional drawings, paintings, furniture, sculpture, jewellery, tribal art, design…

img_0913

Whilst this change of scenery from Tour and Taxi to Brussels Expo has undoubtedly breathed new life into BRAFA, the Fair has also retained its essential values: quality, authenticity and eclecticism. Collectors will be able to explore the aisles where long-standing galleries and 18 new exhibitors will be displayed in a circuit that promotes discovery and a mix of styles.

img_0911

This year, amongst other novelties, and faithful to its constant evolution, BRAFA will be welcoming
the Galerie Kevorkian, specialised in the arts of the ancient East and Islamic Civilization, alongside
twenty other specialties. Traditionally than 80 independent experts were invited prior to the opening to rigorously scan thousands of works.

img_0912

Collectors will find fascinating objects from all over the world. As a Belgian fair, BRAFA boasts many precious pearls of Belgian art, including Samuel Van Hoegaerden, who will exhibit logograms by Christian Dotremont.
Francis Maere will present a stand devoted to the sculptures and drawings of Eugene Dodeigne. The
Collectors Gallery will exhibit a beautiful bracelet by Pol Bury, and two exceptional
Paul Delvaux masterpieces which can be admired at Stern Pissaro and De Jonckheere.

img_0917

BRAFA 2022 will also be a great opportunity to get to know the works of artists from outside Europe,
including the Cameroonian artist Barthélémy Toguo at Nosbaum Reding, the American artist Summer
Wheat at Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery and the American-Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu at Galerie
Boulakia.

img_0921

As the centrepiece of its stand, Montagut Gallery (stand 80) will be presenting an exceptional Soninke
statue, from the Dogon culture, Mali, thirteenth century.

img_0910

A selection of “fetishes” from the Democratic Republic of Congo will also be on display, at Didier Claes.
The exhibition “Nkisi” focuses on the beauty of these “force-objects” which, through the addition of various elements, were magically charged and enabled access to their ritual function of divination and
communication with the spirits. Dalton Somaré (stand 111) will present a very graphic portrait mask,
Baule, Côte d’Ivoire, late nineteenth century, with traces of polychrome.

Screenshot 2022-06-18 15.01.31

Global: 4,5K flights cancelled

Brussels 25.12.2021 Global Christmas travel suffered with over 2,100 flights canceled amid surging COVID-19 cases. United Airlines canceled 177 flights and Delta canceled 150 flights on Christmas Eve due to shortage of staff.

Dozens of flights across Australia have been cancelled, with thousands of airline staff being forced into isolation.

Over 4,500 flights have been cancelled around the world in the past two days and thousands more were delayed as the highly infectious #Omicron variant disrupted holiday travel, according to tracking website #FlightAware:

Additional holiday travel restrictions

Brussels 25.12.2021 Anna van Densky The Omicron variant is “in the process of becoming or has already become dominant in several countries, including Denmark, Portugal and the United Kingdom” according to the World Health Organisation, which is supposed to lead to an increase in the number of patients in need of hospiatlisation.

Sweden announced a restriction of the conditions of entry into its territory for travellers from other countries of the European Union, who will have from December 28 to present a negative Covid-19 test, even if they are vaccinated. However, children under 12 and travellers of Swedish nationality or residing in Sweden are not obliged to comply with this rule.

Seven other EU member states – Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Italy, Greece and Austria – already require a negative test, even for those vaccinated from the EU, and Finland announced on Tuesday evening that she was going to do the same.

Thousands of travellers have cancelled their Christmas travel plans due to the spread of the Omicron virus worldwide, and in particular, forced by the travel restrictions imposed by the governments in a bid to halt the spread of the new COVID-19 virus variant.

Just in days before Christmas, Europe has been stepping up restrictions to cope with in upcoming surge of the Omicron variant. A variant “in the process of becoming or already become dominant in several countries, including Denmark, Portugal and the United Kingdom”, according to the WHO, and whose very high contagiousness could have serious consequences on the collective level – the outbreak of contaminations automatically leading to an increase in the number of hospitalised patients.

Travel within the European Union: the validity of the vaccination certificate limited to nine months. The validity of a European Covid digital certificate, when it concerns the vaccination of its holder for intra-EU travel, has been limited to nine months (270 days), the European Commission confirmed on Tuesday December 21, while vaccination campaigns are continuing in the EU for the booster dose.

This provision aims to harmonise the various rules in force in the Member States. The validity period adopted takes into account the guidelines of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), according to which booster doses are recommended no later than six months after the end of the first cycle of vaccination. The certificate will remain valid for a grace period of three additional months, in order to allow the adaptation of national vaccination campaigns and citizens’ access to booster doses.

Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders defended this harmonisation, while several countries already require a PCR test when entering their territory, even for an intra-EU traveller who has already been vaccinated.

“Unilateral action in member states would bring us back to the fragmentation and uncertainties we experienced last spring. The nine-month acceptance period for vaccination certificates will give citizens and businesses the certainty they need to plan their trips with confidence. It is now up to the member states to ensure that the reminders are deployed quickly to protect our health and ensure the safety of travel “, commented the Belgian commissioner, quoted in a statement.

Champagne sales record year

Brussels 11.12.2021 The outlook for the key Christmas and New Year festive season, however, is clouded by uncertainty over the recently detected Omicron variant of the coronavirus, but Champagne sales are expected to mark a record year as shops and restaurants replenish stocks after months of virus-related restrictions and as retail demand surges, an industry body said Friday, December 10.

Jean-Marie Barillere, co-president of the CIVC Champagne industry association and president of the Champagne brand group UMP, told AFP that the sector was headed for sales of 315 million bottles this year, representing turnover of 5.5 billion euros ($6.2 billion).

If confirmed, that would beat the current annual sales record of 5 billion euros, reached in 2019, before Covid struck.

The sales increase comes after severe spring frosts followed by summer rains wreaked havoc on French vineyards, some of which are forecast to report harvest losses of as much as a third for the year.

But Champagne must be aged more than a year and producers traditionally keep millions of bottles stored in their cellars to ensure steady supplies from one year to the next.

Strong exports, especially to English-speaking countries, were a big factor for the bumper year, Barillere said.

“The pandemic has created new consumer habits,” he said. “Everything related to entertaining at home is in high demand, including champagne.”

However the prospects for traditional events and restaurant dining over Christmas and New Year’s depends on Covid developments, and whether the Omicron strand prompts new travel restrictions, curfews or lockdowns.

« Older Entries