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Belgian report Belgian report
by Euro Reporter
2010-09-26 07:31:28
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Bishops address celibacy rule

Three Roman Catholic bishops, reacting to damaging sexual abuse scandals in their ranks, have urged the church to consider easing its celibacy requirement for priests. Bishop Jozef de Kesel of Bruges, who replaced a bishop who quit in April after admitting to having abused his nephew, said last weekend, “Persons who find celibacy impossible should also have the opportunity to become priests.” Patrick Hoogmartens, bishop of Hasselt, and Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp seconded him on Monday.

The chairman of the Interdiocesan Pastoral Council, a group of lay people working in the church, added its voice on Wednesday. “The time is now really ripe, certainly in Western Europe, for priests to be able to choose a celibate life or not,” its chairman, Josian Caproens, said in a statement.


Love triangle skydive murder trial begins

A Belgian woman went on trial on Friday charged with the murder of a fellow skydiver and love rival who plunged to her death after her parachute was sabotaged. Els Van Doren, 38, smashed into a back garden from some 4,500 meters (14,764 feet) in November 2006 because both her main and reserve chutes failed to open after she jumped from a plane with defendant, Els Clottemans, 26, their lover, Dutchman Marcel Somers, and another man. Clottemans, an elementary school teacher, is accused of cutting through key parts of the parachute system the weekend before the jump to remove her rival and have Somers for herself.

Lawyers for Clottemans, who herself only spoke in court to confirm basic details such as her date of birth and profession, issued a statement expressing their firm belief that their client did not kill a woman she regarded as a friend. In a red top and black trousers and flanked by two police officers, Clottemans showed no emotion as Prosecutor Patrick Boyen read the 68-page indictment. Interest in the case was so great that a live television feed was laid on in a larger room in the courthouse in Tongeren, a town in eastern Belgium. Several police guarded the entrance.

Laying out details of the love triangle, Boyen said that bachelor Somers entertained Van Doren, a married mother of two, most Saturdays and the younger Clottemans often on Fridays. Boyen said Clottemans was an experienced skydiver and would have known how to sabotage a parachute and that she had the opportunity to do so when she and Van Doren were with Somers a week before the fatal drop. Van Doren's pilot chute, a small parachute deployed to pull the main chute out, was detached from that, while a line that should have connected the reserve chute to the harness was free.


Belgium proposes date for RoHS open scope

Belgium, who currently holds the EU presidency and appears to want to make a difference during their term in office, has proposed that the open scope on the RoHS Directive be from 2019. Open scope, unless specifically excluded, is the subject of behind the scenes discussions ahead of a vote on the proposed recast later this year. The date of 2019, revised from the previous proposal of 2017, is based on the assumption that the recast would enter into law during 2011.

As a result this proposal moves even further away from the position of the European Parliament's environment committee that was looking for an open scope by 2014.
The new proposal also recommends that products already covered by the RoHS directive do not require carrying out an impact assessment before deciding the need for exemptions.

Both Member States and MEPs want to exclude solar panels containing cadmium although the solar industry is split over the issue due to differences in manufacturing processes. Likewise, views still vary on which substances should make up a priority list for possible future restriction. MEPs prefer a total of 37, including many REACH SVHCs, while Member States back the European Commissions original four. There is also opposition to the proposed ban on nanosilver and carbon nanotubes.

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