Belgium community – RGLB http://rglb.org/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 05:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://rglb.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-2021-06-25T174556.459-150x150.png Belgium community – RGLB http://rglb.org/ 32 32 Taekwondo star Aneila launches new fitness classes https://rglb.org/taekwondo-star-aneila-launches-new-fitness-classes/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 05:00:00 +0000 https://rglb.org/taekwondo-star-aneila-launches-new-fitness-classes/ A UK taekwondo champion has launched fitness classes in her hometown. Aneila Afsar, 23, has won countless medals around the world at championships in London, Sweden, Belgium, Serbia and Berlin. The Nelson-born martial arts star started taekwondo at a young age and said she wanted to share her passion for fitness with women in her […]]]>

A UK taekwondo champion has launched fitness classes in her hometown.

Aneila Afsar, 23, has won countless medals around the world at championships in London, Sweden, Belgium, Serbia and Berlin.

The Nelson-born martial arts star started taekwondo at a young age and said she wanted to share her passion for fitness with women in her community who she felt were underrepresented in the sport.

She said: “Being involved in sports and physical activities gives you a better quality of life. Science has proven it.

“It is sad that so many women are deprived of these benefits. Women of South Asian culture are particularly underrepresented in sport. I want to create a safe environment for women to get in shape in a fun way, showing me as a role model.

“I am a mother and I am also an elite athlete. I believe that with the right determination and support, women in the community can collectively overcome obstacles in their lives to achieve their fitness goals.

Aneila, a graduate with first class honors in criminology from Manchester Metropolitan University, competed for the national championships winning Team GB.

Her new Fitness by Aneila fitness classes will take place at the Ultimate Strength and Fitness Gym, Brunswick Street, Nelson. The program is suitable for all fitness levels with advanced and beginner classes.

She said: “Taekwondo is a fantastic sport, which demands very high levels of fitness. I thought a taekwondo-based fitness class would be a fun, unconventional way for women to get in shape. I decided to call the classes Tae-HIIT based on this.

“The local community is important to me because that’s where my roots are, that’s where it all started for me. It would be extremely rewarding for me to successfully conduct classes here and work within my own community.

“The women-only facilities at Ultimate Strength and Fitness Gym are state of the art and perfect for the classes I run.”

He delivers visit Instagram @fitnessbyaneila or email fitnessbyaneila@gmail.com

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Quan Hapa to close indefinitely after reopening for less than two months | Food News | Cincinnati https://rglb.org/quan-hapa-to-close-indefinitely-after-reopening-for-less-than-two-months-food-news-cincinnati/ Fri, 07 Jan 2022 17:02:08 +0000 https://rglb.org/quan-hapa-to-close-indefinitely-after-reopening-for-less-than-two-months-food-news-cincinnati/ Click to enlarge Photo: Catie Viox Quan Hapa Less than two months after it reopened, Quan Hapa closed again. The Lang Thang group announced in a Facebook post on January 5 that its Asian Over-the-Rhine gastro pub will be closed indefinitely due to staff issues and other issues related to the pandemic. Quan Hapa closed […]]]>
Click to enlarge

Photo: Catie Viox

Quan Hapa

Less than two months after it reopened, Quan Hapa closed again.

The Lang Thang group announced in a Facebook post on January 5 that its Asian Over-the-Rhine gastro pub will be closed indefinitely due to staff issues and other issues related to the pandemic.

Quan Hapa closed in October 2021 for renovations and refreshment, reopening on November 17th.

In the post, the group said they have had a tough few months since reopening and several of their staff, who they already say are small, have made “a trip to the Reserve / Covid List”.

“We have made the difficult decision to suspend Quan Hapa at this time to reassign staff and adjust some food / services / operations items to make Quan Hapa even better when we can reopen,” the group wrote.

The group says it does not have a timetable for the restaurant to reopen. However, they say all available Quan Hapa staff will work at the group’s other restaurant, Pho Lang Thang, which will now be expanding their hours.

From January 11, Pho Lang Thang will be open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner will now be served Thursday through Saturday.

Pho Lang Thang is located at 1828 Race St. in Over-the-Rhine. Find more information on pholangthang.com.

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Covid-19 and school news: live updates https://rglb.org/covid-19-and-school-news-live-updates/ Wed, 05 Jan 2022 14:36:54 +0000 https://rglb.org/covid-19-and-school-news-live-updates/ Novak Djokovic, a prominent vaccination skeptic, has secured a medical exemption for the Australian Open.Credit…Luca Bruno / Associated press News that Novak Djokovic had received a medical waiver to compete in this month’s Australian Open tournament in Melbourne sparked a spate of backlash in Australia, where some politicians and tennis officials called on him to […]]]>
Credit…Luca Bruno / Associated press

News that Novak Djokovic had received a medical waiver to compete in this month’s Australian Open tournament in Melbourne sparked a spate of backlash in Australia, where some politicians and tennis officials called on him to take action. to explain.

Djokovic, the world’s No.1 tennis player and a leading vaccination skeptic, announced Tuesday on social networks that he “was heading for Down Under on an exemption clearance”.

Tournament organizers confirmed he was granted a medical exemption after a review process by two independent panels, a procedure which suggested he had not been vaccinated.

The reaction among the professional tennis elite has been somewhat measured. After Alex de Minaur and James Duckworth, both from Australia, absorbed the news, Duckworth said during a press briefing at the ATP Cup in Sydney, “If he meets the criteria, then, yes, he should be able to come.”

“It’s very politically correct of you,” replied De Minaur, laughing. He added, “I just think it’s just really interesting; that’s all I’m going to say.

Other Australians have taken to social media to express their anger over the move. The hashtag #DjokovicOut was all the rage on Twitter on Wednesday. Commentators stressed that spectators at the Australian Open must be vaccinated.

Stephen Parnis, former vice president of the Australian Medical Association, tweeted: “I don’t care how good a tennis player he is. If he refuses to be vaccinated, he should not be allowed in. If this exemption is true, it sends a dreadful message to the millions of people who seek to reduce the risk of # COVID19Aus for themselves and others. #Vaccination shows respect, Novak.

Another one Twitter user Called it “a slap in the face for millions of Australians”.

Britain’s Jamie Murray said on Tuesday after his ATP Cup doubles match: “I think if it was me who wasn’t vaccinated I wouldn’t get a exemption. But kudos to him for being allowed to come to Australia and compete.

Djokovic has long held nontraditional views on science and medicine – he once claimed that prayer and belief can purify toxic water – and he has had a complicated relationship with the pandemic. He also said that vaccination is a private and personal decision that should not be compulsory. When the Australian Open announced that vaccines would be needed to enter the country, Djokovic’s father called the warrant “blackmail.”

Jacinta Allan, acting prime minister of the state of Victoria, where the Australian Open will be held, asked Djokovic to explain the reasons for his participation in the tournament.

“The government expects when he arrives to explain to the Victorian community what the circumstances are, and then to be able to explain some of those motives behind his actions and intentions to play here in Australia,” he said. she said Wednesday at a press conference. .

Craig Tiley, the head of Tennis Australia, which hosts the tournament, admitted that some people “will be upset that Novak has come because of his statements from the past two years regarding vaccination,” but said Djokovic had not received any special favors.

The question was whether the tennis player could even enter the country for the tournament. the federal government says that if international travelers cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, they “will have to provide proof” to airline staff.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison echoed this during a press conference on Wednesday, saying that if Djokovic arrived in Australia he would have to provide “acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated”.

“If that evidence is insufficient,” said Morrison, “he will not be treated any differently from the rest and he will be on the next plane home.”



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The COVID wave has hit Antarctica https://rglb.org/the-covid-wave-has-hit-antarctica/ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 21:08:38 +0000 https://rglb.org/the-covid-wave-has-hit-antarctica/ FILE – In this file photo from Jan. 20, 2015, wooden arrows mark distances to various towns on King George Island, Antarctica. (AP Photo / Natacha Pisarenko, file) (NEXSTAR) – The latest wave of COVID-19 cases has reached even the most remote corners of the world, now including Antarctica. Researchers in the isolated ice continent […]]]>

FILE – In this file photo from Jan. 20, 2015, wooden arrows mark distances to various towns on King George Island, Antarctica. (AP Photo / Natacha Pisarenko, file)

(NEXSTAR) – The latest wave of COVID-19 cases has reached even the most remote corners of the world, now including Antarctica.

Researchers in the isolated ice continent have started testing positive for the virus in recent weeks. Sunday, Antarctica Report tweeted 16 of the 25 people parked at the Belgian Princess Elisabeth station have been infected with the coronavirus.

All cases have been “mild,” the Antarctic report said.

“While it was a downside to having to quarantine some of the staff who caught the virus, it did not significantly affect our work at the station overall,” said Joseph Cheek, chief of staff. project at the International Polar Foundation, told the BBC.

Some of the scientists came from Belgium to Antarctica with a stopover in South Africa. The first positive test appeared on December 14.

Anyone at Princess Elisabeth Station has had the option of leaving on a flight scheduled for January 12, but so far everyone has decided to stay and continue working, Cheek said.

The station requires everyone to be vaccinated and test negative before coming to Antarctica, reports the BBC.

It appears to be only the second outbreak of COVID-19 in Antarctica. The coronavirus pandemic first reached the continent in December 2020. Chile has announced that 58 people at military bases in Antarctica or on a Navy ship who traveled to the continent have tested positive for the virus .

These 16 cases in Antarctica represent an extraordinarily small part of the latest wave of coronavirus cases, largely due to the omicron variant. The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Data Tracking Project has recorded nearly 24 million cases worldwide in the past four weeks.



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Israel removes dozens of countries from Omicron’s no-fly list, but US, UK and Canada remain https://rglb.org/israel-removes-dozens-of-countries-from-omicrons-no-fly-list-but-us-uk-and-canada-remain/ Wed, 29 Dec 2021 00:40:07 +0000 https://rglb.org/israel-removes-dozens-of-countries-from-omicrons-no-fly-list-but-us-uk-and-canada-remain/ Israel has sharply reduced the number of “red” countries on its no-fly list from 69 to 15, but key destinations like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom remain banned. The changes went into effect Tuesday at midnight. The decision was made by the so-called coronavirus cabinet in a telephone vote, accepting the recommendations […]]]>

Israel has sharply reduced the number of “red” countries on its no-fly list from 69 to 15, but key destinations like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom remain banned. The changes went into effect Tuesday at midnight.

The decision was made by the so-called coronavirus cabinet in a telephone vote, accepting the recommendations of a health ministry committee and removing 54 countries from the list of destinations deemed “red” and requiring authorization special to fly to or from.

Among the destinations removed from the red list were much of Africa, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. They would now be classified as “orange” countries, with a travel warning, but no formal restrictions.

However, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Hungary, Spain, Portugal and Turkey would remain on the no-go list, along with Mexico, which was added on Tuesday.

The planned changes come after Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said on Sunday that with the rapid spread of the Omicron strain across the country and causing a new outbreak of COVID-19, Israel would soon remove many restrictions on travel to China. plane to and from the country which were imposed to slow the new arrival of the strain.

There was no indication when or if the government planned to lift the restrictions on the remaining nations.

The cabinet also approved new restrictions on school studies. Primary school children who have a positive classmate test will move on to outdoor or distance learning.

The new regulations come as the Department of Health on Tuesday announced the death of a woman from a suspected infection with Omicron and confirmed more than 600 other cases of the new variant of the coronavirus.

A Covid patient from the Coronavirus department at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital receives a visit from a family member who connects him with other family members through a video chat at the Coronavirus department in Jerusalem on December 27, 202 (Photo by Olivier Fitoussi / Flash90)

The woman had been vaccinated against COVID-19 and had received a booster, according to a ministry statement.

If verified, the woman would be the first Omicron death recorded in Israel. A death reported to Omicron last week was later clarified as having been caused by the Delta strain of coronavirus.

The health ministry statement said 623 new cases of Omicron were confirmed in the past day, bringing the number of Omicron infections to 1,741 since the variant was first detected in Israel.

According to the ministry, two unvaccinated people were in serious condition from infections at Omicron, one of which was linked to a ventilator.

He said six other people were hospitalized with less severe episodes, four of whom were vaccinated.

More than 1,000 of the confirmed carriers of Omicron came from abroad, the health ministry added.

Travelers arrive at Ben Gurion airport on December 22, 2021. (Flash90)

Israel has seen an upsurge in infections since the emergence of Omicron, with new cases of COVID peaking at three months on Monday.

The health ministry said on Tuesday that more than 2,000 additional cases had been confirmed since midnight, pushing active infections to over 16,000. It also reported a further increase in the rate of positive tests, another sign of the spread of the disease. virus was accelerating.

Despite the increase in morbidity figures, there was no peak in hospitalizations and severe cases, which remained stable at 84 on Tuesday evening. The national death toll from the pandemic stood at 8,243.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced a change in the quarantine rules for people exposed to a COVID patient, as the spread of Omicron would force more and more Israelis to self-isolate .

Under the new guidelines, fully vaccinated people exposed to a variant of the coronavirus will only be required to quarantine themselves until they test negative from a PCR test. Once released, they will not be allowed into mass events or places with high-risk populations, such as nursing homes, for the next 10 days. Until now, fully vaccinated Israelis did not have to self-quarantine after being exposed to a COVID patient, but did so if he was suspected of being Omicron.

Unvaccinated people will need to be quarantined for seven days with testing on the first and last days.

A health worker prepares a vaccine against COVID-19 at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, December 28, 2021. (Yossi Zeliger / Flash90)

Introducing the new rules, Bennett said without the change Israel would be placed in a “de facto lockdown”.

“We saw what was going on overseas and understood that if we were to stick with what we were doing with regard to the quarantine policy… we would have been in a de facto lockdown of 1 to 2 million people.” , he told reporters.

He said the controversial move to curtail travel by preventing Israelis in the country and foreign nationals from visiting bought five weeks of respite from the expected Omicron attack, and will allow the economy to continue to buzz.

“It gave us an advantage over other countries, which are fighting Omicron and Delta at the same time. The alternative was to act like the Netherlands, with full lockdown, ”Bennett said.

Despite the fact that he himself wrote a book called “How to Beat a Pandemic” while in opposition last year, sources close to the Prime Minister said there was ” no guide “on the management of COVID, defending its management of the crisis.

They said he would rather receive criticism for being too aggressive in tackling the pandemic than risk public health.

“Our goal is to keep the economy open, markets open and stores open as much as possible, while not stretching hospitals beyond capacity. If we wanted to, we could have locked, but nobody wants to achieve a de facto lock by calling it another name, ”Bennett said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, December 19, 2021. (Emil Salman / Pool / Flash90)

He also confirmed that Israel is expected to receive a first shipment of Pfizer’s first approved anti-COVID drug on Wednesday, which Bennett says will make it the first country outside the United States to benefit from the therapy.

The health ministry on Sunday granted emergency approval for the oral antiviral pill Paxlovid, which has shown an almost 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths in patients most likely to suffer from serious illness.

Laboratory tests have shown it to be very effective against Omicron.


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Carrier pigeons, a high-flying business in Tampa https://rglb.org/carrier-pigeons-a-high-flying-business-in-tampa/ Fri, 24 Dec 2021 17:01:28 +0000 https://rglb.org/carrier-pigeons-a-high-flying-business-in-tampa/ Hourly Correspondent Erio Álvarez, now 80, has been a pigeon fancier since he was a teenager. He and devotees from surrounding counties compete against each other, releasing their birds from as far away as Georgia and timing the time it takes for them to get home to their various backyard lofts. Alvarez Lofts are approximately […]]]>

Hourly Correspondent

Erio Álvarez, now 80, has been a pigeon fancier since he was a teenager. He and devotees from surrounding counties compete against each other, releasing their birds from as far away as Georgia and timing the time it takes for them to get home to their various backyard lofts. Alvarez Lofts are approximately 340 miles away. He is the former president of the Greater Tampa Bay Racing Pigeon Concourse. His son, Eric Álvarez, who grew up loving sports, is now president.

“I joke that I carried him into the attic and he never came out. And he’s a phenomenal pigeon fancier. ”

Senior Álvarez, who owns around 150 pigeons, said a good carrier pigeon can cost several hundred, but carrier pigeons and breeders, which produce champions, can cost thousands. He paid $ 3,000 each for two of his breeders; one came out of the cage and flew away, perhaps to become a falcon’s expensive meal.

As his pigeons cooed in their lofts, a sound Alvarez found soothing, he spoke with the Tampa Bay weather about sport.

Why do carrier pigeons do what they do?

They have been raised for thousands of years to return to their homes. … We just had a race in Louisville, Georgia. We use GPS to get measurements from the release point to the dovecotes in everyone’s backyard. … They are phenomenal. They will give you everything they have to get home. … There are hundreds of families of pigeons. They are the only ones who return home. …

We know the runner (from the old Battle of Marathon) who took the message 26 miles 385 yards and is deceased. The pigeons also carried messages to their villages and towns and they lived. And they do it faster than the runner. But yet, on the record, what we hear about is the runner. …

In the early 1800s they were refined in Belgium and the Queen of England maintains a racing loft. The King of Belgium gave pigeons to the King of England at the time, and this loft continues to this day. She has a loft manager, of course. …

It has obviously been refined today. The white blocks (at the entrance to the lofts) have scanners underneath, say like in a supermarket. Carrier pigeons, in addition to the tape that identifies who raised them … on the opposite leg they have an electronic chip. And when I take them out to register for the race, they’re scanned at the All Tampa Racing Pigeon Club and put into my stopwatch. My timer is connected to a power source and when the birds come back they… go through the scanner, they push and go in. … You hear the beep. They must be on the pavement. Then they put their heads in and they are in it.

Erio Álvarez and his son race with pigeons from separate dovecotes in houses in Tampa Bay. Photo: Philippe Morgan [ Photo: Philip Morgan ]

The various lofts are at different distances. How do you determine the winner?

The bird that traveled the fastest measured distance, not the first to return home. … I always feel a thrill when I see one take off from the sky, circle, knock here and walk in.

Do they stop or go straight home?

Normally they fly nonstop. They must be extremely healthy; they have to be bred to be able to do that. And they get all kinds of vitamins and minerals and all of their needs. They have fat in their food and so on for energy.

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We want them to go through with it. But I’m standing here sweating and it’s December. Birds become dehydrated and water is essential for them. So if they stop, it’s for a quick drink. Last weekend – and it wasn’t mine – but he landed, walked over to the pool, dropped down there on the stairs, sat there for a while, drank, got up and continued to go home. You just had to have water.

How fast can they fly?

They average about 50 miles an hour. And they will do it over and over. … If they have a little tailwind and a cooler day, they’ll go up to 70 miles an hour, and if they have a headwind and humidity, they’ll slow down to 30, 35 miles. on time.

What can you spend on these birds?

One just sold in Belgium, a bird named Armando, which sold for $ 1.2 million. I don’t have Armandos around (laughs).

A good carrier pigeon normally sells for between $ 300 and $ 500, within that range, sometimes a little less, and they can go as high as a person’s finances will allow …

It just happened last year and even the regular media covered it because it was a huge amount of money for a pigeon. He had a huge record in long distance races, 400, 500, 600 miles, and came from a family of such birds.

The golden plaque on the wall shows that in 2013 Erio Álvarez was named “Legend of Sport” by the American Racing Pigeon Union.
The golden plaque on the wall shows that in 2013 Erio Álvarez was named “Legend of Sport” by the American Racing Pigeon Union. [ Photo: Philip Morgan ]

Some races offer cash prizes. How much can you earn?

I would say in the range of $ 50,000. … This is done two or three times a year. The rest of the time we fly for trophies and… certificates.

Some birds don’t come back. What is happening to them?

They are mostly eaten. Having these lofts here is like having a McDonald’s store. …

There are a few species (of hawks) that are here all year round, and they did some research, and over 80 percent of their diet was pigeons and songbirds. …

Imagine the loft. They have to slow down to land here or they will crash. They have to cross and enter. They are really vulnerable right now. So what happens is hawks know the routine, you have to see it to believe it. They will attack them. …

They come from around that level (chest level)… and they’re right on top of them, the ones with the right timing. I will have several (pigeons) killed here per year. …

I had one from a 500 mile race. He hit him, put him through the fence, killed him, then picked up the carcass and removed it. The bird traveled 500 miles to return home. It is heartbreaking.

For more information, visit alvarezpigeons.com.


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In the Benelux, “the mail raises morale” | Item https://rglb.org/in-the-benelux-the-mail-raises-morale-item/ Tue, 21 Dec 2021 11:50:33 +0000 https://rglb.org/in-the-benelux-the-mail-raises-morale-item/ USAG Benelux postmen at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, process holiday mail on December 17, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Libby Weiler, USAG Benelux Public Affairs) (Photo credit: Libby Weiler) SEE THE ORIGINAL BRUNSSUM, Netherlands – “This is the time of year we live for,” said Josh Alo, US Army postmaster Garrison Benelux – Brussels. “Even […]]]>





USAG Benelux postmen at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, process holiday mail on December 17, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Libby Weiler, USAG Benelux Public Affairs)
(Photo credit: Libby Weiler)

SEE THE ORIGINAL

BRUNSSUM, Netherlands – “This is the time of year we live for,” said Josh Alo, US Army postmaster Garrison Benelux – Brussels. “Even in the digital age where so much is online, it’s the little pieces of the house that keep us connected to each other.”

Across the USAG Benelux, team members and volunteers are working to meet the demands of both the holiday season and the ongoing pandemic.

“Last year we had a 20% increase in the volume of mail we handled, and that has been held up due to online shopping and the ever-changing COVID-19 metrics that are shaping how we let’s get our goods, ”Alo said. “So we’re definitely busy! “

“It’s a fair day’s work,” said Alan Boswell, postmaster at USAG Benelux-Brunssum in the Netherlands. “It’s hard work, but in the end we have accomplished something right, something where they (every employee) can come home and hold their heads up knowing that they have helped people receive. their mail.

“Being able to take care of friends and family in this way is a good thing! Boswell continued.

The postal service centers operate at four physical sites across the Benelux: the air base in Chièvres, Brussels and SHAPE in Belgium and Brunssum in the Netherlands. The Brunssum site also makes weekly calls by post to the APS-Dülmen. Their mission extends beyond the walls as part of a larger transportation network.

“Our combined efforts help support embassies, NATO, port operations and ensure that mail for you personally and officially is accessible,” Alo said.

USAG Benelux postal service centers support around 5,000 customers and 139 official units. And at the time of this article’s publication, this holiday season, postal service centers in the Benelux have received and processed 11,779 items weighing 67,848 kilograms, or the equivalent of nearly 150,000 pounds of mail.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes from the start since we didn’t have computers and everything was handwritten,” said Wes Cook, postmaster at SHAPE. “Still, everything is still the same, it’s just handled differently and we don’t use a lot of ink anymore. It’s computerized now.

“What you see at the customer service counter for retail services is a small part of what our teams do every day,” said Alo. “If you were to pull the curtain, there would be a lot to do in processing the mail. “




USAG Benelux postmen at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, process holiday mail on December 17, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Libby Weiler, USAG Benelux Public Affairs)



USAG Benelux postmen at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, process holiday mail on December 17, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Libby Weiler, USAG Benelux Public Affairs)
(Photo credit: Libby Weiler)

SEE THE ORIGINAL

Alo, Boswell and Cook collectively explained that the rigors of the postal service include regular mandatory training and daily electronic documentation, inspections, accounting procedures, customer service and the physical aspect of mail processing, unloading of mail. trucks to scanning, sorting, delivering and receiving items from customers. and prepare outgoing shipments. Every step and function requires careful attention to detail, precision, endurance, and most importantly, enthusiasm.

Postal workers are not allowed to take time off during the holiday season, they answer the call to serve, and holidays are suspended for everyone until January.

“I’m used to this arrangement during the holiday season,” said Boswell. “I left the military in 1993 and a few months later, ironically enough, I started as a seasonal employee, and now I’m the postmaster.

“We are here to help you,” he continued. “We are proud of our ability to deliver 100% of packages this season. “

The new internal tracking technology deployed this summer has improved postal operations. However, with each site processing between 500 and 3000 submissions per day, errors can occur.

“We deliver thousands of pieces of mail a week, but that piece that a customer says they don’t have or couldn’t find, we go through our files and our shelves with a fine tooth comb to find it,” said Boswell. “We take it personally and don’t sleep until we can fix the problem.”

“It’s so easy to make a single mistake that we have to have a quality control system in place to verify each other’s work and that helps tremendously,” Cook said.

Having served in the armed forces before taking up their current positions, they know first-hand the importance of mail to service members and their families posted away from home.

“Customers come to the post office to see if they have mail and when they do it multiple times, they respond enthusiastically, whether it is a parcel, letter or card. Alo said. “It means so much and that’s why we do what we do.”

“I recently received a card for my birthday, and it was the best thing of my life!” Alo continued. “We do so much on technology, which is great, but the tangible effort that comes from the physical mail pieces is different. Someone took the time to buy a card and a stamp, write a note and mail it to me… and our clients, our soldiers and their families, the same goes for them.

“We not only deliver the mail, but we also have responsibility for what customers bring to us and making sure it gets to its destination,” said Boswell. “We know how difficult it is, especially with all the COVID measures, the separation, the mail is a way for people to go online and send something home.”

Even with the demands of the season and the pandemic, the team continues to enjoy a little lightness that comes from time to time with postal trucks.

“In the early days of COVID, when stores were only giving you a limited number of baskets, someone actually ordered a basket that arrived on our truck,” Cook said. “I don’t know if they kept it, but it was funny.”

And the teams appreciate the generosity of community members.

“Customers bring us goodies, cookies and cakes all year round and before the holidays,” said Shawn Mestres, supervisor of postal operations at Chièvres Air Base. “It is not necessary but it is very appreciated.

Mestres explained in the last week before Christmas that there was an even bigger push internally to ensure all possible mail was sent to customers in time to have gifts under the tree.

“We are here to help our community,” Mestres said. “And to see the smiles when you deliver a package even if someone is having a bad day, you give them the mail or a package, they always smile!”

“Summary,” Alo said, “mail equals morale! “

The team also offered some tips and reminders to help the community.

“When people are notified that they have mail, it is essential to collect your packages; it gets things done, ”Alo said. “And that helps us help other customers and get things to you as quickly as possible.”

“If we didn’t need it, we wouldn’t ask for it,” Boswell said, referring to customs and shipping forms. “Sometimes people don’t like the systems that we have to use and it can be difficult sometimes, but we will walk with them to solve the problem or problem, you just have to ask. “

Boswell also recommended making an appointment in case customers have five or more packages to mail.

“Please call the post office at your location for VIP services and an appointment,” Boswell said. “We are focused on you!”

And by way of conclusion, everyone reminds the community that December 24 and 31 are federal holidays this year. With the exception of the Center de services postaux 79 in Brussels, which is open for parcel pick-up only from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 24, the postal service centers will be closed and everyone is encouraged to go before or after for all. your vacation postal needs.

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This holiday season will be Cook’s last job for USAG Benelux. After nearly 33 years of postal service at SHAPE, he is retiring at the end of this month.


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Belgium organizes ‘peaceful protest’ following new Covid-19 restrictions https://rglb.org/belgium-organizes-peaceful-protest-following-new-covid-19-restrictions/ Sun, 19 Dec 2021 13:45:55 +0000 https://rglb.org/belgium-organizes-peaceful-protest-following-new-covid-19-restrictions/ Thousands of peaceful protesters demonstrated for the third time in central Brussels on Sunday against the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Belgian government to counter an upsurge in infections and the emergence of the disturbing Omicron variant. A strong police presence has been deployed in the streets in anticipation of the crowds, after […]]]>

Thousands of peaceful protesters demonstrated for the third time in central Brussels on Sunday against the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Belgian government to counter an upsurge in infections and the emergence of the disturbing Omicron variant.

A strong police presence has been deployed in the streets in anticipation of the crowds, after previous protests have sometimes resulted in violence, arrests and injuries.

The marchers – some with signs saying “free zone”, “I’ve had my fair dose” and “that’s enough” – came to protest against the government’s strong advice to get the vaccine, and included Belgian healthcare workers who will have three months to be vaccinated against the coronavirus from January 1 or risk losing their job.

The Belgian protests come a day after similar actions in other capitals, including Paris and London. Nations across Europe have moved to reimpose tougher measures to stem a new wave of Covid-19 infections triggered by the highly transmissible variant of Omicron. The Netherlands has led the way in imposing a nationwide lockdown.

The World Health Organization reported this weekend that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 89 countries, and Covid-19 cases involving the variant are doubling every one and a half to three days in places around community transmission and not just infections acquired abroad.

During a protest in Brussels last month, small fringes erupted into violence as several hundred people began bombarding police with objects, smashing cars and torching trash cans. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons.


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Belgium’s decision is good, but Europe failed with Palestine – Kashmir Reader https://rglb.org/belgiums-decision-is-good-but-europe-failed-with-palestine-kashmir-reader/ Mon, 13 Dec 2021 19:08:00 +0000 https://rglb.org/belgiums-decision-is-good-but-europe-failed-with-palestine-kashmir-reader/ The Belgian government’s decision on November 25 to label products made in illegal Israeli Jewish settlements is welcome, although it will ultimately prove ineffective.Belgium has historically shown its solidarity with Palestine in relation to other European countries, for example Great Britain, Germany and France. From the cancellation of trade missions to Israel to the enthusiastic […]]]>

The Belgian government’s decision on November 25 to label products made in illegal Israeli Jewish settlements is welcome, although it will ultimately prove ineffective.
Belgium has historically shown its solidarity with Palestine in relation to other European countries, for example Great Britain, Germany and France. From the cancellation of trade missions to Israel to the enthusiastic support of Belgian civil society, artists, academics and ordinary citizens, Belgium has demonstrated its willingness to play a constructive role in ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine. .
Clearly, it will take more than symbolic solidarity and political declarations to force Israel to respect international law, dismantle apartheid, end the military occupation and grant the Palestinians their freedom.
Belgium’s dilemma is the same across Europe. While European governments insist on the centrality of issues of democracy, human rights and international law in their relations with Israel, they take no meaningful steps to ensure that Israel complies with the stated policies of the European Union. European Union.
Belgium’s decision to differentiate Israeli products made in Israel from those made in illegal Jewish settlements is not based on Brussels’ own legal framework of reference, but on several historic EU decisions in this regard. For example, in November 2015 the EU issued new guidelines to ensure that products from illegal settlements are labeled as such. In January 2016, the EU reportedly “reinforced” its position that these products must be clearly labeled.
However, little labeling has taken place since, a reality that has compelled EU citizens, with the support of various civil society organizations, to challenge the failure of the European political establishment by appealing directly to the EU. EU courts. In November 2019, the EU’s highest court, the European Court of Justice, ruled that products from illegal Israeli settlements must provide “an indication of where it comes from (allowing consumers to make) informed choices.”
Namely, the recent decision of Belgium is just a belated implementation of various decisions which have been issued in the past and which have not been respected by most of the EU countries.
Instead of showing their full support for Belgium and initiating their own process of implementing the European Court’s ruling, most European countries have remained silent as Tel Aviv rampaged against Brussels, claiming that the The decision was “anti-Israel”, claiming, wrongly, that it “strengthens extremists”.
As soon as the Belgian government’s decision was reported in the international media, Israel made its usual crisis. Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll immediately canceled a scheduled meeting he had with Belgian officials, forcing the Foreign Ministry’s office in Brussels to justify and further clarify his position.
As might be expected, the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian rights groups, civil society organizations and many others have praised Belgium for its courageous stand, which is akin to other positions taken. in the past by countries like Ireland which in May became the first EU country to implement such a measure.
The prevailing wisdom behind such euphoria is that such steps can serve as a prelude to other practical steps, which could ultimately generate the momentum needed for a full European boycott of Israel. But is this really the case?
Judging by the European division over the labeling of products made in illegal settlements, the clear distinction between settlements and “Israel proper”, and the exponential growth in trade between Israel and the EU, one has to be careful about don’t jump to premature conclusions.
According to figures from the European Commission, the EU is Israel’s largest trading partner, with a total trade value of € 31 billion in 2020.
More important than trade, the EU has been the main entry point for integrating Israel into a wider global dynamic of politics, economy, security and even culture, music and sport. While European trade with Israel is facilitated by the 1995 EU-Israel Association Agreement, Israel’s integration into Europe is largely managed by the European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan ( PEV) of 2004. This latest agreement, in particular, aimed to compensate for the delegitimization of the Israeli occupation and apartheid in Palestine carried out by the Palestinians and their supporters.
It would be implausible to believe that the EU, which made a strategic choice to legitimize, integrate and normalize Israel in the eyes of Europeans and the rest of the international community, could also be the very entity that holds Israel accountable for its obligations in under international law.
It should also be remembered that, even if all European countries decide to label the products of the settlements, this alone will not deter Israel, especially as the EU will do everything possible to close the trade deficit resulting from this decision.
Moreover, any symbolic or even real pressure exerted by the EU is often exerted within the framework of the European declared will for a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine. While it is true that such a “solution” remains the only one ratified by the international community, the complexity of the problem, common sense and “facts on the ground” tell us that coexistence in a single democratic secular state remains the key. only practical, possible and theoretically fair end to this protracted tragedy.
Despite the EU’s clear and even unambiguous statements regarding the illegality of the Israeli occupation, it is evident that the Europeans do not have a real strategy on Palestine and Israel. If such a strategy exists, it is riddled with confusion and contradictions. In truth, Israel has no reason to take Europe seriously.
It is easy to accuse the EU of hypocrisy. However, there is more to the EU’s conduct in Israel than hypocrisy, arguably resulting from a lack of political unity and a shared vision among EU members. The EU is in fact helping to support the Israeli occupation, funding it directly or indirectly. EU trade, political validation and Israel’s cultural integration have allowed the status quo of the seemingly endless occupation of Palestine to continue. No labeling of products from Jewish settlements alone will be able to reverse this trend.
While Belgium’s position, on its own, is laudable – as it reflects the relentless activism and pressure of the country’s civil society – it should not be seen as an alternative to a courageous political and moral position, similar to that taken during the anti-the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Until then, Europe is forced to demonstrate its willingness to stand on the right side of history.

– The writer is a journalist and editor-in-chief of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press).
www.ramzybaroud.net







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Omicron variant of concern (VOC) – data as of December 11, 2021 (12:00 p.m.) https://rglb.org/omicron-variant-of-concern-voc-data-as-of-december-11-2021-1200-p-m/ Sat, 11 Dec 2021 12:00:00 +0000 https://rglb.org/omicron-variant-of-concern-voc-data-as-of-december-11-2021-1200-p-m/ Confirmed cases have been reported by 22 countries: Austria (17), Belgium (30), Croatia (3), Czechia (5), Cyprus (3), Denmark (195), Estonia (15), Finland (20), France (59), Germany (77), Greece (3), Iceland (20), Ireland (6), Italy (13), Latvia (5), Liechtenstein (1), Netherlands (62), Norway (109 ), Portugal (49), Romania (3), Spain (14) and Sweden (23), according […]]]>

Confirmed cases have been reported by 22 countries: Austria (17), Belgium (30), Croatia (3), Czechia (5), Cyprus (3), Denmark (195), Estonia (15), Finland (20), France (59), Germany (77), Greece (3), Iceland (20), Ireland (6), Italy (13), Latvia (5), Liechtenstein (1), Netherlands (62), Norway (109 ), Portugal (49), Romania (3), Spain (14) and Sweden (23), according to information from public sources. A new country (Cyprus) has reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant of concern (VOC) since yesterday and in addition a number of probable cases are being reported in several countries.

Although the cases initially reported were linked to travel, an increasing number of cases are now being reported as acquired within the EU / EEA, including in clusters and epidemics, with cases also being detected in the EU / EEA. representative surveillance systems. Preliminary analysis of data reported to the European Surveillance System (TESSy) shows that imported or travel-related cases represent 22 (13%) of cases, while 121 (70%) of cases reported to TESSy were acquired locally, including 78 (45%) cases sampled as part of local outbreak investigations.

EU / EEA countries reporting cases unrelated epidemiologically to travel outside the EU / EEA include Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Sweden and Iceland. This indicates that undetected community transmission could be underway in several EU / EEA member states.

All cases for which information on severity is available were either asymptomatic or mild. No Omicron-related deaths have been reported so far. These figures should be assessed with caution, as the number of confirmed cases is too low to understand whether the clinical spectrum of Omicron disease differs from that of previously detected variants.

A summary of the available studies on the neutralizing capacity of the antibodies of convalescent or post-vaccination sera against Omicron variant virus is available in the Epidemiological Update of December 10.

Table 1. Confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron COV reported by public sources, as of December 11, 2021 (12:00 noon)


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