50% of babies born in Belgium in 2011 had parents who were not married to each other, far above the EU average of 39.5%, according to Eurostat.
28 years is the average age of a woman in Flanders giving birth for the first time, two months later than in 2010. The average age in Brussels is 29 years.
1,867 same-sex couples were married in Belgium last year, according to the federal interior ministry: 940 male and 927 female. In 331 cases one partner was non-Belgian, with French and Dutch partners in the lead.
Some 2,000 babies conceived in Belgium through artificial insemination by donor are thought to be born each year to French lesbian couples, who are not eligible to undergo the procedure in France.
“We have seen a sharp increase in demand over the past three years. The word is getting around in France, our patients are passing the message along,” said Professor Michel Dubois at the University Hospital of Liege, in the southeast of the country.
The children thus conceived even have a nickname — “Thalys babies” — after the high-speed train service between Brussels and Paris on which their mothers shuttle back and forth — sometimes for years — in their quest to become parents.
0.94 men for every woman in Brussels, compared to a national average of 1.04 men per woman. In other words, while there are slightly more men in the country, there are many more women in the capital.
Looking to find more youngsters to pay for the boom-generation going in retirement, the scientists keep trying to play for god. In a study published in the March issue of scientific journal Nature, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University in the United States described the first creation of human embryonic stem cells by cloning.
35,000 young people in Flanders, most aged 11-12, are the victims of bullying and harassment every week, according to a study by Ghent University.
The first-ever national survey on homophobia, transphobia and sexism has been launched by Bruno De Lille, secretary of state for equal opportunities of the Brussels-Capital Region. Partners collaborating for the survey are the Centre for Equal Rights and the Fight Against Racism and the Institute for Equality Between Women and Men. The study is being carried out by the University of Antwerp.
Homophobic violence has proven difficult to eradicate in both Brussels and Flanders, but also in the ex-Soviet Union. Last year the Belgian federal government, following a number of highly publicised attacks, including one on the Flemish radio presenter Sven Pichal and the country’s first-ever homophobic murder, introduced a national action plan. The plan included, among other provisions, training for the police in dealing with complaints of anti-gay violence.
In 2012, the number of homophobic attacks reported to police was 157, compared to 87 in 2011. The true number, however, is likely to be much higher, as many victims do not report attacks to the police or communicate that homophobia might be a motive. Police in Brussels wrote out administrative fines for homophobic aggression short of physical violence 1,519 times in 2012 – equivalent to four a day.
“There remains a social stigma on gays and transgenders, kept in place by existing power relations and social structures,” said De Lille, who is gay himself. “If we know which factors lie at the basis of this sort of stereotypical thinking, policymaking can be more targeted and more efficient. This study is of major importance.”
Belgium’s Senate committee of justice and social affairs has approved a measure to extend euthanasia to minors. Belgium is the second country in the world with such a law. In cases where the minor is not considered fit to make the decision alone, the advice of a child psychiatrist or psychologist is required. In all cases, parents or legal guardians must approve the minor’s request.
That the world collapses under its greed and unrespectfulness for other people was shown once more in Bangladesh where an eight-story commercial building collapsed in Savar Upazila near the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, leaving 1,129 dead.
The world’s poorest countries are rethinking economic policies that – even during periods of breakneck growth – have failed to provide quality employment capable of matching a demographic boom.