Belgian judge arrested for recording police


Belfry of Bruges

Photography is not a crime … however, also in Belgium some police seem to think differently about people recording what they do. Even if a photographer is also a judge.

In the night of 26-27 August 2015, in a street in Bruges, Belgium, there was trouble between English Manchester United and Belgian football supporters. Many people living there made videos with their smartphones of police arresting football fans.

Including local judge Jan Nolf, who lives in that street as well.

Translated from Mr Nolf’s blog today:

No policeman objected to the filming or photographing.

Except suddenly that one, and then just when I wanted to make a picture of the lighted Halletoren [or: Belfry], right in the line of the street into view above the forest of white police helmets.

Now I will tell you literally about the “conversation”:

“Stop filming”.

“I do not film, I am photographing” (while I was putting away my photo equipment into my right pocket).

The masked policeman gets close to me. “Stop filming!” Since my photo equipment was already in my right pocket, I answered somewhat puzzledly: “I did not film, I took a picture.”

It seems like under his helmet he is deaf, because he repeats “Stop filming,” making me wonder what is really his intention.

So I ask “Why?”

The gruff answer is again: ‘Stop filming “- while I still have my camera in my right pocket (my iPhone during the whole scene remained in my left pocket).

I answer calmly shrugging my shoulders: “I did not film but I do not really agree that it is illegal.”

The man immediately shouts out a command and three helmeted and masked policemen frogmarch me away to the other side of the street … There they put me against the wall immediately with my hands on my back firmly enthralled with narrow straps.

Then I am led to the queue for the bus for the arrested people from Manchester.

Before I step on the bus, I ask the police three times if they realize what they are doing. They look at me and do not answer. Nobody asks for my ID.

The whole scene is too crazy to be true and that keeps me calm all the time in an unlikely way. I do wonder what will happen to me on the bus.

Judge Nolf ended up being freed without charges. He will lodge a complaint about this police behaviour.

Rare spadefoot toad conservation


This is a Dutch video from 2012 about spadefoot toad conservation in Limburg province.

Dutch conservation organisation ARK reports today that on 14 July 2015, nearly 700 tadpoles of the rare European common spadefoot toad have been freed. This happened in Kempen-Broek nature reserve, on the border of Noord-Brabant and Limburg provinces in the Netherlands and Limburg province in Belgium.

This was the second time that larvae of this rare species have been freed there. In 2016, it will happen for the third and last time.

Gall midges, new Dutch and Belgian discoveries


This video says about itself:

25 August 2014

Gall midge (Cecidomyiidae sp.) oviposits on a fallen beech in a forest near Marburg, Hesse, Germany.

Translated from the Dutch entomologists of EIS Kenniscentrum Insecten:

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Soon a revision of the gall midges of the Benelux, with 11 new species for the Netherlands and 87 ones for Belgium, will appear. Gall midges are among the main producers of galls on leaves of plants. The midge Obolodiplosis robiniae which appeared first in the Netherlands as recently as 2008 proves surprisingly to be the most common species in our country.

Gall midges together with gall wasps, gall mites and gall producing fungi are the major producers of galls. The mosquitoe-like insects lay eggs in plants and the plants respond by making galls. These are fascinating structures of plant tissue, which provide food and shelter for the larvae of the midges.

German espionage in Belgium


This video says about itself:

Germany: German Intelligence Chief under spotlight at NSA/BND spying inquiry

21 May 2015

Gerhard Schindler, the president of the German Federal Intelligence Services (BND), was accused of shirking responsibility for his role in the alleged cooperation between the US National Security Agency (NSA) and BND during the parliamentary commission [session] into the issue in Berlin, Thursday.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

The Belgian prosecutor will begin an investigation into reports that the German secret service has spied for years on Belgian targets. An article about this in the Belgian business paper De Tijd has been confirmed by the federal prosecutor in Belgium.

The prosecutor decided last Friday to investigate this. The criminal investigation may have implications not only for those involved, but it can also put pressure on the diplomatic relations between Belgium and Germany.

Prime Minister Charles Michel will for the time being not react to this issue.

[Dutch ] Minister Plasterk announced last month that the [Dutch secret service] AIVD is investigating whether the German secret service also has spied upon Dutch targets.

See also here.