Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, is under way in India. But if you live in Belgium, there will be at least three occasions to celebrate!
In Antwerpen, first, on October 29th, morning.
Then in Leuven, on November 1st evening, organised by the association of Indian students in Leuven.
Finally in Ghent, on November 3rd evening, organised by the Indo-Belgian Association of Ghent.
Edit on November 1st: Bharatiya Samaj is also organising Diwali in Bruxelles on November 8th.
By the way, Rose, a non-profit organisation supporting and fostering basic education for children in developing countries will organise its traditional Fund raising Indian Dinner on November 29th, 2008, in Leuven.
Photo credit: “happy diwali!” by Kalyan Kumar on Flickr (CC-by-sa)
If you live in Belgium, you probably noticed a small buzz about a database police is building about Belgian citizens and, more precisely, about the access control of this database. The “problem” is that this database already exists and it has a legal basis since … 1998 (10 years!). But mainstream media won’t tell you that (or I’m unaware of it). I don’t think there is a conspiracy. It’s just that, sadly, the current economic environment doesn’t leave much space for this kind of information. The Minister of Justice’s website has more info on this database and its content (excerpt of translation below):
The database already appeared a royal decree. This decree states that the police can store a bunch of sensitive data about certain categories of Belgian citizens since they are 14-years-old.
These include information on about family ties, consumption habits, ethnicity, physical and mental health, political and religious beliefs, membership of trade unions and political parties and suspicions of criminal offenses.
So what can we do about it? Human rights organisations as well as members of the Parliament (La Chambre, look for “P0499”) questioned the Minister of Justice, Jo Vandeurzen. He agreed that there should be both internal and external controls on what is inserted, who have access to the data, who can check the data and the access, … He promised the “Committee P“, the privacy committee and a supervisory body headed by a magistrate will be consulted. Let’s see …