March 20, 2018

Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney Is Well Worth The Price

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If you have ever been involved in a car accident in which you were hurt badly, you know that getting compensated for your injuries can sometimes be much more difficult than dealing with the injuries. This is why hiring a personal injury attorneyin Jonesboro is well worth the price.

Many times when someone is in a car accident and they have been hurt, the thing they are most worried about is getting better and getting back to work so they can earn a living for their family. The first thing on your mind if you are ever in a car wreck should be to contact a personal injury attorney. I know you may not be able to think clearly at first, but keep this in the back of your mind so that it will be the first thing to pop into it when an accident occurs.

By hiring a personal injury attorney to help with your case after an accident, you are more likely to get reimbursed for any work you may have to miss and any hospital bills you may incur as well.

Many times, someone drinking and driving or someone being reckless causes accidents. If this is the reason for the accident you were involved in, you most definitely will want to hire a personal injury attorney. When the police are called to an accident such as this they are likely to hear conflicting reasons for the accident, especially if you were both drinking and do not remember the fine details of the wreck. By hiring an attorney to represent you, you will be able to be better represented in court.

If your accident was caused by something other than a car wreck, you can still get the advice and help of a personal injury attorney. Since most people do not know what their rights are after an accident they can sometimes not get what they deserve if they don’t hire someone to help. By hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you, you will be able to get what is rightfully yours. Do not try to represent yourself in court if you have never done so before because you have no idea how to do so properly. There are bits of information regarding the court system and how it works that you as a common citizen are not privy to. Don’t let the court system stress you out, hire a personal injury attorney to handle the stress for you. If you have been injured you will likely have enough stress to deal with already without having to worry about court and how to represent yourself there.

The Ausband Firm is the premier law firm when you require a personal injury attorney in Jonesboro. Find out how you can get the best settlement for your injuries at

Barack Obama elected 44th President of the United States

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The 2008 Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, 47, is projected to win at least 349 electoral votes, more than enough to clinch the Presidency of the United States. Obama is the first African American to be elected President in U.S. history. His Republican opponent, Arizona senator John McCain is projected to win at least 173 electoral votes. McCain has phoned Obama to concede the election. Obama officially became the President-elect when John McCain issued his concession speech shortly after 9:00PM Mountain Time.

The Electoral College will officially elect Obama on December 15 and he will be inaugurated as the 44th President on January 20, 2009 at noon.

“We have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken and spoken clearly. This is an historic election and I realize the significance this has for African-Americans […] Let there be no reason now, for any American should fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth,” said McCain at a final event in Arizona.

Barack Hussein Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. from Kenya and Ann Dunham from Wichita, Kansas. He grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He graduated from high school in 1979 and attended Occidental College and Columbia University, receiving his B.A. in political science in 1983. Afterwards he moved to Chicago and worked as a community organizer.

He enrolled in Harvard Law School in 1988, became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, and graduated magna cum laude in 1991. He returned to Chicago, lecturing at the University of Chicago and practicing as a civil rights attorney.

He was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1997, and became the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Illinois in March 2004. The following July, he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, catapulting him into the national spotlight.

He won election to the U.S. Senate with 70% of the vote. On February 20, 2007 he announced his candidacy for President and clinched the Democratic nomination on June 3, 2008, after a tense primary battle with Hillary Clinton. Obama is married to Michelle née Robinson, with whom he has two daughters.


  • 1 Victory speech
  • 2 Results
    • 2.1 Electoral College Overview
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links
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Danish PM pushes for new referendum on euro

Friday, November 7, 2008

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Prime Minister of Denmark, said on Tuesday that he will seek broad parliamentary support for a national referendum on joining the euro, the common currency of the Eurozone.

“I’m convinced that we need broad support in parliament to hold a referendum, because it’s about the Danish currency and about stability and safety,” he said, speaking at his weekly press conference. “Recent events have shown the necessity to give the population the opportunity to vote on Denmark joining the euro.”

Berlingske Tidende is reporting that Rasmussen is meeting with political leaders to negotiate support for the referendum.

In 1992, Danish voters rejected the Maastrict Treaty in a referendum. It was only able to pass the following year after the Edinburgh Agreement granted Denmark an opt-out of the third stage of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (EMU).

In 2000, Denmark again rejected the common currency in a euro referendum. The current currency of the Scandinavian country is the Danish krone. As part of stage two of the EMU, the exchange rate of the krone is allowed to fluctuate within a ±2.25% range to the euro.

In order to maintain this peg Danmarks Nationalbank, the central bank, adjusts interest rates and performs foreign exchange operations by buying and selling currency. To do this, Danmarks Nationalbank has had to raise rates twice, even as other central banks, including the European Central Bank (ECB), were lowering rates to deal with the current economic crisis.

As a result, interest rates in Denmark are now 175 basis points higher than the ECB’s rates. As recently as May, the difference was only 25 basis points.

Rasmussen heads the Venstre party which leads a minority coalition government. The main opposition party, the Social Democrats, also support adopting the euro as the nation’s currency.

While there has long been support among the politicians, the euro has failed when it has been put before the voters. However, recent opinion polls have shown a growing support for the euro among Danes. The most recent of these have seen those in favor just topping the 50% level needed to pass a referendum.

Rasmussen has said he wants a referendum put before voters before 2011. His government had originally planned to hold a referendum this past September to abolish the EMU opt-outs, but that was scrapped when Ireland voted down the Treaty of Lisbon.

On October 30, while in Stockholm, Sweden, Rasmussen said: “The euro ensures political and economical stability in Europe and the current financial turmoil makes it evident that Denmark has to join the Euro.”

Analysts consulted by Berlingske Tidende have said that an endorsement from the Socialist People’s Party (SF) could prove to be the tide-turner.

“If there was a vote, then I would vote Yes. But I am of the opinion that it is stupid to hold a vote unless we first have a real debate. We haven’t had a debate in eight years and all arguments need to be tested,” said Margrete Auken of SF.

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March 18, 2018

Keep Fit Whilst Having Fun At Xscape Yorkshire}

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Keep fit whilst having fun at Xscape Yorkshire


Declan EllisXscape is known for its fun factor, but there are also plenty of things to do Yorkshire at the activity centre that will help you to keep fit. Your heart will be pounding after a bounce around Gravity Trampoline Parks, you’ll work up a sweat on the Climbing Wall and Skyride and when you grab your snow sports gear Yorkshire to take on Snozone’s indoor ski slope you’ll be sure to burn hundreds of calories – and these are just a few of the brilliantly fun ways to keep fit on a family day out West Yorkshire at Xscape!Gravity Trampoline Parks is one of the most popular things to do Yorkshire at Xscape, and as well as being great fun for everyone to get involved in on a family day out West Yorkshire, Gravity goes the extra mile for fitness and runs its own exercise class: TrampoLEAN. Each of the workout classes at Gravity Trampoline Parks are designed to help burn calories, improve cardiac and oxygen capacities and to build overall body strength and muscle tone. Not all exercise has to be boring and TrampoLEAN classes are a perfect example of how to inject some fun into your workout!Another favourite activity at Xscape Yorkshire is snow sports. Once kitted out in snow sports gear Yorkshire, Snozone is the perfect place to get your heart rate up and tone your body. Whether you choose to ski or snowboard your way down the indoor snow slope made of real snow, there aren’t many things to do Yorkshire that will work out your whole body like snow sports do. Similarly to Gravity Trampoline Parks, Snozone provides the perfect, unique family day out West Yorkshire – the whole family will be burning calories without even realising it.If skiing isn’t for you, swap your snow sports gear Yorkshire for your gym clothes and head to Xercise4Less. As the largest gym in the Castleford and Pontefract area, there’s nowhere better to improve your physique than here. It may not be one of the most family-orientated things to do Yorkshire at Xscape, but with more than 300 pieces of state-of-the-art fitness equipment, there’s something for everyone who wants to get fit, no matter what their goal may be.If you’re not into solid workouts but like to keep active, you can head to The Park at the back of Xscape’s skate shop, Subvert. This indoor skate park is hugely popular for those with skateboards, roller-blades and scooters. Furthermore, there’s nothing to worry about if you’re on a family day out West Yorkshire and the kids have no experience but want to give it a go – The Park offers lessons to anyone aged six or above. If you enjoy things to do Yorkshire that are a little different to your average day out but still get your blood pumping, coming to The Park could be the perfect way to spend your afternoon.No matter how you choose to spend your family day out West Yorkshire at Xscape, you’re guaranteed a fantastic time. What’s more, it is easily accessible by public transport and offers free car parking for all customers. Getting fit shouldn’t be a chore – come to Xscape and see just how fun it can be!

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68 pieces of luggage found behind Texas pet store

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

At least 68 different pieces of luggage has been found behind a pet store inside a garbage dumpster in Houston, Texas. The luggage came from several different international flights and authorities do not know how they got there or if the contents of the luggage have been stolen.

“We’re going to be investigating and the authorities are going to be investigating,” said spokeswoman for Continental Airlines, Mary Clark. All luggage was handed over to Continental Airlines.

The luggage is reported to have been sifted through, and most pieces have come from all over the world. The luggage is reported to have come from Bush Intercontinental Airport. Some pieces of the luggage have name tags and Clark states that “we’re trying to reach whoever we need to let them know the bags are there.”

Officers with the Houston Police Department are in charge of the investigation. The luggage was found by individuals who own the pet store.

The FBI has stated that the bags do not pose any danger.

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CEO of GM outlines plan for “New GM” after auto company declared bankruptcy

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In a New York press conference at 16:15 UTC, June 1st, Fritz Henderson, the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy and Chapter 11 protection from its creditors earlier today, outlined a plan for what he called a “New GM”.

Speaking to the press under safe harbor provisions of U.S. law, Henderson described the events of today as a “defining moment” in the history of General Motors. Speaking to the public he said that “The GM that let you down is history,” and described a “New GM” that he expected to result from the bankruptcy process.

Henderson stated that he envisioned the bankruptcy process would take between 60 and 90 days. He stressed several times his view that the process would be one that is executed quickly, saying that not just a sense of urgency but “pure unadulterated speed” was his expectation of the process. He emphasized that “GM remains open for business” during the bankruptcy period, continuing to sell and to support its products, and that day one motions had been filed in the bankruptcy court in order to allow this.

Regarding the bankruptcy process he said, “We will do it right. And we will do it once.”

He stated that the plan for General Motors had the support of the United Auto Workers union, the Canadian Auto Workers union, the GM VEBA, and a majority of the unsecured bondholders of GM. He also mentioned that GM had already received €1.5 million in bridge financing from the German government.

In response to questions about the possibility of the United States federal government, a majority shareholder in the restructured company, dictating future product development and strategy, such as the sale of more fuel-efficient and green vehicles; he first observed that the federal government had already stated to him that it had “no real interest in running our business” and that he expected that still to be his job. Of the specific hypothetical scenario where the management of GM wants to make one type of car, because it thinks that it is the right thing for the business, and the U.S. government wants to make another type of car, he stated that “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” Expanding on that point he stated that he expected the “New GM” to focus upon “highly fuel-efficient and green technology”, and that operating both in accordance with U.S. environmental laws and in response to customer demand would naturally result in the New GM producing the types of vehicles that the U.S. government would encourage.

The “New GM” he also expected to focus on “four core brands”, and will size its dealership to match that. He stated that GM would offer a “deferred termination” package to dealers, to allow them to cease dealing in GM vehicles in a managed and gradual way.

He stated that the bankruptcy filings did not cover General Motors’ businesses in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific. Of GM’s profitable ventures in China, specifically, he stated that they were “a critical part of the New GM”. In response to questions of whether the New GM would import cars from China to the U.S., he stated the formative company’s core principle that “We build where we sell” applied in both directions, with GM building in China to sell in China and building in the U.S. to sell in the U.S., stating that this shortened supply chains.

He declined to predict when the New GM would return to profitability, stating that the goal was rather to lower the break-even EBIT point for the company. He also declined to speculate upon when the U.S. government would sell its stake in the company, saying that that was a question “better addressed to the U.S. Treasury”, and merely saying that he expected it to be “years, not months” when the U.S. Treasury felt it would give “the right return for taxpayers.”

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Appalachian Mountains coal company target of protesters

Saturday, July 9, 2005

A Friday protest in downtown Richmond drew around 200 protesters to Virginia’s state capital to demonstrate against strip mining practices of Massey Energy Company. Demonstrators marched through town and gathered in front of the company’s office building where nearly 20 laid in the street of the city’s main thoroughfare, and were nearly arrested. A few linked arms around a sidewalk structure to avoid being hauled away by police.

Chanting “Blankenship, Blankenship, Blankenship,” and waving bed sheets for flags, the demonstrators demanded to be seen and heard by the Massey Chairman and CEO, Don Blankenship. Arrests for civil disobedience were avoided when two security guards were sent by the company to retrieve a list of their demands.

The demonstration, timed to coincide with Scotland’s G8 conference, was organized by a group called “Mountain Justice Summer” and environmentalists to protest mountain top removal mining techniques. The company’s mining operations are located in the Appalachian Mountain chain in the states of Virginia, West Virginia , Kentucky and Tennessee. Massey is the United States‘ fourth-largest coal mining operation.

A statement issued by a Massey spokesman defended their respect of people’s rights, and decried what they said was, “a great deal of misinformation.”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that unofficial “legal observers” accompanied the demonstrators and carried notebooks to record crowd and police activity.

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The Pot And The Peach Pit: Story On Healthy Food For Children

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The Pot and the Peach Pit: story on healthy food for children


Lilia Parker

What wonderful peaches the little girl’s mum brought home from the market! First she washed them carefully and put them in a dish, and then she brought them into the room where her daughter was lying in bed sick. The little girl had a bad flu, and for three days she’d had a fever and felt sick to her stomach.

The night before the doctor had taken a look at her and gave her mother some advice: “Go to the market and get her some peaches. They help fight off a sick stomach and are very good for the digestion. They also have a lot of vitamin C and pectins, which are important for fighting off infections.”

“Look how rosy they are!” the pale-faced little girl cried delightedly, reaching for the dish.

“Yes, the peaches are really beautiful,” her mum agreed and offered her daughter the juiciest one. “That’s why they have such a delightful name.”

The peach turned out to be good and sweet, and smelled even better than usual.

“What a big pit it’s got, like a little rock,” the girl said in surprise as she eyed the hefty, wrinkled-looking stone. “I wonder what’s inside?”

“Bitter seeds that smell like almonds,” her mum answered, happy that her daughter seemed to have got some life back into her.

“Mum, if we plant the pit in a pot, will a peach tree grow out of it?” the curious little one asked.

“I think it would, if we remember to take good care of it. But,” her mum admitted, “I’ve never tried growing a fruit tree at home before.”

The girl’s mum had a lot of house plants. Thanks to her wise care they had beautiful-smelling flowers the whole year round.

“Mum, let’s plant the peach pit! Please, mummy!” the little girl said, thinking up everything she could to persuade her. “Just imagine, we’ll have our very own peaches growing right at home. I promise I’ll take care of it.”

“Okay, dear, let’s do it,” her mum eventually agreed, and she brought a spacious pot full of earth in from the balcony.

A few days later, when her daughter was feeling better, the big pot with the wonderful peach pit took up its place beside her bed. For a long time the little girl watched the dark earth that filled the pot almost to the brim, and dreamed of the little peach tree that would grow from it.

“Oh, I wish it would hurry up!” she thought. “I’m just dying to pick a peach from my own darling tree.”

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No sooner did she think that thought than a beautiful fairy carrying a basket of peaches flew in and landed on the pot. “I’m the mistress of a big peach orchard,” she explained in a cheery voice, “and I’m giving you this basket of my very best peaches. You’re a clever girl! Not just everyone tries to grow a peach tree in their house, you know.”

With a worried frown the girl asked, “What if my tree doesn’t grow?”

“I’ll tap your pot with my magic peach twig,” the fairy assured her. “Then your tree will be sure to grow.”

“Oh good fairy! I’d love to visit your big orchard, I’ve never seen a peach tree before,” the girl said a little sadly.

“Well, now, that’s not a problem. Just have one of my juicy peaches to get yourself ready for the trip, and we’re off! Did you know that peaches are one of the best fruits for you? They’re just full of fructose sugar and organic acids,” the fairy explained, and she took a big rosy peach from her basket.

“My mum says that peaches have a beautiful name,” the girl said as she munched noisily on the fairy’s gift.

“You must have a wonderful mum,” the fairy said with a smile, and then she tapped the little girl with her magic twig. Suddenly they were in the fairy’s orchard.

“What a delicious smell!” the girl exclaimed as she looked around in delight and breathed in the orchard’s peach-scented air. She set off down a narrow path that ran beside the row of modest trees with wide-spreading branches and reddish-brown, scaly bark. She ran her finger the length of a long, green leaf to its pointed tip.

“Welcome, friend, we’re glad you came to visit,” the trees greeted her in friendly tones, and waved their branches, which were absolutely covered with great rosy peaches. “Continue along this path and you’ll come to our gardener’s house. He’ll serve you up some peach tea with delicious peach jam, and tell you anyting you’d care to ask.”

Soon the girl saw a tidy little house with a kindly man standing on the steps. He smiled and stepped aside to let her pass.

“Please do come in, my dear, it’s been ages since I’ve had any visitors. And today I’ve baked a peach pie using the fairy’s own recipe, you’re sure to love it.”

Over the tea, delicious-smelling jam and flaky pie – which absolutely melted in her mouth – the curious little girl asked all about peaches and peach trees.

“When do peach trees bloom, and what colour are the flowers?”

“The flowers are pinkish-coloured and usually come out even earlier than the leaves, in March or April,” the old gardener answered. “Peach leaves and flowers are like medicine – they relax you. I gather them every year, and dry them.”

“Why have some of your peaches lost their fuzz? They’re smooth.”

“Those are nectarines – that’s what we call fuzzless peaches. The nectarine fairy has a great big tree farm in China , our peach fairy gave her the pits to plant. The trees are a lot like peach trees – they don’t like cold, either – and they get sick from the same diseases, grow the same amount of fruit which are just of full of vitamins and energy, just like fuzzy peaches. Honestly, I can’t imagine what isn’t inside a peach or nectarine: they’ve got iron, and silicon, and phosphor, and plenty of sugar for energy.”

“I think that nectarines are like peaches that are all dressed up,” the little girl said. “Peaches are like a patch of sun on a dull day, and nectarines are like bright sunshine.”

“You’re very observant. Also, nectarine skin doesn’t tear so easily as peach skin, so they’re much easier to collect and store and move from place to place.” the gardener commented with a smile.

“Tell me, please, does the peach fairy have her own house in the orchard, and where has she gone off to? Why did she disappear as soon as I got here?”

“Our peach fairy lives in every peach pit, in every peach tree and every single peach. Sometimes she sleeps in one of her little houses, sometimes she’s busy flying about with her magic twig helping people to grow those marvellous peach trees,” the gardener answered. “Of course, she only goes to those who want to make their trees happy.”

Before long the friendly fairy herself came for the girl and tapped her again with the magic twig, and … she woke up.

“Good morning, darling,” she heard her mother say in a voice she knew so well. “How did you sleep?”

“Mummy, the good peach fairy came to see me, and then she took me to visit her orchard. Just imagine! It was so beautiful! Now I know everything about peaches, and my peach tree is sure to be wonderful, because she tapped the pot with her magic twig.”

Smiling, the little girl cast a fond glance at the pot, where the fairy was asleep inside the cozy pit. And her mother smiled too.


Healthy Recipes included in the story:

Fruit soup

– 2 peaches

– 2 apples 1 pear

– 100g cherries

– 2 tbsp soured cream

Remove the peel and seeds from the peaches, apples and pear, chop the fruits into small chunks and place in a bowl. Remove the stones from the cherries. Grind together the cherries and fruit skins. Place the cherries and skins in a pan of boiling water, and simmer for two hours. Pour the fruit-infused water over the bowl of fruit chunks and add the soured cream.

Cheese soufflé with peaches

– 500 g of cottage cheese

– 850 ml. of peach compote

– 1 cup of soured cream

– ½ a cup of caster sugar

Mix the cottage cheese with half a cup of the peach compote, and mix together thoroughly. Mix the soured cream with the caster sugar and add to the cottage cheese mixture. Add the rest of the peach compote and decorate with slices of peach.

Lilia and Alexandra are educators and they love to share useful TIPS, stories and recipes on healthy food for kids. Discover new ideas on how to make your child friends with fruits and vegetables. Read and download free fruit and vegs stories at =>

Wise stories on healthy food

Get your healthy food recipes for kids at =>

Healthy recipes for kids

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Chesapeake Bay Program issues first-ever water quality forecast

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

For the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, a first-time-ever “water quality forecast” was issued Monday for the upcoming summer season by the Chesapeake Bay Program. The eastern mid-Atlantic region’s heavy spring rainfalls are predicted to increase nutrient levels in bay waters, leading to oxygen eating algae blooms and leaving deep water dead zones.

Project leader William Dennison, of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies said, “The forecast indicates that recent weather conditions and heavy pollutant loads could lead to a bad summer for the Bay.” The prediction is for this to be the fourth-worst season for dissolved oxygen in two decades.

The Chesapeake Bay Program launched the new forecast to build on a base of environmental data gathered over the last two decades as water quality concerns have grown. The forecast is meant to be a proactive tool that provides resource managers with information that can be used to guide policies for the bay’s protection and restoration.

Cars, fertilizer, human and animal wastes, industrial and agricultural pollutants all play a part. “This means that we need to do a lot more to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen pollution from getting into the bay,” said Beth McGee, of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “The biggest source of pollution in the bay is agriculture, and we’ve got to find a way to provide farmers with more resources to manage the land better.”

Nutrient rich pollutants composed mainly of nitrogen and phosphorous come from far away places carried by rivers, and nearby the bay from farm and metropolitan runoff. They collect in the huge bay and meet tidal flows from the ocean.

Algae feed off the nutrients, and they are either consumed by aquatic life or sink at the end of their life cycle. With such an abundant food source, algae blooms can cover large surfaces of water and choke off sunlight to underwater plants. Later when the plants die, the process of their decomposition on the bottom consumes oxygen to a state where the water becomes anoxic, and unable to support life.

As notorious as weather forecasters are for often being wrong, it should come as no surprise if this first forecasting step by the federally funded program misses its mark. Forces such as heavy storms or hurricanes, which churn water, would have an effect. Excessive wind and unexpected precipitation, or nutrient level jumps, would also contribute.

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Prince Laurent of Belgium testifies in marine fraud case

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

This article features in a News Brief from Audio Wikinews:

Prince Laurent of Belgium, the youngest son of King Albert II of Belgium, has been questioned last night by the federal police and is attending today’s court session in Hasselt in a marine fraud case that has gripped Belgian media since last December. He arrived in a Smart car and was accompanied by his lawyer and former politician Fred Erdman. The case turns around funds of the Belgian Navy that have been used to beautify the Prince’s villa in Tervuren. The Prince is expected to testify this afternoon.

In total, 2.2 million was supposedly diverted from the marine’s purchasing services using false invoices. Roughly € 185 000 was allegedly used to paint the Prince’s villa, install lights in the garden, for the purchase of carpet and furniture, and for his secretariat and for animal clinics the Prince supports via his Foundation. Twelve marine officers and contractors are being accused of document fraud, collusion, bribery, embezzlement of government money etc. and could face 10 years in prison. The money was part of the budget that wasn’t spent at the end of the year, and which would flow back to the government if the army didn’t spend it.

The Prince, who is also an officer in the navy, is being treated only as a witness in this case, there have been no charges against him. The Attorney General in Hasselt Marc Rubens has said that there are no elements in the investigation that point to the fact that Laurent was aware of the affair, however several accused have contested this in the press. Technically, the villa is not the property of the Prince himself, but of the Royal Gift, which manages the real property of the Royal Family.

During his interview by the police last night, Prince Laurent stated that he needed funds to renovate his villa, and that Noël Vaessen, his adviser, told him the Navy could help him. The Prince stated that he thought it was legal, and that he had no reason to doubt his adviser.

Ex-Colonel Noël Vaessen was an adviser of the Prince between 1993 and 1999. Vaessen has declared in the media during the last month that the Prince actively participated in the fraud, and that he fears a cover-up. He said that the Prince was a demanding party in the operation, and that “he knew that we were arranging things to make his life and his work as comfortable as possible.” According to Vaessen, the Prince was in need of money to support a royal lifestyle, and “didn’t even have enough money to buy food.”

In 2001, Vaessen was discharged with honour from the army “for medical reasons”, but Defence Minister André Flahaut is investigating if there was no agreement to give him his pension in exchange for the fact that he wouldn’t incriminate the Prince. Vaessen also accused the Prince of other things, such as racing against the high-speed train TGV on a French highway. He has also incriminated Admiral Herteleer. Captain Johan Claeys, one of the accused, studied with the Prince and worked at the facturation services of the Navy in 1998 and 1999. One of the accused contractors, Marc Luypaerts, has told the press that the judge responsible for the investigation in Hasselt had forbidden him to speak about Prince Laurent.

Laurent’s status as a Prince has several judicial consequences for the trial. In Belgium, it’s against the law to incriminate the Royal Family during a trial. Also, the Prince is protected from judicial pursuit because he is also a Senator by law. Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx has issued a Royal Decrete, which the King has signed while on holiday in Napels, which would make it possible for Princes to testify in a trial.

However, Public Prosecutor Erwin Steyls has chosen to have Laurent interrogated by the police last night in Hasselt. This was the first time during the last six years of the inquiry that the Prince was questioned. Today in the court, the Prosecutor defended the act of having him questioned outside the trial, saying that there were several procedural issues. First, the subpoena for the Prince wasn’t issued in time to be legal. Second, the details of the protocol to hear the Prince in court were not explained in the recent Royal Decrete, making it worthless -something Minister Onkelickx denied. Thirdly, nobody can be forced to testify against himself, and if the Prince were to make false statements under oath, he could only be sued for perjury. However, the court has decided to let him testify anyway this afternoon.


Nobody is above the law and the Justice Department must be able to complete its task in full independence. When the courts find embezzlements, it seems fair to me that they would be compensated by anyone who profited from them.

During the last month, the case has caused a several spin-off discussions in Belgium. One of the surprises during this period was the King’s Christmas Message, in which he referred to the case. The regional governments are now investigating and discussing their donations to the IRGT/KINT, an environmental organisation supported by Prince Laurent. But there is also an ongoing debate over the position of the Monarchy in Belgium. Some politicians are suggesting to limit the role of the Monarchy, and other think that only the King and Queen, the Crown Prince or Princess and the widow(er) of the King or Queen should receive state funding.

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