At least 30 killed in Brussels terror attacks

A series of explosions ripped through the check-in area at Brussels Airport, killing at least eleven people shortly before rush hour on Tuesday morning. A third device at the airport failed to detonate and was later dismantled by the police. Then a little more than an hour after the initial attacks, another explosion struck Maalbeek metro station near the EU headquarters, leaving about twenty people dead and many more wounded. The bomb was apparently detonated in the middle carriage, which was running along the platform at the time. The driver immediately halted the train and evacuated the first and last carriages.

The apparently coordinated explosions occurred a day after Jan Jambon, interior minister, warned jihadis could be looking to counter-attack after Salah Abdeslam’s arrest in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, having apparently managed to hide out for more than four months in the Belgian capital. Mr Abdeslam is the prime surviving suspect in November’s attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, Stade de France and a string of cafes and restaurants in Paris.

Passengers and airport staff are evacuated from the terminal building after Tuesday morning’s explosions. Photograph: Laurent Dubrule/EPA

Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attacks, stating that “caliphate soldiers, strapped with suicide vests and carrying explosive devices and machine guns” struck Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station. IS also warned of “black days” for those fighting it in Syria and Iraq.

Immediately after the attacks, police conducted a series of house raids in and around Brussels. They found a bomb containing nails, chemical products and an IS flag in Schaarbeek, the Belgian prosecutor said. Earlier on Tuesday, police were reported to have found an unexploded suicide vest at Brussels airport as well as a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

The following day, two of the suicide bombers who carried out the attacks were named as brothers Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui, Belgian nationals. The Bakraoui brothers, who died in the attacks, had been sought by the police since a 15 March raid in Brussels.

Both men had criminal records for armed robbery but investigators had not linked them to Islamist militants until Abdeslam’s arrest, when police began a race against time to track down his suspected accomplices.

The federal prosecutor said Brahim was part of the attack at Zaventem airport that killed at least 11 people. Khalid struck at Maalbeek metro, where 20 people died.

Two other attackers at the airport have not yet been identified. One of them died, another is on the run.

Brahim el-Bakraoui has been identified as the middle of three men in a CCTV image of the suspects of the airport attack. Unconfirmed reports in Belgian and French media suggest the man on the left is the wanted jihadist Najim Laachraoui.

635942484480561804-AFP-550281864-withborder© AFP/Getty Images

The attacks put the Belgian capital in a state of virtual lockdown. All flights were cancelled for the day. All metro, tram and bus travel was shut down. A further 225 soldiers were sent into the city and the Belgian Crisis Centre, clearly wary of a further incident, appealed to the population: “Stay where you are”.

The many injured were treated in 25 different hospitals in Brussels and beyond. About 150 people remained in hospital, 61 in intensive care. One medic at the Vilvoorde hospital, V., said staff were faced with a range of traumatic injuries. Patients taken there suffered fractures, burns and deep cuts thought to have been caused by bolts or nails.

“We have seen deep flesh wounds,” she said. “The bombs used in the Brussels airport attack contained nails to create more victims. Some victims have nails in their bodies. Others have had to have limbs amputated. Explosive devices packed with nails increase the severity of the bombs’ ability to wound targets. The nails act as additional shrapnel, leading to greater loss of life and injury in inhabited areas than an explosive alone.”

The medic described her colleagues’ response as ‘conscientious’ and ‘courageous’. There was no panic at all, everyone was very professional.

The Belgian government quickly raised the threat status to the maximum level. “What we feared has happened,” said the Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, at a press conference. “There are many dead, many injured.” Mr Michel also asked residents to “avoid all movement” as the authorities braced for the possibility of additional violence.
France ordered 1,600 extra police officers to patrol the nation’s borders, including at train stations, airports and ports. Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain called an emergency meeting of ministers.
Washington announced that Secretary of State John Kerry would visit Belgium on Friday to demonstrate support. President Obama, currently in Cuba, offered American assistance to Belgium and said the United States would do “whatever is necessary” to bring the attackers to justice. Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination to succeed Obama in November’s US election, suggested suspects could be tortured to avert such attacks.
Tuesday’s attacks on a city that is home to the European Union and NATO will sent shockwaves across Europe and around the world, with authorities racing to review security at airports and on public transport.

In the aftermath of the attacks, the plaza outside the Beurs/Bourse – the Belgian stock exchange – transformed into a giant message board for people to chalk tributes to the victims of the Brussels attacks and leave notes of defiance and solidarity.



Italian Car Passion – Autoworld Brussels

From 3 December 2015 to 31 January 2016, the Autoworld museum will devote its fourth major year-end exhibition to the “bella macchina italiana” of the legendary ’50s to ’80s, with many pearls from both private and museum collections on display. Among the represented manufacturers we can find Italy’s traditional big seven car builders: Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Fiat.

For the occasion the Brussels Autoworld museum was staged to look like a traditional Italian town, featuring picturesque streets and of course a central Piazza. The Piazza is the exhibition’s heart in terms of display, where the spotlight is shining on the 1952 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante which is their on courtesy of the Turin automobile museum.

Additionally we can find the actual Disco Volante designed by Touring Superleggera and the 1967 Lamborghini Miura designed by Gandini respectively.

1967 Lamborghini Miura designed by Gandini © Thomas Thielemans

At the centre of the plaza, we can find the Pininfarina Ferrari 275 GTS, the Fiat Zagato V8 built in 1952, a Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada from 1964, a De Tomaso Mangusta Bertone from the 1960’s, an Iso Rivolta Grifo Giugiaro (1963), the Lancia B24 Spyder Pininfarina and an additional 20 cars are parked up at the centre square of the exhibition.

Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada (1964)

Bizzarrini’s road car, designed by Giugiaro, offered a stunning combination of powerfully sensuous looks (styled by Bertone) and, under the skin, a semi-monocoque body riveted to the chassis.

© Thomas Thielemans

The front/mid-mounted 5.3-litre Chevrolet V8 engine promised 355 to 400HP, allowing nigh-on 180mph. It is, indeed, the supreme example of that frequently misused cliché, a racing car for the road. And what makes the street version even more desirable today is that Bizzarrini’s primary interest in racing meant that very few examples of the 5300 GT Strada were ever built.

Furthermore the Italian Car Passion exhibition at Brussel’s Autoworld museum features a Concorso d’ Eleganza displaying work by some of the greatest car designers from the 1950’s such as Bertone, Vignale, Ghia, Touring and Pininfarina.

1954 Fiat 1100 TV Allemano © Thomas Thielemans
1954 Fiat TV Allemano © Thomas Thielemans
1947 Cistalia 202 Mille Miglia © Thomas Thielemans

We can also find a stage dedicated to the Competizione theme, displaying the magical Ferrari 250 SWB among many others. Finally there is the modern themed showroom, exposing a legion of the world’s current super- and hypercars.

In the showroom we can find a Ferrari LaFerrari, Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, Maserati MC12 GT1, Bugatti EB110 and many more.

Ferrari LaFerrari © J.-P. Thielemans
Ferrari LaFerrari and Lamborghini Veneno Roadster © Thomas Thielemans
© Thomas Thielemans

Finally Lamborghini has its own separate space called the ‘The Lambo Legend’. It brings you back to the first model of Lamborghini in 1964 and gradually accompanies you to the latest models such as the Gallardo, Murcielago, Aventador and Huracán.

© Thomas Thielemans


°25th anniversary of Couleur Café festival

BRUSSELS | World music can delight some and irritate others. The organisers of Couleur Café festival in Brussels take great care to offer only the highest quality in music, food, and visuals. This year the festival celebrated its 25th anniversary. Even heavy rain showers on Friday and Saturday could not spoil the fun.

© Thomas Thielemans
Rainy entrance at Tour & Taxis © Thomas Thielemans

Couleur Café is an apt reflection of the city it calls home, Brussels, with its cultural mix.The ingredients of the perfect Couleur Café cocktail are simple: bright souks and decorations, world food stalls, craftsmen and blazing brass bands.

© Thomas Thielemans
© Thomas Thielemans

Although today Couleur Café festival welcomes more than 75,000 people – 3,000 of them are also staying on a camping – over three days, the festival maintains a human scale. Independently organized and managed by Zig Zag, a non-profit organization, Couleur Café preserves its vibrant party atmosphere 24 years after it started in 1990.

© Thomas Thielemans
© Thomas Thielemans
Bootsy Collins at Couleur Café 2014 © Thomas Thielemans
Bootsy Collins at Couleur Café 2014 © Thomas Thielemans

90th edition of the Brussels Motor Show

561,555 people visited the Brussels Motor Show this year, which is 7% less than the previous edition in 2010.The current economical uncertainty did scare a large number of potential visitors and buyers .

© TT

Moreover many people quickly bought a new car at the end of 2011 after the announcement of the end of ecological allowances. The company car market also suffers from the new fiscal measures.

McLaren MP4-12C © TT


Nevertheless, there were some noticeable remarkable positive tendencies:
A remarkable interest for electrical cars. More than 5,000 electrical tests were made on the outdoor track.

Tesla racing © TT
Audi R8 E-tron © TT

The e-card, which was meant to partly replace printed catalogues, experienced an enormous success. Visitors collected more than 250,000 digital catalogues, which equals to a reduction of about 30 tons of paper.