Brussels Seafood Expo, an unexpected story!

It’s been a while since I wrote anything on here, so I’m rather overdue.

Expo

The Brussels Seafood Expo has had an impact on me before, I was dismayed, shortly after starting work in Brussels to find that all of the hotel rooms had tripled in price from one week to the next! I ended up staying in Antwerp for the week and commuting an hour each way on the train!

This year the expo was held between 6th and 8th May at the Exposition Centre, which is not far from the Atomium on the site of the 1958 world’s fair.

The story

The unexpected story for is the headline grabbing prize win by a seafood company from the Falkland Islands.

Flaklands Prize

A big story in the South Atlantic

I was unaware that the Falkland Islands seafood industry was so international in it’s focus though I guess that’s exactly the sort of thing you need to do to make a living when you fish and squid from some tiny remote islands in the South Atlantic.

As I started to read more I became intrigued by the fact that this was published on a dedicated news agency for the South Atlantic from Montevideo which is the capital of Paraguay. Some of the other recent stories paint a picture of the Falklands as a fishing hub of the world!

Squid is big business it seems, what do you do with over 200,000 tons of squid?

Just another week for the surreal capital of Europe!

Brussels Diamond Heist

Well it seems that Belgium in general and the airports in particular are hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late. First there was the air crash at Charelroi a couple of weeks ago where sadly a family was killed and the airport closed, now Zaventem airport is the scene of this Brussels Diamond Heist.

Diamond plane

Diamond plane

According to the Guardian up to 8 masked men simply crashed two vehicles through an airport fence, drove up to the plane and loaded up with sacks full of rough diamonds en route to Switzerland and drove away again.

In one way I’m actually a bit surprised that things like this don’t happen more frequently, given that the famous diamond centre of Antwerp is less than an hour away by car. This will raise a lot of questions of course.

  • How did the gang know what the contents of the plane were going to be? 
  • Was it an inside job? 
  • How can it be easier to break into an airport to steal something rather than on the road to the airport?
  • Why did it take so long to respond that they were gone before anyone could react?

Of more concern to me was that they were able to go through an airport fence and just drive up to the plane, load up and drive back out again.  In the UK at least terrorism is never far from people’s minds sadly, and it was the first thing that sprang to my mind when I read this account.  If you can drive up to a cargo plane and steal from it then what would stop someone from driving up to a passenger plane and planting a bomb, or shooting at it, or simpler yet just leaving a large vehicle in the middle of the runway as a jumbo is coming in to land?

I’m not sure whether that says that my view on the world these days is skewed in all the wrong ways or whether that’s perfectly healthy paranoia?  Either way I’m glad I wasn’t flying out of either airport on either of the days in question. Hopefully this will prompt a review of the security arrangements at Zaventem if nothing else. What do you think of this? Have you been delayed or impacted by these events? Please comment.

Can you trust what you see on TV?

There was a famous story last year about whether or not what you see on TV is true, and what you expect or whether it is misleading.  It was of course the BBC and in particular a natural history programme, which depicted polar bears.  The images purported to be of a mother polar bear and her new born cubs inside their den in Greenland.  It turned out that they had been filmed in a zoo in Hamburg. So the question is, can you trust what you see on TV?

Of course in that case it was more that it wasn’t explicitly stated where the images of the mother polar bear in her den were shot, but rather that the context implied that.  We had a shot of a snowy mountainside, then the shots inside the den, and then the bears emerging from a hole in the snow on the snowy mountainside. Of course the viewers then naturally put two and two together to get four.

Why am I bringing this up now?  And what has it got to do with Brussels? Well I was watching the BBC breakfast news, and they had a correspondent on ‘live’ from Brussels commenting on the horse meat scandal. It even had the little ‘LIVE’ symbol in the corner so you knew he was really there. Or was he?  The reason for the question being that he appeared to be in front of a window with a view of the Berlaymont building behind him.  People walking to and fro, blue flags fluttering in the breeze. What made me think was that the sky was bright, with a blueish tint and it was dry. I looked out of the window of my little apartment less than five minutes walk from that building to see a damp, dull and grey scene. Clearly the background at least on the TV wasn’t live, even if the correspondent was.

So why have a fake backdrop?  Was it just for ease that they played a recording behind him?  Did they think nobody would know? Careless or sinister? If they can deceive about this where does it stop? What do you think? Can you trust the TV? Even the BBC? Am I overreacting? Can I put any more questions in to the end of this post? 🙂 

Please comment and let me know what you think 😀