September 24, 2023

The big picture: a moment of intimacy for women in ​p​rison

Jane Evelyn Atwood spent a decade photographing the life of female inmates, from childbirth to conjugal visitsJane Evelyn Atwood began photographing in women’s prisons in 1989, and the work consumed her for a decade. She visited 40 institutions across the US and Europe, in Israel and the former Soviet Union collecting images and first-hand stories from inmates in the most comprehensive project of its kind. Her prison book was called Too Much Time, a title that might equally have referred to her own obsessive immersion in the subject and to the lives of the people she photographed. In her introduction she wrote: “People often ask how I could pursue such a ‘sad’ subject for so long. Curiosity was the initial spur. Surprise, shock and bewilderment gradually took over. Rage propelled me along the road.”Many of Atwood’s pictures, revisited in a new exhibition, are harrowing; some helped to change the world. (Her image of a woman giving birth in handcuffs in an Alaska jail sparked an international campaign to ban that barbaric practice. The UK ended the practice in 1997; a federal law in the US eventually followed though shackling remains widespread.) Taken together, Atwood’s images are a testament to her determination to provide a full inside story.Jane Evelyn Atwood’s Women in Prison photographs are on show as part of Inside /Outside: Counterviews on Prison at the Delta, Namur, Belgium until 28 January Continue reading...
September 23, 2023

Olympic dream gives Wiegman extra fuel for England’s Nations League tilt

Coach would savour chance to be at the helm of Team GB in Paris, but may need to tweak Lucy Bronze’s role first When Sarina Wiegman describes the possibility of coaching Team GB at next summer’s Paris Olympics as a “great honour” and “a privilege”, she means it. England’s manager is an expert at concealing her emotions and giving precious little away but introduce the word Olympics to the conversation and Wiegman suddenly animates. “They’re very special,” she says, eyes sparkling. “They’re one of the very biggest stages for women’s football.”Should Wiegman’s Lionesses reach the final of the Nations League next spring – or, if France make the final two, finish third – she will be placed at the helm of Team GB. That potential prize explains why she was delighted to see a rather unconvincing England squeeze past Scotland at Sunderland on Friday night, registering a 2-1 win. Another victory against the Netherlands in Utrecht on Tuesday would put England in pole position to top an initial group also including Belgium. Continue reading...
September 22, 2023

Why a Belgian insurer studies the impact of air pollution on health

Mutualités Libres says improving air quality ensures sustainability of the social security systemWhy would a health insurance company study air pollution? Because, as Christian Horemans, an environment and health expert with the Belgian mutual insurer Mutualités Libres, explains: “It has an enormous impact on public health and an enormous cost for the Belgian compulsory health and disability insurance. We consider it our duty to analyse risks for the financial sustainability of health and disability insurance, part of social security.”The insurer’s recent study , carried out by a team that included Belgian and Dutch universities and research centres, compared health insurance claims from 1.2 million people in Belgium in 2019 with particle pollution in their neighbourhoods. The financial results were startling. Continue reading...
September 21, 2023

Europe once welcomed me. Today, I fear it would not – and that’s a threat to all of us | Shada Islam

Across the EU, far-right ideas are becoming mainstream while refugees and Muslims are demonised. But change is still possibleI arrived in Brussels four decades ago as a student, scarred by the legacy of two deadly wars between India and Pakistan, and their constant enmity. I was ready to be seduced by a story of peace and cooperation – of former enemies reconciled by trade and pooled sovereignty. The EU and me were a perfect fit.Improbable as it may sound, Belgium drew me in, loved me back. University life was multicultural and exciting. Fulfilling a long-held dream, I became a reporter and started covering, later writing and commenting on, EU foreign policy and Europe’s global trade and aid policies. Continue reading...
September 11, 2023

Germany call time on Hansi Flick’s chaotic reign as Euro 2024 looms | Andy Brassell

Manager could not replicate his success at Bayern and while the DFB dreams of Klopp, Nagelsmann looks a more likely successorThe chorus of boos that ushered Germany’s team from the field at full time after Saturday’s humbling at home to Japan might have taken supporters of a certain vintage back 26 years, to Le Tournoi. It wasn’t only about Roberto Carlos’s banana free-kick and the emergence of Paul Scholes, but about French supporters venting their frustrations with their national coach, Aimé Jacquet. When France lost to a late Alan Shearer goal in their second game of the tournament in June 1997, cries of ‘Jacquet démission’ (‘Jacquet resign’) tumbled from the stands of the Mosson in Montpellier.If Hansi Flick had hoped this nadir would be the first step on a similar path to glorious redemption, it quickly became clear that there was to be no reprise of that scenario. The Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB) announced his sacking on Sunday afternoon while Germany’s basketball team were midway through a magnificent victory in the World Cup final with Serbia – underlining, on one hand, the clumsiness and the dysfunctional workings of the body at board level, and on the other communicating the sense of panic that led them to this point. Continue reading...
August 31, 2023

Cycling, art, mines and vineyards in Belgium’s Limburg province

This area of Flanders has long been a paradise for cycling enthusiasts, but now it offers cutting-edge art and great culinary experiences tooIt feels strange to be cycling along a sunken path, my head at the same level as the ducks and swans swimming on the still waters of the pond beyond the walls. But Cycling Through Water, part of a biking trail in the Bokrijk forest, is another surprise on a trip to Belgium’s Limburg province.Close to the border with the Netherlands, this unspoilt area is less than two hours’ drive from Brussels. Soon after picking up a car at Brussels Midi, I’m driving through luxuriant countryside passing dense woodland, cornfields and shaded lakes. With about 1,250 miles (2,000km) of paved, mostly car-free trails, Limburg is a paradise for bike enthusiasts – and easily navigable thanks to a clearly numbered junction system on its innovative cycle network. Difficult even for amateurs like me to get lost. Continue reading...
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