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Belgium Politics

Prime Minister Charles Michel’s biggest coalition partner, the right-wing Flemish party, revolted in opposition to the planned signing of an international agreement on migration. | 12/9/18
Belgium's center-right coalition government is fighting for its survival after the largest partner party said it would not back a global U.N.-backed migration pact. | 12/4/18
Former President Rafael Correa on Thursday called Ecuador's demand for him to be jailed and extradited from Belgium just a power ploy by the government to stamp out opposition, adding that it will instead push him back to the forefront of politics. | 7/5/18
[Bemba Trial Website] Jean-Pierre Bemba, the Congolese opposition leader freed from International Criminal Court (ICC) detention last Friday, was released to Belgium, whose government did not object to his presence in the country. | 6/19/18
[Foroyaa] State House, Banjul, 18 May 2018 - The Port of Antwerp, Belgium, has announced plans to set up training for the dock workers locally in The Gambia in collaboration with Antwerp Maritime Training Centre (APEC). | 5/30/18
[New Era] Windhoek -The classification of Namibia as a tax haven by the European Union (EU) last year can have serious repercussions, such as sanctions, for the local economy. For this reason, government has engaged EU to have Namibia delisted as a tax haven as soon as possible and in this regard, a team of officials from the Ministry of Finance have just returned from consultative engagements from the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. | 5/23/18

We now know what Cate Blanchett’s jury thought of the films that screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival: “a very strong year,” she said at the jury’s festival-ending press conference. And we know what buyers thought of the festival lineup: not bad, judging by the deals.

But what will Oscar voters think?

That’s always a tricky question, because the connection between the world’s most prestigious film festival and the world’s most celebrated film award can fluctuate wildly. In 2011, for example, three of the films that screened at the festival — “The Artist,” “The Tree of Life” and “Midnight in Paris” — landed Best Picture nominations, with “The Artist” winning.

But the success rate hasn’t approached that since then, although 2016 had an impressive across-the-board showing: One Best Picture nominee (“Hell of High Water”), the Best Foreign Language Film winner (“The Salesman”), six other nominees in the Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Feature categories and eight more films submitted by their home countries in the foreign language race.

Also Read: 'Shoplifters' Wins Palme d'Or at 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Last year, though, was more typical: two foreign nominees (“The Square” and “Loveless”), one supporting actor nominee (Willem Dafoe for “The Florida Project”) and one documentary nominee (“Faces Places”), with no winners among them.

Realistically, this year’s crop of Cannes films will probably fare similarly once Oscar voters get a look at them. The only film that screened at the festival or one of its sidebars that has a significant chance of landing a Best Picture nomination is Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” which could well be in the conversation once U.S. audiences get a look at it later this summer.

Lee’s film, which mixes humor with incendiary anger and looks at the state of America today through a story set in the 1970s, is timely enough and strong enough to be a real player, though it will likely divide critics and audiences in America more than it did in Cannes.

Also Read: 'BlacKkKlansman' Cannes Review: Spike Lee Looks Back - and Forward - in Anger

Otherwise, Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” seems destined for below-the-line categories at best, while a surge of attention for Paul Dano’s understated “Wildlife,” which premiered at Sundance but also screened in Cannes’ Critics’ Week sidebar, could make it a dark-horse contender in the adapted screenplay category.

A few Cannes documentaries could also have a shot, foremost among them Kevin Macdonald’s “Whitney,” which drew headlines out of Cannes for its allegations that Whitney Houston was sexually abused as a child by a relative. Wim Wenders’ “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” will likely be in the conversation, and so might be “The State Against Mandela and the Others” and “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache.”

But really, the most fruitful connection between Cannes and the Oscars this year will likely come in the foreign language category. Only six of the 93 countries that submitted films to the Oscars last year chose Cannes entries, but we could easily see double that many submissions come from this year’s festival.

While the individual committees that select each country’s entry can be making their decisions on the basis of politics, cronyism and lots of other factors, a Cannes berth is a powerful sign that the film might have international interest.

Also Read: 'Capharnaum' Film Review: Nadine Labaki's Searing Drama Brings Tears, Ovations

Among the no-brainer selections: Lebanon’s “Capharnaum,” the Jury Prize winner and the film that received the longest and loudest ovation of the festival; Poland’s “Cold War” from director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose last film, “Ida,” won the foreign language Oscar; Belgium’s “Girl,” which won the Camera d’Or and the Un Certain Regard performance award; Colombia’s “Birds of Passage,” from a director (Ciro Guerra) whose last film was an Oscar nominee; and Turkey’s “The Wild Pear Tree,” whose director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, has been responsible for four previous Turkish submissions.

Kenya’s “Rafiki,” a same-sex romance that is the first Kenyan film ever accepted to the Oscars, would be an easy choice if it hadn’t been banned in its home country — though if the submitting committee is independent enough to choose it, the ban could give it a boost. First-time director A.B. Shawky’s “Yomeddine” seems likely to be the Egyptian entry, while the Cannes acting award that went to Samal Yesyamova should be enough to put “Ayka” at the top of Kazakhstan’s submission list.

The Icelandic film “Woman at War,” which was bought by Magnolia for the U.S., comes from Benedikt Erlingsson, whose brilliant “Of Horses and Men” was the country’s 2013 submission, though it may have been too weird for Oscar voters. Portugal’s soccer story “Diamantino” seems a logical choice, as does Hungary’s “One Day.”

Countries like France and Italy always have a plethora of choices, which holds true this year even if they don’t consider anything except Cannes movies. Italy, for example, could opt for Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” which won the festival’s best actor award and is from the director of the acclaimed “Gomorrah” (which Oscar voters didn’t go for); or Alice Rohrwacher’s “Happy as Lazzaro,” a fable that won the screenplay award and was widely thought to be a real Palme d’Or contender.

Also Read: 'Happy as Lazzaro' Film Review: Alice Rohrwacher Charts the Course of a Holy Fool

And France has a variety of possibilities, including Christophe Honore’s “Sorry Angel,” Stephane Brize’s “At War,” Vanessa Filho’s “Angel Face,” Gilles Lellouche’s audience-friendly “Sink or Swim,” Camille Vidal-Naquet’s “Sauvage” or even Gaspar Noe’s hallucinatory “Climax.”

But France could also opt for Eva Husson’s “Girls of the Sun,” a tough but mainstream war movie about an all-female unit fighting terrorists. It didn’t fare well with Cannes critics, but it could easily become a favorite of the Academy’s foreign language voters.

The biggest question marks might surround the Asian films. Japan, China and South Korea swing between submitting critical favorites and trying to second-guess Oscar voters by choosing less daring movies or big epics. So while China has strong candidates in Jia Zhang-Ke’s “Ash Is Purest White” or Bi Gan’s rapturously received “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” it’s anybody’s guess as to whether their selection committee will deem those films acceptable. Likewise with South Korea and Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning,” which was clearly the hit of the festival, and Japan with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” which won the Palme d’Or.

Also Read: 'Shoplifters' Cannes Review: Is the Seventh Time a Charm for Hirokazu Kore-eda?

The director of the last of those films has been down this road before. In an interview with TheWrap in 2014, Kore-eda admitted that he was disappointed when “Like Father, Like Son,” which won the Jury Prize in Cannes, was passed over in favor of “The Great Passage” when Japan made its 2013 Oscar submission.

“But honestly, given the track record of how that committee in Japan decides on their films, I was not surprised,” he said. “The committee isn’t particularly interested in the world’s criteria on these films.”

Oh, one more thing:

Lars von Trier’s “The House That Jack Built”? Not a chance.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Asia Argento Condemns Harvey Weinstein During Cannes Awards: 'This Festival Was His Hunting Ground' (Video)

Is the Cannes Film Festival in Decline? Not to the French

Netflix Lands Cannes Award Winners 'Happy as Lazzaro' and 'Girl' | 5/20/18
[Nation] Plans by Kericho County government to set up a cancer centre in the region has begun after the devolved unit signed an agreement with a Belgium firm on Friday. | 5/13/18
[EA Business] Kampala -The French Ambassador to Uganda H.E Stéphanie RIVOAL has said as part of the program line-up to celebrate the second edition of the France-Uganda friendship week due for 17th to 24th March 2018 in Kampala, her government will flow in a team of ten Journalist from France and Belgium to market Ugandan tourism in the two countries. | 3/5/18

The participating U.S. Airmen and hackers at the conclusion of h1-212 in New York City on Dec 9, 2017

HackerOne has announced the results of the second Hack the Air Force bug bounty challenge which invited trusted hackers from all over the world to participate in its second bug bounty challenge in less than a year. The 20-day bug bounty challenge was the most inclusive government program to-date, with 26 countries invited to participate. From the report: "Hack the Air Force 2.0 is part of the Department of Defense's (DoD) Hack the Pentagon crowd-sourced security initiative. Twenty-seven trusted hackers successfully participated in the Hack the Air Force bug bounty challenge — reporting 106 valid vulnerabilities and earning $103,883. Hackers from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, and Latvia participated in the challenge. The Air Force awarded hackers the highest single bounty award of any Federal program to-date, $12,500." | 2/16/18

In “A Ciambra,” Italian filmmaker Jonas Carpignano’s sort-of sequel to 2015’s “Mediterranea,” the lines between documentary and fiction are blurred to the point of non-existence.

The director follows a Romani family who play versions of themselves, and specifically focuses on a 14-year-old boy named Pio (Pio Amato), whose petty crime apprenticeship with his father and older brothers leads to adult responsibilities before he’s ready, as well as a potentially devastating moral crisis.

Pio lives with his large, extended family in a run-down apartment complex on the abandoned outskirts of Gioia Tauro, a small southern Italian port city known for its part in international drug movement and for the way its city government collapses every time organized crime groups like ‘Ndrangheta step in to take over. The family exists outside of the larger crime mechanics of the town, but close enough to scrounge a subsistence living from it. At home, they loudly talk over one another, the toddlers smoke cigarettes, and the local cops routinely show up to harass whoever happens to be standing outside.

Also Read: Cannes: 'The Rider,' 'A Ciambra' Win Top Prizes in Directors' Fortnight

Though it’s only the crumbs of criminal enterprise left to families like Pio’s, they make ends meet stealing this and that, at least until Pio’s father and older brother wind up with short stretches in prison. Appointing himself breadwinner, the charismatic boy works overtime to prove his manhood. He steals cars and sells them back to their owners for 300 euros each, he makes off with tech equipment when he can and, in a moment of teenage overreach, he cases the home of an Italian crime family with disastrous, reverberating results.

Pio’s one friend and older brother substitute, Aviya (Koudous Seihon), is an immigrant from Burkina Faso, whose own struggle for survival was the subject of “Mediterranea.” That film featured a younger Pio making noise on the narrative sidelines, and here Aviya’s steady presence provides the tenderness and wisdom that balances the chaotic rough-love delivered by Pio’s clan. Yet their relationship will be tested by Pio’s dive into dangerous situations that call for unwinnable adult decisions.

Also Read: 'Get Out,' 'Call Me by Your Name,' 'Good Time' Top Indie Spirit Awards Nominations

Plot details like these make “A Ciambra” sound tailor-made for an executive producer like Martin Scorsese, a filmmaker well acquainted with the workings of families whose business is crime. But Carpignano — an Independent Spirit Award nominee for directing — is far less interested in the epic mechanics of how the flat screen TV falls off the truck, and far more on the personal daily details of the people inhabiting this world. The structural conditions keeping Pio and his family poor, marginalized, and too often imprisoned are suggested but not explicitly shown, communicated through familial bickering and weathered, exhausted faces.

Working with first time cinematographer Tim Curtin, Carpignano’s choice to go small, to calmly detail the life of a boy born into a neighborhood that feels like an entire world, one that’s locked from the outside, recalls both “Mediterranea” and the social justice-minded films of Belgium’s Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. “A Ciambra” is intimate and documentary-like, approaching and then backing away from larger issues of marginalized and immigrant communities, showing rather than preaching, and most importantly, prioritizing Pio’s adolescent face and the way his eyes scrutinize his surroundings as they constantly look for opportunity, weak spots to break through.

Also Read: Nick Kroll and John Mulaney Return to Host 2018 Spirit Awards

Occasionally, though, a dreamlike image of a silver horse wanders into the frame — the animal is also seen in an opening flashback sequence featuring Pio’s grandfather as a young man — momentarily interrupting Carpignano’s realist approach and distracting the boy with the promise of escape.

It’s a tactic that complicates “A Ciambra” only long enough to create a sense of undefined longing in the young man, and to remind the audience that for all his assertions of adulthood, this is still a child in need of a safer place to grow, one that doesn’t come with a built-in promise of lifetime poverty and turns behind bars.

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How a Scorsese Set Meeting Spearheaded US-Asia Production Company Foxtail, 'To the Bone'

Martin Scorsese Remembers Michael Ballhaus as a 'Precious and Irreplaceable Friend' | 2/2/18
[The Point] Brussels Airlines local Representation in The Gambia has held its annual cocktail reception in December 2017 at Swiss Boutique Hotel. Brussels Airlines is Belgium's national carrier, a Star Alliance member and part of the Lufthansa Group. In order to celebrate the end of a successful year 2017 the airline had invited their key account customers, suppliers, government officials, relevant authorities, and travel agencies which are their major partners. | 1/29/18
Looking at how countries, or less defined areas, can function without an elected government. | 1/16/18

Politics of Belgium takes place in a framework of a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic, constitutional monarchy, whereby the King of the Belgians is the Head of State and the Prime Minister of Belgium is the head of government in a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Federal legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives. The federation is made up of (cultural/political) communities and (territorial) regions. Belgium's political institutions are complex; most political power is organised around the need to represent the main cultural (and political) communities. Since around 1970, the significant national Belgian political parties have split into distinct representations for each communities' interests besides defenders of their ideologies. These parties belong to three main political families, though close to the centre: the right-wing Liberals, the social conservative Christian Democrats, and Socialists forming the left-wing. Other important newer parties are the Green parties and, nowadays mainly in Flanders, the nationalist and far-right parties. Politics is influenced by lobby groups, such as trade unions and employers' organizations such as the Federation of Belgian Enterprises. Majority rule is often superseded by a de facto confederal decision making process where the minority (the French-speakers) enjoy important protections through specialty majorities (2/3 overall and majority in each of the 2 main communities).

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