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Mayor of Brussels' underpants stolen

A pair of underpants belonging to the Mayor of Brussels has been stolen from a museum showcasing underwear belonging to Belgian politicians and artists.

Until recently one of the key exhibits at the Brussels Underpants Museum was a pair of briefs donated and signed by the Mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur.

Landlord Jan Bucquoy told the website brusselnieuws.be: "We only noticed the theft last Sunday. The underpants were exhibited in the pub. It's a lot easier to steal the pants there than in the museum on the first floor".

Mr Bucquoy now intends to ask Mr Mayeur for a replacement pair.

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Report: Men dressed as police behind diamond heist

An armed gang dressed as police officers are thought to be behind a diamond heist at Brussels Airport. The masked men stole a cache of stones and sped off into the darkness on Monday night, said Anja Bijnens, spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutors' office.

It is understood the robbers targeted a security van parked near a Swiss plane. Police later found a burnt-out vehicle close to the airport. There have been conflicting reports about the value of the stolen gems, ranging from £32.3m to £300m.

An airport spokesman said the robbers made a hole in the fence and drove up to the passenger plane, which was ready to leave.

The thieves got out of the car, flashed their weapons and took the loot from the hold, said airport spokesman Jan Van Der Crujsse. Without firing a shot they drove off through the same hole in the fence, completing the theft within minutes, he added.

Report: Diamonds stolen in airport robbery

An armed gang have stolen a haul of diamonds during a robbery at Brussels Airport.

Belgian state broadcaster VRT is reporting that two vehicles, carrying four armed men, drove up to a security van parked near a Swiss passenger plane.

File photograph of diamonds. Credit: Reuters

There have been conflicting reports of the value of the diamonds, but they are thought to be worth upwards of £30m.

"The men were armed and masked. There were no shots fired and nobody was injured," a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor said.

Both vehicles carrying the thieves sped off after the robbery and one of them was later found, said officials, who would not comment on what was taken.

The robbers managed to get onto the tarmac after breaking through the fence that surrounds the airport, a spokesman for Brussels Airport said.

Locals petition Brussels for a 'real' Christmas tree

Almost 25,000 people have signed an e-petition against the installation of a 25-metre high sculpture of a Christmas tree rather than the traditional pine, in the main square of Brussels.

A traditional Christmas tree stands at the foot of the illuminated steel installation at Brussels' Grand Place
A traditional Christmas tree stands at the foot of the illuminated steel installation at Brussels' Grand Place Credit: Reuters

The sculpture, designed by French architects Pier Schneider and Francois Wunschel, has not been received well by locals with the online petition demanding city leaders, "respect for our values and our traditions" and replace the installation with a 'real' Christmas tree.

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Tory rebel: Cameron's EU leverage 'cut to smithereens'

Tory Rebel David Davies MP said David Cameron's negotiating leverage has been cut to smithereens.

He made the comments on the Andrew Marr Show, ahead of Cameron's trip to Brussels on Thursday for a two-day summit to thrash out the multibillion-pound EU budget.

When asked whether the PM would be able to secure a budget freeze, Mr Davies said: "One of the problems is his veto, his final recourse, is actually rather weak. That means your negotiating leverage is cut to smithereens. That's where he is.

"He's got pretty much the whole institutional structure against him. They at least want to have an inflation protected budget, which is ridiculous when you look at what they are demanding.

"If you look at what is happening to Greece and Portugal and frankly everyone. For them to be protected really smacks of as an international gravy train par excellence."

Bomb disposal experts investigate 'gas bottles' near embassy

Bomb disposal experts are investigating two suspect vehicles containing gas bottles near the US embassy in central Brussels, a Belgian Defence Ministry spokesman said.

"As far as I know there are two suspect vehicles, one close to the American embassy and one close to the Belgian Defence Ministry," said ministry spokesman Didier De Weerdt.

"Apparently there are gas bottles inside the vehicles."

He said several buildings had been evacuated between the embassy and the ministry and a bomb disposal squad was assessing the vehicles. Police have closed several of the main routes through the district and out of the city centre.

US embassy in Brussels evacuated as suspect vehicle investigated

The US embassy in Brussels was evacuated while police investigate a suspect vehicle, officials and police said.

"I can confirm we have been evacuated. There was a suspect vehicle," said Viktor Sidabras, the spokesman for the US mission to the European Union.

A police officer in protective clothing inspects the suspect vehicle. Credit: APTN

Belgian news agency Belga said police closed several main routes out of the city and sealed off a security zone around the embassy

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