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Lyonnaise 03-17-2005 11:41 AM

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Belgian royals wind down Indian jaunt

17 MARCH 2005

Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium and his wife Crown Princess Mathilde are winding down a seven-day trip to India during which they have visited cities from New Delhi to Mumbai.

The royal couple are in the Asian country along with 250 member delegation on a high-level economic mission. However, meetings with ministers and politicians aren't the only thing on the agenda for the Belgian prince and princess.

Among Crown Princess Mathilde's many visits was a tour of the Bombay Institution for the Deaf, where students showered her with pink and red rose petals upon her arrival. She was met with a similiarly enthusiastic greeting at the National Domestic Workers Movement office in Mumbai, where a colourful message reading "Welcome Princess Mathilde" was written on a chalkboard.

While Mathilde and Philippe have had separate schedules for much of their visit, they were able to share at least one "moving" experience. The pair took a trip on the New Delhi metro, trying out one of the underground rail system's new trains.

1. Well-wishers shower Princess Mathilde with flowers as she visits the Bombay Institution for the Deaf
2. The princess greets students at the school, just one stop during her seven-day trip to the country with husband Philippe
3. The royal couple take a trip in one of New Delhi metro's newest carriages

Hannelore 03-17-2005 01:49 PM

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1.Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium interacts with Belgian nationals in India during a visit to The Bombay Institution for Deaf and Mutes in Bombay, 17 March 2005.

2.At the computer centre of the institute

4. with the students

7.with Indian domestic workers during a visit to the National Domestic Workers Movement office in Bombay

8. Some more photos of the deaf and mute institute

Hannelore 03-17-2005 01:51 PM

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Greeted upon her arrival

HMQueenElizabethII 03-17-2005 02:32 PM

Really elegant and beautiful Princess Mathidle!Thanks so much for photos.

Any one know when will they come back?Is it today?

agisele 03-18-2005 08:24 AM

well it's a 7 day trip, and i believe that philippe left on sunday. so they'll probably be back in belgium on the 20th of march.

correct me if i'm mistaken.

Hannelore 03-18-2005 11:18 AM

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1.Her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium smiles after she was welcomed with a vermillion bindi-traditional mark of reverence for married Hindu women, on her arrival at the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) in Bombay 18 March 2005.

2. Princess Mathilde of Belgium listens to Sheela Patel, Director of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) during the Princess's visit to a slum in Byculla, Bombay.

3. Mathilde addresses slumdwellers

4. Viewing a slum

Hannelore 03-18-2005 01:47 PM

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More of Mathilde visiting the slums

Hannelore 03-18-2005 01:50 PM

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India's largest private sector company Reliance Group's Executive Director Nikil R.Meswani explains the use of a latest technology to Belgium's Prince Philippe and Vice Minister President of Flanders Belgium Fientje R.Moerman at the leading Information Technology Centre of Reliance at Khoparkhairne on the outskirts of Bombay, 18 March 2005.

Hannelore 03-18-2005 01:57 PM

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More pics of the previous days

Hannelore 03-18-2005 02:05 PM

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Visiting Hampi, where Belgian firm Janssen Farmaceutica is starting a project to preserve the archeological sites.

Hannelore 03-18-2005 02:08 PM

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More of the same visit

HMQueenElizabethII 03-18-2005 03:33 PM

Thanks so much,Hannelore.

Monalisa 03-19-2005 12:16 AM

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Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium at the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) in Bombay 18 March 2005. Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium are in Bombay on their last leg of a seven day official visit to India. AFP PHOTO/Indranil MUKHERJEE

Hannelore 03-19-2005 11:42 AM

The world of rags and riches:
Princess visits servants
Mumbai, March 17
It was a meeting of two different worlds—the world of rags and that of riches—as Princess of Belgium Mathilde lent an ear to the problems and travails of domestic servants here today.

Dressed in a cream apparel with coloured frilled tuffs, the Princess arrived at the office of the Bombay Houseworkers’ Solidarity in Mazgaon to interact with domestic servants and get a first-hand account of exploitation, low wages, physical and sexual assault, hunger, lack of medical amenities as well as old-age services.

According to Arokia Mary, coordinator of the organisation, “The Princess interacted with the domestic help and gathered information about their personal problems. However, there was no commitment either financially or otherwise, so far”.

“We hope the visit of the Princess would highlight the problems of domestic servants, which we have been battling for years. Efforts to table a Bill in 1990 and 1996 in Parliament and in 1998 State legislature had failed.

“The various Acts for organised labour fail to include domestic servants in its purview, hence they are paid less than the minimum wages, often irregularly as well”, she said.

“Child domestic workers are not covered by the Child Labour Act of 1986 making them vulnerable to exploitation. A PIL for a legislation recognising them as workers is pending before the Supreme Court”, Mary said.

The UN has recognised domestic work as a contemporary form of slavery. It is time that India gives due recognition to them, she said.

Eleven-year-old Nisha, employed as a domestic help in two households in suburban Mumbai, narrated her hectic schedule to Princess Mathilde in addition to looking after her younger siblings and dropping out of school out of sheer economic constraints.

”I told her that we would like to have four holidays per month, medical benefits and bonus for work put in for years in a household,” informs Alpana, another domestic help.

“We also spoke of migrant workers who work as full-time servants but we receive a measly remuneration when we go home”, Stella, another participant said.

“We often return home with no savings. Neighbours back home also suspect that we are involved in some flesh trade, which makes it difficult to find a good match”, she said adding “We hope the Princess uses her good office to help us through”.

Later in the day, the Princess visited the Bombay Institute of Deaf and Mute, where the students ‘chatted’ with her through animated gestures.

She planted pecks on the cheeks of several students, who showered her with rose petals and thanked her in halting voices. The students later presented a cultural programme in her honour.

Addressing the students, the Princess said, “Education is very important for children, and more so for students such as you, to ensure a brighter future”.

Referring to Jeane Devos, one of the founders of organisations in Mumbai to work for the less privileged, the Princess said, “She is really a princess of India”. She visited an exhibition and was presented a mural by the students. — PTI

Hannelore 03-19-2005 11:45 AM

15/03/2005: The Archeological Survey of India and Janssen Pharmaceutica sign Memorandum

The Archeological Survey of India and Janssen Pharmaceutica sign Memorandum of Understanding for the Technical co-operation regarding the Maintenance, Conservation and Preservation of Protected Monuments.

New Delhi/Beerse – March 15, 2005 – The Ministry of Culture of India, represented by Mr. C. Babu Rajeev, Director General, Archeological Survey of India , and Janssen Pharmaceutica, represented by Dr. Alex Valcke, Vice President Plant & Material Protection, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the maintenance, conservation and preservation of protected monuments.
The signing ceremony took place in the presence of HRH Prince Philippe of Belgium, HRH Princess Mathilde, Marc Verwilghen, Federal Minister of Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade and Science Policy, Fientje Moerman, Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Economy, Enterprise, Science, Innovation and Foreign Trade.
The Memorandum states that the two parties, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and Janssen Pharmaceutica will join forces to conduct research on the treatment of biodeterioration to cultural heritage monuments. As a result of this research, effective methods and schemes to treat the biodeteriogens and to prevent their re-occurrence will be developed. Two sites have been identified for this project : the Tipu Sultan's Palace in Srirangapatna and the Hampi complex.

Tipu Sultan's Palace in Srirangapatna
The Dharia Daulat Bagh or Tipu Sultan's summer palace was built in 1784 mainly of teak wood. The beauty of this palace lies in its simple and elegant architecture, which is in sharp contrast to the extravagance of its Indo-Saracenic style interiors. Every pillar, wall and alcove are profusely painted with variegated colors, made of vegetable dyes. The biodeterioration consists of the presence of wood wasps, as well as fungal decay, mainly by white-rot or wet-rot fungi. Mould and lichen attack the canvas and mural paintings.

Hampi monuments
Hampi was once the seat of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire and the temple complex was built between AD 1336-1570. It covers 26 sq. km and is stated to be enclosed by seven lines of fortifications. Temples of the city are noted for their large dimensions, florid ornamentation, bold and delicate carvings, stately pillars, magnificent pavilions and a great wealth of iconographic and traditional depictions, which include subjects from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Hampi was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1984. These monuments are all in granite. The two parties, Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and Janssen Pharmaceutica will join forces to conduct research on the treatment and prevention of mould, algae, lichens and higher plants at Hampi.

Scope of the activities
Janssen Pharmaceutica will
•determine which biocidal compounds, or which combination of products, will be the best suitable to combat/prevent the biodeterioration;•provide their newly developed termite bait technologies for combating the termite infections in the walls and wooden structures•supply free of charge the necessary amounts of compound or compound formulations/combinations to eliminate the moulds, fungal decay and termites, for a period of three years•invite two archeological chemists in the Janssen Plant and Material Protection laboratories in Belgium and provide training to chemists and scientists at the Tipu Palace Site•provide financial support that can be used to buy laboratory equipment necessary for the identification and isolation of fungi and termites and to access the efficacy of the treatments and for documentations in the laboratory. The Archeological Survey of India will•select a representative Monument for each biodeterioration problem•provide all results of its research useful for the co-operation project•provide information on the identification of biodeteriogens on monuments in India to Janssen as well as information on the actual used methods of conservation or bioremediation•carry out the field evaluation of the anti-fungal formulations and termite baits provided by Janssen •provide all technical support•assist Janssen with obtaining the necessary State Registration•develop and provide treatment schedules for the test treatment and for the actual treatment.

Hannelore 03-31-2005 02:00 PM

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Some more photos from this mission, found at

At the Hotel Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. They always look so proud of each other.

Hannelore 03-31-2005 02:01 PM

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Taking the subway

Hannelore 03-31-2005 02:04 PM

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Visiting a microcredit project in Mumbai (I must say she's become very active in the microcreditdomaine, and she seems to travel all over the world for it!)

Hannelore 03-31-2005 02:06 PM

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more from this activity

Hannelore 03-31-2005 02:07 PM

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And....I finally found some pics of the gala night!!!

To add to the suspense, first one of Filip reading his speech

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