Grand Duke Jean passes away


Grand Duke Jean has passed away at the age of 98 following a week in hospital. Photo: Cour grand-ducal/Vic Fischbach 

Grand Duke Jean

The royal court issued a brief statement at 6 a.m. on Tuesday to announce the death of Grand Duke Jean. The 98-year old was admitted to hospital a week ago with a lung infection, but as Delano reported by Wednesday his health outlook had been deemed “favourable” again. However, his health deteriorated at the weekend and on Sunday evening the royal family gathered around his bed for his final hours. Prime minister Xavier Bettel will make an announcement at 9 a.m. today.

Sri Lanka mourns as intelligence under scrutiny

Sri Lankans are observing a national day of mourning on Tuesday and held a 3-minuite silence at 8.30 a.m. local time (5 a.m. in Luxembourg). The overnight curfew imposed in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s deadly terror attacks has also been lifted, The Guardian reports in its comprehensive rolling coverage. But the country is also coming to terms with what one minister called a “colossal failure of intelligence” after it emerged that both internal security agencies as well as both Indian and US intelligence had warned the country about the terrorist threat in early April, the BBC reports. The New York Times has a good guide to what is known about the attacks.

US to veto rape as weapon of war vote

In an exclusive, The Guardian reports that the United States may well veto a UN resolution on combatting the use of rape as a weapon of war. The resolution, already watered down after opposition from China and Russia to a new monitoring body, may not be passed because the current US administration opposes any wording that implies support for abortion. It comes just a few weeks after Luxembourg hosted a major conference on the subject under an initiative from Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.

Trump sues over financial records

Reuters reports that US president Donald Trump has issued a suit to counter a subpoena issued by Elijah Cummings, chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee, for information about his personal and business finances. The suit claims the subpoena is “invalid and unenforceable because it has no legitimate legislative purpose.” CBS news has more detail.

Oil price surge

CNBC reports that oil prices hit new highs for 2019 on Monday following an announcement from the United States that it will cease granting sanctions waivers to any country still importing Iranian oil. But according to CNN, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said that China “opposes the unilateral sanctions and so-called 'long-arm jurisdictions' imposed by the US.”

Kim-Putin summit confirmed

North Korean state media has confirmed that Kim Jong Un will visit Russia for a summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin “soon” according to Reuters.

Robotaxis on way

Tesla will launch robotaxis in some markets in the United States in 2020. Reuters says the announcement by Elon Musk continues “a habit of bold pronouncements that have excited many investors while often missing deadlines.” CNBC says Musk also predicted that the company will soon be making cars with no steering wheels or pedals.

Later today

Cross-party Brexit talks are set to resume on Tuesday, says The Guardian. Fedil has invited Tomas Wyns  from the Institute for European Studies for a conference on “a bridge towards a carbon neutral economy” at the Chamber of Commerce at 4 p,m.

Later this week

ING and the Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg are hosting a conference on banking and wealth management on Wednesday. The Luxembourg City History Museum is hosting a digital day on Thursday. And Paperjam Club is holding another of its “networking circle” wine tasting events on Thursday, together with QBA Europe.

Baby squirrels

And to end on something heartwarming, take a look at this BBC report on six baby squirrels being bottle fed by vets in Przemysl, Poland, after the tree holding their nest was chopped down.

Today’s breakfast briefing was written by Duncan Roberts