Semedo suspended, Navalny jailed, laptop thief sought


Monica Semedo, the Luxembourg MEP (Renew Europe), was told last Friday that she would be suspended for 15 days following staff harassment complaints. The European Parliament’s speaker, David Sassoli, announced the sanctions on 18 January 2021. Library picture: Monica Semedo is seen speaking on the floor of the European Parliament, 21 October 2020. Photo credit: European Parliament 

Monica Semedo suspended

The Luxembourg MEP Monica Semedo (DP) has been suspended from the European Parliament for 15 days. The decision followed complaints of “psychological harassment” filed last year by 3 former assistants. Semedo cannot participate in parliamentary business and will not receive her daily allowance. She can appeal under an internal procedure. However, in a press release, Semedo stated that she accepted the decision, apologised to former staff members, and said she had “excellent relations” with her assistants since her office had been “reorganised” last spring. Sources: L’essentiel, RTL and Wort.

Navalny jailed for at least 30 days

The Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was ordered held in pre-trial detention for 30 days after returning to Moscow on Sunday. He allegedly violated the parole terms of a suspended sentence. Navalny, who survived a nerve poison attack last year, called on supporters to “take to the streets”. Sources: BBC, DW, The Guardian and NPR.

WHO chief cites ‘vaccine nationalism’

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned the world faced a “catastrophic moral failure” if wealthier countries continued to buy covid-19 vaccines while poorer nations fell behind. Sources: BBC, Financial Times, Reuters and Washington Post.

Latest Luxembourg covid-19 update

Out of 653 PCR tests performed on Sunday, 37 Luxembourg residents were positive for the coronavirus. That is a rate of 5.91 per 100,000 inhabitants (compared to 6.71 on the previous Sunday). The reproduction rate was 0.92, below the target threshold of 1.00 (compared to 1.06). There were 88 patients in hospital (compared to 92), including 20 in intensive care (compared to 23). Five people died due to covid-19, bringing the national total to 557. Sources: Delano and health ministry.

Rockhal scheduled to reopen

The Belval music venue Rockhal, closed since 7 March 2020 due to the pandemic, could reopen next month, at about 10% of its capacity. Sources: Delano and Paperjam.

Brexit shellfish protest in London

Fisherman parked lorries containing shellfish in front of Downing Street to demonstrate against post-Brexit export delays and red tape. Sources: CityAM, Financial Times, The Guardian and RTE.

London finance jobs drop by half

The number of finance jobs advertised in the City of London dropped by 49% between 2019 and 2020 in the wake of Brexit and the pandemic, according to the recruitment firm Morgan McKinley. Numbers improved in the fourth quarter. Sources: Bloomberg, CityAM, Private Equity News and Yahoo Finance.

Eurostar needs support, UK gov told

British business leaders told the UK government that “there is a real risk to the survival of Eurostar” and urged “swift action to safeguard its future”. Sources: BBC, Bloomberg, Financial Times and The Guardian.

Virgin Orbit completes rocket launch

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit has successfully launched a satellite into space from a Boeing 747 flying at 35,000 feet. Sources: CNBC, CNN, Financial Times and Techcrunch.

Birkenstock in talks with private equity group

The German footwear brand Birkenstock is reportedly in discussions with the private equity outfit CVC for a $5bn sale. Sources: Bloomberg and Financial Times.

FBI investigating Pelosi laptop theft

The FBI is searching for a woman who allegedly stole the laptop of Nancy Pelosi, the House of Representatives speaker, during this month’s US Capitol attacks and may have tried to sell it to a Russian intelligence agency. Sources: AFP, CNBC, Politico and Reuters.

6m-high Trump balloon joining museum collection

The “Baby Trump” blimp, flown at protests around the world, is being retired with the end of Donald Trump’s term and will be housed at the Museum of London. Sources: BBC, CNN, The Guardian and Reuters.


Wednesday 20 January, 12noon: Markus Ollert of the Luxembourg Institute of Health answers questions about covid-19 vaccines during a Delano Live Chat. Wednesday 20 January, 7pm: The Network hosts a webcast on beating burnout. Thursday 21 January, 2pm: Nobelux webinar on the UN’s sustainable development goals. Tuesday 26 January, 10:30am: Luxembourg for Finance’s “Focus on the Nordics” conference. Wednesday 27 January, 5pm: Three Luxembourg executives talk about embracing LGBT staff in the workplace during a Delano Live Chat.

Michelin vegan star

The restaurant guide Michelin has awarded a star to a vegan restaurant (in southwestern France) for the first time. Source: AFP.

Inoculation status instead of star sign?

Some men are saying they’ve been vaccinated in their online dating app profiles (even though that’s no guarantee against transmission), per GQ

Today’s breakfast briefing was written by Aaron Grunwald