US president-elect Joe Biden will receive Georgia’s 16 electoral college votes after state officials recounted 5m ballots. Biden has secured 306 electoral college votes and Donald Trump 232. Library picture: Joe Biden speaks during an election debate, 22 October 2020. Photo credit: NumenaStudios / Shutterstock.com
Changes to Luxembourg’s short-time working scheme coming, MPs vote to fund over-budget military satellite and glass furniture warning. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Friday.
Biden wins Georgia recount
Election officials in the US state of Georgia have completed their hand recount of US presidential election ballots and confirmed that Joe Biden won the vote. Donald Trump, however, picked up 1,400 additional votes (out of 5m cast). Georgia’s secretary of state said the poll had been conducted fairly. Sources: Bloomberg, DW, New York Times, NPR and Reuters.
Coronavirus vaccine updates
Encouraging results: Astrazeneca and Oxford University’s covid-19 vaccine candidate was found to be safe and triggered a strong immune response in older adults in phase two trials, per CNBC, Financial Times and Reuters. December target date: Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna are expected to file for emergency authorisation for their vaccine candidates in the coming days, after successful phase three trials, and they could be available before Christmas, per AFP, CNBC and Reuters. Large-scale trial: 1m Chinese have been jabbed with Sinopharm’s vaccine, which has emergency authorisation there, with the firm saying there have been no adverse reactions so far, per The Guardian, Reuters and South China Morning Post.
WHO advises against remdesivir
A World Health Organization panel told doctors to stop giving remdesivir to treat hospitalised covid-19 patients, as “there is currently no evidence that it improves survival or the need for ventilation”. Sources: AFP, CNBC, Financial Times and Seeking Alpha.
CDC advises against Thanksgiving travel
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told Americans they should not travel for family get-togethers during Thanksgiving (a holiday more important than Christmas for many American families). Sources: BBC, CNN, Financial Times and NPR.
Latest Luxembourg coronavirus update
Out of 11,021 PCR tests conducted on Wednesday, 670 Luxembourg residents were positive for the coronavirus. That is a rate of 107.01 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants (compared to 142.31 on Tuesday and 67.88 on Monday). The Rt effective reproduction rate was 1.03, just above the target benchmark of 1.00 (compared to 0.95 on Tuesday and 0.98 on Monday). There were 221 patients in hospital (compared to 247 on Tuesday and 236 on Monday), including 44 in intensive care (down from 48 on Tuesday and Monday). 6 people died due to covid-19, bringing the total to 254. Source: Health ministry.
HIV rate stable in 2019
The spread of HIV infections among drug users has been halted in Luxembourg. Source: Delano.
Furlough changes in 2021
Luxembourg’s government said the short-time working scheme would reimburse wages based on the number of hours worked by staff, starting on 1 January. Source: Delano.
MPs approve military satellite spending
Parliament approved an additional €139m (on top of the original €170m budgeted) for the military observation satellite Luxeosys. Source: Chamber of Deputies.
Explosive ATM heist
A cash machine was blown out of a bank wall in Wormeldange. Police asked any potential witnesses to contact them by phoning 113. Source: Grand Ducal Police.
Tram extension will cut bus traffic
The opening of the Luxtram line to the central train station on 13 December means “a total of 1,700 buses will no longer pass through the city centre,” said the Green party transport minister François Bausch. Sources: Delano and Paperjam.
British royal reportedly linked with Kirchberg-based private bank
Britain’s Prince Andrew “acted as an unofficial door opener for David Rowland and his private bank in Luxembourg, Banque Havilland SA,” including with clients “most other financial institutions would shun”, according to allegations published by Bloomberg Businessweek. A bank spokesman told Bloomberg Businessweek that none of its clients came through Prince Andrew, he was never “a paid advisor or ambassador” and “compliance with legal and regulatory requirements are the foremost priority”.
ECA report says EC antitrust inquiries are too slow
The European Court of Auditors, in Kirchberg, said the European Commission had fallen short in its role as the EU competition authority. Sources: AP, CityAM, Euractiv and Financial Times.
Brexit talks suspended
EU and UK negotiators paused Brexit talks “for a short period” after an EU official tested positive for the coronavirus. Sources: BBC, Euractiv, The Guardian and Politico.
The German industrial group Thyssenkrupp said it was cutting 5,000 jobs (on top 6,000 redundancies previously announced) after announcing it had burned through €5.5bn in cash in its 2019-2020 fiscal year. Sources: Bloomberg, Financial Times, Seeking Alpha and the Telegraph.
Here are 5 science & technology stories you may have missed
Archaeology: Researchers found an image of a cat etched, between 200BC and 100BC, into a desert hillside in Peru, per The Guardian. Artificial intelligence: 31 researchers have pushed back on the publication on machine learning papers in academic journals, sparked by a recent Google breast cancer paper, calling them unreproducible and simply an “advertisement for cool technology,” per MIT Technology Review. Computer security: “DDoS attacks” which block access to website and digital services “have become cheaper and easier to carry out is because of the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices,” per ZDnet. Nature: Researchers have found a coral reef off northern Australia that is more than 500m high, taller than both the Empire State Building and the Shanghai World Financial Center, per Science magazine. Physics:Popular Science explained why space seems black at night.
Stephen Ellison, the UK’s consul general in Chongqing, has been praised by many in China as a hero after he jumped into a river to save a drowning 24-year-old woman last weekend. Source: AFP, BBC and Independent.