Donald Trump mulled breaking off links with China during a TV interview. Library picture: Donald Trump speaks during a factory visit, 5 May 2020. Photo credit: White House/Shealah Craighead
EU starts action against Luxembourg and UK, UK complains about treatment of British expats in EU and Intelsat files for bankruptcy. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Friday.
Trump considers cutting relations with Beijing
Donald Trump threatened to end US ties with China, which he blames for mishandling the coronavirus outbreak. “There are many things we could do. We could do things. We could cut off the whole relationship,” he said on Fox Business Network. “You’d save $500 billion if you cut off the whole relationship.” The US president said “right now I don’t want to speak to” China’s leader, Xi Jinping. Sources: Deutsche Welle, DPA, Financial Times, Reuters and South China Morning Post.
WTO chief quits
The head of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Azevedo, said he would resign at the end of August, a year early, for family reasons. The WTO has faced sustained criticism from Donald Trump, who on Thursday called it “horrible”. Sources: AFP, Associated Press, Financial Times, The Guardian and RTE.
Senator “steps aside” as stock trading probe begins
Richard Burr has resigned as chair of the US senate intelligence committee after the FBI started an insider trading inquiry. Burr is being investigated for possibly selling stocks following confidential briefings on the coronavirus pandemic. Burr denies any wrongdoing. He is keeping his senate seat. Sources: BBC, CNN, The Guardian, PBS and Reuters.
EU begins tax action against Luxembourg
The European Commission started legal action against Luxembourg, claiming the grand duchy does not apply EU money laundering and tax avoidance rules strictly enough. Sources: Bloomberg, Law360 and Reuters.
Michael Gove, Britain’s cabinet minister, complained that the rights of UK citizens living in the EU were possibly being breached. Sources: BBC, Express, Irish Times and RTE.
Intelsat bankruptcy filing
The Luxembourg-domiciled satellite operator Intelsat filed for bankruptcy in a US court. It is seeking a “financial restructuring” of its “legacy debt” as it prepares to bid on new 5G spectrum. Sources: AFP, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Seeking Alpha and Spacenews.com.
Sanofi changes course on vaccine
The French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi stepped back from comments that the US would have priority on any new covid-19 vaccine, after the French government expressed outrage. Sources: AFP, BBC, Euractiv, Financial Times and Politico.
Covid-19 linked to pediatric inflammation disorder
Italian doctors, in a paper published in The Lancet medical journal, warned of a connection between covid-19 and a rare but serious inflammatory condition in children currently known as “Kawasaki-like disease”. Several cases have also been detected in France, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, UK and US. Sources: Axios, BBC, The Guardian, New York Times and Vox.
Friday 15 May, 4:30pm-5:15pm: Chinalux catch-up video conference (members only). Monday 18 May, 5pm: The Luxembourg Private Equity and Venture Capital Association’s “10 years 10 minutes” interview with Norbert Becker about family offices. Tuesday 19 May, 9am-1pm: House of Training’s “Introduction to digital finance” online course. Tuesday 19 May, 2pm-4pm: House of Entrepreneurship’s “How to set up my company in Luxembourg?” online workshop. Wednesday 20 May, 10am: British Ladies Club hosts a virtual coffee catch-up session; email [email protected] for the Zoom invite.
Here are 10 science & technology stories you may have missed
Animals: A study suggests that flamingos (who can live 50 years) form lifelong friendships, per National Geographic. Animals: A study found that dogs have a ‘difficult’ adolescent period similar to human teenagers, per Science magazine. Biology:Nautilus explains the molecular process that gives plants and animals their ‘internal clocks’. Computer science: An engineer built a robotic basketball backboard that never let you miss a basket (or never lets you make one), per Stuff Made Here (video). Emerging tech: A robot dog is patrolling a Singapore park to remind visitors of social distancing rules, per The Register. Emerging tech: A drone company switched from delivering fast food to delivering medicine in rural Ireland, per the BBC. Internet: A group of cybersecurity providers is providing protection against computer attacks to several European hospitals and health facilities, per the Washington Post. Military tech: Darpa (the research outfit that created the forerunner of the internet) is working on a fully robotic warship for the US Navy, per Popular Mechanics. Software: A new Microsoft feature will block “reply all email storms” from erupting, per ZDnet. Space: An amateur radio operator, under covid-19 lockdown in Canada, has likely located LES-5, a ‘zombie’ US military satellite launched in 1967 that was meant to be shut down in 1972, still in orbit, per NPR.
Where diners at next table aren’t chatty
A restaurant in a small town about 100km west of the White House has found either a creative or creepy (depending on how you look at it) way of complying with covid-19 reopening rules that limit seating to 50% of its capacity. It installed mannequins dressed in 1940s outfits at the “unoccupied” tables, per Washingtonian magazine, which has pictures.