Donald Trump and Joe Biden spoke simultaneously on separate TV networks on Thursday evening. Archive picture: Donald Trump and Joe Biden are seen during their first (and so far, only) face-to-face election debate, 29 September 2020. Image: C-Span
The latest on covid-19, Brexit talks and Google’s Luxembourg data centre. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Friday.
Trump and Biden face voters at competing events
US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden held two separate televised Q&A sessions (instead of the previously scheduled second debate, which was cancelled after Trump contracted covid-19). Trump defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic; Biden said Trump “panicked”. They also sparred over the Supreme Court, Qanon conspiracy theory and white supremacy. Sources: BBC, CNBC (Trump town hall), CNBC (Biden town hall), The Guardian (live blog), The Guardian (summary), Reuters and USA Today.
VDL heads into self-quarantine
The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said she would self-isolate as a precaution after a staff member tested positive for covid-19, even though her result was negative. Sources: Deutsche Welle, Euractiv and Politico.
EP not heading to Strasbourg
The European Parliament cancelled another Strasbourg session due to the coronavirus. Sources: Delano, Euractiv and Politico.
Fake names populate coronavirus petition
The White House recently cited a petition advocating for a “herd immunity” approach to covid-19 that was allegedly signed by 15,000 scientists and medical professionals. But Sky News found its signatories included a “Dr. Johnny Bananas”, “Dr. Person Fakename”, “Dr. I.P. Freely” and “Dominic Cummings” of “Durham Univercity” (sic).
Tighter rules needed, but no shutdown: WHO director
The head of the World Health Organization in Europe called on governments to implement stricter measures, but said lockdowns should be the “very last resort” in combatting the surge in covid-19 infections. Sources: CNBC and the Telegraph.
Out of 5,938 Luxembourg residents tested for covid-19 on 14 October, 214 were positive (bringing the cumulative total to 10,244). There were 49 patients in hospital, including 4 in intensive care. There were no deaths reported. Source: Luxembourg health ministry.
“Essential workers” paid less in Luxembourg
The covid-19 pandemic exposed economic inequality between frontline and non-frontline workers, a report from the national statistics bureau revealed. Sources: Delano, Paperjam and Statec.
Google to get data centre vote
Bissen’s municipal council will vote next week on planning authorisation for a proposed Google data centre that has been under consideration since July 2017. Source: Delano.
Tango gives 5G date
The mobile carrier Tango said it launch its 5G network in Luxembourg on 23 October. Post previously said it would start rolling out its network today and Orange said its 5G network would launch by the end of this year. Source: Paperjam.
Brexit: will London continue talks?
EU leaders called on the UK to continue post-Brexit negotiations beyond British PM Boris Johnson’s self-imposed deadline of 15 October. Little progress was reportedly made during meetings this week. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said both sides needed to compromise. Sources: BBC, Bloomberg, Deutsche Welle, Financial Times, The Guardian, Politico and RTE.
France and Netherlands want stricter regulation of tech giants
The French and Dutch governments called for beefier EU competition rules on big tech companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google. The EU should be able to cap marketshare and force the firms to share data, the countries argued. Sources: CNBC, Euractiv and Financial Times.
Tech billionaire accused of tax fraud
US prosecutors have charged the American technology investor Robert Brockman in a $2bn tax evasion case. His attorney said “Mr. Brockman has pled not guilty”. Sources: Associated Press, BBC and Financial Times.
Handbags prop up LVMH
The world’s largest luxury brand group, LVMH, said strong sales in its fashion and leather goods unit helped offset sharp declines in its other businesses, including cosmetics and duty free sales. Sources: Financial Times, Reuters and Seeking Alpha.
Fintech: Stripe picks up Paystack
The US-based payments company Stripe acquired the Nigerian fintech outfit Paystack, reportedly for $200m, as Stripe moves to expand in Africa. Sources: CNBC (video), Quartz, RTE and Techcrunch.
Twitter suffers global outage
Twitter was unavailable for a couple hours on Thursday night (Luxembourg time). The social firm said it was investigating the cause. Sources: CNBC, Deutsche Welle and The Register.
Monday 19-Friday 23 October: Paulette Lenert, the health minister, speaks at the British chamber’s annual leadership forum, which this year tackles covid-19. Wednesday 21 October, 12noon: American chamber talk on how Brexit could be a business opportunity for some companies. Wednesday 21 October, 6pm: Delano and Paperjam Club host a US elections debate. Thursday 22 October, 6pm: Polish chamber’s monthly networking meetup. Saturday 24 October, 10am: Domains Vinsmoselle wine tasting in Wellenstein.
Here are 5 science & technology stories you may have missed
Aeronautics: It looks a little strange but it’s super efficient; Popular Science says the aircraft of the future may look like this. Astronomy: Researchers hypothesise that our solar system previously had a second, twin sun, per Gizmodo. Infrastructure: It took 18 months, but engineers solved the mystery of why the entire broadband network in a village in Wales was knocked offline every day at 7am, and it involves an old TV, per the BBC. Psychology: Researchers think they know why couples appear to start looking more like each other over time, and it’s probably not what you think, per The Guardian. Space exploration: 13 women successfully completed a Nasa astronaut training programme (and performed better than men on some tests) between 1960 and 1962, but were never selected for a launch, per Cnet.
Exclusive London street
Who lives in London’s posh Kensington Palace Gardens? Mylondon lists some of its better known residents, including Lakshmi Mittal, the CEO of ArcelorMittal, Wang Jialin, China’s richest man, the billionaire investor Roman Abramovich, the duke and duchess of Cambridge, the sultan of Brunei and several ambassadors.