A high-speed tram could make the journey between Esch-sur-Alzette and the Cloche d’Or in Luxembourg City in under 15 minutes. Illustration: Bureau Schroeder & Associés
Esch tram project, Pope’s same sex support, UK-EU intensify talks, Giuliani’s “Borat” hit job, Nasa grabs asteroid samples, and best masks for Halloween. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
Alarming covid stats give government a dilemma
Despite the latest figures showing that the number of daily infections in Luxembourg jumped to 416 (the first time they have risen above 300), health minister Paulette Lenert said on Tuesday there were no immediate plans to tighten containment measures. However, she did appeal for individuals and businesses to voluntarily restrict social contacts. Cabinet will meet on Friday to discuss the situation amid rumours a temporary lockdown of the hospitality sector is being considered. Delano has more and we also continue our rolling coverage.
Iran and Russia trying to influence election
Iran and Russia have separately obtained US voter registration information ahead of the upcoming presidential election, the director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has claimed. He accused Iran of sending spoof emails “designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President [Donald Trump].” The Washington Post reported that threatening emails from account posing as members of the far-right group the Proud Boys had been sent to Democratic voters in some states. “These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries,” Ratcliffe said. CNBC, Fox News, CNN and Politico have details.
Tram promises Esch connection in under 15 minutes
Transport minister François Bausch on Wednesday unveiled plans for a high-speed tram line between Luxembourg and Esch. A new “multimodal” corridor including 17.5km of tram tracks and cycle paths, would be built parallel to the current motorway. The tram could reach speeds of up to 100 km/h along parts of the track, meaning connections between Esch and Cloch d’Or will take 14 minutes. More in Delano’s noon briefing.
Pope indicates support same sex unions
A documentary about Pope Francis that premiered at the Rome Film Festival contains statements from the pontiff that some say are his clearest yet in support of same sex couples. In the film, “Francesco”, the pope says that homosexuals “are children of God and have a right to a family” and that he wants to create “a civil union law” to protect the legal status of same sex couples. The BBC, Euronews and New York Times all have coverage.
UK-EU agree resumption of “intensified” trade negotiations
The UK government said on Wednesday that it is “ready to welcome the EU [negotiating] team to London to resume negotiations later this week” after Michel Barnier made a clear statement on the future relationship earlier in the day. The new intensified phase will see teams meeting every day including weekends. But No.10 did add a caveat, saying that while both sides have made clear that “it takes two to reach an agreement. It is entirely possible that negotiations will not succeed.” The Guardian, BBC and Telegraph have details.
Giuliani in “compromising” scene in new “Borat” film
Former New York City mayor and current attorney for US president Donald Trump has been forced to defend a scene in Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest “Borat” spoof movie. In what is described as a “compromising” sequence, Giuliani gets physically close to 24-year old actress Maria Bakalova, who plays Borat’s 15-year-old daughter. Giuliani called the film a “hit job” and labelled Baron Cohen an “idiot”. Variety, Business Insider and USA Today all report (with spoilers). The film is released on Amazon Prime this Friday.
Nasa craft grabs asteroid sample
In what should be good news for Luxembourg’s space mining ambitions, Nasa has announced that one of its spacecraft has taken a sample of rocks from the Bennu asteroid. The asteroid is located over 100 million miles from Earth and according to some scientists could hold clues to the origins of life. Reuters and CNN have more.
Stark warning on European small and medium-sized companies
A survey published by management consultancy McKinsey indicates that 55% of European small and medium-sized companies expected to shut down by September next year unless they experienced an upturn in revenues. The survey was conducted in August and questioned more than 2,200 companies in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain. Reuters says that small and medium-sized companies account for two-thirds of jobs in the EU.
Shops on high streets and in malls open especially this Sunday, 25 October, for Mantelsonndeg (coat Sunday), which takes place every year on the Sunday before November 1. The tradition is that a new coat is required to visit family graves on All Saints’ Day. In the capital city well as free public transport, Park & Ride facilities and the Glacis and Schuman car parks will operate free of charge. Check out www.vdl.lu for more info.
War-surviving chestnut wins Belgian tree award
A chestnut tree that was left as little more than a stump after the brutal bombardment in Ypres during WWI has been named Belgium’s tree of the year. Planted 160 years ago for a public park project, the tree flanked the renowned Menin Gate in Ypres. It also survived the hunt for firewood during the Nazi occupation of Belgium during WWII. The Guardian and Telegraph have the story.
Mask-up for Halloween
The ever-reliable Bored Panda has a gallery of 30 masks that could be ideal for Halloween. They range from the beautifully ornate to the ridiculous via some genuinely inventive horror-themed face coverings.
Today’s breakfast briefing was written by Duncan Roberts