Top five stories you may have missed
Luxembourg’s national airline has ruled out offering flights to passengers travelling abroad with the intention of getting a Covid-19 vaccine.
Luxair CEO Gilles Feith said he did not consider so-called vaccine tourism “ethically correct”, adding that the company would not be "supporting such offers.” His comments come after the tourism firm, Travel Pro, a subsidiary of bus company Sales-Lentz, said it was considering launching trips from Luxembourg which would incorporate both tourist activities and a vaccination.
Luxembourg should make sure companies do not breach human rights in their operations around the world, a government-commissioned report said, as the country is taking steps to improve its laissez-faire attitude toward corporate infractions committed abroad.
The country is weighing whether to introduce a law requiring companies to consider human rights and ordered a study from the University of Luxembourg into the matter after national leaders declined to investigate a spyware firm in 2019 linked to the killing of a Saudi dissident. Unlike other European countries, the Grand Duchy has no such law in place, and a recent parliamentary exchange pointed to the government’s preference to exclude the 50,000 financial holding companies that it is home to from the scope of any future human rights due diligence rules.
Each hair on the head of a Luxembourg resident holds an average of nineteen pollutants - including some that are banned - researchers have found, a fact they attribute to the country's industrial past and increasing use of pesticides.
The Luxembourg Institute of Health analysed hair samples from 2007-2008 to assess exposure to 67 different organic pesticides in 497 adults representative of the population of the Grand Duchy. The lead scientist behind the study, Brice Appenzeller, is confident that many of the pollutants are still present in the population. "We are still exposed to these persistent pollutants", he said in a phone interview.
By invoking Bauhaus, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen showed lofty ambitions for her plans to foster sustainable architecture to revive the economy. The profession applauds the attention, but critics say the plans are vague, limited in scope – and the reference to probably the most revered architecture school in history just a soundbite.
In October, the Commission said it wanted to spend part of its newly approved €750 billion coronavirus recovery fund on innovative architecture. By dubbing the plan the “New European Bauhaus”, Brussels referred to the German modernist art school of the 1920s and ‘30s that set some definitive standards for anything from housing to typewriters – many of which have never aged.
English could become the most important workplace language in already trilingual Luxembourg as the country attracts more foreign workers to work in finance and at EU institutions, a demographics researcher said.
Although there is increasing demand for fluency in the country's three official languages - German, French and Luxembourgish – the importance of English in Luxembourg's job market is likely to grow sharply in the future, University of Luxembourg sociologist Fernand Fehlen said.