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Top five stories you may have missed
News roundup

Top five stories you may have missed

4 min. 18.03.2023
In case you missed them, the Luxembourg Times has selected the best stories of the week for you
Caritas shop in Esch
Caritas shop in Esch
Photo credit: Guy Jallay

Max Planck Institute director resigns over toxic work climate

One of the founders of the prestigious Max Planck Institute in Luxembourg has resigned due to a toxic work atmosphere at the organisation, which has been plagued by harassment and bullying allegations for years.

"The working atmosphere has been deteriorating in the last years. [...] I have been, and am, utterly concerned about the state of things and its impact on the personnel of the Institute," Burkhard Hess wrote in an email to staff on Wednesday evening, seen by the Luxembourg Times.  

He will leave the institute by the end of September and will start a new position as professor for procedural law at the University of Vienna.  

Luxembourg's medication shortage is getting worse  

Medications treating everything from diabetes to bacterial infections are missing from Luxembourg pharmacies, where drug shortages have grown worse in recent years.  

The drugs most frequently reported missing are those treating problems related to the nervous, cardiovascular and digestive systems, as well as general anti-infection treatments like amoxicillin, Health Ministry press officer Dora Da Costa told the Luxembourg Times.  

“In 2022, we received in Luxembourg an average of around 50 warnings per month of temporary unavailability of medicines,” Da Costa said. “This represents a 22% increase compared to 2021, and this trend is also confirmed for 2023.”  

E-invoice deadline looms for thousands of small companies  

Thousands of small companies are being dragged closer to the digital age as Luxembourg's government begins accepting only invoices that can be sent, tallied and paid electronically, despite the added costs and adjustment time the change will require from businesses. 

Starting this week, sending a bill for services or products provided to the central or local governments will no longer be accepted if it is simply an Excel, Word or PDF attachment to an email.

The e-invoicing requirement has been spreading from large to medium-sized companies since parliament passed a Covid-19 lockdown-inspired law at the end of 2021 to make the country's business more digital. From Thursday, it becomes mandatory for the rest - small enterprises that employ fewer than 50 people and make up 98% of all Luxembourg companies. 

More people than ever need help with food costs  

For people left with little money to eat after paying rent and other expenses, a handful of Luxembourg grocery stores offering subsidised food where a jar of carrots and peas is still 50 cents.  

Luxembourg's 12 grocery stores with a social focus offer basic hygiene products and food staples at a two-thirds of the cost paid in Luxembourg at commercial shops like a Cactus or Aldi. Customers are usually referred to the store by a social worker, who gives them a card allowing them to buy the discounted products. One big difference is that the size and variety of products are reduced to the strict essentials.

Luxembourg's high cost of living means that one in five beneficiaries of social grocery stores have a full-time job but cannot afford to go shopping in a standard food shop.    

Luxembourg files complaint against space firm over Russia links 

The Luxembourg government has filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office against a Belval-based subsidiary of a Chinese space firm accused by the US of helping Russian mercenary group Wagner in its war effort in Ukraine with satellite imagery.

"Steps were taken to prevent any direct or indirect support by Spacety Luxembourg S.A. for the Russian war effort" after a consultation between ministries, the Economy Ministry said in a statement shared with the Luxembourg Times on Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Asselborn and Economy Minister Franz Fayot denounced the company to the state prosecutor for "possible violations" of EU sanctions and a law on export controls.  

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