Italy blocks vaccine shipment to Australia, ECJ slams UK in air pollution ruling and Square’s Tidal deal with Jay-Z. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Friday.
China sets out economic course and tighter HK control
Economy: Chinese leaders set an economic growth target of 6% for 2021 during the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress, its rubberstamp parliament, which opened on Friday. While that is above last year’s 3.6% GDP growth, it is a conservative goal compared to its economic performance over the rest of the past two decades, reflecting Beijing’s confidence in the country’s rebound from the coronavirus crisis. Sources: Bloomberg, CNBC and Financial Times. Politics: The NPC is expected to pass a bill reforming Hong Kong’s electoral system, to ensure that only “patriots” are elected in the territory. Sources: BBC, Hong Kong Free Press and Reuters.
Italy blocks vaccine shipment
The Italian government, with the support of the European Commission, stopped the export of 250,000 doses of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine to Australia. Sources: ABC News, DW, Financial Times and The Guardian.
EU regulator to review Russian jab
Luxembourg could extend Astrazeneca use to entire population
A Luxembourg advisory council recommended giving the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine to people over the age of 65. Several other countries have already made the switch. The government will now review the opinion. Sources: 100,7 public radio and RTL.
Latest Luxembourg covid-19 update
Out of 10,119 PCR tests on 3 March, 206 Luxembourg residents were positive. That is a rate of 32.90 per 100,000 inhabitants (compared to 30.83 on 24 February). The reproduction rate was 0.91, below the target threshold of 1.00 (compared to 1.15). There were 108 covid-19 patients in hospital (compared to 78), including 22 in intensive care (compared to 15). Four people died due to the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the national total to 647. A cumulative 42,118 vaccine doses have been administered, including 12,717 people who have received two doses. Sources: Delano and health ministry.
Becca will appeal watch verdict
The real estate developer Flavio Becca said he would appeal his conviction on abusing company assets. On Thursday, he was given a 2 year suspended sentence and €250,000 fine over the purchase of luxury watches. Sources: 100,7, Delano and Paperjam.
RBC reportedly to implement redundancy plan
EU-UK tensions rise over post-Brexit trade terms
European Commission: Maroš Šefčovič, a commission vice president, said the EU could take legal action against the UK “very soon” over London’s unilateral decision to extend several post-Brexit grace periods on shipments between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Sources: BBC, Financial Times and The Guardian. European Parliament: MEPs are expected to delay the vote on ratifying the EU-UK trade deal, which was scheduled for 24 March. Sources: The Guardian, RTE and Reuters.
ECJ rules against UK air pollution case
The European Court of Justice said the UK “systematically and persistently” broke EU air pollution rules for a decade. Britain could be fined even though it left the bloc. London said it was reviewing the ruling. Sources: BBC, Bloomberg, The Guardian and Reuters.
US suspends tariffs on UK goods
Washington has lifted punitive tariffs on Scotch whisky, English cheese and British cashmere for 4 months while trade talks take place. The tariffs were implemented as part of the US-EU dispute over aircraft subsidies. Sources: BBC, Financial Times, NPR and Politico.
EU to pursue Apple music antitrust case
Square in $297m deal with Tidal and Jay-Z
The mobile payments company Square took a majority stake in Jay-Z’s streaming music platform Tidal, and Jay-Z will join Square’s board. Sources: Financial Times, The Guardian, Marketwatch and Reuters.
Arcelormittal plans $6.9bn Indian steel plant
Randy Evans returns to the bar
Former US ambassador to Luxembourg Randy Evans has joined the global law firm Squire Patton Boggs. He will be a partner in its litigation practice in Atlanta and Washington. Sources: Law.com, Reuters and press release.
Today’s Luxembourg City Film Festival pick
Delano recommends American Utopia, a Spike Lee documentary on the former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne’s Broadway show and album of the same time. It screens at the Kinepolis Kirchberg this evening at 7pm and again at Ciné Utopia on Sunday at 4pm.
Friday 5-Sunday 7 March: 38th annual migration festival. Monday 8 March, 11am: Women’s careers meeting hosted by PE4W (which stands for Private Equity for Women). Monday 8 March, 4pm: PWC, Amcham and Luxembourg American chamber’s international women’s day panel. Monday 8 March, 6:30pm: The British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg and The Network’s international women’s day conference. Tuesday 9-Wednesday 10 March: University of Luxembourg’s “Data driven supply chains” conference. Tuesday 9 March, 6:30pm: ISEC Luxembourg’s MBA information session. Wednesday 10 March, 3:30pm: 15th European Funds Trophy ceremony. Thursday 11 March, 9:30am-12:45pm: Workshop on intellectual property rights issues around digital projects. Thursday 11 March, 2pm-5:15pm: Non-verbal communication workshop. Thursday 11 March, 4:50pm: International Bankers Forum Luxembourg’s “circular bioeconomy” presentation.
5 links to kill 5 minutes
Here are some of Delano’s fave recent posts on Bored Panda, one of the best sites for wasting a few minutes of your day: best toddler complaints (“My mouth wants more but my tummy doesn’t!”), stupidest things that were mansplained (“He mansplained mansplaining”), strange things mechanics have found inside cars (spoiler alert: lots of animals), craziest scam messages (‘Cristiano Ronaldo’ needs to borrow your payment card) and pictures of nature reclaiming abandoned places.