asselborn madrid conference may2017

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn attended the International Conference on the Protection of Victims of Violence Ethnic and religious groups in the Middle East in Madrid yesterday, where he called for real solutions for victims of violence in the Middle East, including a process of national reconciliation in Iraq. 

In line with the Paris Conference of 8 September 2015 and its plan of action to assist persons belonging to communities targeted and threatened for ethnic or religious reasons in the Middle East, minorities who have been victims of violence, the Madrid conference aimed to draw up an initial assessment of the measures taken on the basis of the Paris Plan of Action and to identify the most urgent priorities to better guide the international community’s response. 

Concerning the multiple conflicts in the Middle East, including in Iraq and Syria, Minister Asselborn called for political and inclusive solutions, recalling that the vast majority of Daech's victims and terrorist attacks in the Middle East are Muslim. He said that "it would be illusory to think that a total military defeat of Daech will lead to an eradication of its murderous ideology." 

Jean Asselborn said that "we must ensure that the situation of ethnic and religious minorities, which have suffered so much under this scourge, is improving in a fundamental way". To this end, "important reforms will be necessary, including the establishment of a process of national reconciliation in Iraq", and "that the peace talks in Geneva are making concrete progress, under the terms of resolution 2254, the ceasefire is respected, and that humanitarian access is guaranteed throughout the Syrian territory ".

The conference also focused on priority actions relating to the humanitarian, political and judicial aspects, with the aim of promoting diversity and plurality of the region, encouraging reconciliation and stabilization, and facilitating the return of Displaced populations. Minister Asselborn reviewed Luxembourg's contributions to the stabilization process of the region, while stressing the importance of the role of the international community in this context. 

In the margins of the Madrid Conference, Minister Asselborn had an interview with the winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Mind of the European Parliament, Nadia Murad Basee, Yezidi from Iraq and survivor of Daech's slavery. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the situation of ethnic and religious minorities in the field, the challenges and threats they face, and the responses that the international community will have to make to improve the situation of all people in the Middle East.

Girls day

Thirty-eight high school students visited the Military Centre in Diekirch as part of the "Girls 'Day - Boys' Day” initiative held yesterday. 

While, like Luxembourg society, the army is evolving, it continues to be associated with a purely masculine world.

However, the Luxembourg Army has incorporated female volunteers since 1979, including four young women who joined the latest recruitment for voluntary service. 

Since 1986, women have also had access to the officer and non-commissioned officer posts. 

At present, 101 women serve in the army, and regularly participate in peace-keeping missions.

The Girls' Day at the Military Center allowed the participants to discover the army's different trades. After a short presentation on the Luxembourg army, they were able to participate in a sports session and a visit to the Military Center to familiarise themselves with a little taste of military life. They also toured an exhibition of equipment, vehicles and equipment used by the army, and they were able to witness a tactical demonstration.

ISL stick graffiti

The International School of Luxembourg’s Grade 9 art students spent the last month learning how music can lead to more complex art creations, such as graffiti painting on one of the school’s playground walls. 

 The project began at the beginning of the school year when students went on a field trip to the Pompidou-Metz for the “MusiCircus” exhibition. 

“We went to the Pompidou and experienced a display of art that was a cross section in between art and music. Modern art was incorporated and the use of colour and line was amazing” said student Maria Diss. After this visit, each student had to choose their own song and produce an abstract painting which displayed their emotions conveyed by the music.

Elisa Martini, 9th Grade art student, explained the art creation process as follows, “Playing around with painting techniques and using the basic art principles led to the production of abstract pieces, each with a different universe painted onto it. From the paintings, we crafted sculptures using foam-core, which had to be linked back to our paintings. All of this project was a great way to introduce us 9th graders to all the art principles of movement, balance, colours, etc. and to help us explore and take advantage of the materials around us too.”

In a further step, Stick, a local graffiti artist, took the inspiration of the imagery created by the 9th Grade visual arts students and painted a large grey wall on ISL’s playground. Stick who has been a graffiti artist since 1995 describes this mural as a “fantastic landscape”. 

Mike Hitchman, Upper School Principal at ISL, summarised this project at the unveiling ceremony on Tuesday, May 23, as a “true authentic learning experience” and the mural as a “long standing memory of life at ISL, of the 9th grade students, and of Stick”.

government logo

During a large-scale inspection by customs and police last weekend, a cigarette smuggler was picked up with almost 500 cartons of fake and untaxed cigarettes. In addition, the smuggler’s vehicle was neither registered nor insured and his driving license was thought to be fake.

On the order of the Luxembourg Prosecutor's Office, the vehicle and cigarettes were confiscated. The man is now awaiting indictment for violation of the road traffic regulations and customs regulations. The imminent fine for cigarette smuggling and the associated tax evasion amounts to almost €100,000.




government logo

Sascha Ley and Hervé Sogne have been selected to participate in a creative laboratory in the Ottawa-Gatineau region in Canada this September. 

Five proposals were submitted following a call for applications from the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the Theatre Federation. 

The jury, consisting of Frank Feitler, Françoise Pirovalli and Andreas Wagner, met on 23 May 2017 and unanimously awarded the residence to Sascha Ley and Hervé Sogne.

According to a statement from the jury, ”the members of the jury chose the two artists-creators according to the selection criteria defined by the promoter. Special consideration has been given to the experienced profile of the candidates, but also to their merit in the development of the theatre in Luxembourg and the quality they have to represent its specificities”.

The fellows will have the opportunity to participate in a two-week artistic creation laboratory, from 5 to 17 September, for a project organised within the framework of the international meetings of the 7th edition of the Theatre Zones by the International Commission of Francophone Theatre (CITF) and the National Arts Centre of Canada.

Eighteen French-speaking artists chosen by the various members of the CITF will participate in this laboratory of creation, exchange, encounter and transmission around the theme "Noise of capitals".  

The main objective is to provoke encounters between Francophone artists from different backgrounds and to generate, in the long term, collaborations.



Valerio De Stefano of the International Labour Organisation is delivering a speech focusing on the so-called "gig-economy", the spread of new forms of employment, and its impact on labour rights. 

The event will take place on Friday, 2 June at the Weicker Building (4, rue Alphonse Weicker, L-2721 Luxembourg) starting at 12:00. 

St george art

On Tuesday 23rd May, St George’s opened its Annual Art exhibition with a private viewing for special guests, staff and parents, an occasion to appreciate the variety of technique, originality and interpretation that went into each piece of work.

“In viewing the exhibition, I am very much struck by the variety of work and material on display and the many different and imaginative ways in which students have interpreted aspects of their lives”, said Dr Christian Barkei, St George’s Principal in his opening address.

The artwork on display this year varied from traditional pictorial representations, a shadow display, 3D models made from different materials to independent research projects that conveyed and explored different expressions, processes and materials. 

A collaborative piece by primary and secondary students in the form of an artistic heart made out of remembrance poppies particularly stood out this year. The clay poppies were modelled and glazed by primary students and while secondary art students positioned over 50 of the glossy ceramic poppies into a masterpiece form of its own. This poignant work of art is now a permanent feature of the school, positioned outside the Zinnen building. A name is yet to be decided by all those involved. 

St George’s Annual Art exhibition is an opportunity for students to display their abundance of originality and the hard work they have put into their work throughout the academic year. This event provides an ideal occasion for students, teachers, parents and friends to admire and discuss the creative arts in a supportive and positive environment. 


SES Gold

Global satellite communications company, SES, today announced the successful integration of NASA’s Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) hosted payload with SES-14. 

GOLD will employ an ultraviolet imaging spectrograph to measure densities and temperatures in the Earth’s thermosphere and ionosphere in response to Sun-Earth interaction. It is aimed at revolutionising scientists’ understanding of this part of the space environment and its impacts on low Earth orbit satellite drag — a force acting opposite to the direction of motion, slowing the satellite — and ionospheric disruptions of communication and navigation transmissions. GOLD will take unprecedented images of the temperature and composition changes over a hemisphere. 

The technology is a result of collaboration among several world-leading entities. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, is providing overall NASA program management, while the University of Central Florida’s Florida Space Institute is the Principal Investigator for the project. The GOLD instrument was built and will be operated by the University of Colorado Boulder Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. Satellite operator SES and its fully-owned subsidiary SES Government Solutions are providing the host satellite, mission operations, and science data transport. The project was developed in close partnership with Airbus Defence and Space, the company which is building the SES-14 spacecraft for SES.

SES Government Solutions is exclusively focused on meeting the satellite communications needs of the U.S. Government and its agencies. Leveraging more than four decades of experience in the government SATCOM market, SES Government Solutions offers robust and secure end-to-end satellite communications solutions. 

“Using a host satellite makes access to space quicker and more cost efficient, while meeting the increasingly more sophisticated needs governments have nowadays. SES has extensive experience in hosted payload projects and is well-suited to meet these needs,” said Pete Hoene, president and CEO of SES Government Solutions. “We are very excited about hosting GOLD, and looking forward to it starting its important mission in space.”

Testing and preparation of SES-14 and GOLD are on-going in Toulouse, France, in anticipation of a late 2017 launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The SES-14 satellite will provide coverage of the Americas, Atlantic Ocean, Western Europe, and Northwest Africa with High Throughput Satellite (HTS) services and Ku-band & C-band wide beam services. The wide beams will serve growing video neighbourhoods in the Americas and also support existing VSAT services. The HTS Ku-band multi-spot beams will serve traffic-intensive data applications such as mobile backhaul, maritime and aeronautical services.

LCGB logo 450 319

A delegation from Luxembourg trades union LCGB met François Bausch, Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, for discussions on cross-border mobility between the Grand Duchy and Belgium with a view to improving the current situation. 

In relation to the shutdown of rail traffic between Arlon and Luxembourg for two weeks at Easter and from mid-July to mid-September 2018 so that the CFL can equip the line on the Grand-Ducal side, Minister Bausch confirmed that it would not be possible to find an alternative to a total break as suggested by the LCGB (eg single tracking during construction). 

It is expected that a bus service will be set up from the Arlon train station.

Regarding Viville's P & R, the LCGB pointed out that the setbacks continue to accumulate with additional infrastructure costs, long-term work on this section, lack of rolling stock, etc. Minister Bausch confirmed that this was a priority and that there was a real political will to concretise this very important project for Belgian cross-border workers. 

However, it was said that the P & R will not open before 2020 and will begin, in a first phase, with the provision of 150 seats and then to 750 seats.

On 12 May 2017, the Belgian Minister for Mobility, François Bellot, announced free parking along the Namur-Arlon railway line for cross-border commuters with a subscription. For the LCGB, this measure, which will come into effect as of December 2017, will be positive for current subscribers but will not necessarily attract new train users as spaces are already over-subscribed. Thus the LCGB insisted on the realisation of new attractive projects and offering new possibilities to potential users.

Minister François Bellot also announced the December 2017 reduction of the monthly cross-border subscriptions of €13.50 (€93.50 to €80.00 for Arlon - Luxembourg and €77.50 to €64.00 For Aubange - Luxembourg). The LCGB welcomed this approach, but called for the long-awaited tariff reduction to be extended beyond the border stations and that efforts are also being made on the annual subscription "Flex-pass".

To reduce the traffic jams between the two countries, a project to reserve a route to carpooling on the Arlon motorway in Luxembourg is under consideration. In July 2016, federal Minister of Mobility François Bellot reviewed the Highway Traffic Act for the use of the emergency stop-band, enabling carpooling on the same at peak hours by a modification of road markings and the placement of a specific signage. On the Luxembourg side, the Bridges and Roads departments are also studying the issue via a feasibility study. 

The LCGB supports the idea of ​​creating a "hub" for cross-border teleworkers. The aim would be to give frontier workers the opportunity to avoid "tele-working" closures from a place close to the border (but on the Luxembourg side in order to avoid tax and social difficulties which always Teleworking of frontier workers). The "hub" could also be more attractive if it were decorated with many parking spaces, some of which were reserved for car-pooling. The LCGB believes that this concept is part of the logic of more efficient and sustainable mobility between Belgium and the Grand Duchy.

Millicom logo

TIGO, a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular S.A., was ranked among the top 25 multinational companies to work for in Latin America, across all industries, obtaining the 20th place in the 2017 Great Place to Work (GPTW) survey, which was announced yesterday in the city of Chicago, United States. This is the first time the company appeared in the top-25 rankings. 

Mauricio Ramos, CEO of Millicom, said: “We are convinced that a good work environment is the best way to obtain excellent business results and an essential element in having motivated employees. At the same time, the work that we do in the communities where we operate provides volunteering opportunities for our employees, making them part of a larger family and of a bigger mission that goes beyond their daily tasks. We are proud of this distinction because we work day after day to achieve that goal and to improve every year”.

The award was received by Luis Arturo Torres, VP of Global Talent Management at Millicom, during the Great Place to Work for All annual conference. The company employs approximately 18,000 people worldwide.


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