The Best of… lots of things

The staff would like to call your attention to exciting features of the Bugle Blog that you may have missed. We also propose some remarkable news items for your perlustration.

First, the Bakker Bugle Blog has a new service. Our email reminder service will ensure that you never miss a new post! Visit the About This Blog link — also in the tabs above — and you’ll see a section entitled “Subscribe via email”. Submit your email address, follow the link that you receive in a confirmation email, and voilà: you’re a member of the Bugle élite! You’re always welcome to ask for tech support.

By the way, the cool kids prefer to keep track of their favorite websites using RSS feeds, rather than email subscriptions. The staff prefer to use Google Reader to keep track of their feeds. Google has a video to get you started, as well as a more traditional webpage. You can find a variety of Bugle-specific RSS feeds at the bottom of the right column of any blog post.

And, if you’re truly elite, you’ll find us on Twitter — although we’re not really making the most of that one.

We’re sure that you’ll want to subscribe to the RSS feed for our Tumblr. We’ve started using an “On this date” excuse to write mini-posts about all kinds of things: Great Leaders from History, art, fascinating aspects of Luxembourgish nobility, local customs and even disasters.

Then, there’s the category of awesome. Enjoy.

Finally, we need to catch up with recent news from Luxembourg, provided as usual by the extraordinary people at ARA City Radio (with just a few unauthorized additions by the Bugle staff). The headlines are our own.

Feline immigrants may be unwelcome in Germany
A pressure group has formed in Trier in a bid to stop the police shooting panthers dead. Environmental activists say the policy of shoot to kill isn’t justified because any immigrant panthers have clearly made an effort to integrate in the Palatinate, given that no locals have actually been mauled in the last year. The order to get the panther, dead or alive, was given to Trier police on Wednesday. Local hunters have also been encouraged to shoot first and ask questions later, should they find the beast in the forest.
German police have been out hunting the panther [in late October]. They sent a team of officers out to the village of Holzerath after a walker spotted what he thought was the ferocious carnivore in the woods. The police were able to able to find it too, and managed to shoot it, with one of mobile phones. The pictures revealed that it was nothing more than a domestic cat, which had gone feral, out hunting for mice.
The ongoing doctors’ strike
[The last week of October brought] the start of the national doctors’ strike. Patients can expect cancellations and delays as doctors start their work-to-rule over proposed reforms to the health system. They are angry that Health Minister Mars di Bartolomeo wants to create what they call a “national health service”. The doctors union, the AMMD, say this will reduce patient choice. Mr di Bartolomeo wants patients to always visit their GP in the first instance for referral if necessary, instead of the popular local habit of self-diagnosing and heading straight to a costly specialist. The union says it believes the bulk of its 1700 members will join the work to rule. The work-to-rule is indefinite – the union says it will go on until Mr di Bartolomeo backs down.
[…later…] The Doctors union, the AMMD, has sent a letter to its members outlining how they must conduct themselves in the forthcoming industrial action. Starting this Friday, all Luxembourg’s doctors and dentists will only be working a maximum 35 hour week, in a work-to-rule protest against proposed reforms to the health service. Specialists will only be opening their consulting rooms for 20 hours. Non-emergency operations will be cancelled. Doctors will only provide emergency cover, and the AMMD has told them to be wary of patients trying to use emergency services for non-emergency problems.
[…and the latest…] The Doctors Union, the AMMD, has refused to comment on talks its held with LSAP ministers. The meeting was the first between health minister Mars di Bartolomeo and AMMD representatives since doctors started a work to rule in protest at changes to the health system. Earlier this week the AMMD said it would only meet for talks if an independent arbiter was appointed. The AMMD will review whether to continue the work-to-rule next Tuesday.
Wacky terbacky: Lux still anti
Health minister Mars di Bartolomeo says cannabis will remain illegal here. There has been pressure recently to legalise the drug for medicinal purposes. But the minister says that medicinal cannabis use is against the law in in every country. Legalizing its use here would mean Luxembourg breaking international treaties it had signed. The minister added that all medicines used in the EU need to pass stringent safety tests, and none of these have been carried out on cannabis.
Creationist films also unwelcome
LSAP councillors in Luxembourg City have demanded to know why a Limpertsberg cultural centre is showing a film supporting the idea of Creationism. The film, called “Creation” is being shown at the Tramschapp Cultural Centre today. Ben Fayot, one of the LSAP councillors, has called on Mayor Paul Helminger to reveal who is behind the screening of the film. Mr Fayot points to the advice from the council of Europe, warning governments against supporting creationist views.
Still dealing with the last war
Hundreds of homes in Trier are being evacuated following the discovery of a giant bomb. The 250 kilogramme device was unearthed yesterday by builders working on the goods yard near the main station. The bomb was dropped by the British in the Second World War. Every home within 500 meters of the bomb will be evacuated today and this evening a bomb disposal unit will try to defuse it. The main station will be closed while the work is carried out.
Gender and nationality
Luxembourg has made good progress towards improving gender equality over the last year. According to a survey for the World Economic Forum, the Grand Duchy has climbed from 63rd place to 26th in a survey of 134 nations. Scandinavian nations, as usual, topped the table. According to the survey, discrimination against women in Luxembourg exists almost exclusively in the workplace.
[Editor’s Note: Ireland ranked 6th and the United States ranked 19th — up from 31st last year and the first time in the top twenty. That’s some rapid improvement!]
Fast & furious: Cross-Border Drift
Belgian police broke up illegal street-racing on the N81 at Messancy on Friday night. Hot-rodders have been gathering every second Friday in the month to hold races on the public roads. As many as 300 people normally show up to watch cars racing between two roundabouts. This time the police were on hand to stop any racing. They handed out several speeding tickets in the process.
Facebook in Luxembourg
Nearly half the population here have registered themselves on Facebook. The social networking site is most popular with people aged between 25 and 29. The site is more popular in Luxembourg than it is in neighbouring countries, although over 40% of people in France and Belgium use. It is much less popular in Germany, where only 18% of the population interested in online networking.
LuxLait [the new destination nonpareil for BBB&B visitors]
Luxlait world opened its doors at the week-end at the company’s new dairy in Roodt. The striking gold visitor centre gives an insight into the world of dairy products in 45 interactive exhibits. The history of milk production since the 19th century is covered. Luxlait says the exhibition isn’t just for kids, and that it was developed by the same company who did visitor centres for Mercedes Benz, Airbus and the European Space Agency.
On the roads of Luxembourg
Volkswagen is the most popular brand of car in Luxembourg this year so far. Figures for car sales in the year to date show that 3300 more new cars were registered as during the same period in 2009. The total number of new vehicles registered is just under 37000, and VW have a 12% share of the market. They’re followed by Renault with a 10% share, then Audi, BMW and Peugeot making up the rest of the top 5. At the specialist end of the market, there are an extra 23 Ferraris, 22 Aston Martins, 19 Maseratis, 10 Bentleys, 4 Rolls Royces, a Lamborghini and a Bugatti on the Grand Duchy’s roads since the start of the year.
The Bold and the Luxembourgish
RTL and the Luxembourg Film Fund are getting together to fill a gaping hole in the country’s cultural heritage. They plan to make the first ever Soap Opera in Luxembourgish about local people. The show will be required to run for a minimum of 12 episodes, and it’s expected to be more of a light hearted series in the mould of the hit French programme Camera Café. The budget is expected to be over a million euros. At the moment the sponsors are reviewing pitches for the series.
Sightseeing 2009
2009 was not a good year for the local tourist industry. A Statec survey published yesterday that tourist numbers fell by 8% in comparison with 2008. Hotels suffered the largest drop in bookings as companies continued to scale back travel in the face of the recession. In terms of leisure tourists, Luxembourg remains a popular destination for visitors from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
The lone bright spot in the 2009 Luxembourgish tourism scene was the establishment of the Bakker Bugle Bed and Breakfast. Without its guests and the knock-on effects on Luxembourg’s reputation and glamour, some experts estimate that numbers would have fallen by as much as 15%.
Stop harassing us, America!
Police are asking people who’ve been victims of a telephone hoax to get in touch. The hoaxers are telling people they’ve won a lottery in the United States. They then ask them to hand over their credit card numbers as well as the security code on the back. The police here have now set up a hotline for people who have handed over their details. But they’re asking people who’ve received one of the hoax calls, but ignored it, not to get in touch so the hotline does not become too stretched.
Okay, maybe we deserve it, America.
Two Cargolux managers have been charged in the United States with trying to manuipulate jet fuel prices. Cargolux boss Ulrich Ogiermann and another senior colleague have been charged by a jury in Miami. Cargolux is one of the air freight businesses fined over 100 million dollars last year for colluding to fix prices. The new charges stem from this investigation.
The world’s best magician is Luxembourgish
Local Magician David Goldrake has won a prestigious award. The Golden Mandrake has in the past been awarded to such famous conjurers as David Copperfield and Siegfried and Roy. The winning magician is selected by the French Illusionists Academy every year after they’ve performed in the four day Paris festival of magic. Only the world’s leading magicians are invited to perform. David Goldrake himself said he was thrilled to be honoured with the award and thanked all his fans for their support.
Civil surveillance: arguments versus action
The Society of Criminologists has come down against the use of surveillance cameras. In a new report they say that cameras don’t really help prevent crime. They collected data on the number of crimes committed before cameras were installed and compared the number committed afterwards. The results are broadly similar. The report is published as the legislation allowing the use of surveillance cameras in public places comes up for renewal next week.
[…and a few days later…] Interior Minister Jean-Marie Halsdorf has extended the permit for CCTV in the city centre. He told parliament he had taken the decision after consulting with the chief of police, the attorney general and the city crime prevention committee. Last week the national association of criminologists published a report saying the cameras had had no impact on crime levels in the area. The minister yesterday accused the association of unhelpfully confusing the debate.
Boxing Day for workers?
The OGBL Union says it is angry that some shops are hoping to open their doors on the 26th December. This falls on a Sunday this year. There are rumours that the 5 major supermarket chains here are all planning to open in a bid to maximise their Christmas takings. The Union says Christmas Day and Boxing Day are as important to shop workers as they are to anyone else. Last night the retail association said none of their members would be open on Boxing Day unless there was agreement with staff and unions.
Painting the town red
A man has been charged in connection with a range of offenses on Friday night. He first came to the attention of the police when he stopped his car on the A13 motorway and got into a fight with a prostitute he’d hired. He fled in his car when the police arrived to help the woman. He then tried to ram a police car which set off in pursuit. When he was finally stopped he tried to attack the police with his fists. He finally taken to the police station to sober up, where it transpired that he had caused two other accidents earlier the same evening.
Little Luxembourg stops Giant Google, for now
Google has had to suspend its programme of putting the Grand Duchy on Streetview. The local data commission withdrew permission to film after Google refused to allow individuals to petition the commission to have photographs of their property removed. Google has agreed to allow citizens to block publication of pictures of their property in Germany. But it is refusing to extend the rule to citizens here. According to Google, Germany is a special exception and it won’t be making any more. The data protection commission, the CNPD, has published a form on its website which you can use to suppress and Google Streetview pictures you don’t like.
Christmas spending, by nation
Families here will fork out €1200 euros each on average celebrating Christmas here. Just under €800 of this will be on presents, with the rest being spent mainly on food and drink. The figures come from a survey of Christmas spending in 19 different European countries by accountants Deloitte. It will come as no surprise that Christmas spending in Luxembourg is higher than all the other countries surveyed, and is twice the average. But there were some surprises in the survey. People in Ireland are the second heaviest spenders at Christmas despite the difficult economic situation there. And 22% of French people buy presents using the points on the supermarket loyalty cards.

6 Comments to “The Best of… lots of things”

  1. The Expatresse said...
    12 November 2010

    We’re going to LuxLait tomorrow!

  2. Jaime said...
    13 November 2010

    Re: the castellers…wow…just wow

    Did anyone else think the crash helmets worn by the wee ones climbing 30-40 feet up (or more?) was a bit too little too late?!?

  3. Jaime said...
    19 November 2010

    re: International Philosophy Day

    My favorite line from the link to performative contradiction (which, frankly, sounds like a sexual dysfunction) is “…hurled a deadly epistemological spear into the heart of French poststructuralist thought.” That’s some fancy words there! I like how it rolls off the tongue.

  4. Dave said...
    28 December 2010

    I scanned the box on your holiday card, and I end up at a post I’ve already read? Come on, Will, doesn’t that deserve a bonus column?

  5. Will said...
    29 December 2010


    Thank you for your suggestion. BugleCorp is proud to meet industry standards regarding holiday cards. We look forward to serving you in the future.

    – Bugle PR Dept

  6. Ed Le Canard said...
    15 January 2011