Luxembourg PM Admits Faults In Thesis Plagiarism Row

File photo: Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel speaks to media on the second day of a European Union (EU) summit at The European Council Building in Brussels on October 22, 2021.


Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on Wednesday admitted he should have acted “differently” after accusations he plagiarised swathes of his university thesis. 

Local outlet claimed the liberal leader — in power for eight years — lifted “three quarters” of his 1999 thesis at France’s University of Nancy.

Bettel, 48, pointed out in a statement that the thesis was done “over 20 years ago” and insisted he “wrote this work with a clear conscience”.

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“Today, I recognise that I could have — yes, perhaps I should have — done it differently”, Bettel admitted.

He said it was up to university to determine if the work met its standards and that he would “naturally accept its decision”.

The plagiarism row is the latest to hit a high-profile European politician and similar allegations have forced the resignations of a number of ministers in neighbouring Germany.

The most recent scalp was German family minister Franziska Giffey, who stepped down in May this year over claims she plagiarised her doctoral thesis. said that Bettel’s 56-page thesis on European Parliament election reforms contained unattributed chunks throughout taken from two books, four websites and a press report.

The scandal dominated online media headlines in the Grand Duchy of 600,000 people but so far the opposition has not weighed in on the issue.


Luxembourg Plans To Legalise Cannabis Use

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel speaks to media on the second day of a European Union (EU) summit at The European Council Building in Brussels on October 22, 2021.


Luxembourg’s government on Friday unveiled proposals to allow people to grow and use cannabis in their homes, a practice that is already legal in Spain.

Under the draft law, each household would be allowed to grow up to four plants, the ministers of the interior, health, and justice told a press conference.

The move is contained in draft legislation aimed at tackling organised drug crime.

Luxembourg will maintain the ban on public consumption of cannabis but will introduce a “lighter criminal procedure” limited to a fine of 145 euros if the amount involved is less than three grams.

The liberal government of Prime Minister Xavier Bettel came to power in 2018 promising total decriminalisation or even legalisation of the recreational use of cannabis.

But it reviewed those plans in the light of fears from neighbouring countries, notably France, that such a move would create a trafficking site on its border.

The new legislative package will be examined by parliament early next year and the measures could be in place by late 2022.

In Spain, the selling and public consumption of cannabis is banned but production for personal use is legal.


Luxembourg Reports First Coronavirus Case, Linked To Italy

A tourist wearing a protective face mask walks in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in the centre of Milan, on February 28, 2020, after COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, spread to Italy. Miguel MEDINA / AFP
A tourist wearing a protective face mask walks in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in the centre of Milan, on February 28, 2020, after COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, spread to Italy. Miguel MEDINA / AFP


Luxembourg on Saturday announced its first case of infection by the new coronavirus: a man who recently returned from Italy, Health Minister Paulette Lenert told reporters.

The man in his 40s returned to Luxembourg “at the beginning of the week” and, after “more recently” exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, had a test that confirmed the disease, she said.

A second test is being carried out in the Netherlands and the results should be known on Sunday, she added.

The patient was isolated in a Luxembourg hospital and his family members were in quarantine, the minister said, adding that the procedures had “gone as planned” for this scenario.

READ ALSO: Luxembourg Becomes First Country To Offer Free Public Transport

Luxembourg, a small EU country of 610,000 inhabitants nestled between Belgium, Germany and France, is the latest European country to register a case, as the new coronavirus spreads around the world.

Lenert said the infected person had returned from Italy via Belgium’s Charleroi airport. Italy has Europe’s biggest cluster of new coronavirus infections in its north, with 29 deaths and more than 1,000 infections.

Eighteen other Luxemburgers are currently in quarantine in a hotel on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife after an Italian man and his wife who stayed there tested positive for the virus.


Luxembourg Becomes First Country To Offer Free Public Transport

A photo taken on February 29, 2020 shows a tramway in Luxembourg as the country inaugurates its free public transports policy. JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP
A photo taken on February 29, 2020 shows a tramway in Luxembourg as the country inaugurates its free public transports policy. JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP


Luxembourg on Saturday became the first country in the world to offer free public transport, as the small and wealthy EU country tries to help less-well-off workers and reduce road traffic.

Some cities elsewhere have already taken similar, partial measures. But the transport ministry said it was the first time such a decision covered an entire country.

The free transport, flagged as “an important social measure”, affects approximately 40 percent of households and is estimated to save each one around 100 euros ($110) per year.

Not all passengers were aware of the change, which was brought forward one day ahead of schedule.

“It’s free? I didn’t know,” said a woman in her 50s who gave her first name as Dominique as she waited at Luxembourg’s main train station.

Transport workers were concerned about what impact the measure would have on their job security.

“We don’t yet know” what will happen to their positions, said one ticket seller at the station who declined to give his name.

“All the public transport workers are worried. It’s not yet clear.”

Traffic woes

The measure is part of a plan intended to reduce congestion.

Private cars are the most used means of transport in the Grand Duchy, accounting for 47 percent of business travel and 71 percent of leisure transport.

With more than 200,000 people living in neighbouring France, Germany and Belgium who work in Luxembourg and most of them driving in, that makes for major traffic jams at peak hours.

The population of the tiny country is just 610,000 and those cross-border workers account for half the total employees.

The capital city of Luxembourg has invested in its public transport network, notably by building a tram network, but commuters complain it is still patchy.

It will be some years before the network links to the northern airport, for instance.

“There’s been an enormous delay to the development of public transport,” said Blanche Weber, head of the Luxembourg Ecological Movement pressing for better links on environmental grounds.

“Systematic and continuous investment is a sine qua non (essential) condition for promoting the attractiveness of public transport,” admitted transport minister Francois Bausch.

Sales of tickets on the domestic network — which cost two euros per journey — previously covered just eight percent of the 500-million-euro cost of running the transport system. That shortfall will now be met from the treasury.

Ticket machines are to be gradually removed from stations, but offices selling tickets for international train trips and for first-class seating in Luxembourg — which continues to be a paying service — will remain.



Defending Champions Portugal Qualify For Euro 2020

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C) celebrates with team members after scoring a goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group B qualification football match between Luxembourg and Portugal at the Josy Barthel Stadium in Luxembourg on November 17, 2019.


Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 99th international goal as reigning champions Portugal secured their place at the Euro 2020 finals on Sunday with a 2-0 victory away to Luxembourg.

Bruno Fernandes struck the opening goal on 39 minutes before Ronaldo tapped in a scrappy second late on to clinch second place in Group B behind winners Ukraine, who drew 2-2 in Serbia.

Portugal became the 17th nation to qualify for next year’s multi-host tournament, which kicks off in Rome on June 12, joining the likes of world champions France, Spain, Italy, and England.

“We can’t give the match-high marks for style,” said Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who admitted the heavy pitch made life challenging for his team.

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“I’m very happy for my players because the qualifying campaign has been more difficult than we expected.

“We’re through to the finals of a major tournament for an 11th straight time. You’ve got to believe in these players.”

Portugal knew they would book their place at Euro 2020 with a win or by matching Serbia’s result from their game in Belgrade.

But they were made to work hard by a Luxembourg team ranked 96th in the world that notably held France to a 0-0 draw in 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Sporting Lisbon midfielder Fernandes broke the deadlock before half-time, controlling Bernardo Silva’s pinpoint pass expertly before lashing in from 20 yards.

Ronaldo, who smacked in a hat-trick in Thursday’s 6-0 thrashing of Lithuania, moved to the brink of his international century four minutes from time.

Silva’s far-post cross was forced towards goal by Diogo Jota, with Luxembourg goalkeeper Anthony Moris getting a hand to the ball before Ronaldo turned in from the goalline.

Iranian striker Ali Daei holds the world record with 109 international goals scored between 1993 and 2006.


Sweden Thrash Luxembourg To Pile Pressure On France

Sweden Thrash Luxembourg To Pile Pressure On France
Sweden’s forward Marcus Berg (R) vies with Luxembourg’s goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match on October 7, 2017.

Sweden laid down the gauntlet to France in European World Cup qualifying as Marcus Berg scored four goals in an 8-0 thrashing of Luxembourg on Saturday.

The Swedes now lead France, who face Bulgaria later on Saturday, by two points in the race for top spot in Group A.

Al Ain forward Berg tore Luxembourg apart in Solna as the visitors were brought back down to earth after their 0-0 draw in France last month.

After Andreas Granqvist had broken the deadlock with a 10th-minute penalty, the 31-year-old Berg grabbed his first eight minutes later.

He wasn’t finished there and completed a hat-trick with goals either side of half-time by heading in a rebound after his initial shot was saved, and curling home an excellent individual effort.

Celtic defender Mikael Lustig made it five, before another Granqvist spot-kick and Berg’s fourth.

Berg was taken off with 16 minutes to play, but that didn’t spare Luxembourg more embarrassment, as Ola Toivonen completed the rout.

Elsewhere, Bosnia and Herzegovina saw their playoff hopes in Group H take a hit with a stunning 4-3 home defeat by already-qualified Belgium.

Goals from Haris Medunjanin and Edin Visca put the Bosnians ahead after Belgium full-back Thomas Muenier’s early strike, but Michy Batshuayi and Yannick Carrasco turned things around.

Dario Dumic’s 82nd-minute equaliser looked to have salvaged the hosts a priceless point, but Carrasco struck again to leave the race for second wide open, with Greece and Cyprus playing each other later in Nicosia hoping to take advantage.

Estonia thrashed Gibraltar 6-0 to give themselves a mathematical chance of taking second, but trail Bosnia by 15 goals on goal difference with only one match to go.


Super Eagles Defeat Luxembourg 3-1 In Friendly

Salisu Yusuf, Super Eagles
Super Eagles Coach, Salisu Yusuf.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles rounded off their two-game international friendlies with a comfortable 3-1 win over the Red Lions of Luxembourg on Tuesday.

Goals from Brown Ideye, Kelechi Iheanacho and Odion Ighalo ensured Nigeria won their second straight game in four days.

A sparse crowd at the Stade Josy Barthel in Luxembourg City watched the Super Eagles take on the Luxembourg side for the first time at full senior level with Nigeria doing the early running.

Luxembourg did have a sight at goal early in the game but did not make hay as Nigeria dominated for majority of the first half.

Aminu Umar was a live-wire down the right for Nigeria as they pressed forward to get a goal. Kelechi Iheanacho had a chance to get Nigeria ahead but was denied by a well-timed tackle as Luxembourg goalkeeper Moris Anthony was kept busy.

Nigeria eventually got the first goal in the 35th minute of the game. A mazy run by Aminu Umar created a chance for Ogenyi Onazi whose shot was parried by Anthony but Brown Ideye was on hand to tap home his first international goal in three years.

The Super Eagles continued their dominance in the second half and were rewarded when Moses Simon capitalised on a poor clearance by the Luxembourg goalkeeper to square the ball to Kelechi Iheanacho to score his second goal in two matches to put Nigeria 2-0 up in the 68th minute.

Luxembourg thought they had clawed their way back into the game when Kenneth Omeruo’s mistake in defence gifted youngster Vincent Thill the opportunity to reduce the deficit in the 89th minute.

Odion Ighalo though sealed the game for Nigeria in added time to make it 3-1 and earn the Super Eagles a comfortable win.

Mikel, Musa Confirmed For Joseph Yobo Testimonial

Joseph Yobo, Ahmed Musa, Mikel ObiSuper Eagles’ captain, John Mikel Obi and his assistant, Ahmed Musa have been allowed to be part of the Joseph Yobo testimonial game planned for May 27 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) ordered that the players should be excused from the two friendly matches in Europe so that they can honour Joseph Yobo, who is having his testimonial game on the same date as the friendlies.

Nigeria will play Mali in Rouen, France on May 27 and then take on Luxembourg in Luxembourg on June 1.

Meanwhile, Coach Salisu Yusuf has invited Morocco–based midfielder Babatunde Michael to join the squad for the two friendly matches.

African football stars like Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure, Alex Song and former Everton coach David Moyes have all reportedly agreed to be part of the testimonial game.

Joseph Yobo is a former Nigerian professional footballer who played as a centre back. He was the captain of the Nigerian Super Eagles until his international football retirement in June 2014, as Nigeria’s record appearance holder.


Yusuf Invites 26 Players For Super Eagles Friendlies

Super Eagles-Salisu Yusuf-Eagles FriendliesSuper Eagles Head Coach, Salisu Yusuf, has called up 26 players for the international friendlies against Mali and Luxembourg in Europe.

The three-time African champions would take on the Les Aiglons of Mali in France on May 27 before flying to Luxembourg to play the country’s national team on June 1.

Yusuf, who was installed as interim Head Coach by the Nigeria Football Federation last week, picked a relatively young squad that also includes former U-20 and former U-23 players.

All the invitees in the goalkeeper categories are: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa), and Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Sunshine Stars).

The defenders invited are: Abdullahi Shehu (Uniao da Madeira, Portugal), Musa Muhammed (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey), Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France), Kingsley Madu (AS Trencin, Slovakia), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa SK, Turkey), Leon Balogun (Mainz 05, Germany), Gbenga Arokoyo (Gaziantepspor, Turkey), William Troost Ekong (Haugesund FC, Norway), and Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal).

For the midfielders, players called up are: Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy), John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England), Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England), Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium), Raheem Lawal (Osmanlispor FK, Turkey), and Etebo Oghenekaro (SC Farense, Portugal).

The players invited in the forward category are: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium), Victor Moses (West Ham United, England), Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England), Aminu Umar (Osmanlispor FK, Turkey), Aaron Samuel (CSKA Moscow, Russia), and Brown Ideye (Olympiakos FC, Greece).

NFF To Appoint Super Eagles Coach In June

Super EaglesMeanwhile, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) have confirmed that a permanent head coach for the Super Eagles would be in place for the final round of qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The Eagles have been without a substantive coach since Sunday Oliseh resigned in February with the likes of Samson Siasia and Salisu Yusuf managing the team on temporary basis at different points.

According to the NFF Technical Committee, a technical crew led by either a local or foreign coach would be appointed after the upcoming friendlies against Mali and Luxembourg in June.

Meanwhile, Salisu Yusuf is the man to lead the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the upcoming friendlies against Mali and Luxembourg.

The former Kano Pillars boss will be assisted by Enugu Rangers Coach, Imama Amapakabor, Kennedy Boboye of Abia Warriors while Alloy Agu would serve as goalkeeper trainer.

Nigeria plays Mali on May 27, before going on to face Luxembourg on June 1.

Both matches will serve as tune ups for the final round of qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Dutch Town Riots Over Asylum Centre Plan

AsylumDutch police on Wednesday fired warning shots in an effort to disperse a crowd, as a protest against plans to house asylum-seekers in a small town turned into a riot.

Protesters in Geldermalsen tore down fences and threw fireworks at police who responded with warning shots but no serious injuries were reported.

Chanting slogans against the proposed centre for asylum-seekers, around 2,000 people joined the protest in a town of 27,000, according to national broadcaster, NOS.

The Police in Geldermalsen, near Utrecht, said via their official Twitter account that they had “so far made numerous arrests, it’s is not clear yet how many”.

A meeting in the Dutch town to discuss whether to build the new centre for migrants had to be abandoned. It was evacuated by policemen as rioters sought to force their way into the building.

The incident was the biggest display of anti-migrant sentiment in the Netherlands since hooligans attacked a Syrian refugee centre in October.

Deputy Justice Minister Klaas Dijkhoff, who oversees immigration and asylum policy, called the incident in Geldermalsen “un-Dutch.”

He said that the protesters had crossed a line. “Finding shelter for asylum seekers poses difficult questions but there is a limit when it comes to expressing your opinion,” he said on Dutch TV.

“The line is crossed when you barge in yelling and rioting. That’s not appropriate in a discussion and, thankfully, we have seen that it went much quieter in other places and a solution was found. This is not ok.”

European countries are struggling to cope with the largest movement of migrants since World War Two, many of them Syrians who have come via Turkey, Greece and the Balkans.

The migration crisis is expected to dominate a meeting of EU leaders on Thursday.

Migrant Crisis Dominates EU Summit

EU SummitGermany and several other nations are to discuss with Turkey ways of settling thousands of Syrian refugees ahead of the final EU summit of the year.

The mass influx of migrants will feature prominently on the agenda of a full European Union summit later on Thursday, after the executive European Commission proposed this week new measures to stem the tide, including a common coastguard.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will explore new possible ways to admit Syrian refugees to Europe as she struggles to control a migrant crisis that has split the 28-nation bloc.

The German Chancellor, has been the driving force behind the voluntary resettlement idea, saying it would help Turkey, as well as EU member states to have more control over who gets to Europe but she faces resistance from other EU states.

The resettlement proposal would see EU countries accept Syrian refugees directly from Turkey under a voluntary scheme.

It is hoped the plan will stop people making the dangerous sea journey to Greece and will be more palatable for EU members than obligatory quotas.

The idea for voluntary resettlement is linked to a wider deal with Turkey under which Ankara would prevent migrants leaving for Greece in return for financial aid from the bloc, accelerated visa-free travel for Turks to the EU and reviving long-stalled membership talks.

The EU is at loggerheads over two distinct issues – relocation of migrants who have already arrived in Europe through Greece and Italy, and resettlement of a limited number directly from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

The proposal, however, does not set a minimum number of refugees EU states would take from Turkey in the next five years and no formal decisions are expected when leaders of Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands meet Davutoglu.

Merkel may also try to enlist the help of other leaders individually during the main summit, diplomats said. France and others could still decide to join the prior meeting, they added.

A draft final statement prepared by diplomats for the full EU summit said only that member states should “rapidly examine” proposals for a “voluntary humanitarian admission scheme”.