The RTL Today Radio News team brings you the latest news headlines for Tuesday, 31st January.
THULL UKRAINE - “If we do nothing, then Ukraine has lost!” This is what Luxembourg’s Chief of Defence General Steve Thull said in an interview with RTL. He sees no other option than to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons. The chief of staff of the army also does not think that we should be afraid. He said the western alliance is one that works.
Meanwhile US President Biden has ruled out sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, despite renewed calls for air support. His French counterpart, President Macron said he has not ruled out supplying fighter jets, but only with guarantees that the planes are used for defence and not to attack Russian territory.
ROBBERIES - Police are looking for two suspects in connection with two armed robberies in Strassen on Monday evening. An armed and masked person attempted to rob a shop on Route d'Arlon in Strassen at around 6.20pm on Monday evening. Shop staff were able to make their way out and call the police. The suspect meanwhile managed to escape and shortly thereafter, around 6.45pm, a second shop was targetted by two robbers - this time on Rue de la Chapelle. The suspects escaped in an unknown direction.
TAX RELIEF - Tax reliefs of €500 million are expected before the elections. This was announced earlier today by Finance Minister Yuriko Backes who proposed targeted tax breaks to support the purchasing power of households.
BELGIUM ATTACK - Belgian police have arrested an attacker who knifed three people in a Brussels metro station right below the headquarters of the European Commission on Monday, leaving one with critical injuries. While the motives of the attacker, a 30-year-old man, remain unclear, police have ruled out a terrorist attack. A source close to the investigation told Reuters the attacker was previously known by the police.
FRANCE STRIKES - France is bracing for major transport blockages today, with mass strikes and protests set to hit the country for the second time in a month in objection to a planned reform to raise the retirement age. Around one million people are expected to take to the streets nationwide, rallying against plans to boost the age of retirement from 62 to 64. France currently has the youngest age for becoming a pensioner in any major European economy.
In Brussels too, around 25,000 demonstrators are expected to protest for better working conditions. They include hospital and nursing staff as well as teachers.
PAKISTAN BOMBING - The death toll from Monday’s suicide bombing at a mosque in northwest Pakistan has jumped to more than 80 with 150 more people wounded. The attack happened during afternoon worship in the provincial capital of Peshawar, close to areas along the Afghan border where militancy has been steadily rising. Overnight, at least nine bodies were recovered as rescuers sifted through the rubble of the mosque's collapsed wall and roof. The chief rescuer said they will remove the last part of the collapsed roof this morning, but they are not hopeful of reaching any survivors.
IMF FORECAST - Global growth is set to be higher than expected this year, the IMF said yesterday, raising its forecast on surprisingly strong consumption and investment while China's lifting of zero-Covid restrictions provides another boost. World growth has been bogged down by fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year, economic downturns and efforts to rein in spiraling costs of living. Against this backdrop, the International Monetary Fund expects the global economy to expand 2.9 percent this year.
FOOTBALL CLUB WORLD CUP - One of the last Club World Cups in its current format begins in Morocco tomorrow, where Real Madrid will be favourites to continue Europe's dominance of the much-maligned FIFA competition. FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced on the sidelines of the World Cup in Qatar in December that an expanded Club World Cup is planned from 2025. The bigger competition, which would feature 32 teams, has been a controversial pet project of Infantino's for some time. For now, the Club World Cup limps on with just seven teams, including the six continental champions. Real, the reigning European champions, have claimed the title four times, including in Morocco in 2014.
TENNIS RANKINGS - Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka climbed to second in the new WTA rankings after claiming her first Grand Slam title as Poland's Iga Swiatek retained top spot. And Novak Djokovic has reclaimed top spot in the ATP rankings released on Monday after winning his 22nd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. This means he is world number one for the 374th week since July 2011.
After a cold and foggy start to the day, the mist will give way to overcast skies and the odd rain shower as we head into the afternoon. The wet, blustery weather will continue in the evening, with wind gusts of up to 50 km/h. Morning temperatures will start between -2 and 0°C, rising to 2-4°C in the afternoon.
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