The new chief of scandal-hit Volkswagen braced his workforce for tough times ahead Tuesday, admitting that billions laid aside for fines and damages over a massive pollution cheating scam will not be enough. In a speech to 20,000 staff at the group's Wolfsburg headquarters, Matthias Mueller said all planned investments would be reviewed and vowed to try to prevent lay-offs as the company struggles with the deepest crisis in its history. Volkswagen, which this year became the world's biggest carmaker by sales, has admitted to fitting 11 million vehicles with so-called defeat devices which detect when a car is undergoing testing and switch the engine to a low-emissions mode.
Russia's defence ministry on Tuesday dismissed as "absolute lies" claims that its jets had bombed the Syrian city of Palmyra after Syrian state TV reported the strikes. "All reports by foreign media that Russian planes have allegedly conducted air strikes against the city of Palmyra are absolute lies," ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said, Russian news wires reported. "Our aviation in Syria does not attack residential areas nor -- especially not -- the architectural monuments there," he said.