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Guterres ‘deeply concerned’ by cancellation of Trump-Kim summit

Swissinfo EN - Do, 05/24/2018 - 20:00
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed alarm at United States President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel an upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Guterres made his remarks in Geneva as he presented details of his global disarmament initiative.  “I am deeply concerned by the cancellation of the planned meeting in Singapore between the President of the United States and the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” Guterres told an audience at Geneva University on Thursday.  He urged all parties in the nuclear talks to keep “nerves of steel” while continuing dialogue towards “the peaceful and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”. In a formal letter released on Thursday, Trump called off the summit scheduled for June 12, citing hostility on the part of Kim.  "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it would be inappropriate, at this time, to have ...
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Do the police smoke confiscated weed?

Swissinfo EN - Do, 05/24/2018 - 13:53
"True Talk" puts people in front of the camera who are fighting prejudice or discrimination. They answer questions that nobody would normally dare to ask directly.  There are a lot of clichés when it comes to the police: they smoke confiscated marijuana, never get fines, are all right-wing and enjoy violence. Bap, a 27-year-old policeman, fills us in first hand on what's true and what's just a myth. (SRF/
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Taking the pulse of democracy around the globe

Swissinfo EN - Do, 05/24/2018 - 11:00
Bruno Kaufmann, a Swiss-Swedish author, has been on a tour across four continents to explore the state of modern democracy.  On his travels, our Global Democracy Correspondent met activists, independence campaigners, local journalists, Buddhist monks, high-ranking officials, Swiss diplomats and expatriates. Retrace his 200-day voyage by clicking on some of the 20 stops.
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More parents delay kindergarten start date

Swissinfo EN - Mi, 05/23/2018 - 17:00
Swiss parents are increasingly putting off the start date of kindergarten for their children in a clear push back against efforts to make enrollment mandatory by age four across the nation.   Primary level education in Switzerland covers eight years beginning with two years of kindergarten or what is known as the first learning cycle. The cantons decide when the children start, between age four and five. If a child has reached the required age by a cut-off date (between early April and late July in 24 cantons), they can start at the beginning of the next school year, which is late summer in Switzerland. In only a few German cantons is Kindergarten not compulsory or is only compulsory for one year. According to Harmos – which aims to harmonise school systems across Switzerland – the cut-off date for reaching the kindergarten age of four will be fixed at July 31 for those cantons which have signed up by 2020. This means some cantons have been progressively moving forward their ...
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Global Nuclear Fuel Awarded $250 Million-Plus Contract to Fuel Entergy Nuclear Boiling Water Reactors

News Machinery - Mi, 05/23/2018 - 15:38

Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF) today announced that it has been awarded a long-term contract by Entergy Nuclear to continue to fuel its boiling water reactors. The new fuel supply contract, valued at more than $250 million, runs from 2019 through 2031 and includes 10 reloads of GNF3. Entergy will be the first customer to take delivery of GNF3 in reload quantities. “Entergy and GNF have a long successful history of working together, but it is the opportunity to support the Entergy Nuclear flee...

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Overseeing the UN’s ‘most complex’ relief operation

Swissinfo EN - Mi, 05/23/2018 - 13:42
Every day, the United Nations food agency (WFP) needs $2 million (CHF1.98 million) to help feed vulnerable people in Syria. The Swiss humanitarian worker Jakob Kern, who has been leading the WFP’s Syria action since December 2015, talks to Swiss public television (SRF) about the challenges of his job.  After 30 months, Kern is leaving the Syrian capital Damascus, where, as WFP Syria Country Director, he has led the UN’s biggest relief operation. During this time, he oversaw 350 staff and nine field offices spread across four countries and regularly accompanied aid convoys in the troubled Middle East country, which has been wracked by over seven years of conflict.  The WFP Syria relief operation is probably the UN’s “most complex” worldwide, he told the WFP Blog in an interview in German. In Syria, WFP supplies essential food aid to elderly and handicapped people, women and children. Monthly food rations are distributed for groups of five people: around 50 kilograms of basic food ...
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Frugal lifestyles on display in Swiss open-air museum

Swissinfo EN - Mi, 05/23/2018 - 11:00
At the Ballenberg open-air museum in the Swiss Alps visitors can experience how the Swiss carved out a meagre existence in earlier centuries. Surrounded by high mountains, around 110 rural buildings are scattered on 66 hectares of undulating forested land. Grand farm houses with shingle facades or straw roofs, chalets, timbered barns, mortar-free stone houses with shingle roofs, a Mediterranean estate, alpine huts as well as a winegrower’s house create the impression that the building traditions of different nations were gathering here. But in fact, all houses are Swiss. They were collected from all over the country and faithfully reconstructed. Ballenberg Open-Air Museum The museum near Brienz is open from April 14 to October 31, 2018. It celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a series of additional events. A special exhibition is dedicated to the topic of the cow, which played an important role for the Swiss economy. The museum is also a place of research and study.
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GreenWood, Inc. Earns Prestigious BB&T Lighthouse Beam Safety Award

News Machinery - Di, 05/22/2018 - 18:19

May 22, 2018 - - GreenWood, Inc., an integrated maintenance, construction and workforce solutions provider, was recently presented with the Lighthouse Beam Safety Award by BB&T Insurance Services marking the eighth consecutive year the company has earned this prestigious award.  The award is reserved only for companies who achieve excellence in safety performance throughout their organization.  Specific emphasis is placed on the safety and health of every employee at all project levels.  T...

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Palestinian return is a right not a dream

Swissinfo EN - Di, 05/22/2018 - 16:00
The BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights writes a letter in response to remarks by Swiss foreign affairs minister Ignazio Cassis that cast United Nations aid work for Palestinian refugees as a stumbling block to peace in the Middle East. Our return is not a dream, it is an internationally recognized right. Ignazio Cassis, Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs, declared on Thursday 17 May 2018 that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is an obstacle to peace in the Middle East as it actively hinders the integration of Palestinian refugees in their host countries. Cassis claimed that the preservation of refugee camps, specifically in Jordan and Lebanon, sustains a “dream of returning home” for Palestinians who reside in them.” He added that the funding of UNRWA by the international community contributes to keeping the conflict alive. He stated, “For a long time UNRWA was the solution to this ...
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Bikers blessed on mountain pass

Swissinfo EN - Di, 05/22/2018 - 15:20
On Whit Monday, some 200 bikers were blessed on the "Col des Mosses" pass in western Switzerland. The pass was the scene of another fatal motorcycle accident just last month. The Whit Monday ceremony pays tribute to the bikers who have died in road accidents and to raise awareness of the inherent dangers. The goal of the event, organised by the biker group "Les Têtes Brûlées" (The Burnt Heads), is to comfort and support people who have lost a loved one.   The "Têtes brûlées" group was founded in the late 1970s and was disbanded after the tragic death of one of its members. The group was reborn a few years ago.
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Swiss charitable foundations continue to flourish

Swissinfo EN - Di, 05/22/2018 - 08:00
Switzerland has one of the highest concentrations of philanthropic foundations in the world - and the sector keeps growing strongly. Last year, over 13,000 grant-making foundations were registered with a combined fortune of almost CHF100 billion ($100 billion) – a 30% increase since 2012 -, a new report shows. In 2017, a new grant-making foundation was created in Switzerland almost every day (364), while at total of 187 shut up shop, taking the overall total to 13,129, according to the SwissFoundations 2017 annual report, published on Tuesday.  The report’s authors say Switzerland has one of the highest concentrations in the world – 15.6 foundations per 10,000 residents - with half of all new institutions created in the past 20 years.  The most important Swiss foundations? SwissFoundations does not rank national foundations by size or influence. Swiss foundations report their annual account information to the relevant surveillance authorities but the details are not public.  ...
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Sri Lankans in Switzerland demand justice

Swissinfo EN - Mo, 05/21/2018 - 17:00
Eleven thousand children from Sri Lanka were adopted by Western couples in the 1980s, some with fake identities. Hundreds of children who came to Switzerland are now trying to discover whether they were illegally smuggled into the country. According to the Rundschau current affairs programme on Swiss Public Television, SRF, small children were stolen in Sri Lanka, then sold or adopted. The scandal was reported at the time, but details reemerged after a recent Dutch TV report, causing  an international stir. Joëlle Schickel-Küng, head of the Central Agency for International Adoptions at the Federal Office of Justice has confirmed that the government has launched its own investigations into what seem to have been illegal practices, but as it was so long ago, the enquiry could take a long time. Baby farms Many of the adopted children have sought information about their origins in Sri Lanka. Romy Walcher was lucky enough to find her birth mother, who explained that she became ...
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Young carers face many obstacles

Swissinfo EN - Mo, 05/21/2018 - 11:00
When a parent or relative becomes ill, children might take on a caring role. Switzerland’s first ever figures show that almost 8% of children aged 10-15 are young carers – far more than previously thought. Having a parent, sibling or grandparent who is ill with cancer or suffering from depression can be life-changing for some children. They might take on extra care, household and childcare duties; they might even have to administer medicines and drips. Young carers often remain silent about their situation, says Agnes Leu, head of the Young Carers research programme at Careum Research, the institute of the Department of Health Science at the Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences in Zurich. “For me it’s like a hidden topic: either young people are hiding it because they don’t want everyone to know or their parents or the person they are caring for don’t want them to talk about it,” Leu told For the first time, Leu and her team were able to shed light on the ...
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Air Zermatt: 50 years of Alpine air rescue

Swissinfo EN - So, 05/20/2018 - 17:00
One of Switzerland’s best known air rescue services, Air Zermatt, is marking a half century of service this year. Although Air Zermatt – with one of its bases in the popular mountain resort of the same name - is most well-known for rescuing people injured or stranded on mountains, or in hard-to-reach crevasses in the Alps, it also operates sightseeing flights for tourists, taking in views of Switzerland’s iconic Matterhorn mountain or the Aletsch glacier. Material transport accounts for 60% of its flight time: moving construction materials up to sites in the mountains for Alpine huts, mountain railways or avalanche barriers. The company’s reach extends beyond their corner of Switzerland. In 2011, Air Zermatt and the Zermatt rescue station built a rescue centre in the Himalayas. The project was planned to be educational, and create an opportunity for knowledge transfer between mountain guides and air rescue pilots in Switzerland and Nepal. Peaks and troughs In the same year, ...
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Too young to care, recycled flats and a Booker Prize winner

Swissinfo EN - So, 05/20/2018 - 12:00
These are some of the stories we’re following in the week of May 21. Monday They may be young but children sometimes have to take on the burden of caring for a loved one. How many such juvenile carers exist in Switzerland and how does the responsibility affect them?  Tuesday Switzerland has one of the highest concentrations of charitable foundations in the world - and the sector is growing strongly. Last year, over 13,000 foundations were registered with a combined fortune of almost CHF100 billion ($100 billion) – a 30% increase since 2012.  We’ll report on what’s behind the recent dynamism.  Wednesday Recycled flats may become the norm in the future but in the past most Swiss lived in grim conditions. An outdoor museum hosts a collection of cramped houses from the 18th and 19th century to help shed light on a less prosperous time.  Thursday Global democracy correspondent Bruno Kaufmann has completed an incredible 200-day tour of the world ...
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Manuela Rocker: "We’re a very sporty family"

Swissinfo EN - So, 05/20/2018 - 11:00
Manuela Rocker had a tough start when she arrived in Australia 22 years ago. But the 52-year-old Swiss expat has settled into life down under, and even has a place where she can buy Swiss cheese. Originally from Lugano, she lives on the coast just outside of Sydney. Why did you leave Switzerland? Manuela Rocker: I left Switzerland in 1995 to follow my heart. How were the first few months abroad? M.R.: The first few months were all about exploring and finding out about beautiful Sydney. The language wasn't a big issue as I already had a basic knowledge of English. But driving on the other side of the road was a little challenging at times! The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Was it a one-way journey, or did you plan to return to Switzerland at some point? M.R.: It was a one-way journey even though I had a bit of a re-think and spent 11 months in ...
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New gold rush, self-driving buses and real-people jobs

Swissinfo EN - Sa, 05/19/2018 - 17:00
Almost every article published by contains a percentage, an age, an amount of money or some other figure. Here’s a round-up of the most interesting statistics to appear in the past week’s stories. Monday 100 Swiss miners said the new 'gold rush' would take them to Sweden. The cryptocurrency specialist, Alpine Mining, announced it wanted to set up a crypto mining farm in the Scandinavian nation to build its capacity for creating tokens to a 100-megawatt operation. Tuesday 26 million The canton of Geneva is set to test a system of self-driving public buses as part of an international project. It's being financed to the tune of CHF26 million, the lion's share from the European Union's Horizon 2020 funding programme. Wednesday 5 million That’s how many francs the government is contributing to fight radicalisation. The authorities want to raise awareness and provide counselling. It’s part of a three-pronged approach to combating violent extremism. Since 2001, ...
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Taking a cool dip in the archives

Swissinfo EN - Sa, 05/19/2018 - 11:00
Taking a dip in outdoor pools has a tradition in Switzerland going back 200 years. It's a custom that begins anew every May. In the 19th century, the authorities in Swiss towns began to regulate their citizens' love of stripping off and swimming in the local lakes and rivers. They began erecting wooden structures on the water's edge to separate the sexes. In Zurich, a bathhouse for women was built on the Limmat River in 1837. This "Frauenbad" still exists.  A men's bathing area was built along the old city walls in 1864, and continues to be in operation and reserved for men only. One of the first outdoor swimming baths for both men and women, Weggis-Lido, was built in 1919.  In the 1930s, numerous public baths were built, and in some cases as a way to create jobs during the economic downturn of the decade. In our series #swisshistorypics we look back on some of the earliest bathing bathing establishments in Switzerland. (Photos: Archive of Building History, ETHZ library, ...
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How to marry like a Swiss commoner

Swissinfo EN - Sa, 05/19/2018 - 08:00
How does a typical Swiss couple get married? We’ve created a handy guide on how to tie the knot in Switzerland, with the help of a study by the association of Independent Swiss Wedding Planners. Some 40,000 weddings took place in Switzerland in 2017. To marry just like a regular Swiss couple, there are a few simple rules to follow:  1. Splash out On average, Swiss couples spend CHF30,000 to CHF40,000 ($30,000 – $40,000) on their wedding – not including the cost of the dress and suits, rings or the honeymoon. “That’s probably quite a lot compared to Switzerland’s neighbouring countries,” says Simone Glarner of the Association of Independent Swiss Wedding Planners (VUSH). “Renting the wedding location is particularly expensive here and the standard of living in Switzerland is high,” Glarner explains. Just how much a wedding costs depends primarily on the number of guests and on how long the festivities go on for. “In India, people sometimes celebrate for several days or weeks – ...
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'Explosive' Swiss artist Roman Signer turns 80

Swissinfo EN - Fr, 05/18/2018 - 13:58
Roman Signer is best known for his exploding landscape performance pieces. His art is playful, full of humour and of brutal (yet quiet) poetry. Now the trailblazing Swiss performance artist turns 80. (SRF, Signer grew up in Appenzell. After an apprenticeship as a draftsman, he became a sculptor and finally continued his artistic education in Warsaw in the early 1970s. He gained international recognition for his performances in public spaces. Today, Signer lives in St Gallen. His performance art gave him a name as a demolition expert. But this reputation does not do justice to Signer’s work. He is not interested in the blast, but in the transformation of things that is triggered by it: not the destruction, but the many possibilities that can result from an explosion. Roman Signer is not a physicist – as he’s stated in the past, he doesn’t seek to explain the laws of nature. He tries to make his work intuitive. What does he like? As he told Swiss Public Television, ...
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