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Government’s stance on nuclear ban under scrutiny

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:32
Switzerland has decided not to sign a treaty banning nuclear arms saying it puts at risk the country’s approach to disarmament and security policies. But disarmament expert Marc Finaud questions the government’s arguments. Switzerland was one of 122 states to adopt the United Nations treaty in July 2017. As a result the government asked a working group to consider the pros and cons of ratifying the document. “During the negotiations Switzerland noted numerous issues requiring clarification. Since then, an interdepartmental working group headed by the Foreign Ministry has concluded that, from today's perspective, for Switzerland the arguments against an accession to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) outweigh the potential opportunities of an accession,” according to a government statement published on Wednesday. “The report is very detailed. All aspects of the treaty have been covered, be it legal, humanitarian, military, political and economic,” says Marc ...
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The crowd, the digital motivator, and his mobile phone

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:00
The tall young man looks like... well, a tall young man, dressed casually, fluffy stubble around the jaw, friendly dark eyes. Just as he was described in several newspaper articles over the past few months. And yes, Dimitri Rougy does come across as open-minded, clued-up, curious and passionate about politics all at the same time. Needless to say, the digital campaigner produces his mobile phone, which he puts on the table, when we meet in a café not far from parliament in the Swiss capital, Bern. Always reachable, his fingers twitching to send out a tweet, post a picture, answer a call? He politely apologises for the delay. He missed a train – entirely his fault, he says. Rougy is one of a team of four using a new form of crowd campaigning and social media to challenge a law cracking down on suspected welfare fraudsters. The 21-year old’s star has risen ever since he and three other citizens decided to collect the 50,000 signatures needed – as part of the direct democratic ...
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Perils of haven status haunt rebounding Swiss economy

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:13
Business is good this summer for the operator of cable cars that take tourists to near the summit of the 3,000 metre Titlis mountain in the Swiss Alps, where a shop sells luxury watches to Asian and other tourists. “We reached quite a high [revenue] level in 2017 — maybe this year is even better,” said Peter Reinle, marketing director at Titlis Bergbahnen. Like the cable cars on Titlis, the Swiss economy is again reaching the heights. Since a severe foreign exchange shock in 2015, which saw exports wilt as the franc soared against the euro, Swiss industries have staged an impressive recovery, buoyed by a global economic upturn — with tourism boosted by rising visitor numbers, particularly from China. “The weather is favourable, the Swiss franc is a bit less strong and the economic situation in Europe is better — people can afford Switzerland again,” said Maurice Rapin, head of tourism at the Swiss cable car association. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is cautiously projecting ...
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Manufactured Assemblies Corporation and Logic PD Together Expand Suite of Capabilities

News Machinery - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 17:49

Cable & wire harness and box build/kiosk assembly experts Manufactured Assemblies Corporation (MAC) announced today that it has expanded its offering to provide advanced product design & engineering capabilities and electronics manufacturing services (EMS) through its new partnership with Minnesota-based Logic PD. -   - “Our relationship with Logic PD really opens up the possibility for both companies to build deeper, more beneficial relationships with our customers,” said Bradley J. Nime...

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US plane wreck to be cleared from Swiss Alps

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 17:00
Over 70 years after its emergency landing, a US military plane is emerging from a melting glacier in Switzerland. Local authorities want to clear the wreckage before winter.  The American Dakota C-53, which landed on the Gauli Glacier in the Bernese Oberland in 1946, is a magnet for visitors thanks to its exposed propellers, wings and engine parts.  But not for much longer. Recently, the crash site was visited by the mayor of Innertkirchen and representatives of the Bernese archaeology and environmental departments. Although there is some oil spillage, there is no immediate risk to the local environment, they found. Now they must decide what should happen to the remains of the plane, which could interest museums. The clean-up is expected to begin in September.  On November 19, 1946, the American Dakota C-53 came off course in the fog before making a safe landing high in the Bernese Alps, where it was spotted by coincidence at an altitude of 3,350 meters on the Gauli Glacier.  ...
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'I've got elf ears, a split tongue and canine teeth, but I'm not a freak'

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 17:00
"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.  Sandy is 28-years-old, an entrepreneur, dog owner and body artist. She's had operations to lengthen her canine teeth, add scars to her chin, split her tongue and make her ears look elf-like. She has a magnet embedded in her finger.  Sandy tells True Talk about the prejudices she faces because of her appearance and ponders on what society would gain by just accepting her for who she is.
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Most wear-resistant metal alloy in the world engineered at Sandia National Laboratories

News Machinery - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 14:16

If you're ever unlucky enough to have a car with metal tires, you might consider a set made from a new alloy engineered at Sandia National Laboratories. You could skid — not drive, skid — around the Earth's equator 500 times before wearing out the tread. Sandia's materials science team has engineered a platinum-gold alloy believed to be the most wear-resistant metal in the world. It's 100 times more durable than high-strength steel, making it the first alloy, or combination of metals, in...

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Radical change for Swiss agricultural policy goes to vote

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 11:00
Farmers should be providing the local population with food produced in a sustainable way: that’s the vision behind an initiative going before voters in September. Opponents fear it will result in excessive state intervention in the agricultural market and a pricing policy that could be detrimental to foreign trade. The food sovereignty initiative was launched by the trade union groups Uniterre and L’autre syndicat from the French-speaking part of Switzerland in 2014 and is supported mainly by leftwing parties and an alliance of development aid and environmental groups. If passed, it would radically change Swiss agricultural policy. The initiative text is among the longest in the history of Swiss direct democracy. It outlines a ten-point programme for diversified and sustainable local agriculture, free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), with an emphasis on job creation and good salary conditions. It is based on the concept of food sovereignty developed by Via Campesina, ...
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Initiative aims to tighten food checks and balances

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 11:00
Do you know where the food on your plate has come from? An initiative before voters on September 23 aims to make the food we eat more ethical. Supporters say it will make production more sustainable, while opponents have criticised it as an utopian idea that will cost the consumer dearly. According to the ‘Fair Food’ initiative', the public should be eating food that meets the most stringent environmental and social standards. It comes in the wake of various food scandals in Europe, including the 2013 discovery of horse meat in beef lasagna products. The production of fruit and vegetables in the Almeria region of southern Spain, known as "the vegetable garden of Europe", was also a factor. European supermarkets are supplied year-round with strawberries, tomatoes or aubergines that have been intensively farmed in massive greenhouses. A feat that relies in part on migrants, who work in precarious conditions for only a few francs an hour, as shown in a report on the Kassensturz ...
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How does Switzerland compare when it comes to university tuition fees?

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 08:25
The US and UK are the top destinations for international students looking to study abroad. Can relatively low tuition fees help Switzerland give them a run for their money? This June, swissinfo.ch asked readers what they would like to know about the university system in the US, UK and Switzerland. Our correspondents in these three countries then set about finding the answers. Here is what they were able to dig up about tuition fees: For the 2016/2017 school year, students from India and China made up about 50% of all international students in the US. The bulk of them were from China, but the growth of Indian students is outpacing those from China. These students are largely attracted to graduate-level, and practical training programs. Some universities target Indian students directly, like Arizona State University that offers fast-facts about its degree programs, or even the prevalence of Hinduism in the state. American universities tend to like international students because ...
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Pöyry awarded Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management Services assignment by SunPine for Biorefinery expansion in Piteå, Sweden

News Machinery - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 18:23

SunPine AB has awarded Pöyry with the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services assignment for SunPine biorefinery expansion project in Piteå, Sweden. The assignment includes all engineering disciplines, project management services, procurement and construction management services. Pöyry has been involved in the study phase of the project and has now the role to further develop the project in accordance with the conditions, standards and procedures of the existin...

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‘My parents loved me as if I were their own child’

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 11:00
​​​​​​​ With photographs and audio recordings, the photographer Carmela Harshani Odoni shows how adoption can be a stroke of good luck or bad luck. She was adopted and taken from Sri Lanka, and to this day, she hasn’t managed to trace her birth parents. Nonetheless, she is happy.  Carmela Harshani Odoni’s apartment in the Schosshalde district of Bern radiates family contentment and happiness: children‘s clothes lie alongside a laptop, a family calendar on the wall reminds everyone to take the dog for a walk, mice are burrowing noisily in sawdust in a spacious cage designed for their comfort. A terrier jumps around barking, gets stroked on his tummy, and then makes himself comfortable on a sofa on the balcony.  Carmela Harshani Odoni Carmela Harshani Odoni was born in 1980 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. When she was three weeks old, she was adopted by Swiss foster parents and grew up in Lucerne. After a photography apprenticeship and an internship at the Neue Luzerner Zeitung, she ...
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Why Swiss people use CHF200 banknotes

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 09:37
​​​​​​​ The Swiss National Bank is rolling out its newest banknote – and it’s one that people will actually use in the high street despite its high value.  Starting next week, Swiss ATMs, cash registers and wallets will carry the latest CHF200 note, which is worth about $202. Wallets, you ask? Indeed, especially those of people who forget to ask for small notes when withdrawing cash.  “The CHF200 note is a part of Swiss history. We’re used to paying with 200- or even 1,000-franc notes. And the stores say money is money,” points out Rafael Domeisen from the ZHAW School of Management and Law. + Why Switzerland still has a CHF1,000 note He says that unlike a €200 note ($227), the risk that a CHF200 is fake is much lower, thanks especially to the security features of this latest series of Swiss banknotes. Unveiled on Wednesday, the CHF200 bill features images related to scientific exploration.  Zurich business psychologist Christian Fichter agrees that the Swiss don’t worry ...
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Reliving the 1918 General Strike

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 08:00
The General Strike on November 12, 1918 was the most serious political crisis ever faced by the Swiss confederation, the climax of class tensions that had been building up for decades. In August, a theatre group in Olten plans to show the world how the drama played out. The stoppage was the culmination of the social unrest at the end of the First World War that swept across Switzerland and other European countries. In Switzerland, the entrepreneurial classes made enormous sums of money out of the war, and farmers also improved their lot. But the workers became increasingly poor, suffering from high inflation, low salaries and food shortages. The call to strike was launched by the Comité d’Olten (“Olten Committee”), an action group of Social Democratic Party members and trade unionists. Nearly 250,000 people responded and the country was paralysed. In the municipality of Grenchen, in the north-western canton of Solothurn, three strikers were killed by the Swiss Army on November ...
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GreenWood, Inc. Earns Affinity Insurance Risk Control Safety Award

News Machinery - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 17:48

Greenville, SC - - August 14, 2018 - - GreenWood, Inc., an integrated operations, maintenance and construction solutions provider, has been recognized with the Affinity Insurance Risk Control Bronze Award for success in safety and claims management.  The Bronze level award is reserved only for companies in the top 3% of all member companies.        A comprehensive risk control survey and audit performed by independent risk management safety professionals was required for GreenWood to qual...

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TerraForm Power, Inc. Selects GE Renewable Energy For New Digital Services Agreement

News Machinery - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:56

Today TerraForm Power, Inc. (“TerraForm”) announced that GE Renewable Energy has been selected to provide a range of services for its North American wind fleet, one of the region's largest with more than 900 turbines. The agreement leverages GE's service and digital capabilities to improve and optimize turbine performance while enabling the ability to deliver unique customer-focused financial outcomes and metrics. As part of the agreement, GE Renewable Energy will take on the remote manag...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=227458

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Siemens and PowerCell to collaborate in fuel cell systems for ships

News Machinery - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:21

Siemens and Power Cell Sweden AB, a Swedish producer of fuel cell modules, are to enter into a partnership in order to drive forward the integration of fuel cell modules in shipping. The aim of the collaboration is to develop an energy supply system for vessels which is based on fuel cells. Siemens will supply the SISHIP BlueDrive integrated energy and propulsion system into which PowerCell will install its fuel cell modules. Possible joint projects could include energy supply systems for...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=227457

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Alpine 'rollercoaster' goes viral

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 14:19
A video of a ride on the Gelmer funicular - one of the steepest mountain railways in Europe - has gone viral, having been seen by millions of people on Instagram. The power company that produces hydroelectricity from dams near the Grimsel pass in the Bernese Alps opened the  funicular to the public in 2001. Up until then it had been in service to provide employees with access to the many dams and turbine plants on the pass. It's become a popular tourist attraction due to its near vertical ascent and descent down the mountainside in open carriages. But now a video of the descent, done in time lapse, could make it even more popular. The national tourism marketing body told swissinfo.ch that such viral posts reach people who may have never considered holidaying in Switzerland. The office said it would begin using more "influencer marketing" (targeting influential people) in future alongside traditional approaches. The viral video was posted on the "Visit Switzerland" ...
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When school holidays might be too long

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 14:00
Children in Switzerland are returning to school after the long summer break. But have they forgotten much of what they learned before the holidays? Mid to late August means the end of the summer holidays for most school children. Many, it seems, will not have looked at a school book for some time, which might be a problem. “What is clear, is that the longer the holidays, the greater the tendency to forget what was learned during the school year,” confirmed educationalist Bruno Suchaut to Swiss public radio RTS. According to recent studies from Germany, Austria and Sweden, this is particularly true for maths, but less so for reading, although writing also suffers. In the United States, which has done more research on the area, the phenomenon is known as “Summer learning loss”. It is particularly true for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, the US results show. In France, too, the effect on children from less privileged backgrounds, especially at primary school level, ...
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Swiss to vote on enshrining cycling in the constitution

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 11:00
Promote bike transport and build suitable infrastructure: this is the objective of a proposal to enshrine cycle paths in the Swiss constitution, to be voted on this September 23. A necessary step, for government and parliament. The Swiss People’s Party is the sole opponent. The article in the Swiss constitution on the principles of maintaining footpaths and hiking trails was accepted by the nation’s voters forty years ago. Will the current proposal to extend this article to cover bike paths have the same success at the polls? Swiss voters will decide on September 23. But one thing is already clear: four decades later, the context is similar. This time, as before, it all began with a popular initiative, withdrawn after a government counter-proposal (in German) gathered broad-based support in parliament. Consensus This time, with the initiative “for the promotion of bike paths as well as footpaths and trails (bike initiative)”, as 40 years ago with the initiative “to increase ...
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