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OSHA to Begin Final Rule Enforcement Actions Soon to Protect Construction Workers from Respirable Crystalline Silica

News Machinery - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 14:45

On September 23[sup]rd[/sup], the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is scheduled to begin enforcement actions for the new respirable crystalline silica standard for construction. According to the agency, this final rule was issued to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney disease in America's workers by limiting their exposure to this known respirable hazard. Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in many naturally occ...

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Mistreated horses sold off at auction

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 14:14
Horse fans gathered in Schönbühl near Bern for a special auction to find new homes for a number of mistreated horses. The star was stud horse Charlie, a rare Swiss breed. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) In early August, the police in northeastern Switzerland detained a horse dealer suspected of cruelty to animals, and closed down his farm near Lake Constance. About 300 animals, including 90 horses, pigs, cows, sheep, goats and llamas were removed by the Swiss army and taken to a military centre near the city of Bern. The army's veterinary service has now sold 80 of the horses at auction. In many cases the horses didn't go to the highest bidder, instead buyers were picked in a draw, giving private owners and animal rights groups the chance to re-home some of the animals.
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When you cast your vote far from home

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 11:00
Why do the Swiss abroad vote differently from the Swiss at home? An expert takes a closer look at the political profile of the Swiss diaspora. Political expert Thomas Milic has researched the political profile of Swiss expats. He's an expert on voting, parliamentary research and political psychology at the research centre Sotomo. He also regularly works for the Centre for Democracy Aarau. In our new series, 'Inside the Democracy Labs', researchers answer all kinds of questions about democracy.
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Pension reform vote looks set for close result

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 06:00
Most Swiss citizens support reform of the old age pension system and the necessary increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), according to an opinion poll. But there is strong opposition against the plans, which will come to a nationwide vote next month. Supporters of both ideas are 11% and 12% ahead respectively in a survey commissioned by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation – swissinfo.ch’s parent company – and published on Friday. “The result on September 24 could be close and the debates promise to be heated,” says Lukas Golder of the leading GfS Bern research and polling institute, which carried out the survey at the beginning of August. He believes that the media will play an important part in the coming days and weeks, helping citizens form an opinion on a complex issue. The sweeping reform, narrowly approved by parliament earlier this year, foresees raising the retirement age for women from 64 to 65 in line with men, a reduction in the so-called minimum conversion rate for ...
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Hand In Hand With Shantui Group HBIS Hansteel Developing High End Special Steel

News Machinery - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 20:31

After nine months of continuing efforts, HBIS Hansteel has recently received the Shantui Group Supplier Certificate in order to deliver special steel to manufacture high end bulldozers. The is the first time that HBIS Hansteel high quality special steel being adopted to manufacturer tracks of engineering equipment. Its efforts of obtaining the certificate has been the shortest among its contenders.The Shantui Certificate also could help HBIS to expand its cooperation with Sany Group and ot...

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A life-changing art project

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 17:00
Tama Vakeesan was born in Switzerland – to Tamil parents from Sri Lanka. This week, Tama visits the Kidswest Association set up a decade ago in Bern, which introduces art to disadvantaged children and can even change their lives, as one former participant explains. (SRF Kulturplatz/swissinfo.ch)
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Historic building rolls downhill

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 16:35
A 140-year-old mansion in northeast Switzerland has been moved 20 metres downhill. Swiss television went behind the scenes of the spectacular operation. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) The historic Jakob mansion in St Gallen had to make space for the construction of an old people’s home.  Some 2,700 tonnes of material had to be shifted millimetre by millimetre along steel tracks with the aid of hydraulic presses. For engineer Rolf Iten and his company, the operation on Wednesday was a special challenge: the new location lies on a lower level. In order to prevent the mansion from sliding downhill out of control, a special breaking mechanism had to be installed. The operation took months of planning and preparation. The basement had to be removed and replaced by stilts to support the building. The operation attracted many spectators. Some locals wondered whether this was worth the high costs or whether the house should have been torn down. However, the mansion is protected and the owners were ...
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E-voting pilot project seen as a big success

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 11:00
A first-time experiment in allowing Swiss citizens to cast their votes online for the Council of the Swiss Abroad has proven to be popular in two countries. Voters were enthusiastic about the pilot project, which relies on an e-voting system from the canton of Geneva to pick delegates to the "parliament of the Fifth Switzerland", a news media term for the council because it represents Swiss expatriates' interests before authorities and public opinion in Switzerland. In June, Swiss living in Australia and Mexico could vote electronically for council delegates for the first time. “E-voting is the future. We were also able to reach more voters this way,” Carmen Trochsler writes to us from Adelaide. The delegate of the Council of the Swiss Abroad, who achieved top results in the elections, sums up what is actually revolutionary about this pilot project. This time around, all Swiss living abroad, who had given their email address to the embassy, were able to vote. “Yes, this is a ...
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"So that every child can get to know their roots"

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 11:00
For a century, the Foundation for Young Swiss Abroad (FYSA) has made it possible for children with Swiss roots to spend their holidays in Switzerland. The foundation’s CEO, Loic Roth, spoke with swissinfo.ch and portrayed some of the camp participants.​​​​​​​ The foundation was created during in 1917, before the end of the First World War, to give Swiss children living in disaster-torn places abroad a few tranquil weeks back home living with host families. Then in the 1960s, the foundation organised the first holiday camps for children who are among the hundreds of thousands of Swiss citizens living in another country. There are now almost 760,000 Swiss abroad, either temporarily or permanently. "The goal remains the same for us even after 100 years: every child, irrespective of the financial situation of the family, is given the opportunity to come to Switzerland and get to know its roots," Roth said. Some children form lifelong friendships with other Swiss at the two-week ...
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50 years of Bosch electric fuel pumps

News Machinery - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 10:20

- - • Bosch electric fuel pumps reliably supply injection systems of gasoline and diesel engines with fuel - • Wide OE product range and efficient maintenance - • Continuous further development of fuel pumps into smaller, more robust, more powerful and more efficient fuel pumps - - - Concomitant with the world's first electronic manifold-pressure-controlled gasoline injection system – Bosch D-Jetronic – launched in 1967, the newly developed electric gasoline pump was first used as well. Acc...

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New FDT Group Members to Help Advance Connected World of Industrial Automation

News Machinery - Thu, 08/17/2017 - 05:03

Toky Electrical Co. Ltd., a major supplier of electrical meters and controllers, and Westlock Controls, a developer of advanced solutions for networking, monitoring and controlling process valves, are the latest companies to join FDT Group. This independent, international, not-for-profit industry association consists of leading companies and organizations active in industrial automation and manufacturing. Its major purpose is to provide an open standard for enterprise-wide network and asse...

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Swiss tourist industry challenged by cultural differences

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 16:56
The recent incident at an Arosa hotel, which had put up a sign instructing Jewish guests to shower before using the swimming pool, has raised the question of how well Swiss hotel and tourism staff are geared up to cater for visitors from other cultures.  “We have ongoing communication with all our hotels – how to correctly welcome tourist groups. But based on this recent incident, we must intensify efforts and point out to hotels what is not possible or not tolerated,” Pascal Jenny, director of Arosa tourism office, told the Blick newspaper on Wednesday.  The Swiss mountain resort has been welcoming Jewish visitors for many years. But the recent posting of a sign at the Aparthaus Paradies hotel in canton Graubünden caught many people by surprise, sparking outrage from Jewish organisations and the Israeli authorities claiming it was anti-Semitic, and damage limitation by the Swiss authorities.  The sign read: “To our Jewish guests, women, men and children, please take a shower ...
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Why don’t Swiss voters choose their cabinet ministers?

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 14:00
Letting the people have the final say is a cornerstone of the Swiss political system. But there is a notable exception: voters can’t choose members of the cabinet. This is the privilege of parliament, which on September 20 will pick a successor to Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter. The reason for this “flaw” in direct democracy is buried in Swiss history. The number of cabinet members as well as the election procedure have remained unchanged since 1848, the founding of modern Switzerland. Vacant seat The Swiss government is made up of seven ministries. Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter has announced he will step down at the end of October.  The parliamentary group of the centre-right Radical Party will present a shortlist of official candidates on September 1. Parliament will elect a new cabinet member on September 20. “At that time, the idea of a representative democracy was dominant. Direct democracy existed merely at a very early stage,” says Nenad Stojanovic, researcher ...
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NASA Awards Contract to Extend Operations of Research, Development Center

News Machinery - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 12:58

NASA has awarded a contract to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California, to extend operations of the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), also in Pasadena, through Sept. 30, 2018. This contract extends the agreement between Caltech and NASA for management of JPL beyond its current expiration date of Sept. 30, and has a maximum value of $2.5 billion. Work on the cost plus fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract begins Oct. 1. The pu...

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Reframing the Swiss immigration debate

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 11:00
Discussions about immigration, in Switzerland and elsewhere, are often plagued by the prejudices and presumptions of both sides. A new book attempts to go beyond ‘pro’ vs ‘anti’. “In Western Europe, most citizens prefer less immigration,” says Philipp Lutz, PhD candidate at the University of Bern and editor of the book Neuland (NZZ libro, in German). These days, this statement might come as less of a surprise than some years ago. But it nevertheless raises the paradox at the heart of migration policy in this part of the world: lots of people want less, but politicians are loath to stop it, both for economic and normative reasons. It also seems a strange statement to make for a researcher who is, above all, interested in the benefits of migration. But for Lutz, and for the academics and contributors who fed into the book, subtitled ‘Swiss Migration Policy in the 21st century’, black-and-white visions of ‘for or against’ migration need to be shelved. “Immigration is often seen as ...
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Off-grid power not a silver bullet for rural India

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 11:00
A quarter of Indian households have no access to electricity. Swiss researcher Michaël Aklin - who studied the impact of solar microgrids in the country's villages - opines on whether off-grid solar power could change people's lives.  People living in wealthy countries rarely stop to consider the benefits of electricity. Consider, for a moment, the plight of households that have no electricity. Many rely on kerosene for lighting – a poor-quality, polluting source of light that is bad for health. They cannot use fans, despite the sometimes-unbearable heat. Mobile phone charging must be done elsewhere. This makes calling family members, receiving information about the weather (important for farming), or processing payments harder. Fridges, which keep food and drugs safe for consumption, cannot be used. And electric machinery, essential for many small businesses, is not available.  Off-grid technologies offer a potential solution to this problem. By off-grid, I mean a ...
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Swiss expats feel ‘messed around’ by banks

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 15:08
Accounts are either closed or suddenly subjected to an additional bank charge of almost CHF500 ($518) a year. For Swiss living abroad, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep an account at home. Claude Ruchti* is extremely disappointed. The 55-year-old Swiss ex-banker lives in southern Burgundy, France. He owns several properties in Switzerland, which he lets. For many years, he has had several accounts at the BSU Clientis Bank Uster. A little while ago, he tried to withdraw cash at the counter. “They informed me that the bank was going to close all my accounts apart from the rent deposits. The reason: domicile abroad,” Ruchti protested and even handed over his tax documents. “I have declared everything honestly.” Nothing helped. An hour later, Ruchti left the branch with more than CHF50,000 in cash. “I don’t understand why a Swiss person who owns property and land in Switzerland would be chased out onto the street like a dog,” he says. Deeply disappointed Another ...
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Rarefied beauty found in Alps and adverts

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 14:00
Fuzzy and white, Edelweiss flowers are a lucky find for hikers, and a ubiquitous sight on Swiss marketing materials. The hairs on their petals, more accurately described as bracts, help Edelweiss to survive the harsh alpine climate’s cold dry air and ultraviolet rays. Edelweiss have long been used in folk medicine as well as cosmetics. They are also a popular symbol in the mountaineering, military and tourism sectors. Edelweiss are part of the daisy and sunflower family. They also grow in the Himalayas, China and Siberia. The Latin name suggests how rugged they are: Leontopodium alpinum means lion paws. But in Switzerland, they almost succumbed to the attention of overzealous fans who nearly plucked them into extinction. Since the 1970s, Edelweiss have been a protected species throughout their Swiss range. Alpine anthem Those who’ve seen the film The Sound of Music might recall Captain Georg von Trapp – played by Canadian actor Christopher Plummer – singing about the pretty ...
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Swiss expats in fighting spirit over banking service

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 11:00
The Swiss expatriates are turning up the heat on Swiss institutions to grant discrimination-free access to financial services. The issue has plagued the community for nearly a decade. “Enough is enough,” says Ariane Rustichelli, director of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA). Parliament in May threw out a call by a member of the House of Representatives urging the government to propose a legal amendment aimed at guaranteeing Swiss expats the right to open a bank account with a major Swiss bank. The result was close in the House – with an unusually high number of parliamentarians abstaining from the vote. In the debate, Finance Minister Ueli Maurer argued banks had to be free to make their own risk assessment in a liberal system. Parliament’s refusal infuriated the Swiss expat community which let their anger show in e-mails and letters to the OSA and to individual politicians, according to Rustichelli. In response, two new motions were filed separately in parliament – ...
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The Swiss fitness blogger working up a sweat in Turkey

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 10:10
It was love that first brought Doris Hofer to Turkey, where she then became one of the country’s leading fitness bloggers. The current political situation however, has her evaluating her options.  An intimate portrait by Swiss public television, SRF, of a local online rising star. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) Doris Hofer is 41 years old and for the last 12 years has been a resident of Istanbul. A leading nutrition and fitness book author and blogger, she has an estimated quarter of a million people every day following her lead through her apps and social media pages. Online she is known as 'SquatGirl', motivating people to lead a healthier lifestyle through exercise and by improving their eating habits.  Hofer came to the country after marrying a Turkish businessman. She learned Turkish and studied to become a personal trainer. After her divorce, she started to blog, an activity that she has continued for the last three and a half years, and that has brought increased recognition, ...
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