Home | Feed aggregator | Categories

News EN

Ken Loach on wealthy Switzerland and how to film capitalism

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 17:00
British film director Ken Loach, known for his bleak social critiques, discusses his informative experiences and whether he's an 'angry old man'.
Categories: News EN

Yoga's soul, the pope's visit and a polar summit

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 12:00
Here are the stories we'll be following the week of June 18, 2018. Monday Bex is a veritable melting pot of cultures: it was one of the first towns in western Switzerland to have an asylum centre, and a third of its 7,000 residents are foreigners. How does multiculturalism and integration work in practice? swissinfo.ch spoke with citizens new and old to get a sense of lessons learned. Tuesday Starting on Tuesday we’ll be in Davos - not for the annual WEF conference - but for the Polar2018 summit. Since the International Polar Year 2007-2008, it’s the first time that leading Arctic and Antarctic researchers are convening in one place. About 2,000 people are expected, with one main theme being how mountain research can be applied to the poles. Wednesday In preparation for Pope Francis' eagerly-awaited visit to Geneva on June 21 next, we run through what's to be expected – highlights, logistics, and debates – from the first papal visit to Switzerland since 2004.
Categories: News EN

‘Big differences between the law and reality’

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 11:00
How does a Swiss person integrate in Russia? Having Russian friends and an interest in local history, culture and sport can help, says 45-year-old Daniel Rehmann, a businessman representing Swiss expatriates living in Russia. swissinfo.ch: Why did you choose to live in Russia? Was it by chance, or planned? Daniel Rehmann: It was a result of how business was building up here and my academic further education at the University of St Petersburg. It wasn’t planned. I met some people on a trip to St Petersburg who proposed cooperating with me in building up a tourism business. That’s how I got started here. It was also during the economic boom in Russia and there were plenty of business opportunities. So I stayed and built up my own small business while furthering my education at local Russian universities.  swissinfo.ch: How did you imagine Russia before you arrived – what were your expectations? D.R.: I had visited Russia a few times previously and made some contacts here, so I ...
Categories: News EN

Welcome to the World Cup of Direct Democracy

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:00
What if the World Cup were decided not by playing football but by the quality of each nation’s direct democracy?  The 32 teams which qualified for the tournament currently underway in Russia did so on very different merits from what counts in the World Cup of Direct Democracy. This tournament is decided by free and fair elections, the rule of law, and comprehensive forms of participatory and direct democracy. Here is how such a contest would play out among the 32 countries, through eight groups and a 16-team playoff.  Group A: The Beauty and the Beasts  Uruguay has been a pioneering and longstanding practitioner of direct democracy since the early 20th century. But who wins second place? The far-from-democratic Russia, with a nod to the well-drafted-if-little-used Soviet referendum tool, noses out the even less democratic countries of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. {1. Uruguay, 2. Russia, 3. Egypt, 4. Saudi Arabia}  Group B: A Regional Contest with a Guest  Three neighbouring ...
Categories: News EN

Stray cats, dates of birth and overseas wealth

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:00
Almost every article published by swissinfo.ch 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 108 The number of years Basel carnival has been run by a man. The committee for the annual event has now got its first woman chair, Pia Inderbitzin.   Tuesday 300,000 Apparently there are between 100,000 and 300,000 stray cats prowling around Switzerland! Animal welfare groups are calling for owners to castrate their cats so they don’t mate with stray ones and have kittens.  Wednesday 00.00 Swiss passports and ID cards will no longer discriminate against people who do not know their date of birth. Until now, the birthdate section on such documents recorded 00.00, which created problems for holders at border controls and shopping online.  Thursday 52 The percentage of Swiss people who trust the news, up six points on last year.  Friday 2,300,000,000,000 ...
Categories: News EN

Swiss welfare pioneer SUVA turns 100

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 06/16/2018 - 11:00
One hundred years ago, the Swiss Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA) was established. While the focus used to be occupational accidents and diseases, leisure accidents have become more common.  In the second half of the 19th century, industrialization led to social problems in Switzerland: poverty was widespread, factory work harsh and dangerous. Those who fell ill or had an accident were not covered.  In 1900, Swiss voters soundly rejected a bill to provide compulsory accident and health insurance. It was not until 1912 that they agreed to obligatory health insurance.  In 1918, the Swiss Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA) began operations. Companies whose employees were exposed to a significant risk of occupational accidents or disease were required to sign up for SUVA’s insurance. Later, SUVA took on risk prevention and accident rehabilitation. The insurance system maintained a distinction between illnesses and accidents, regardless of the cause of an accident. Today, SUVA has ...
Categories: News EN

‘You’re going to school, not out clubbing’

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:00
Revealing summer clothing has sparked the question of whether Swiss schools need dress codes.  Earlier this month, a high school in a small town north of the capital, Bern, sent an email advising students on how they should dress for lessons. However, only the girls received the email featuring drawings and photos of “no-gos”, like cleavage-baring tops and hot pants. Some girls complained in the local media that they felt discriminated against – especially after discovering that the original no-go graphic had also featured tips for boys on dressing appropriately.  “It’s a topic that comes up every time the temperature rises,” high school headmaster Barbara Kunz told the newspaper Bernerzeitung on Monday, a week after emailing her female students. Kunz said that she had wanted to make the girls aware of the effect that their appearance might have on others. As her note to the girls pointed out, “Remember, you’re going to school, and not out clubbing or to the beach”. It did not ...
Categories: News EN

Large Hadron Collider to get bigger and brighter

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:26
The world’s largest particle collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern) near Geneva is getting a massive upgrade. The goal: to turn it into a more powerful machine by 2026…and hopefully unlock new insights into physics.  Cern’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) runs around a 27-kilometre (17-mile) circular tunnel deep under the border between Switzerland and France. On Friday, two ceremonies were held – one in each country – to officially mark the start of the work to upgrade the collider to the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC). What is the LHC? Physicists have been smashing particles together at near light-speed in the underground LHC – the world’s most powerful particle accelerator – north of Geneva since 2010. Why? These high-energy collisions of protons are very useful for investigating particle physics, dark matter, antimatter and other secrets of the universe.  It was at Cern that researchers first discovered evidence, in 2012, of the elusive subatomic Higgs ...
Categories: News EN

World Cup: ‘You have to separate sport and politics’

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 14:48
As the football World Cup kicks off in Russia, the Swiss finance minister tells swissinfo.ch about the “difficult situation” concerning sanctions between the two countries and why he doesn’t support a boycott of the tournament.  While Alain Berset, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, and Sports Minister Guy Parmelin will both watch the Swiss team in action – Berset is also trying to sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin – Finance Minister Ueli Maurer says he is still trying to make room in his diary.  swissinfo.ch spoke to Maurer at an official reception at the Russian Embassy in Bern for the opening ceremony of the World Cup on Thursday.  swissinfo.ch: When was the last time you visited Russia?  Ueli Maurer: For the Olympic Games in Sochi four years ago. I haven’t been since.  swissinfo.ch: When you think of Russia, what’s the first thing that springs to mind?  U.M.: Sport, literature and music. I’m a big fan of Russian literature. Tolstoy, for ...
Categories: News EN

Charlie Chaplin goes to China (again)

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 14:00
The Chinese public is rekindling its romance with Charlie Chaplin at a new exhibition in Shanghai, made possible thanks to a loan from Switzerland's photography museum, the Musée de L'Elysée. The museum and Swiss national film archive have lent the major retrospective exhibit, running from June 8 to October 7 at Shanghai’s Yuz Museum, film reels and posters.  Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein once said: “"I wish I knew what kind of eyes you had to look at the world to see it as Chaplin saw it." The Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne has turned that musing into a touching and exhaustive tribute of the comedian,  Charlie Chaplin. A vision. which is being presented by the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Tatiana Franck, director of L'Elysée, recalls ceiving a visit from Budi Tek, Sino-Indonesian founder of the Yuz Museum, which was created in 2014. “He discovered the Chaplin Archives in our possession. Astounded by the richness of of our photographic collection, he asked us to set up an ...
Categories: News EN

‘Neutrality no longer means passivity’

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 11:00
Hardly any countries are as well connected as Switzerland. That is why Christa Markwalder believes that an active foreign policy is so important. The 42-year-old politician has just taken over the presidency of the Swiss Society for Foreign Policy. swissinfo.ch: What are the main challenges for Switzerland’s foreign policy? Christa Markwalder: The whole world is changing. After decades of establishing democracy in the countries of the former Eastern bloc, we’re now witnessing new autocratic tendencies. Under Donald Trump, the United States is experiencing a volatile, if not chaotic, presidency. An increasing number of non-state actors are getting involved in today’s conflicts and wars, and proxy wars are being waged. Christa Markwalder Christa Markwalder has represented the centre-right Radical Party in the House of Representatives since 2003.  She is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which she presided over in 2010/2011, and advocates for bilateral relations such as ...
Categories: News EN

Swiss firms lack ‘unified approach’ on business and human rights

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 17:44
Companies in Switzerland are quite active when it comes to corporate social responsibility, but a common approach is lacking and many large firms are unfamiliar with their international human rights obligations, says business ethics campaigner Chantal Peyer.  Peyer, head of business and human rights at the Swiss non-governmental organisation Bread for All, was in Geneva on Thursday for the Second Swiss Global Compact Dialogue, a conference on “Sustainable production and consumption: a challenge and chance for Swiss business”. The Swiss initiative, comprising 56 members including ABB, Nestlé and Vale, is part of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative. The Swiss branch has just announced a four-year campaign to promote responsible business among firms in the small alpine country.  Bread for All is part of a coalition of 105 NGOs, church groups, unions and campaigners behind the Responsible Business Initiative, ...
Categories: News EN

‘Our children have two mothers who love each other’

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 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.  Meet Luana: she's 43, self-employed as a driving instructor and is in a same-sex relationship. She and her partner have four children between them. Luana carries her (new) sexual orientation with pride. "Sure, I was surprised at first when I fell in love with a woman. And at the beginning, of course, it was hard to think how we would cope with that, having four children." The outing was well accepted by everyone around her. She thinks that in Switzerland some improvements could still be brought in at the political level: "It would be nice if lesbian couples adopted children - and were also allowed to marry in a church.
Categories: News EN

'Our children have two mothers who love each other.'

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 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.  Meet Luana: she's 43 years old, self-employed as a driving instructor and is in a same-sex relationship. She and her partner have four children between them. Luana carries her (new) sexual orientation with pride. "Sure, I was surprised at first when I fell in love with a woman. And at the beginning, of course, it was hard to think how we would cope with that, having four children." The outing was well accepted by everyone around her. She thinks that in Switzerland some improvements could still be brought in at the political level: "It would be nice if lesbian couples adopted children - and were also allowed to marry in a church.
Categories: News EN

Swiss shooting event draws fewer gun enthusiasts

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 16:19
Shooting in Switzerland is no longer as popular as it once was. There were 20,000 fewer participants at the recent Swiss field shooting competition than there were ten years ago. Nationwide, around 130,000 shooters took part in shooting competitions last weekend during what is considered the world’s largest shooting festival. Weapons are closely linked to Swiss traditions and the country’s sense of identity. Tens of thousands of members of the army keep their weapons tucked away in closets at home after the end of their compulsory military service. Underaged participants can also handle assault rifles at the shooting range as members of shooting clubs. But the Swiss Shooting association is experiencing a gradual decline in membership. In addition to a fall in the number of participants, clubs are struggling to recruit younger members. Shooting has an image problem among a certain segment of the Swiss population. The association also points out that there are so many new sports ...
Categories: News EN

Switzerland’s biggest airport turns 70

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 13:59
It’s exactly 70 years since the first flight took off from the brand new tarmac of Zurich Airport. We take a look back at the development of what has since become the biggest airport in Switzerland. On June 14, 1948, a ceremony took place at Zurich-Kloten airport, with speeches made on the tarmac in front of a "Swiss Air Lines"-branded plane. The reason? The official opening of the airport’s first runway, a 1,900-metre long track that had taken two years to build. And though it was a modestly sized airport at the time of construction, Zurich was progressively expanded over the next decades. Now it is the biggest in the country, far outstripping nearest rival Geneva. The figures speak for themselves: last month, 2.71 million passengers passed through the airport (about two million who were landing or taking off from Zurich, the rest in transit). In the same month, the airport registered 24,463 flights and processed over 40,000 tonnes of merchandise.
Categories: News EN

Responsible Business debate could cause ripple effects globally

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 13:56
A decision by the Swiss parliament this week on an initiative to hold companies accountable for their impacts on human rights and the environment could send a message on how far governments are willing to go. Set for Thursday in the House of Representatives, the debate will centre on a counter proposal to the Responsible Business Initiative. If adopted, it will put Switzerland at the forefront of a rapidly growing trend to embed corporate responsibility into national laws. The initiative has already been the subject of heated debate. Originally rejected by the Federal Council (executive body), a counter proposal has kept alive core tenets of the popular initiative, which was put forward in 2016 by the Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice, a group of more than 80 civil society organizations. If approved by the House, it will move to the Senate for a vote. If both chambers agree to adopt the counter proposal, it’s likely the initiative will be withdrawn. House approval June 14:
Categories: News EN

No jail for Swiss Tamil Tiger financiers

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:16
The Swiss Federal Criminal Court has given no prison terms to alleged financiers of the Sri Lankan Tamil separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). The 13 accused were either given suspended custodial sentences or acquitted. The court on Thursday said accusations of participation in and support of a criminal organisation did not stand and released all of the accused. Five of the defendants were fully acquitted. Others still face charges for financial offences.  The court also ruled that the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC), which coordinated the fundraising and money distribution operation, was not a criminal organisation. Compensation for participation in the proceedings, the outcome of an investigation launched in 2009, and moral damages were awarded to the defendants.   During the eight-week trial, which opened in January and closed in March, the federal prosecutor requested sentences of up to six-and-a-half years in prison. The proceedings cost ...
Categories: News EN

Swiss firms pushed to put Tehran dreams on hold

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 11:00
Euphoria at the prospect of big business in Iran was short-lived. As a result of the new sanctions imposed by the United States on the Islamic Republic, Swiss companies are beating a retreat. China stands ready to step in and fill the void. In early March, the Swiss Embassy in Tehran and the Iranian press agency IRNA proudly announced a deal worth billions for the Swiss company Stadler Rail to deliver almost 1,000 underground train carriages to Iran. Was this rejoicing premature and pointless? According to a report in Blick newspaper, the deal is about to be cancelled. Since US President Donald Trump scrapped the Iran nuclear agreement, business with Iran is once again a risk for companies which rely on the goodwill of the United States. These companies stand between two enemy fronts in world politics. Stadler Rail’s head of sales, Peter Jenelten, was quoted in Blick as saying “the Iranians can’t wait forever. The underground train order will probably be snapped up by the ...
Categories: News EN

Art Basel 2018: fast and furious

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 09:58
The number of living artists who have seen their work fetch $20 million (CHF19.7 million) is very, very small. A highly significant addition to that super-select band is the Chicago-based African-American Kerry James Marshall, whose 1997 work “Past Times” smashed a whole set of records when it was sold a month ago to rap mogul P Diddy for $21.1 million (with fees). Word has it that Diddy even outbid Marshall’s own dealer, David Zwirner, who was buying for a US museum. So the appearance of two works by Marshall, one brand new, at Art Basel this week was bound to be of intense interest – and it’s hardly surprising that both found buyers in an early-hours slam dunk. While Zwirner sold “Vignette #12” (2008) to one private collector in the US, Jack Shainman gallery placed this year’s “Vignette (The Kiss)” with another. Neither gallery wishes to release information on the prices. Art Basel is known as a “front-loaded” event, with a furious pace of selling in the first few hours of ...
Categories: News EN