Home | Feed aggregator | Categories

News EN

Japan's Swiss-style nuclear bunkers

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 17:00
With nearby North Korea stepping up missile launches and nuclear tests, people in Japan are preparing for the worst by building private nuclear shelters using Swiss technology. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)  Switzerland itself has one of the densest networks of nuclear bunkers in the world, with a "bunkers for all" policy which means that every person in the country should have a spot in a nuclear bunker, should disaster break out. Many residential buildings have shelters built into the basements.
Categories: News EN

The rise of the machines: robots and the future of farming

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 11:00
Drones, milking robots, driverless vehicles, intelligent sensors, bio-surveillance, data-sharing – the Swiss economics ministry is calling for farmers to embrace a “digital revolution”, marking a turning point in agricultural practices that is not without risk. Far from being science-fiction, modern tools which enable precision farming are already indispensable in delivering greater efficiencies and boosting productivity. Switzerland is at the heart of developments which have seen drones equipped with cameras capable of detecting disease or estimating the precise nutritional needs of large-scale crops, hydroponic lettuce grown in a soil-free environment fed by a cloud of 100% organic nutrients, or solar-powered robots that can target individual weeds and reduce pesticide use. As spectacular as they are, these innovations – all developed in Switzerland – are just the start of the technological and digital transformation that is shaking up agriculture across the globe.   ...
Categories: News EN

The agriculture chief sowing Swiss expertise in China

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 09:04
From his headquarters in Basel, the agri-tech chief executive discusses bees, pesticides and takeovers with Clive Cookson. Bees brought me to Basel. Erik Fyrwald, chief executive of Syngenta, the Swiss agricultural group, wanted to challenge recent negative coverage of neonicotinoid pesticides in the media, including the Financial Times. These “neonics”, manufactured by his company and others, protect crops from harmful insects but studies cited by environmental campaigners show that they also kill bees and other pollinators.  So Mr Fyrwald invited me to his corporate headquarters, a sober sandstone building opposite Basel train station, to argue the case for neonics. “We feel very strongly about bee health,” he insists. Regulatory scrutiny of these chemicals has increased recently. The EU restricted the use of some neonics in 2013, saying they were “harmful to Europe’s honeybee population”. However, Mr Fyrwald insists: “There’s plenty of data suggesting that neonicotinoids are ...
Categories: News EN

All in a day’s work for the Aellig family

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 08/27/2017 - 11:00
There’s nothing very romantic about it, though it has a charm all its own; the days are long and the work strenuous. Yet every summer, thousands of  Swiss farmers trek up to the ‘Alp’ (the high pasture) with their herds. Among them is the five-member Aellig family from Reichenbach in Kandertal. For about ten weeks of the year, they live on the Engstligen Alp in the Bernese Oberland. They do without hired hands, but this means the children all have to pitch in. All day long, Sofia, Soldanelle, Salome, Flora and Furka, and another 500 cows (most of them with horns), have grazed on the high plateau 2,000 metres above sea level and accounted for large quantities of fresh grass and juicy plants. Now they are back in the Aellig family’s barn and are being milked. Fourteen-year-old daughter Martina gets to work. She buckles on the one-legged milking stool, massages the udders of the first cow, and then attaches her to the milking machine. Father and daughter are an efficient team.
Categories: News EN

The Swiss who sends satellites into space

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 17:00
Daniel Neuenschwander oversees the launching of rockets taking satellites into space. The 42-year-old is the first Swiss director at the European Space Agency, ESA. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) Since the foundation of the European Space Agency, ESA over 40 years ago, Switzerland has collaborated on developing rockets and research programmes, and contributes to ESA's budget.  Since September 2016, ESA has also had a Swiss Director of Space Transportation. Daniel Neuenschwander is one of ten directors at ESA, and his work brings a lot of responsibility and long hours. He leads launch missions of Ariane-5 rockets, sending million-dollar, high tech satellites into orbit. Born in Bern, Neuenschwander trained as a Swiss Air Force pilot and gained a masters degree in physical geography and climatology from the University of Fribourg. SInce than he has served in various specialised bodies at ESA and other institutions. In the series 'Swiss Pioneers', Swiss Public Television, SRF, meets Swiss ...
Categories: News EN

Escaping the heat of summer

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 08/26/2017 - 11:00
Dogs, dinosaurs, elephants and people - all could use a dip to cool down when the thermometer rises. Swiss rivers are a magnet in summer. Clean water and natural beauty make splashing in them a pleasure but this was not always the case. Until the 1950s Switzerland's water bodies were repositories for waste water and sewage. There is still some work to be done. By 2040 micro-impurities from medicines and other chemicals will be filtered out in water treatment plants. The large number of recreational users pose problems of their own. A viral video describing the village Lavertezzo in the Ticino Verzasca Valley as the "Maldives of Milan" resulted in a flood of visitors from Italy. The authorities struggled to cope with the traffic and litter. 
Categories: News EN

Have you heard of Unspunnen?

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 17:00
Every dozen years or so, crowds flock to the Unspunnen Festival that features the best of Swiss traditions: alphorn music, Schwingen wrestling, flag throwing and a feat of strength to see who can throw an 83.5kg stone the furthest.  The festival take place over ten days from August 26 in the alpine resort of Interlaken. There are rumours that the original Unspunnen stone dating back to 1808 might make a reappearance. It was first stolen in 1984 by regional separatists from Jura to make a political statement and was returned in 2001 before disappearing again in 2005. The first festivals were held in Unspunnen castle in the Bernese Oberland and were meant to bring people from rural and urban areas together. Today, it helps preserve Alpine traditions and offers visitors the chance to see them all in one place.  (Video: SRF/swissinfo.ch, text: Peter Siegenthaler, swissinfo.ch)
Categories: News EN

Rapid Growth and Strong CO2 Emissions Reductions Inspire Next Phase of Honda's Green Dealer Program

News Machinery - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 15:45

Building on its commitment to minimize the environmental impact of its products in every phase of their life cycle, Honda is launching the next phase of its Environmental Leadership Program, or Green Dealer Program, to provide independently-owned U.S. Honda and Acura dealers with new tools to evaluate and measurably reduce energy and water use, saving money while enhancing their environmentally-responsible business operations. The program, launched in 2012, offers a refreshed website with...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=212770

Categories: News EN

Star photographers gather in Olten

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 14:33
Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio and Donald Trump - Marco Grob has taken pictures of them all. But what does it take to produce iconic photographs? To answer this and other questions, the star photographer has set up the first International Photo Festival in Olten. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) Born in Olten, Grob started his career in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Since 2008 he's been living and working in New York. He's worked for TIME Magazine, Vogue, Vanity Fair, the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic and others. And he is now the co-founder of the International Photo Festival in his home town of Olten. From August 25 to 27, internationally renowned photographers will give insights into how they work. Swiss Television SRF visited Grob during the preparations for the festival and talked to him about his career and what it's like working with celebrities.
Categories: News EN

Swiss mountain moved 10cm a year before crashing down

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 14:27
The mountain that sent four million cubic metres of rock through a Swiss village on Wednesday was known to be unstable. A section of the mountain moved 30 centimetres over the course of three years, but it was impossible to determine when it would collapse. Several hikers are still missing in canton Graubünden after the rockslide swept down from Piz Cengalo, through the Val Bonasca and onto the village of Bondo. There was another landslide on Friday afternoon. Nobody was reported hurt. It followed a less devastating rockslide in 2011, which prompted researchers to take a closer look at the mountain between 2013 and 2016. Using radar and infrared technology, researchers found a large portion, of several million cubic metres (see pic), had deformed by 30cms over the observation time frame – 10cms per year. The “Influence of Permafrost on Rockslides” report, conducted by ArgeAlp, stated the resulted indicated a “profound movement” of both “tilting and slipping”. The local ...
Categories: News EN