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Europe offers last line of defence for the Asiatic lion

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/30/2018 - 15:00
The recent death of 23 Asiatic lions in India – including three from the highly contagious Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) – has highlighted the risk of confining the species to a small part of the country. In a worst-case scenario, can captive animals in European countries like Switzerland help re-establish the species?  It is lunch time and the suburban neighbourhood of Zurichberg reverberates with the guttural call of a male lion. A 20-minute tram ride from Zurich’s main station, Zoo Zurich is by far the biggest attraction here, especially during the school holidays. Visitors flock to the lion enclosure, drawn to the sounds of the king of the jungle.  The four lions – one male and three females – do not belong to the African savannah but to deciduous forests of Gujarat state in northwestern India. Just over 600 Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) in the Gir Protected Area and surrounding region are all that is left of the wild Asiatic lion. The species once ranged from Greece ...
Categories: News EN

Swiss non-profit aims to break taboo of women’s brain health

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/30/2018 - 12:00
If depression is twice as common in women than men worldwide, does that mean we need to change how we think about gender, health, and science? That’s the argument of the Women’s Brain Project, which is calling for a precision approach to brain disease research and treatment. When scientists use animal models like mice in their experiments, standardisation is key: all animals must be kept in highly controlled conditions so that the study results are not compromised. But there is one very big difference that scientists might be ignoring: whether their subjects are male or female. “Most labs today use only male or female mice, depending on the field. For example, people doing behavioural neuroscience experiments tend to prefer to work with male mice because there’s an assumption that they’re more stable and less variable than females due the oestrus cycle, which is incorrect. Either way, this is a mistake,” Maria Teresa Ferretti, a group leader at the University of Zurich Institute ...
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French accident revives the hunting debate

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/30/2018 - 03:00
The accidental shooting of a cyclist by a hunter in France has triggered fresh debate on the dangers of hunting and how to best regulate this potentially lethal activity.  In neighbouring Switzerland, this drama has also evoked strong emotions and reactions. In mid-October, a young hunter shot and killed a man who was riding a mountain bike in the Haute-Savoie – not far from the Swiss border. He claimed to confuse the cyclist with a deer. This accidental killing has rekindled heated debates on how hunting is conducted. For the 2017-2018 season, the French National Office for Hunting and Wildlife reported 113 accidents, including 13 deaths (3 of which were non-hunters.) The tragedy in France also shook up the Swiss hunting commmunity. Hunting is a very popular activity in Switzerland, where there are 30,000 active hunters, including about 1500 women, according to the Swiss Hunting Association. Regulation regarding hunting is the responsibility of individual cantons. Just ...
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Should the ILO maintain financial ties to the tobacco industry?

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 10/29/2018 - 18:00
The Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO) is once again facing pressure to review its relationship with the tobacco industry. This week the United Nations agency is set to decide on its partnership deals aimed at ending child labour in tobacco-growing countries and on future engagement with the sector.  On Wednesday, ILO stakeholders – employers, workers and government representatives – are meeting in Geneva to decide on a proposal for an “integrated strategy to address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector”..  The broad strategy proposed by the ILO secretariat is aimed at developing policy, strengthening dialogue with social partners, and helping tobacco-growing communities address problems such as child labour and the transition to alternative livelihoods.  But the wider issue to be decided is exactly how the UN agency should conduct business with the tobacco industry in the future, in particular with regards to accepting financial contributions.  The ILO ...
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Dear Swiss Abroad, tell us what you think

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 10/29/2018 - 12:45
If you’re a Swiss living abroad, we want to know what you think about us. So we’re doing a survey to find out how we can best meet your needs. Have your say!  What values ​​do you associate with swissinfo.ch? As part of our efforts to be trustworthy, transparent and innovative, we’d like to hear your views.  Click here to participate in the survey, which should take about 20 minutes to complete. To avoid technical errors, please answer all the questions in one sitting, without interruption.  Are you wondering when Swiss banks will raise their account fees again? Do you want to know why Swiss politicians question dual citizenship?  To be able to report on the issues that matter most to the Swiss Abroad, we need to know your needs. And we want to know how you use swissinfo.ch and what you expect from us.  Thank you for your valuable feedback!
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Capitulation before revolution

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 10/29/2018 - 12:00
November 2018 will see the centenary of the 1918 General Strike, a political event that brought Switzerland to the brink of civil war. Here is a summary of the events.  Switzerland has always been part of Europe. This is nowhere as obvious as in the developments that led to the General Strike and had an effect on Swiss politics for decades to come.  November 1918 marks the culmination of political and societal developments and situations that had prevailed in Switzerland for many years. It was a combination of a world war, revolutionary coups in Europe, anxious and strict military leaders as well as a starving lower class.  Those living in the working quarters in Zurich and other Swiss cities in 1910 had plenty of things to worry about. It was common that several families had to share a flat, which was often old and damp. One wage per family was barely enough to survive on. The common concept of having one breadwinner did not work. Men and women were both forced to find a job.  ...
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The female brain, a decade of bitcoin and Red River Swiss

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/28/2018 - 14:25
Here are some of the stories we’ll be following the week of October 29. Monday A century ago, a General Strike over poor working and living conditions in Switzerland brought the country to the brink of civil war. We’ll look at the history of the monumental event and how it shaped the next 100 years of Swiss social movements. Tuesday The Swiss and international researchers behind the Women's Brain Project (WBP) argue that women's experiences with brain disease and mental illness are markedly different from men’s, both as patients and caregivers. An in-depth story explains those differences and the project’s goals in addressing them. Wednesday October 31 marks the 10th anniversary of the Satoshi Nakamoto White Paper introducing Bitcoin, the world’s best-known cryptocurrency. Since then, Switzerland has developed into a so-called Crypto Nation, spawning more than 600 start-ups and support services that use bitcoin's native technology, the blockchain. How did this come about, ...
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How an apprenticeship trumps college

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/28/2018 - 12:00
While most of his peers opted for college, Simon Mitchell went for a Swiss-style apprenticeship at tech firm Bühler in North Carolina that allowed him to earn and learn – and left him with no debts. But these kind of apprenticeships are still rare in the United States. Mitchell and three fellow Bühler apprentices were at the company headquarters in Uzwil, eastern Switzerland, recently to celebrate their graduation. Recruited fresh out of high school, they were the first students to complete a funded four-year apprenticeship scheme at Bühler Aeroglide, near the NC capital Raleigh. The aim of the programme: to plug the growing skills gap in technical professions in the region. The welding apprentices had intended to fly over earlier in the month in time for Swiss Skills, a giant apprenticeship fair and competition, in the Swiss capital Bern. But hurricane Florence, which slammed into the southern US state mid-September, put paid to that, delaying flights for a week. But there ...
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The pioneers of a more open migration policy

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/28/2018 - 09:00
Forty years ago, 3,000 people gathered on the square outside parliament in Bern. They demanded a more humane policy towards foreigners based on equal rights. How did the demonstration, organised by the national Mitenand (“together”) movement, come about?  In the 1950s and 1960s, Switzerland recruited hundreds of thousands of foreign workers. These “seasonal workers” were allowed to stay in Switzerland for a limited period, the idea being that during an economic crisis they could be sent home.  Those who were allowed to stay were told to assimilate. But the idea of new arrivals frightened some of the locals, and the fear of an excess of foreigners was exploited by politicians: in 1970, Swiss voters had their say on the Schwarzenbach Initiative, named after rightwing politician James Schwarzenbach, who wanted to limit the proportion of foreigners in each canton to 10%.  The initiative was rejected by 54% of voters, but it motivated many people to stand up against everyday and ...
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