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How to make friends with a Swiss person

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 18:00
Misinformed stereotype or stark reality? Whichever way round it is, how to make friends with the Swiss is a topic for most expats at some point during their time here. This animated guide lays out some ground rules for forming friendships with the Swiss - all with a heavy dose of humour. (SRF, swissinfo.ch) Whether you're in Switzerland for business or pleasure, the guide has a wide range of pointers that could come in handy. It explains the 'challenges' of getting close to a Swiss person, and offers some advice on getting over the most commonly-encountered hurdles.  But don't take this too seriously, this clip was part of the latest instalment of the comedy show 'Deville Late Night', part of the German-language programming on Swiss public television, SRF. 
Categories: News EN

Media sees a political tsunami in Italy

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 15:20
The Swiss press has pointed to the huge challenges facing its neighbour Italy, after two anti-establishment parties made huge gains in Sunday’s election. The Swiss media is sceptical as to whether these parties will deliver on their promises. “A political tsunami in Italy” is how the Aargauer Zeitung/MLZ titles its opinion piece on Tuesday. “Nothing will ever be the same again after this election,” writes Dominik Straub from Rome.  “It’s difficult not to see this as a populist tidal wave,” wrote the French-speaking Le Temps, continuing the water theme. “More than one in two Italian voters voted for an anti-establishment and anti-Europe party. The northern half for the xenophobic League (Lega) of Matteo Salvini. The southern half for the Five Star Movement of Luigi Di Maio.” Both papers said that the traditional parties had been swept away. The once strong Democratic Party has suffered its worst result in history, wrote Straub. And for ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, ...
Categories: News EN

What happens when you flush the toilet at Europe’s highest railway station?

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:00
swissinfo.ch went behind the scenes at one of Switzerland’s highest tourist attractions, the Jungfraujoch, to find out what it takes to keep over a million visitors hydrated, fed and breathing.    It is a little after 7am on a dark January morning but the Grindelwald railway station is already packed with excited Korean tourists wanting to take the first train to Jungfraujoch. At 3,454 meters it is billed as the “Top of Europe” experience.  Visitors pay a small fortune (about $200) to ride the train the ten or so kilometres up the mountain from the village, and back down again. It’s the price they pay to take pictures of the unparalleled views, have a snowball fight or eat a curry lunch at Switzerland’s high-altitude Indian restaurant.  Technician Toni Eilert makes the journey almost every day, and for free. The 57-year-old takes the first train up from Grindelwald with the tourists. swissinfo.ch followed him around to see what his job entails.  With the bunch of keys he ...
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GE Saudi Arabia is Core Area Winner of the King Khalid 'Responsible Competitiveness Award' for its exceptional and committed corporate governance standards

News Machinery - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 21:19

GE Saudi Arabia has received the King Khalid 'Responsible Competitiveness' Award as one of the 'Core Area' winners for its commitment to corporate governance standards that underpin the company's commitment to following a strong code of ethical conduct covering all aspects of its operations. GE Saudi Arabia is the only international organization to win King Khalid Responsible Competitiveness Award in 2017. The certificate of recognition was presented by Dr. Ziyad Ghrara, Committee member...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=221032

Categories: News EN

Why is Steve Bannon coming to Zurich?

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 18:00
Looking ahead to a speech by former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in Zurich on Tuesday, political scientist Daniel Warner deconstructs the media buzz surrounding the visit of the self-proclaimed founder of alt-right America, and what it means for Swiss politics. Following the Swiss frenzy during an otherwise politically uneventful trip by President Donald Trump to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos last January, Swiss media are now focusing on a March 6 visit to Zurich by Trump’s former Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon. Trump’s fly-by had politicians, business leaders and the usual WEF crowd falling over themselves to see, hear and photograph the American president. Bannon’s visit is also attracting considerable attention: his speech has been moved to the Oerlikon Event Center (a traditional host to rock concerts) from a smaller venue to accommodate a sold-out crowd of 1,600. Security will be airport-tight, and the predictable protesters are scheduled outside ...
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Famous Chillon castle faces funding shortfall

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 18:00
Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva is one of the most impressive and most visited medieval castles in Europe, but its managers are now worried about its upkeep. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)  Last year, it attracted over 400,000 tourists, a record number. Now the municipality of Veytaux has raised taxes on ticket sales by 40%, increasing the castle's tax burden by CHF100,000 ($107,000) per year. Veytaux says it is in dire financial straits and has no choice but to raise taxes.  The castle will now pay more than CHF250,000 in ticket taxes per year: more than they receive from the canton for the upkeep of the castle. Managers are wondering whether they will still be able to afford the constant renovations necessary to maintain such a large historic building.  The rock island on which the castle was built has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It was both a natural protection and a strategic location to control the passage between northern and southern Europe. It was a profitable toll ...
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Press calls for reforms following licence fee vote

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 11:11
Commentators in the Swiss press have interpreted the overwhelming rejection (71.6%) of the ‘No Billag’ initiative on Sunday as a strong sign of support for a publicly funded Swiss TV and radio service. Nevertheless, they believe that the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) must downsize, and opinions vary widely as to how this could be achieved. Neue Zürcher Zeitung The Zurich-based newspaper argued that the “social foundation” for an annual licence fee for Swiss households – which currently sits at CHF451.10 ($482) – is “crumbling”, and that the corporation must therefore consider whether funds should come from the federal budget going forward. “The vote marks the end of an era for the [SBC]; they can no longer finance such a large variety of programs with publicly funded fees. The framework conditions for public broadcasting must be determined by politics,” the paper said. Tages-Anzeiger The Tages-Anzeiger, another Zurich-based German-language paper, noted that Sunday’s ...
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Neste's investments in Porvoo support the refinery's competitiveness and reduce its environmental impact

News Machinery - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 09:42

Neste is rebuilding the wastewater treatment plant at its refinery in Porvoo, Finland. The project involves renewing the chemical and biological treatment systems of the wastewater plant, and the entire project is scheduled for completion in 2020. The changes will improve the efficiency of wastewater treatment and ensure the processing capacity. The investment, which will cost EUR 50 million, is being carried out in cooperation with Borealis Polymers Oy, the other user of the plant.  "Was...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=220976

Categories: News EN

Attack on public broadcasting licence fee clearly fails

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 03/04/2018 - 19:04
Voters have rejected a proposal to do away with the mandatory licence fee for Switzerland’s public broadcasters. Final results show 71.6% of voters throwing out the initiative, which was launched by the youth chapters of two major political parties on the right. All regions and 26 cantons rejected the proposal. Urs Bieri, director of the leading GfS Bern research institute, said the "no" voters were even in the majority in rural, traditionally more conservative regions. Only six of the country's more than 2,250 municipalities came out in favour of the initiative. “The result shows that voters want to maintain a public service broadcaster and that they are prepared to pay a licence fee,” Communications Minister Doris Leuthard said at a news conference on Sunday. She said the result was a verdict against a system with exclusively commercial radio and television programmes in Switzerland. Leuthard described the result as a fiasco for critics of a public licence fee and called ...
Categories: News EN

Tax ‘total meltdown’ averted

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 03/04/2018 - 17:17
More than 84% of voters have renewed the government’s right to tax its citizens and companies for another 15 years. This is a unique feature of Switzerland’s political system of direct democracy and federalism.   The issue was largely sidelined by the initiative on the public broadcasting licence fee. Yet a serious amount of money was at stake: two-thirds of the government’s tax revenue (including VAT), or CHF43.5 billion ($44.4 billion) in 2016.  Although highly unlikely, rejection would have been a nightmare for the government.  “This would be a total meltdown and I don’t even want to think about it,” said Finance Minister Ueli Maurer in January. “If voters were to say no, the Swiss government wouldn’t have enough funds and there’s no way we could find another source of revenue or introduce spending cuts of the same order.”  On Sunday, a relieved Maurer said the outcome wasn't a surprise but he was happy by the size of the yes vote, ten percentage points higher than the ...
Categories: News EN

1970: Can votes be counted with a computer?

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 03/03/2018 - 15:00
The possibility of using computers to count the votes of the Swiss population had been in discussion for some time before a large-scale experiment took place in a district of canton Zurich on February 1, 1970, with the help of the IBM Computer System/360. Although the Zurich city council had been operating small computers since 1965, the use of computers in administration was still in its infancy – and was highly controversial when it came to voting. Few media reports exist on the experiment, but it is known that for the vote on February 1, 1970 a ballot paper was developed which wasn't to be answered with a handwritten yes or no, but with a cross in the correct place. This particular vote was on the construction of a local hospital, money for school trips and road extension in Zurich. Voters were assured that ballots would first be counted by hand and then used by the computer as a test. The following day, the headline in the local Zurich newspaper, the Tages-Anzeiger, was ...
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Switzerland makes its stamp on the world

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 03/03/2018 - 12:00
In 1843, Switzerland became the second country ever to introduce postage stamps; the UK was first in 1840. Early examples of Swiss stamps are therefore some of the most valuable and sought-after in the world. An exhibition showing off the delicate rarities is now running in Bern, as the nation marks 175 years of the Swiss postage stamp. The stamp collection at the Museum of Communication is worth several million Swiss francs. The 4-Rappen (4-cent) stamp, together with the 6-Rappen stamp – both of which can be seen in the exhibition – were the first to be issued throughout continental Europe. Today these are worth a small fortune. Inscribed with "Local-Taxe" at the bottom, the 4-rappen stamp was intended to pay for letters posted within a city, while the 6-rappen stamp, inscribed "Cantonal-Taxe", was used on letters posted and delivered within canton Zurich. Stamp art by Ferdinand Hodler They were both designed with a pattern of fine red lines behind the numbers, to discourage ...
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Caterpillar to Participate in Evercore ISI Conference on March 6; Webcast Available

News Machinery - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 19:08

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) Director of Investor Relations Amy Campbell will speak at the Evercore ISI Industrial Conference 2018 on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. She is scheduled to speak at 8 a.m. EST. There will be no presentation materials for this event.   The event will be webcast in real-time and available to the public at [url]https://www.veracast.com/webcasts/evercoreisi/industrials2018/59100191657.cfm[/url]. Listeners should go to the website at least 30 minutes before the live even...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=220947

Categories: News EN

By the numbers: ‘smartphone addiction’ and expat pay

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 18:00
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 -28.9 The so-called “Beast from the East” weather front hit Switzerland and temperatures dropped to as low as -28.9 degrees Celsius (-20 degrees Fahrenheit). Heavy snowfalls followed later in the week, causing all sorts of transport chaos.  Tuesday 206,875 The average expat can look forward to a pay packet of $206,875 (CHF191,960) in Zurich. Geneva wasn’t far behind. Only expats in Mumbai and San Francisco do better.  Wednesday 31 Only 31% of people in Switzerland manage to take a conscious break from media consumption at least once a day. One in four Swiss never actively switches off at all.  Thursday 6.6 With a market share in Swiss cinemas of 6.6% in 2017, Swiss films had their best year since the record year of 2006, when homegrown films attracted ...
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Is the Abacha accord a model for returning ‘dictator funds’?

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 12:00
A recent Swiss agreement with Nigeria and the World Bank to return hundreds of millions in so-called “Abacha funds” is being hailed as a model for how other countries deal with dictators’ assets. But civil society organisations in both Switzerland and Nigeria have reservations. Switzerland has been working for several years to clean up its image as a haven for “dirty money”, having returned more than CHF2 billion ($2.1 billion) in stolen assets since 1986. The latest example is $321 million that has already been transferred from Switzerland to a Nigerian government account, part of assets stolen by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha (1993-98) and his family. With World Bank oversight, the funds will be used to finance Nigeria’s National Social Safety Net Project involving cash transfers to Nigerians living below the poverty line. “I think it is a good model for other countries,” says Juliet Ibekaku, special assistant to the Nigerian president on justice reform, “because it ...
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What is done to keep Geneva homeless warm in freezing weather

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 03/02/2018 - 11:06
Geneva is better known as being a sophisticated, wealthy city, but in its doorways and underpasses sleep homeless people, even when temperatures are sub-zero. Just a short distance from top hotels where rich people are living it up, poor people sleep in grubby sleeping bags, not knowing where their next meals are coming from.  But help is at hand. Two civil protection shelters, built as nuclear bunkers, are opened in winter for homeless people, providing 200 places. For a few nights at least, they have a roof over their heads, a bed and some warmth.  Open from mid-November to the end of March, these Cold War relics were intended to house the people of Geneva in the case of a nuclear strike. Today they serve as dormitories. Doors open at 7.15pm, the guests eat soup, take a shower, talk for a while and then go to bed. And in the morning, after breakfast, everyone has to leave at 8.15am.  Not everyone in these shelters find their own way there. The city sends social workers out on ...
Categories: News EN

GE to Provide Full Propulsion System Solution to the Chilean Navy's Icebreaker

News Machinery - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 22:02

GE's Marine Solutions (NYSE: GE) was chosen by ASMAR Shipyards to provide the complete scope of an integrated marine propulsion system for the Chilean Navy's new Antarctic icebreaking Polar Class vessel. It will replace the retired icebreaker to continue the navy's Antarctic expedition for search and rescue missions, scientific research, logistic support and resupplying bases in the Chilean Antarctic Territory. The 110-meter long vessel will have GE's full marine propulsion system to powe...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=220886

Categories: News EN

Should Switzerland hold the Olympic Games?

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 12:47
With the Winter Olympics now over, the attention in Switzerland has turned to the bid to bring the 2026 games to the Swiss town of Sion. Is this really such a good idea?  Switzerland's Olympic team ended up with 15 medals in Pyeongchang, South Korea – five gold, six silver, and four bronze medals - four more than what they were aiming for, and the same number as 30 years ago in Calgary.  Has this sporting success reinforced Olympic spirit in the small alpine nation, which is also home to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)? swissinfo.ch asks locals in Arth-Goldau, an alpine town in central Switzerland, whether they think it’s a good idea for Switzerland to host the Olympic Games, and what they would mean for the country.  The Swiss Olympic Committee and the Swiss government are backing a joint proposal by Sion, the capital of canton Valais, to host the 2026 Winter Games spread across much of western Switzerland and based largely on existing infrastructure. Last October, ...
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How to kill a lobster: humanely, say the Swiss

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 12:00
A new regulation preventing cruelty to crustaceans comes into effect in Switzerland on Thursday, banning (among other things) the live boiling of lobsters. Good news for all God’s creatures or a step too far? The lobster sitting on the table in the Homard Bleu (Blue Lobster) restaurant near the United Nations in Geneva is, predictably, blue. It is also male – two small testes protrude from the soft underbelly – about six inches long, with deceptively small pincers that can sever a human finger. It is from Brittany, where such specimens are a speciality: smaller, bluer, tenderer, and pricier than their cousins lifted in industrial quantities from the waters of New England. This one is also alive, though not for long. Owner Frank Jaulin, another Breton, is explaining its imminent demise. First take the “pieu”, he says (a narrow stainless-steel stake with sharp tip); locate the small cross-sectional hollow on the creature’s back, above the brain (at this point he runs his hand ...
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UN expert: Switzerland must do more to combat ‘dirty money’

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 02/28/2018 - 18:21
Despite progress in curbing illicit financial flows, Switzerland needs to do more to keep so-called ‘dirty money’ from entering its financial markets, such as tougher money laundering and tax evasion sanctions, a United Nations expert has declared.  “In recent years the Swiss Confederation has achieved progress in curbing illicit financial flows,” Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, the UN Independent expert on foreign debt and human rights, told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council on Wednesday.  Good practices include the Foreign Illicit Assets Act, aimed at facilitating the freezing, confiscation and return of stolen assets from Swiss banks. Over the past 25 years, Switzerland has returned $2 billion (CHF1.88 billion), the authorities claim.  “However, there is still a need to strengthen the accountability, regulation and supervision of the Swiss financial market to prevent adverse human rights impacts caused by illicit financial flows and to prevent that funds of illicit origin be ...
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