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Swiss Nobel winner reacts with ‘great gratitude’

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 16:56
A relaxed, happy, and humble Jacques Dubochet reflected on his achievements and career at the University of Lausanne hours after learning he had won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Summing up his career, discoveries and emotions at the university (“a magnificent place”) where he was professor for two decades, Dubochet was keen to share the limelight with the colleagues that made it possible. “At a moment like this, the feeling that prevails is one of great gratitude,” he said. “But a scientific prize is an ambiguous thing; it puts forward an individual, whereas it should be putting forward a collective effort. I am not all alone!” He named various researchers, from the University of Bern to Caltech in California, on whose “shoulders” his discoveries were based. Family was also important to him: he singled out his wife, son (born the year of the discovery) and daughter (born the year they discovered “how to do something useful with it”). Challenges and advice The ...
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Take a 3D plunge into 19th-century Geneva

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 16:52
You can now travel back in time to 1850 and walk the cobbled streets of Geneva and its imposing mediaeval defences thanks to a new online cityscape. Future educational applications are planned using the 3D model’s open source data.  Officially launched on Tuesday, the immersive Google Street View-style map of 19th-century Geneva was created by around 100 people over the past five years. It was built based on historic documents, and high-resolution images and scans of a huge 3D tin and copper model of Geneva in 1850, made by a team of artisans led by local architect Auguste Magnin (1841-1903).  Like Magnin’s model, the new free online version offers an immersive view of the city prior to the demolition of its fortifications in 1850 and subsequent changes to its architecture and population.  Geneva remained a fortified city much later than many other European cities. It was the so-called Fazy revolution of the mid-19th-century that led to the destruction of the ramparts and ...
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Does age determine media habits in Switzerland?

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:00
Old broadsheet or young app? Discussions about media in Switzerland (and elsewhere) often conjure notions of a generational divide, but how we consume information may transcend questions of age. When swissinfo.ch went to talk media habits recently with a group of teenagers (16-18) in a Bernese secondary school, the goal was to test some assumptions. Young people are not interested in news. They only read free news. Their notions of ‘quality’ have changed. They simply swallow the news that Facebook feeds them. Essentially, the general assumption that the habits of ‘digital natives’ are markedly different than those of previous generations – the ‘digital immigrants’. The outcome was a mixed bag of responses that probably suggest that young people are more reflective of the population at large than a homogenous group unto themselves. Joshua, 18, reads the broadsheets NZZ and Die Zeit, and the Economist (his parents keep them in the house); Julia is into the Guardian (her teacher ...
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Children more likely to walk to school in Switzerland

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 08:00
In Switzerland 75% of children walk to school – that’s twice as high as countries like the United Kingdom and the United States. But there are worries that this could be changing. As any foreigner with children going through the Swiss school system - particularly in German-speaking part - will know, letting your children walk to school or even Kindergarten at a young age is a rite of passage. But it is something that you have to get used to, particularly if you come from a country where pupils are often driven to school. October marks walking to school month in many parts of the world, with October 4 designated International Walking to School Day. Switzerland held an awareness day on September 22. A recent report commissioned by the Swiss Association for Transport and Environment (VCS in German) found that 75% per cent of children walk to school in Switzerland. That compares to around 30-40% in the United Kingdom and the United States. Even neighbouring Gemany does not post ...
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The Cathay Pacific Group places LEAP-1A engine order with CFM International to power Airbus A321neo aircraft

News Machinery - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 17:15

The Cathay Pacific Group and CFM International (“CFM”) have concluded an order for the advanced LEAP-1A engine, which will be used to power the Group's 32 new Airbus A321neo aircraft. The engine order is valued at nearly US$1 billion at list price, with delivery scheduled from 2020. The aircraft are intended to be operated by Cathay Dragon, the regional carrier of the Group, to replace and modernise its existing single-aisle fleet of 23 aircraft, comprising 15 A320s and eight A321s, while...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=214659

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The king - and queen - of the castle

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 17:00
Though most of Switzerland’s castles and palaces are state owned, the descendants are allowed to live in the wings in some cases - like at Waldegg in canton Solothurn. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) There are around 900 castles and palaces in Switzerland, and because of the high maintenance costs, most of them belong to the state. They house offices as well as museums, have been converted into apartments and are venues for private and public events. Waldegg in canton Solothurn is over 300 years old, and descendants of the original owner have been calling it home again for the past couple of years. They live in a wing closed to the public. Swiss castles and other stately buildings are promoted every year on Swiss Castle day, which this year was October 1. During the day, eighteen places across the country were opened for the public to experience history. The castles included Chillon on Lake Geneva - one of Switzerland's most visited, the Castelgrande in Bellinzona in Ticino, Thun in the ...
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Celebrating Meret Oppenheim

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 13:59
On the birthday of Swiss surrealist Meret Oppenheim, swissinfo.ch takes a look at some of her diverse oeuvre, which includes paintings, poems, lithographs, photographs and sculptures. Oppenheim was born in Berlin on October 6, 1913, but the family moved to Switzerland the following year when her father was conscripted for World War I. She moved to Paris in 1932 to become a painter and in 1936 gained fame with “Breakfast in fur”. The teacup covered in gazelle fur was the result of an encounter with Picasso and his mistress Dora Maar in which they decided that anything could be made out of fur. However, she found the overnight fame overwhelming, so she retreated back to Switzerland where she spent the rest of her life working outside all stylistic conventions and refusing all labels. Oppenheim, who died in Basel in 1985, is considered a trailblazer of the avant-garde.
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Mountain king dissected – for art’s sake

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:00
Horns of all sizes, melted lab equipment, cluttered desks, big screens and a painting of an ill-yet-beloved animal: they all share a roof with hundreds of taxidermy specimens, including the Alpine ibex.  Walk into a zoological museum and you’d expect to see a bunch of fossils and dead animals. But an art installation? A show at the University of Zurich’s Zoological Museum features art inspired by the scientific study of Switzerland’s king of the mountains: the iconic Alpine ibex.  When American artist Edward Monovich took a summer sabbatical in Switzerland, he found a muse in the sturdy, goat-like animal. He was also intrigued by the story of their Swiss extinction and reintroduction, and by the implications of their limited gene pool.  So-called bottlenecks have been a challenge for Alpine ibex. These happen when a population becomes very small – causing a loss of genetic diversity, which can then have a negative impact on a population’s well-being. Ibex in Switzerland ...
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GE Healthcare opens its first European 3D printing and design center

News Machinery - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 08:35

GE Healthcare has opened its first 3D printing lab, called the Innovative Design and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center for Europe, in Uppsala, Sweden. The center will use technologies including 3D printing and robotics to speed up the launch of new innovative products for the healthcare industry. The center combines advanced manufacturing technology such as metal and polymer printers and collaborative robots, or “cobots”, with traditional machining equipment. A key in realizing the...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=214616

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Capturing the beauty of Swiss farming

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 15:27
More than 15,000 pictures were sent in to the agricultural photo competition Agrimage.ch. The winning photos – chosen from the 1,500 photographers taking part - have now been announced. Enjoy! Photographers were asked to showcase the charm of the countryside – a wide-ranging topic for a photography competition. Images were sent in over the period of a year, resulting in thousands of pictures for the jury to go through. Prizes were awarded to the top three photos, plus there were winners in nine categories. The competition was launched by Swiss Farmers Welcome You, a campaign run by the Swiss Farmers’ Association. The aim of Agrimage.ch is to document the people, countryside, products and animals in the agricultural sector, giving an intimate portrait of the work and identities involved.
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‘I wish I could invite my boyfriend to my parents’ for Christmas’

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 11:00
David Leuenberger dreams of getting married and one day having children, but under current Swiss law, same-sex couples do not have these rights. He’s had to fight some battles, but David believes Swiss society is open and tolerant. The law will change, he's convinced – he just hopes it won't happen too late.  “The only kind of rejection I've experienced was motivated by my parents’ love." David has an optimistic and light-hearted, yet very sensitive approach to life and its ups and downs. Relaxing on his apartment terrace in the heart of the Swiss capital, Bern, the 30-year-old industrial designer tells his story, as the last rays of the setting sun cast a warm glow over the rooftops. "Being gay isn't a problem in Switzerland. I feel accepted everywhere, including at work. We already have equality – the laws just have to be brought up to date,” he says. Every story has its shadow side, however, which must be overcome. In David's case, it took the form of a rift with his family ...
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A reinvention that puts a premium on services

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:28
After a challenging few years, Zurich Insurance is redefining its identity. Oliver Ralph and Ralph Atkins meet the new boss. Zurich Insurance’s lakeside headquarters is just a façade. Behind the original frontage completed in 1901, nothing exists. The company is rebuilding it from the ground up. Mario Greco, who took over as the Swiss group’s chief executive last year, believes the global insurance business is about to go through a similar refit. “The industry is on the verge of a profound change,” says the 58-year-old Italian. “I pretty much bet on the fact that it won’t look the same at all, definitely in 10 years, but most likely in five.” In the past, he says, insurance was the ultimate “push” product – people only bought it if someone sold it to them. In the future, he believes insurers will have to build a closer relationship with their customers to survive. Interviewed at the company’s temporary headquarters in a back office across town, Mr Greco says he wants to turn ...
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Wealthy Rüschlikon, the Alpine ibex and teen media habits

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 17:00
These are some of the stories coming up on swissinfo.ch for the week beginning October 2, 2017. Monday David Leuenberger dreams of marriage and perhaps children. But both are not possible for homosexual couples under Swiss law. The 30-year-old design manager from Bern talks to swissinfo.ch’s Katy Romy about life in Switzerland as a gay man.     Tuesday American artist Edward Monovich was inspired by the iconic Alpine ibex during his recent stay in Switzerland. His eye-catching work is part of a series of artistic and scientific contributions to Displacements – Art, Science and the DNA of the Ibex at the University of Zurich’s Zoological Museum. swissinfo.ch’s Susan Misicka visited the art installation to find out more about their fascination with the goat-like animal, 17,000 of whom live in Switzerland.  Wednesday The future of the press is in the hands of young people, but discussions about reforms are often driven by older generations. What do under-25s ...
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Swiss watches for the mega-city Tokyo

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:00
Luca Orduña, 27, put all his eggs in one basket. At the age of 22, he went to Japan for the first time and set himself up in business. Fascinated by the varied cuisine and the natural environment, this adventurous entrepreneur still isn’t thinking about returning to Switzerland. As the manager of a company that distributes Swiss clocks and watches, he nevertheless maintains close links with his home. swissinfo.ch: When and why did you leave Switzerland? Luca Orduña: My parents own a travel agency in Zurich, meaning that even when I was small, I had the chance to explore the world. I developed a passion for Asian cultures and languages at an early age. During my studies in St. Gallen I attended a course on Japanese culture and was fascinated by this multi-faceted culture. During the course, I became aware for the first time of the Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Trade (SJCC). It offered a fellowship to young Swiss who wanted to add a year in Japan to their studies. I immediately ...
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Most cups of coffee contain a drop of Switzerland

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:00
Your fix of morning joe likely passed through Switzerland, since the country is the world’s trading hub for coffee. In fact, the Swiss export more coffee than chocolate or cheese. “Most coffee traders are present in Switzerland,” said Cyrille Jannet, vice president of the Swiss Coffee Trade Association, in an interview to Swiss public radio RTS last year. “This is also the case for the big names in the industry, like Nestlé or Nespresso. Also present are the main participants in the chain on a logistics level, like maritime transport. This had led to Switzerland becoming the main hub for the coffee trade, from trade to industry.” Switzerland is already home to many important companies trading in raw materials (for example: gold, petrol), thanks to its favourable tax situation and its central position in Europe.  Six of the world’s main coffee traders are based in the Lake Geneva or Zurich regions. As is often the case for raw materials, precise statistics are hard to come by.
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The special objects young immigrants hold close to their hearts

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 11:00
A Chilean photographer who came to Switzerland as a young woman has used her experience of starting a new life far from home to portray the modern face of young migrants. Born in Chile in 1960, photographer Vivian Olmi has lived in Switzerland since 1980. She lives and works today in Pully, canton Vaud. At the age of 20, Olmi left Chile while the country was under the dictatorship of Pinochet. In memory of her country and family, Olmi brought with her a photo album depicting a Chilean landscape on the cover. The memory of her own migration to Switzerland prompted her to document people with similar experiences. She asked 38 young immigrant students of the Béthusy college in Lausanne to pose in front of a blackboard with an object from their country of origin which they held close to their hearts. Those students who did not have a personal souvenir to document brought something which illustrated how they felt about their own migration. Each student wrote a text in their mother ...
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Glitz and glamour

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 15:31
The Zurich Film Festival has started, with Swiss tennis star Roger Federer gracing the opening night. Jake Gyllenhaal will receive the Golden Eye Award, and Glenn Close will be guest of honour. The niche event has become an international one; here's a pictorial look back at its development. There were 8,000 visitors at the very first Zurich Film Festival in 2005. Since then, a lot has happened: the event has grown from four days to 11, the red carpet has changed to green and the number international celebrities attending has risen. There were 90,500 visitors last year – and at least as many selfies taken with stars such Hugh Grant and Jennifer Connelly. The 13th Zurich Film Festival will show 160 films, of which 12 are world premieres. The event was proud to announce that this year there would be 38 films from female directors. Around 80% of the budget comes from the private sector, with the Federal Culture Office donating CHF50,000 ($52,000). In comparison: the Locarno Film ...
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Giant granny descends on Geneva

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:30
Huge crowds filled the streets of Geneva on Friday to marvel at an eight-metre 83-year-old grandmother and her six-metre grand-daughter: puppets from the French street theatre group Royal de Luxe.  Smiles and cameras greeted the enormous marionettes, which awoke from a long slumber and gently ambled through the packed car-less streets, occasionally stopping to talk to spectators.  “The grandmother has a strange language with Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Arabic and Asian sounds,” said Royal de Luxe director Jean-Luc Courcoult. She also smokes a pipe, likes a drop of whisky and is known to spit and break wind.  A 60-strong team of so-called Lilliputians, aerialists, puppeteers and crane-operators, assisted by volunteers, were responsible for the effortless movements of the giant grandmother, who is followed by her own band of musicians and a massive five-ton wheelchair and her five-year-old grand-daughter. The Lilliputians also helped translate the granny’s incomprehensible speech to ...
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Swiss Alpine Club stirs debate over history’s racist scientists

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:00
The Swiss Alpine Club’s recent decision not to revoke the honorary membership of a controversial Swiss glaciologist raises the question: can a person’s contributions to society be judged separately from their prejudices? In early August, the Swiss group “Démonter Louis Agassiz” (Dismantle Louis Agassiz) requested that the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) rescind the honorary member status of Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, a glaciologist and naturalist born in canton Fribourg in 1807. The group argued that Agassiz, known for his pioneering work in the field of glaciology, should not have SAC honorary membership because he made racist statements and conducted research about superior and “degenerate” races. Agassiz was only the second honorary member in the club’s history, according to Hans Fässler, a historian specialising in slavery and racism issues who founded the Démonter committee. To him, the SAC represents a link with “certain Swiss myths”, such as the idea that the country has ...
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Science under duress in Turkey

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:00
The tense situation in Turkey is making it increasingly difficult to conduct research there. Foreign scientists working in Turkey are also aware of this, and they describe diminishing freedoms and a vague sense of fear. ​Our call is answered by an anthropologist on the Aegean coast of Turkey. She travelled there just a few days ago to find out more about the political situation: "I would like to know what kind of research is at all possible here at the moment". She would rather not offer any information whatsoever right now – and the same goes for other researchers. In order not to endanger either her, her partners in Turkey or their current research, some of the sources for the following text remain anonymous. This anthropologist has been researching in Turkey for many years now. What kind of research will remain possible in the future is something that she cannot guess yet: "Either way it will become more difficult to do research here". She is one of several researchers from ...
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