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Crowdfunding science: ‘An adventure into the unknown’

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 10/25/2018 - 11:00
​​​​​​​After almost two years, Switzerland’s first dedicated science crowdfunding platform has seen nearly 80% of projects meet their targets. But for its organisers and participants, success isn’t just measured in Swiss francs. In January 2017, the Science Booster channel was launched on the online crowdfunding platform, wemakeit. Since then, the channel has hosted 40 science crowdfunding projects, which have collectively raised CHF500,000 ($503,000). Of the 40 projects, 31 met their funding goals – a success rate of 78%. “That’s a good score; most campaign platforms like Kickstarter have an average success rate of 50-70%,” Science Booster co-founder Luc Henry told swissinfo.ch, adding that campaign organisers can only collect the funds they have raised if they meet their goal. Henry speculates that the good results may be down in part to the one-on-one advice scientists receive in planning and targeting their campaigns. “[The campaigns] cover any topic from brain surgery to ...
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A fundamental change in Swiss schoolrooms

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 10/25/2018 - 10:21
The face of Swiss primary schools is changing. New teaching methods are now part of the daily routine. The basic concept of school itself is changing – “skills” rather than knowledge are being increasingly taught. And women are more frequently the ones doing the teaching. The windows of the schoolroom are wide open on this sunny morning. The air is still cool and the mood is relaxed. Here in Room 204 of the Spitalacker Primary School in Bern, teachers Danielle Baumann and Marie-Theres Moser are making the final preparations for the lesson prior to the arrival of their pupils aged six to eight.  A total of 700 children attend the Spitalacker Primary School. Twenty-four of them – first- and second-year pupils – make up the class of Danielle Baumann and Marie-Theres Moser. It is quite cosy, this small, neat schoolroom. And yet even here the really big changes in the Swiss school system can be seen. The two teachers are teaching together this morning. “We enjoy team-teaching. It ...
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Why refugee numbers in Switzerland are falling

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 10/25/2018 - 08:00
After a spike in 2016, asylum applications in Switzerland have been in steady decline. The tightening of Europe’s external borders has forced migrants to seek alternative routes to the continent – often more dangerous ones. Why did asylum applications in Switzerland increase in 2015 and 2016? Violent conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have continued unabated for several years now. The year 2015 saw the situation reach a peak, especially in the Middle East, where large swathes of the population were forced to migrate. Hundreds of thousands embarked from the Turkish coast in an effort to reach Greece before travelling through the Balkans to enter Europe. Others came to the continent from the south, via the central Mediterranean. Both groups made up the bulk of asylum seekers in Switzerland, who were almost twice as numerous in 2015 and 2016 as in previous years; though the peak did not rival that of the late 1990s, when the Kosovan conflict displaced hundreds of thousands.
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Cycle times reduced by up to 70 percent by injection molding of amorphous metals

News Machinery - Wed, 10/24/2018 - 21:14

The injection molding machine manufacturer Engel Austria and the technology company Heraeus are combining their expertise in the production and processing of amorphous metals. Under the name of Amloy, Heraeus has developed a range of new, amorphous metal alloys. Engel is providing the injection molding machine with which to process them. Cycle times reduced by up to 70 percent and the fully automated large series production of finished products with until now incompatible characteristics...

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Continental installs first machines in Taraxagum Lab Anklam research laboratory

News Machinery - Wed, 10/24/2018 - 20:32

Work on completing the test facilities is going ahead at the Taraxagum Lab Anklam. The first machines that will be used to extract rubber from dandelion roots were installed just a few days ago. “We are well on schedule,” says site manager Dr. Carsten Venz. “At first we were worried that the long winter would put a few obstacles in our way, but now things are progressing quickly.” The aim is to use the first plant to obtain rubber from the dandelion roots from late fall. The extraction un...

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Caterpillar Reports Third-Quarter 2018 Results

News Machinery - Wed, 10/24/2018 - 19:50

- - • Third-quarter sales and revenues up 18 percent - • Best third-quarter profit per share in company history - • Contributed $1 billion to pension plans; repurchased $750 million of shares; paid $511 million in dividends - • Profit per share outlook $10.65 to $11.65; maintained adjusted profit per share outlook at $11.00 to $12.00 - - - Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) today announced third-quarter 2018 sales and revenues of $13.5 billion, compared with $11.4 billion in the third quarter of 2...

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In what fields are Swiss universities internationally competitive?

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 10/24/2018 - 17:00
Can Switzerland really compete with the US and UK when it comes to subject areas sought after by international students?  International students seem to be following in Albert Einstein’s famous footsteps when it comes to choosing a course of study in Switzerland. In 1900 the German-born future Nobel Prize winner graduated from Zurich’s Polytechnic Institute, now the Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ), with a diploma in mathematics and natural sciences. Today, students from abroad still elect to study natural sciences, maths and statistics ahead of other fields and this at three times the rate of locals, according to the OECD.  In Switzerland, the ETHZ and the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) consistently rank among the top universities worldwide for maths, physics, chemistry and computer science. International students account for more than a third of the student body at the ETHZ and about half of enrollment at the EPFL. But whereas Einstein in his time at the ...
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Rhine Falls water level at historic low

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 10/24/2018 - 14:30
The historically hot and dry summer and autumn weather is having a dramatic impact on the water levels of Swiss rivers and lakes, and natural landmarks such as the Rhine Falls.  The glorious summer weather has attracted many visitors to the Rhine Falls waterfall near Schaffhausen in northeast Switzerland. Owing to the low level of the river, tourist boats can get much closer to the spectacular waterfall than normal.  But the lower water levels are a concern. Normally, boats operating between the historic town of Stein am Rhein in and Diessenhofen further down river return to their boatyards at the end of the season, but at present they cannot sail due to the exceptionally low water levels. In Basel, Switzerland’s key port on the Rhine that handles 10% of all goods imported into the country, the movements of container ships were suspended last Friday due to low water.  SRF/swissinfo.ch
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Swiss-Brazilian disease research faces uncertain future

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 10/24/2018 - 11:00
Scientists from Switzerland and Brazil are working to unlock the genetic secret behind tuberculosis (TB), a disease that kills more people than AIDS and malaria combined and is increasingly resistant to treatment. But drastic budget cuts in Brazilʼs science sector are putting their work in jeopardy. In a room at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (TPH), Professor Sébastien Gagneux receives TB samples sent from various regions of Brazil. Most come from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Friocruz), the country’s main public health research institution. “The goal is to discover what strains of bacteria are present in patients in Rio de Janeiro and how often a patient carries several types of bacteria,” explains Gagneux. Any one of these bacteria may be resistant to the drugs used to eradicate it, a phenomenon he calls “the biggest problem in the world today”. “In many countries, we find variations of TB that can no longer be cured,” Gagneux says. Last year, some 558,000 ...
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Swiss firms attend Saudi forum despite Khashoggi death

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/23/2018 - 15:35
Although many Swiss multinationals have pulled out their top brass from Saudi Arabia’s controversial Future Investment Initiative summit, they haven’t boycotted the event entirely. Saudi Arabia opened its “Davos-in-the-Desert” investment forum on Tuesday despite boycotts by high-profile Western political figures, international bankers and executives in the wake of the killing of US-based Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, at its consulate in Istanbul. The investment initiative, held at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, is widely viewed as a critical test on whether Western governments and corporations will continue to do “business as usual” with the oil-rich kingdom. In a clear reflection of the delicate situation and the financial clout of the Arab nation, a spokesman of Credit Suisse declined to comment on whether the Swiss bank formally maintained its status as a sponsor of the event. Credit Suisse, which holds a licence from the Saudi Capital Markets Authority and has been trying ...
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Voith Paper Webshop: More than 60 companies worldwide already using the 24/7 online ordering platform

News Machinery - Tue, 10/23/2018 - 13:17

- - • Ordering process made simple by precisely customized access for each paper manufacturer - • Accelerated order processing through direct linking to customers' ERP systems - • Real-time availability data enable round-the-clock transparency - - - Since the start-up of the Voith Paper Webshop in early 2017, the number of users has been continuously rising. More than 60 companies worldwide are already ordering spare and wear parts for paper machines via the online platform. Personal...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=230407

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What’s changing with the new radio television fee?

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/23/2018 - 11:00
From the beginning of next year, an amended system to levy a licence fee for the use of radio and television in Switzerland will come into force. It involves a different method and different collection agencies. For most private households it means good news as the bill for the mandatory fee will be lower than before. How much does the new licence fee cost? The annual fee will be CHF365 ($366) for each private household in Switzerland, down from CHF451. Businesses will pay between CHF365 and CH35,590 depending on their annual turnover. Companies with a turnover below CHF500,000 are exempt. It no longer depends on whether radio or television sets are installed. Who is also exempt from the fee? Households with people who receive supplementary benefits to top up old-age pension or disability insurance payments. Or people who live in nursing and old people’s homes, hostels, boarding schools and penal institutions. Foreign diplomats are also exempt as well as households in ...
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Swiss-EU relations: the key milestones

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/23/2018 - 11:00
Switzerland is not member of the European Union, but its relations with the 28-member bloc are founded on a series of bilateral sectoral accords, which give it many benefits of membership. Since the 1972 Free Trade Agreement, and after the electorate rejected accession to the European Economic Area (EEA) in 1992, Switzerland and the EU have struck 20 main deals and more than 100 other agreements giving Swiss companies access to sectors of the EU single market and governing cooperation between the two sides. Under this arrangement, Switzerland has accepted the free movement of people. Thanks to its large internal market of over 500 million people, the EU is not only the world's largest economic power ahead of the United States and China, but also plays an important role for peace and stability on the European continent. In the past, the Swiss voters confirmed their support for the bilateral path in various votes. In February 2014, however, a majority of citizens backed a ...
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UBS moves back into battle for rich Americans

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/23/2018 - 09:22
UBS is putting super-rich Americans at the centre of its new strategy to boost growth, nearly a decade after it was fined $780m by the US Department of Justice for helping thousands of clients evade taxes. The pitch for so-called “ultra-high net worth” clients and family offices is set to be announced on Thursday, when chief executive Sergio Ermotti will set out his revamped plans for Switzerland’s largest bank over the next few years. UBS is planning to hire dozens of high-profile relationship managers and client advisers from US competitors, hoping they will bring their well-heeled customers with them, according to people familiar with the matter. The bank will also announce it is re-entering the market for rich expat Americans living in places such as Hong Kong and Singapore. It is considering opening a new broker-dealer unit in Hong Kong to serve them. UBS believes it can poach American clients away from the likes of Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs by using its ...
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Switzerland catching up with demand for Muslim pastoral care

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 10/22/2018 - 11:00
As Switzerland’s population becomes ever more diverse, the demand for relevant pastoral care is growing. But the country still has some catching up to do to match the availability in other countries. According to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), some 362,973 Muslims live in Switzerland – about 5.1% of the total population. In the Islamic tradition, there is no concept of “the spiritual welfare of others” as there is in Christianity. In Islam, people are responsible for their own spiritual welfare. However, Muslims living in Switzerland do need comparable support. A demand for pastoral care Reinhard Schulze is a professor at the Forum for Islam and the Middle East (FINO) at the University of Bern. Because of the “many life situations in which psychological support for spiritual rehabilitation can be important,” he thinks it makes sense “to develop facilities for practicing Muslims that integrates Islamic tradition to structure this rehabilitation”. The demand for ...
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Switzerland: a country of dual nationals?

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 17:00
Every fifth Swiss has dual nationality. In Geneva, it's almost half of the population. Swiss public television, SRF took a closer look at why residents with foreign passports are keen on becoming naturalised. (RTS/swissinfo.ch) This summer, during their winning game against Serbia during the World Cup, Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, two players on the Swiss national football team, made hand gestures symbolising the double-headed eagle of the Albanian flag. This controversial act launched a wide-reaching debate in Switzerland over dual nationality. In fact, most players on the national team are citizens of two countries - as is every fifth Swiss.  According to figures released by the Federal Statistical Office in September, the dual nationality rate exceeds 20% in the cantons of Zurich, Basel City, Ticino, Vaud and Neuchâtel. The cantons with the lowest proportion of Swiss citizens with a second passport are Bern, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Appenzell Inner Rhodes and ...
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Swiss-EU relations, apprentices and science crowdfunding

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 12:00
Here are some of the stories we'll be following the week of October 22: Tuesday Since 2014, talks have been taking place to formalise relations between Switzerland and the EU that are presently covered by the bilateral accords. swissinfo.ch untangles the jumble of history, politics and economics of these ongoing negotiations. Wednesday Is a Swiss university the right fit for you? Unlike the US or UK, Swiss institutions are more specialised in certain disciplines. We examine what their strengths are at the international level. Thursday Since 2017, the Science Booster crowdfunding channel has hosted 40 science projects, which have collectively raised CHF500,000 ($503,000). But it's more than just about money - the innovation has also helped to democratise science. Thursday On November 25, Switzerland votes on the "Swiss Law, Not Foreign Judges" initiative designed to cement Swiss sovereignty on legal matters over international law. This will be a closely watched vote, due ...
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‘It’s hard to listen to a Swiss complain’

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 11:00
Professional mountain biker Ariane Lüthi has lived in South Africa for eight years. As a woman, she says, she has had to fight harder there than in Switzerland. The 35-year-old from the Bernese Oberland, who holds university degrees in sports, media science and history, thinks that a lot of Swiss who have never travelled don’t appreciate how much Switzerland has achieved when it comes to societal issues.  swissinfo.ch: When and why did you leave Switzerland?  Ariane Lüthi: I emigrated to South Africa at the end of 2010. Two months before leaving, I took part in a mountain bike stage race where I met my ex-husband. He was able to give me a contract to join his new mountain bike team as a professional. I emigrated to South Africa for love and the opportunity to turn my passion into my profession. swissinfo.ch: Was it a one-way trip or are you planning to come back one day? A.L.: When I left Switzerland and got married soon afterwards, I thought I'd probably stay in South ...
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Why apartments are so expensive, but the Swiss can afford them

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 10/20/2018 - 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 3,000 Disputes around the retirement age of 60, and long working hours were two of the reasons 3,000 construction workers in canton Ticino striked. They were joined by more than 2,000 others in Geneva a day later.  Tuesday 97 That's the increase, in percentage, that apartment prices rose over the past decade in Zurich. A square metre in Switzerland's financial capital now runs you CHF13,000 ($13,117).  Wednesday 4 Switzerland came fourth in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitivenes Index. While that's pretty good considering 140 countries were ranked, Switzerland did poorly in some key areas, such as conflict of interest regulation. Thursday 1 The drop from first to fourth has not yet been reflected in Switzerland's riches. A day later, Credit ...
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‘Helvetia is calling!’ Is she being heard?

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 10/20/2018 - 11:00
On December 5, the Swiss parliament will elect two new ministers to succeed Johann Schneider-Ammann and Doris Leuthard, both stepping down at the end of the year. The big question: how many women will be elected to the new Federal Council? Each Federal Council election in Switzerland over the past few years has had its peculiarities. In 2015, when Guy Parmelin was elected, the focus was on the Swiss People’s Party regaining two seats in the executive body. In 2017, it was all about getting a minority Italian speaker back into government – Ignazio Cassis was chosen. And this year, it’s all about female representation. How many women will be elected into the new Federal Council? One, two, or even three? What can we expect? Currently there are two female members in the cabinet. This puts Switzerland in 33rd place out of the 185 countries listed in the United Nation’s international ranking of women’s representation. If the number of female federal councillors were reduced to one, ...
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