Home | Feed aggregator | Categories

News EN

GE GENIUSLINK™ partners with Fulcra to expand inventor and prototyping network

News Machinery - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 18:43

GE  GENIUS LINK™ announced a partnership today with Fulcra LLC, an Enterprise crowdsourcing company, to expand its expert network and product development capabilities.  The inclusion of Fulcra into  GENIUS LINK's network expands clients' access to inventors, universities and researchers, and more—and offers platforms for prototyping, entrepreneurial promotions, and crowdfunding. “Our mission is to connect our customers with the right talent, technology and methodologies to enable them to...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=223289

Categories: News EN

Zurich sex fair: the banality of erotica

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 13:26
The Extasia erotic fair in Zurich attracts thousands of people, but not everyone is stocking up on whips and vibrators. swissinfo.ch wanders round Switzerland’s largest and most provocative trade fair.  The smell of cooking fat hangs in the air. Stall-owners are trying to convince passers-by why they need what they’re offering. There are two types of people here: the oglers and the ogled. The only nudity is on stages, where porn stars put on a show for clusters of men with cameras jostling for position.  The rest of the public is strikingly normal: giggling teenagers, straight middle-aged couples, men in check shirts and trainers, slightly awkward women in corsets and leather boots. They could be your neighbours.  The products on offer also range from the kinky to the profane. “Many people want to reinvigorate their dormant sex life,” says one vendor. He’s selling wine. “Maybe they’re not sure about buying a whip, but a bottle of wine? That’s OK. They can drink it together and ...
Categories: News EN

Swiss National Bank must rethink emissions-heavy investments

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:54
Climate Alliance Switzerland has called for a “stress test” of the Swiss financial system, and released recommendations for protecting it as well as the climate.  The association, representing more than 70 organisations across Switzerland, relayed on Tuesday a study (in German) by one of its members, Artisans de la Transition (French), along with a series of recommendations to the SNB.  The study shows that annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced as a result of Swiss National Bank (SNB) equity investments are equivalent to those of the entire nation, and that the bank’s investment policy “support[s] a development path leading to an increase in temperature between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius”. This temperature estimate was calculated by comparing the technology mix in the SNB's equity portfolio with different climate warming scenarios developed by the International Energy Agency. According to Climate Alliance Switzerland Managing Director Christian Lüthi, this doesn't mean ...
Categories: News EN

As countries tighten transgender protections, will Switzerland follow?

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:00
As many countries introduce more legal protections for transgender people, Swiss politicians are examining introducing similar measures. If approved, it will be a victory for transgender rights groups, but implementation may not be easy. The latest Trans Rights Europe Index 2017 shows much of Western Europe has strengthened transgender rights in some way in the last five years in line with recommendations from the Council of Europe and international human rights standards. In mid-April, the parliament in Portugal approved a law that made the country only the sixth in Europe to allow a change of gender without medical or state intervention. A month earlier, the Austrian Constitutional Court opened proceedings to repeal state registration of sex and Sweden became the first country in the world to offer compensation to transgender people who were forced to undergo sterilisation to be allowed to change their legal gender. Malta has been at the forefront of transgender rights, ...
Categories: News EN

‘Passports should not specify a person’s gender’

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:00
Man or woman? Milusch does not want to choose and prefers to self-define as non-binary. For the 28-year-old Zurich resident, Germany's decision to open the door to a "third gender" doesn’t go far enough: the mention of a person’s gender should also be removed from all identity papers. To eliminate categories, Milusch has changed name and appearance. Milusch Pati is neither a woman nor a man, neither she nor he. And, her/his fight begins with the language: "I do not wish to be defined by 'he' or 'she'.” While the English language can adapt by allowing the use of the neutral singular pronoun "they", Swiss official languages (German, French, Italian) do not have a neutral alternative, like many other languages. This is one measure of the extent of societal upheaval involved in introducing a third gender. News that Germany could become the first country in Europe to recognize a third gender has ignited a small revolution (see box).  Germany to allow third gender option In ...
Categories: News EN

US ambassador talks up Swiss offer to host North Korea summit

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 18:36
Switzerland’s offer of good offices to help host a future summit between North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump is “serious” and “a good opportunity”, the US ambassador to Switzerland has declared.  “The Swiss have made it clear that they have a very keen interest, and good offices and opportunities for conversations [on North Korea] in Switzerland,” the US ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Edward “Ed” McMullen, told reporters in Geneva on Thursday.  “We’ve made it very clear that the offer is there and it’s a serious one and it would be a good opportunity,” he said.  A historic summit is taking place on Friday between Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon-Jae-in near the countries’ border. This is in advance of a potential meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un, for which Trump has said that five locations are under consideration.  The Bloomberg news agency has speculated that Geneva and several venues in Asia and Southeast ...
Categories: News EN

Are Swiss celebrities a bunch of wannabes?

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 14:30
"True Talk" puts people in front of the camera who are fighting prejudice or discrimination. They answer questions that nobody would normally dare to ask directly.  This week we talk to Sven Epiney, a well-known radio and TV presenter for the German-language public broadcaster, SRF. But as he points out, "Swiss celebrities tend to be 'Cervelat Prominenz'"- people (like the popular and understated Cervelat sausage) who are not famous outside German-speaking Switzerland.  Even so, in the small Alpine country, fame can make life difficult. Sven thinks twice before going to the pharmacy to pick up items like condoms or spot cream – being recognised by the cashier can lead to some embarrassing moments, he explains. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)
Categories: News EN

Swiss brewery defends choice of Nepalese monarch on beer bottle

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 11:06
A brewery in Zurich had no idea that choosing a former Nepalese king to grace a seasonal beer would cause a diplomatic row with the former Himalayan kingdom.  Imagine you bite into a chilli pepper or peppercorn in a curry and the heat sets your tongue on fire. Luckily you have a cold beer at hand and take a gulp to provide relief. The resulting flavour combination is the unusual taste of the Birendra beer, produced by Zurich-based brewery Turbinen Bräu.  “One of my brewers was cooking at home with Nepalese pepper and thought it might be good to use it in beer. We tried it out and it worked,” Adrien Weber, founder and owner of Turbinen Bräu, told swissinfo.ch.  It took three trials until they found the right combination of ingredients. They decided to produce and sell around 12,000 bottles as a special spring season beer. But what to call it? After a weekend spent doing research on Nepal, Weber settled on the former king Birendra Bir Bikram Shah.  “I thought he was an ...
Categories: News EN

Citizen movement campaigns to curb social detectives

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 11:00
The deployment of ‘social detectives’ to track welfare fraudsters is nothing new in Switzerland. But since the passing of a law granting the investigators more powers, an unprecedented citizen movement has emerged in protest. It began on Twitter. On March 16, soon after a parliamentary decision granted wide snooping powers to welfare detectives, author Sibylle Berg tweeted her disgust and asked what could be done. Dimitri Rougy, a young Social Democrat activist from Interlaken, quickly replied with a simple “I would help!” A day later, the team expanded to four – plus a coder – and a website was created. After a week, almost 12,000 pledges of support were collected. Finally, on April 5, the official referendum campaign was launched in Bern. The scale and speed of the movement is “something that Switzerland has never seen before”, Rougy reckons. The quartet, who didn’t meet face-to-face until a week after the campaign began, had set at 5,000 the threshold of online ...
Categories: News EN

Weaker Swiss franc bolsters central bank options

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 09:10
The Swiss franc has fallen to its cheapest level against the euro since January 2015, when the Swiss National Bank stunned markets by abandoning a cap that limited the currency’s strength. A weaker “Swissie” helps the economy, and at some point could see the central bank begin to talk publicly about reversing negative interest rates and normalising a monetary policy that has led it to buy everything from German Bunds to US shares. Shares in the SNB, which are listed, doubled this year. At a time when both bonds and stocks are being influenced by expectations for central bank tightening, any move from the SNB would have important implications for financial markets. Although Thomas Jordan, SNB chairman, has a chance to comment on the franc at Friday’s annual shareholders’ meeting, the next scheduled monetary policy meeting is not until June. Here are some key questions facing investors. How does the SNB view Swiss franc weakness? The return to CHF1.2 mark — the line in the ...
Categories: News EN

Plastic in organic bins exceeds legal limits

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 08:00
Swiss people are still putting too much plastic in the compost they set aside for recycling. (RTS/swissinfo.ch)  Many put their organic waste in non-biodegradable plastic bags. Municipal dump workers frequently find fruit and vegetable labels as well. Rules in place since 2016 stipulate that plastic must not exceed 0.1% of the dry weight of the compost. That's because 65% of the compost is used by farmers. In La Chaux-de-Fonds in western Switzerland, home to some 39,000 people, rubbish collectors do not pick up obviously non-compliant waste and leave a sticker to tell the resident that it is not acceptable.  But a lot of non-biodegradable plastic cannot be seen until the waste arrives at the municipal dump. It takes an hour a day to pick out obviously non-organic trash, but with such large volumes of waste, some slips through the net. Microplastics end up in soil in which crops are planted. It is not clear what long-term negative effects this will have on human consumption. 
Categories: News EN

Guillaume Perret honoured at photo awards

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 19:53
Guillaume Perret is the Swiss Press Photographer of the Year. He was chosen as the main winner at a ceremony in Bern on Wednesday.  The Reinhardt von Graffenried Foundation had previously named winners in six categories.  Guillaume Perret was rewarded in the “People” category for his images of Daniela Mossenta, a 67-year-old from Neuchâtel recovering from breast cancer.  Reto Oeschger came first in the “News” category. His picture, “The Dark Side of Jürg Jegge”, shows the former special needs teacher and well-known pedagogical author who admitted to sexual acts with former students. He looks like a “broken man”, according to the jury.  Niels Ackermann, who won the main prize in 2015, topped the “Swiss Stories” category for “Opération Valmy”, an image from the election campaign of Pierre Maudet, a young politician from Geneva who ran for a seat on the federal council in September (in vain).  “Poetry in press photography”, was how the jury described the series in the “Daily ...
Categories: News EN

Meet the engineers who make machines for understanding the universe

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 11:00
She may not be one of CERN’s vaunted physicists, who theorise about what happened nanoseconds after the Big Bang; but without engineers like Marta Bajko, who work on the giant magnets of the Large Hadron Collider, these physicists wouldn’t be able to test their theories. At pop concerts there are the rock stars, who make the music, and there are the roadies, who make sure the music happens; tuning the instruments, and plugging in and powering up the amplifiers and speakers. The rock stars at Geneva-based CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, are the particle physicists. They get most of the attention when the centre discovers a new subatomic particle that helps us understand what the universe was probably like at its birth, and what it’s composed of today. But without the engineers who design, construct, and test the complex machines and instruments that send those particles colliding into each other (on purpose) at nearly the speed of light, the mathematics ...
Categories: News EN

Switzerland moves up press freedom ranking amid global slide

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 06:00
Switzerland has risen from seventh to fifth in this year’s World Press Freedom Index of 180 countries compiled by Reporters without Borders (RSF). This comes, however, in a deteriorating environment for journalists worldwide, including in Europe.  Prem Samy, who is in charge of the index at RSF, says there are two reasons behind Switzerland’s rise. “This year was a bit more optimistic for Switzerland, because the No Billag initiative, which was a threat to public TV and radio, was rejected by referendum,” he told swissinfo.ch.  The second reason for Switzerland’s rise is “purely mechanical”, he says, because with countries like Costa Rica and Denmark dropping down, others move up.   While the “No Billag” initiative was a “threat that didn’t happen in the end”, Samy says the Swiss context “is still a bit dangerous in terms of pluralism and the restructuring that is coming, especially for ATS [the Swiss News Agency]”.   +Read more about job cuts at SDA-ATS  Asked about the trend ...
Categories: News EN

Identifying Mystery Odors to Confirm their Source and Composition

News Machinery - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 17:13

Recently, there were media reports about neighbors of a plastics manufacturer in New York taking legal measures after dealing with strong odors they claim come from the manufacturing plant. A class-action lawsuit has reportedly been filed asking that the company be forced to reduce or eliminate offensive odors emitted from the plant and seeking compensation for the impact the odors have had on people's property values and the nuisance plaintiffs claim they have had to put up with for so lo...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=223129

Categories: News EN

GE Power awards R30Million of Student Bursaries in Partnership with ESKOM

News Machinery - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 16:18

GE's Steam Power business (NYSE: GE) in collaboration with ESKOM, South Africa's power utility company, has awarded needs-based bursaries worth up to 30 Million rands to sixty students from the Mpumalanga province. The bursaries which will run for a period of four years, will cover accommodation costs, books and a living stipend. Eskom, on their part, has donated laptops to each of the bursary recipients. “GE's Steam Power business believes firmly in supporting the South African governme...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=223123

Categories: News EN

Lucrative gambling business comes under public scrutiny

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 11:00
The stakes are high as Swiss voters decide in June about a new gambling law, including a ban on using the websites of foreign casinos. Youth wings of several political parties have mounted a challenge. Supporters argue the legal amendment is a financial boon for society and will help prevent gambling addiction. For opponents, the law will preserve the monopoly of the 21 casinos in Switzerland and amounts to censorship of the internet. Under the new law agreed by parliament last September, Swiss casinos can offer online versions of roulette, blackjack and poker if a majority of voters comes out in favour on June 10. In the future, licenced operators of lotteries and sports betting would be allowed to offer new forms of gambling, notably with bookmakers and real-time bets, in other words while a race is in progress. The limit of tax-free winnings from lotteries and sports bets would be raised from CHF1,000 ($1,040) to CHF1 million. In addition, the amended law lifts ...
Categories: News EN

Our environmental crisis is a social crisis

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 11:00
Although we have known the causes of our environmental problems and possible solutions for decades, not much has changed. Christoph Küffer asks why. One core task of the environmental sciences is to analyse the causal drivers of environmental problems and to develop technical solutions. We have achieved a great deal in this regard: we understand global environmental problems such as climate change, and we are documenting the loss of biodiversity around the globe and how this is threatening quality of life. We know what the solutions are: renewable energy, ecological agriculture, city planning that favours bicycles over cars. We also know how to make our own lives more sustainable: consume less, fly less, eat less meat, and buy longer-lasting products. A cultural crisis Despite all of this, little has changed. In my opinion, one major reason for this is that we think of environmental problems as just that: problems arising from the environment rather than from people. But of ...
Categories: News EN

Renovations set to transform International Geneva

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 08:05
Cranes and construction workers have become commonplace in International Geneva, where around a dozen major renovation and new building projects are underway for international organisations based in the Swiss city. (RTS/swissinfo.ch)  Over CHF2 billion ($2.05 billion) is being invested over the next ten years in the district, which is home to 37 international organisations and 380 non-governmental organisations. Much of the finance consists of federal and cantonal loans.  The biggest chunk is for the historic United Nations Palais des Nations building, which is being renovated at a cost of CHF836.5 million – half financed by interest-free loans from the government and canton Geneva. A new building is also being constructed in the UN complex for 700 staff. At the World Health Organization (WHO) a nine-storey office block is replacing an ageing wing in a style that mirrors the original Sixties design of Swiss architect Jean Tschumi. Since 2015, construction has also been underway ...
Categories: News EN

Sulzer shows how to avoid Russian sanctions

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 12:55
When the US announced tough new sanctions against Russia this month, Swiss industrial group Sulzer received no official warning of what could have been a disaster for the company. “The first clue you have that things are going to be complicated is your bank calls you up and says: ‘Look, we’re going to have to stop working with you’,” said Greg Poux-Guillaume, chief executive of the company. “It was pretty clear that we were going to be frozen out of all the banks’ US dollar business, across the board.” Sulzer is not alone — since the US measures were imposed a fortnight ago, global lawyers have been scrambling to work out how many other companies could be affected through shareholdings, loans, investments or trading relationships. Commodity traders such as Glencore and Rio Tinto have cancelled contracts with affected companies, and banks have cut ties, while the Russian state is considering nationalisations to help those most affected. But for international companies ...
Categories: News EN