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How great is the student experience at a Swiss university?

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/09/2018 - 11:00
Can Swiss universities offer the kind of support and vibrant student life that attracts many to the US and UK? A good student experience begins with a warm welcome. New university arrivals in Switzerland get support when it comes to practical issues. Typically, the days preceding the start of the academic year are considered orientation days, a time when new students get a crash course in navigating life both off- and on-campus. Students can expect valuable assistance, such as a tour of campus, tips on learning strategies, or a run-down of the various administrative, social and cultural services available to them.  Orientation programs for international students at UK universities also help provide basic information about life at the university, finding your way around, and such useful things like opening a bank account.    In the US, new students, especially international students, are not expected to have a strong support system in place, so universities will often have ...
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UN consultants could fall below poverty line

Swissinfo EN - Tue, 10/09/2018 - 08:00
After years of administrative uncertainty, short-term employees at the United Nations in Geneva are now being told to pay Swiss taxes or face fines. Consultants say that may send some of them below the national poverty line, if that’s not already the case.  “To me, the UN was my dream job, but for years now, it has become a vicious cycle of difficulties,” Laila* (not her real name) explains.  The 38-year-old came to Geneva three years ago after receiving an H-type permit, accorded to international consultants, for a three-month position at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) that paid CHF2,000 ($2,015) a month.  As a non-European, non-North American national, she says she took the risk of staying illegally in Switzerland after her contract expired awaiting the next UN opportunity. Like many other consultants working at the global body in the Swiss city, her goal was to obtain a full-time position and play her part in bettering the world.  Being ...
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Fujifilm to Showcase Superwide and Wide Format Inkjet Solutions at SGIA Expo 2018

News Machinery - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 18:55

FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division  will showcase an impressive line-up of new and innovative wide format solutions to print industry experts at SGIA Expo 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, booth #1119, October 18 – 20, 2018.   -   - Making its North American debut will be Fujifilm's all-new Acuity Ultra, a cost-effective high speed, superwide UV roll-to-roll press for the production of high-end interior graphics and outdoor signage. The Acuity Ultra Series...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=229756

Categories: News EN

Disaster relief: what really works?

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 17:00
Seven years ago, I landed on the island of Haiti, part of a group of journalists who had been invited by United Nations and European Union agencies to look at relief efforts over a year after a major earthquake had devastated the country.  Large parts of the capital Port-au-Prince were still in rubble and 700,000 people were still living in makeshift camps. Tents and tarpaulins that had been rushed in after the earthquake were starting to rot in the fierce sun and torrential rain.  In other parts of town, vast mounds of clothing lined the roadsides: faded ‘My Little Pony’ shoes, endless pairs of wrinkled jeans, a Henley Regatta polo shirt, another with the badge of Kent County Cricket Club. Here and there, young men half-heartedly tried to sell these things.  In the central market, business was brisker: bags of USAID rice and flour were stacked up in pyramids, like the clothes, not humanitarian gifts as had originally been intended, but for sale.  Where’s the aid?  In the ...
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Why the Swiss feds are OK with these fake passports

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 11:55
Talk about artistic license. With his installation called “Swiss Passport Office”, a New York sculptor has put his own stamp on one of the world’s most coveted travel documents. The Swiss authorities don’t mind. It’s the kind of thing you’d normally get into big trouble for: producing and selling counterfeit IDs. At first glance, the handiwork of artist Tom Sachs looks almost legit, but the Swiss federal police are taking a relaxed view. “It is a rough representation of an official document, presented as such during an artistic event,” Federal Office of Police spokeswoman Anne-Florence Débois told swissinfo.ch. “This means it takes place in a special and artistic context. This rough representation can absolutely not be mistaken with a real passport.” + Here’s how to get a real Swiss passport Indeed, the four and a half million Swiss passports in circulation are loaded with security features like watermarks, security threads, perforation and ultraviolet fibres, not to mention ...
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When Spanish flu hit Switzerland

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 11:00
The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919 was one of the most devastating events in Swiss history. Around 25,000 people died and half of the population was infected. The deadliest wave struck in October 1918. The flu first appeared in the Alpine country at the beginning of July 1918 among frontier troops near the Jura village of Bonfol, where the Swiss border touched the French-German front line. Between 40-80% of soldiers who had manned the Swiss frontiers fell sick. Commanders cancelled most of the training camps and sent the troops home. The disease spread quickly through western Switzerland but by September, seemed to have fizzled out. Little did they suspect that a second, deadlier wave was on the horizon, which spread quickly throughout the entire country between the end of September and the end of November 1918. A third, milder wave was observed in January 1919, after which the virus finally petered out. Little was known about the nature of viral diseases. In this video, we ...
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Automation doesn’t always mean job cuts

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 17:00
As far as the Swiss government is concerned, digitalisation is the future; it wants to give new services and technologies freedom to develop without regulation. Automation is often synonymous with job cuts, but for one company in central Switzerland, it has meant hiring more staff. Alpnach Norm, a cabinet maker in Obwalden in central Switzerland showed Swiss Public Television, SRF, how they managed to modernise without sacking people.  Embracing ‘Industry 4.0’ In a 2018 study of more than 650 Swiss and German companies carried out by the consulting firm EY, almost half of the Swiss companies interviewed said that, like Alpnach Norm, they had embraced “Industry 4.0”, which encompasses automation, data exchange in manufacturing technologies, cyber-physical systems, cloud and cognitive computing. The Swiss companies surveyed invest an average of 4.9% of their turnover in Industry 4.0 solutions. One third plans to increase spending by more than 5% in 2018. However, the majority ...
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Spanish flu and Romansh cinema

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 12:00
Here are some of the stories we’ll be following the week of October 7: Monday The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919 was one of the most devastating events in Swiss history. The deadliest wave struck in October 1918.   Tuesday Non-academic facilities can sometimes make the difference between a good and a great university experience. We compare Swiss, US and UK institutions in the small things that count like extra-curricular activities, class size and cultural acclimatisation.   Wednesday In 1918, at a time of high political instability, Switzerland made the historic decision to move to a proportional representation system at national level. Opponents saw PR as a “foreign pest”, but the move gave smaller parties a chance. Here’s how it happened.  Thursday A fall on a hiking path or a sudden heart attack could bring your Swiss holiday to an abrupt end. How difficult is it to ensure your mortal remains reach home?   Sunday Amur Senza Fin is the first professional feature ...
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‘If you are open to change, everything becomes simpler’

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 11:00
Swiss photographer Sabrina Maniscalco has lived in several different countries - she now resides in Lisbon, Portugal. Far from Switzerland, the 31-year-old has discovered that, despite cultural differences "we are all alike". swissinfo.ch: What were your reasons for leaving Switzerland? How did it come about? Sabrina Maniscalco: After completing my university studies in Lausanne in 2014, I got the chance to work as a camera assistant in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on a documentary about a football team, Atletico Mineiro. I had never been to South America – so I jumped at the chance.  After that, I continued working as a stills photographer, and worked with a humanitarian organisation in Senegal, Africa, on a photography project about public schools.  Then I returned to Brazil and lived with my boyfriend for about a year on a farm in the middle of the forests in Minas Gerais, 250 km from Brasilia. There, I did a photography project about local farmers. After Brazil, I lived in ...
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‘Spay as you go’ campaign and record train travel

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 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 400,000,000 People aged over 55 are swindled out of around CHF400 million a year in Switzerland via classic robbery or various scams.   Tuesday 3 The number of meteorites found in Switzerland which have been recently admitted by the Meteoritical Society, the international body that registers them. One was discovered in 1959 by a 16-year-old boy, but it was only in 2017 that he realised the potential importance of his find.    Wednesday 1,400,000 A campaign launched by the Swiss Animal Protection organisation is encouraging the owners of Switzerland’s estimated 1.4 million domestic cats to help stop the proliferation of strays via sterilisation and microchipping.    Thursday 33,000 The number of staff working for the United Nations, international ...
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Mixing tradition and passion to make modern Swiss wine

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 11:00
Organic wine is gaining popularity and in Switzerland, some viticulturists like Jean-Denis Perrochet are also coupling this with traditional processes that have been in families for generations. Jean-Denis Perrochet has made a name for himself making Swiss biodynamic wine and for his passionate engagement in promoting organic wine growing. In 2012, he and his wife and son started making biodynamic wine because of what he believes are its health and ecological benefits. Situated a short distance from the city of Neuchâtel, the oenologist and his family at Domaine de La Maison Carrée harvest Swiss native Chasselas grapes before the cold temperatures reach the vines surrounding the village of Auvernier.   By using the same processes and equipment that have been in his family for seven generations, Perrochet believes that his business has benefited from the knowledge of his ancestors who started making wine in 1827. This equipment includes an old vertical press shown in the photo ...
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GRU revelations shatter spies’ code of silence

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:03
For decades Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, lived in the shadow of Moscow’s other better-known spy organisations like the KGB and, since the end of the cold war, the FSB. But in the space of a month, the agency has been thrust firmly into the spotlight as western governments and security services line up to blame it for a string of malign operations, which have taken Moscow’s relations with the west to a new low. On Thursday, in a carefully choreographed international diplomatic effort, the British, Dutch and US governments took the unprecedented step of shattering the code of silence that traditionally characterises the world of intelligence, publishing painstaking details of cyber-attacks and covert international operations carried out by the GRU’s Unit 26165. The UK’s Foreign Office went first, using technical assessments from Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, part of communications intelligence service GCHQ, to point the finger of blame at the GRU for ...
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Switzerland ponders response to China’s expansion

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:00
China is in the fast lane towards becoming the leading world power. This has consequences for other nations, including Switzerland, which some people say demands a response. In Switzerland, there is mounting criticism of Bern’s perceived domestic, economic, and diplomatic compromises.  Barbara Gysi, a centre-left Social Democratic Party parliamentarian, is concerned. Some of her colleagues didn’t want to sign her parliamentary motion this spring -- because they were afraid of China. “They feared a telephone call from the Chinese Embassy in Bern, or didn’t want to ruin their relationships with Beijing,” she says. That gave her food for thought – after all, it was just a harmless initiative. In her motion, Gysi called for an appraisal of the human rights dialogue that Switzerland has conducted with China since 1991 “in confidentiality.” She asked the government to evaluate the results of this dialogue and publish a report. In June this year, the 16th round of this dialogue took place.
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Nestlé ready to share evidence of deforestation in palm oil supply chain

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 08:00
Under pressure to prove its standards are more rigorous than the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Nestlé is gambling on transparency to convince sceptics. It plans to make information obtained from a satellite monitoring service, including evidence of deforestation, available on the company’s website next year.  The company plans to use imagery from the Starling satellite monitoring service to observe its palm oil suppliers and address deforestation linked to their mills. From March 1, 2019 onwards the company intends to make its suppliers’ adherence (or non-adherence) to Nestlé’s no-deforestation policy available to the public on a Transparency Dashboard published on its website. The format of the information has yet to be decided and will be determined by the analytics furnished by Starling.  “Our motto is to have a dialogue first with the aim to convince our suppliers to improve. At the same time, if they say no we will blacklist them,” Benjamin Ware, Nestlé’s ...
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Worries over global warming boost hopes of Green Party

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 17:00
Parties to the left of the centre could win some ground in in the 2019 parliamentary elections at the expense of the right, pollsters say. The main public concerns are social security and environmental issues. Except for expatriate Swiss citizens: their focus are relations with the European Union. Of the eight main political parties in the Swiss parliament, the Swiss People’s Party would still come out top with 27.4% if elections to the House of Representatives were held now – more than 12 months ahead of the scheduled date. But the rightwing party would lose about 2% of the vote compared with the 2015 elections. The other main loser would be the centrist Christian Democrats, which look set to continue their decline, according to Michael Hermann of the Sotomo research institute. It carried out the survey on behalf of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), swissinfo.ch’s parent company. The two main winners would be the leftwing Green Party and the centre-right Radical-Liberal ...
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How does Switzerland respond to a disaster abroad?

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 17:00
Following the earthquake in Indonesia on Friday, September 28, a tsunami has left more than 1,000 people dead, several hundred injured and caused enormous damage. The Indonesian government has called for urgent international aid, and Switzerland has responded with its own offer of assistance. On Monday, October 1, Switzerland said it would send a team of seven emergency aid experts to help. The group includes doctors, alongside water, construction and logistics experts. The Swiss Humanitarian Aid (SHA) unit responds to such disasters abroad often by sending highly-trained professionals into the crisis area at short notice to help with specific emergency needs.  In 2012, the members of the SHA completed more than 500 assignments abroad and spent more than 50,000 days working for the unit. Although who is called in to help varies depending on the situation, that amount tallies up to the equivalent of 135 full-time positions. Between 2010 and 2012, the Rapid Border Intervention ...
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Feminists aren't career-hungry monsters

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 17:00
"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.  Anne-Sophie Keller is 27 years old and an ardent feminist. She says, because she has often been at a disadvantage in her life due to her gender. In "True Talk", she explains why feminism is far from being an outdated practice, and which prejudices she faces on a daily basis. "I didn't have this one traumatic key moment," Anne-Sophie says. "It was rather small things that made me a feminist. That includes breast grabbing in nightclubs, unwanted office nicknames or arrogant bosses who want to explain the world to you, and - let's be honest - what woman doesn't recognise situations like that?" Anne-Sophie thinks there is still a lot to be done. "Above all, men - also in Switzerland - must finally realise that we women are still de facto second-class citizens." But she also sees that women have a duty: "We often have too ...
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Foundations for league of ‘Democracy Cities’ laid in Rome

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 12:11
What are the greatest engines of democratization? Cities. At the seventh Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy in Rome, some 800 participants from almost 100 countries launched an offensive: they drafted a Magna Charta for a global alliance of cities to allow citizens to also participate in government. "Cities are the most innovative democratic actors because it is there that citizens can exert the greatest influence on governments," said Joe Mathews, co-President of the Forum.  The Magna Charta for an International League of Democracy Cities is "a step back into the future," Mathews said. "This is because democracy is strengthened at the local level, as it was in the city of Athens 2,500 years ago. What does it say? The Charta should include best practices for effective local, direct and participatory democracy of citizens. Which cities are the drivers? Rome (Italy), Seoul (South Korea) and Taichung (Taiwan) were in charge of the first draft, making them in a sense ideal ...
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Forbidden love at the Zurich Film Festival

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:30
When "Wolkenbruch" premiered at this year's Zurich Film Festival, it provided a window onto a world some people never knew existed: that of Orthodox Jews living in the heart of Switzerland's most bustling city.  The movie centres around Motti Wolkenbruch, a young Jewish man living in Zurich who breaks the rules, but he's not the only star of this story: significantly contributing to the laughs and plot line are the other members of his community who walk the streets of the Wiedikon district in Zurich in their kippahs and payot (curly sideburns). According to the Federal Statistical Office, there are more than 4,000 Jewish people in the city of Zurich and more than 6,000 in the canton. The coming of age comedy is based on the Swiss bestseller, “Wolkenbruch's wondrous journey into the arms of a Schickse”, written in German and Yiddish by Jewish author Thomas Meyer, who also penned the screenplay. He's not religious but says he rediscovered his Jewish roots while researching his ...
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Down-to-earth Swiss president raises eyebrows

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:19
Images of the Swiss president sitting on the ground in New York City have sparked a conversation on social media. But for the Swiss, it’s just business as usual.  During last week’s General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, Swiss President Alain Berset decided to cool his well-maintained heels and take a curbside seat. The sight of an important man sitting on the ground grabbed the attention of the social media world – especially in Africa.  One blogger used the example to criticize the Ugandan president: As the image made the rounds, users kept adding to the story, saying that during the UN assembly, Berset was cooking his own meals in a small apartment shared with his staff. A spokesman later set the record straight, telling Swiss news portal watson.ch that Berset had stayed in a hotel, as usual. When not out and about inspiring memes, Berset – who holds the rotating presidency of the seven-member Swiss cabinet – serves as the home affairs minister. And he’s not ...
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