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40 Years Celebrated With the Launch of Updated Excellence Line and Telematics

News Machinery - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 15:11

Rammer this year celebrates 40 years of excellence. In order to help commemorate this momentous occasion, and to reflect changing customer requirements, it has renewed both its outlook and its product offering. This has led to the updating and upgrading of its Excellence Line of hydraulic hammers. Safety is endemic to the operation of the upgraded Excellence range, whether it is being used in quarry, demolition project, tunnel or any other application: for example, all models feature refl...

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COP24: Text adopted, ambitions abandoned

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 11:19
Representatives of 190 countries attending the COP24 climate summit in Katowice accepted the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement, which limits global warming to less than 2˚C. But to achieve this result, it took a lot of negotiation and patience, as the delegates of the Swiss Youth for Climate observed. It is Thursday, the second week of COP24, and nothing has been happening for hours. We are waiting in a room far from the crowd. The negotiators finally snatch a moment of respite and use the opportunity to crash on a sofa or on the floor. They are recovering from a short night and long day of talks.  Suddenly, the new texts are published. The negotiators are waking up. A murmur runs through the corridors of the conference centre we refer to as the capital. What margin is there for manoeuvre? What are the points that can be conceded? Which ones are worth fighting for? We observe the delegations returning to the negotiation rooms. Unfortunately, as civil society observers, ...
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How scientists are redefining success

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 09:55
University rankings, journal impact factor, citation counts: some argue that these methods of measuring the 'best' science are outdated and even a hindrance to scientific progress. Switzerland wants to help implement alternatives – a task easier said than done. According to a recent report by the Swiss Sci­ence Council (SSC), scientific activities – whether it’s the employment of researchers, the publication of papers, or public and private investment – have grown significantly in recent decades. This growth, in turn, has resulted in unprecedented levels of competition when it comes to funding, prizes, academic positions, spots in top journals, and other trappings of scientific success. With the increased pressure to “publish or perish”, more and more importance has been placed on quantitative measures of scientific success [see box] – often focused on publication citations and journal impact factor – which can boost researchers’ incentive to publish even more. Common science ...
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Swiss Re chief fears for catastrophe bond investors

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 09:47
Global markets for “alternative capital” underwriting natural catastrophe and other insurance risks are flashing warning signals similar to the US mortgage industry before the global financial crisis, the chief of Swiss Re has warned. Financial products such as catastrophe bonds, which pay out like an insurance policy, have boomed in recent years, competing with conventional insurance companies to cover risks such as hurricanes and earthquakes. For investors, they have offered decent returns that are not correlated with other financial markets. However, the market is coming under increasing strain. A series of natural catastrophes over the past two years has meant that many of the securities have had to pay out. On top of that, insurance prices have been flat and rising US interest rates make them less attractive to investors. “There could be disappointed investors,” Christian Mumenthaler, chief executive of the world’s second-biggest reinsurance company, told the Financial Times.
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Novartis weighs reinsurance tie-up to fund ultra-expensive drugs

Swissinfo EN - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 09:47
Swiss drugmaker Novartis is exploring working with the global reinsurance industry to help health systems bear the cost of a new generation of personalised therapies as the industry comes under pressure to devise funding models for ultra-expensive medicines. Vas Narasimhan, chief executive of Novartis, said the company was “brainstorming” alternative financing possibilities for drugs that offer the prospect of curing patients of once-fatal diseases, potentially saving substantial healthcare costs down the line — but requiring enormous upfront outlays. These options could include a “reinsurance model” in which a third party underwrites “the catastrophic case of a child having one of these conditions”, Narasimhan told the Financial Times. Such deals could prove attractive for the insurance and pharmaceuticals industries. Novartis and other drugmakers are betting increasingly on specialised cell and gene therapies as future growth drivers — despite their eye-wateringly high costs. ...
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Ranking research, employing millennials, and trading crypto

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 13:00
Here are the stories we’ll be following the week of December 17, 2018. Monday Publish or perish? Science researchers, conscious of the need to secure top spots in rankings to win funding, often focus a lot of effort on citations and prestigious journals. Now the Swiss Science Council wants to use more qualitative aspects to judge the value of scientific work. Tuesday Switzerland boasts many of the world’s top multinationals, as well as a host of top business schools. But graduating millennials are unconvinced about sticking around: even if salaries and conditions are good, they want things like purpose and impact. Big Swiss businesses will have to adapt if they want to attract the best and brightest. Wednesday The crypto boom is far from over. On Wednesday, we look at how and why the SIX Group, which runs the Swiss stock exchange, is one of the international front-runners in a race to build a blockchain-style system that will allow for the coming wave ...
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‘Being Swiss is an essential part of my identity’

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 12:00
Even as a child, François Schwalb, who was born in South Africa, was interested in his father’s homeland. Today the 30-year-old, who works in the fruit and vegetable industry, lives with his family and numerous animals. You weren’t born in Switzerland. Why are you Swiss? I was born in South Africa to a Swiss father in 1988. We lived in Switzerland when I was 7-9 years old. We also visited in 2008 and again in 2018. After the last trip with my wife and one-year-old son, we plan to visit family and friends in Switzerland at least every two years. What kind of relationship do you have with Switzerland? Being Swiss is an essential part of my identity, of how I see and understand myself, my parents and siblings. I’m very interested in many aspects of the country and read up a lot on a weekly basis – and the more I read, the more I love Switzerland. When did you start to feel Swiss? Why are you interested in Switzerland? Since I can remember, Switzerland has been part of our ...
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Transport, terrorism, and dual-nationals

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 12/15/2018 - 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 4.6 million The number of vehicles in Switzerland, according to the Federal Statistical Office. With a population of around 8 million, this makes more than one car for every two inhabitants, and a hefty contribution to the environment; in 2016, transport (excluding international flights) accounted for 38% of Swiss carbon emissions.  Tuesday 2 Following a decision in Parliament, the question of cabinet ministers holding two (or more) passports was brought to a close, with politicians deciding that multiple nationalities is fine. The vote came after a debate last year in which some claimed that more than one nationality could lead to divided loyalties.  Wednesday 3 Terrorist gunman Cherif Chekatt killed three and injured 12 others when he opened fire at the ...
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Switzerland after sundown

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 12/15/2018 - 12:00
By day, photographer Dominic Büttner works with light to capture the best shots for his clients. By night, however, he seeks out darker corners, as his Dreamscapes project shows. Büttner, who works for various well-known Swiss companies and organisations, is until now the only photographer – along with his colleague Béatrice Devènes – to have twice take the official annual photo of the Swiss government. When the sun sets, Büttner moves onto other things. He seeks out “non-places”, places we don’t even notice during the day. In darkness, he sets up his equipment, hits the automatic button, and walks off into his own picture, lamp in hand. But of the photographer himself, all that we are left with is a ghost-like pair of boots. With these paintings of light, we are never sure if we are in a wonderful new land, or if we are in a nightmare. Casting shadows Büttner has also found dreamlike backdrops in Japan, Germany, and Italy. But his non-places are always that – non-places, ...
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DXC Technology Selected by New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to Transform Asset Management Capabilities

News Machinery - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 20:36

DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) has been selected by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), one of the world's largest public transit authorities, to transform its enterprise asset management capabilities and support its digital transformation journey.  Under the multi-year engagement, DXC will deploy a next-generation enterprise asset management (EAM) solution to help plan, track and optimize maintenance activities of MTA assets and infrastructure for its 236 miles of rou...

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Where Swiss development aid meets migration

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 18:00
Controversial and currently on hold in Switzerland, the UN Migration Pact strives to help people live in peace and follow their dreams in their own countries. But many Swiss-supported projects already pursue these goals. Earlier this week the international community - but not Switzerland - formally adopted an international agreement in Morocco that promises a better, more coordinated approach to migration. The Swiss government said on Friday that it had instructed the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs to prepare, by the end of 2019, a simple federal decree enabling the Swiss parliament to decide whether or not Switzerland should sign the pact. The country already supports several key projects in the area of migration. It has formed five partnerships with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Nigeria, Serbia, Sri Lanka and Tunisia. The content of a migration partnership is flexible and varies from country to country, taking the particular context and the different interests of the ...
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Switzerland sets legal foundations for blockchain industry

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 16:25
The Swiss government has announced a wide-ranging blockchain strategy that aims to create a legal foundation for the new technology. The reports suggests amending existing laws, rather than creating new legislation, in a bid to enhance Switzerland’s status as a blockchain-friendly country. The main focus of the strategy is to incorporate decentralised digital tokens into the Swiss business infrastructure, particularly the financial sector. One proposal is to clear away regulatory hurdles for trading securities (such as shares, bonds or real estate) on blockchain platforms. This would create a new regulatory category along the lines of recent fintech laws, which allow certain financial activities to be carried out by tech start-ups without a banking license. Switzerland has rapidly established itself as one of the world’s leading blockchain hubs, attracting both start-ups and hundreds of millions of dollars in investments. The technology, which started off as a means to replace ...
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Do we need clinics for internet and sex addicts?

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 12/14/2018 - 12:00
One in ten people in Switzerland suffers from some form of behavioural addiction: they cannot live without the internet, gambling, sex or shopping. An expert from the new Centre for Dependency Disorders in Basel gives his view on the issue. Hours and hours spent playing on the computer or searching for porn, excessive sexual behaviour or the irrepressible impulse to buy - it seems that in many cases, the internet and modern society are to blame. + Why the WHO recognised video games addiction as a disease To tackle these ‘new’ disorders, the Basel University Psychiatric Clinics have opened Switzerland’s first clinic specialised in the inpatient treatment of behavioural addictions. “With this service we are entering a new field,” says clinic director Gerhard Wiesbeck. swissinfo.ch: I spend hours watching television and check my mobile phone dozens of times a day. Does this mean I am addicted? Gerhard Wiesbeck: We should not confuse a bad habit or passion, for instance for ...
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Tale of Swiss-based Syrian torture survivor highlights Dublin flaws

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 18:00
Jalal last saw his youngest son was when the boy was a baby. Now Hamude is almost five. The asylum seeker from Syria is caught up in a complicated international case based on the Dublin accord, a regulation that Switzerland applies more strictly than any other country in Europe, according to critics.  Jalal has been living in limbo, unable to plan more than a few months in advance, since 2014. “I spent five years in a Syrian prison and now I have spent [almost] another five years in an open prison,” Jalal told swissinfo.ch in November.   The father leads an isolated life in a tiny studio on the outskirts of Lucerne in central Switzerland. Hamude, along with his mother and two siblings, live equally isolated in a rundown caravan camp a couple thousand kilometres away in Greece. Their relationship unfolds largely over Whatsapp. Living with no sense of when or where they will all see each other again has both parents on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Despite the efforts of ...
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OK Google: what the Swiss search for

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 17:48
Football, football and football, in particular the Swiss national squad is what the Swiss looked for, due to it's appearance - and at times questionable performance - at the 2018 World Cup.  Top spot went to Swiss star, Xherdan Shaqiri, who was in the spotlight for celebrating a victory over Serbia by making hand gestures of an Albanian national symbol, the double eagle. Second position went to Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic. Switzerland now has royalty, at least as far as sports are concerned, when footballer Valon Behrami married ski star Lara Gut. The bride came fourth (second to the groom). She now speeds down the slopes burdened with a multisyllabic name, Lara Gut-Behrami. Still gut, German speakers may wonder. Fifth position went to still single Adela Smajic, the daughter of former professional footballer, Admir Smajic. Adela starred in the reality TV show, Bachelor. Controversial academic Tariq Ramadan was the sixth most searched person by the Swiss this ...
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California's IAQ and EHS Professionals Make Year End Equipment and Supply Purchases to Take Advantage of Tax Savings

News Machinery - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 16:49

With the arrival of last month of the year, savvy indoor air quality (IAQ) consultants, industrial hygienists (IH), home inspectors and environmental, health and safety (EHS) professionals from across California are looking at ways to prepare their businesses for the upcoming year while decreasing their tax liabilities for 2018. - - One approach many shrewd professionals take this time of year is to purchase sampling equipment, monitoring instruments, inspection tools and sampling supplies....

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Men appointed to boards because it’s ‘easier’

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 15:00
Few women sit on company boards in Switzerland - and the rate is low compared to other European countries. While parliament on Tuesday put off deciding about quotas, the business world has clear ideas about what should be done. The Senate on Tuesday threw out a revision of Swiss Company Law, that would have included the issue of female quotas for company boards. It has now gone back to committee stage to be revised. The most important duty of a company board is to oversee top management – and to have a 360-degree view of what should be done. That’s why members should preferably bring diverse skills and experience to the table, says Rudolf Meyer, founding member and honorary present of Actares, an organisation representing small shareholders that promotes sustainable company policies. But most Swiss boards are dominated or are completely made up of men. There are in fact only 16% women in the boards of the 100 largest Swiss companies. “This is despite the fact that everybody ...
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What now for Syria?

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 12:00
“It is really playing with a gigantic powder keg in the middle of three million civilians”. These were the words of Jan Egeland, the United Nation’s humanitarian advisor for Syria, on his final day in office last month after chairing his last meeting of the UN’s humanitarian task force.  He was talking about Idlib, the last Syrian city still in rebel hands. The buffer zone created around the city by Russia and Turkey was starting to fray: there had been artillery and air attacks, armed incursions, and tension was rising.  Idlib, many still believe, could be the last, and possibly bloodiest battle in Syria’s long and bloody war. When Aleppo fell, and then again when Eastern Ghouta succumbed, many opposition figures and their families escaped to Idlib fearing, with some justification, possible brutal reprisals by the Syrian government. Now government forces are closing in, and Idlib is home, it’s believed, to around 30,000 fighters and those three million civilians Jan Egeland ...
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Climate change is a reality we need to confront; so is denialism

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 18:00
Global warming is real, but there are five phases of denial among those who question it, explains a political scientist from the University of St Gallen. The three major scientific reports about global warming that came out this year were truly alarming. In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that limiting the global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would save us a lot of trouble. Yet it also warned that the international community has increasingly lost sight of the goal it agreed to in Paris. To reach it, CO2 emissions would need to drop by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by about 2050. But if states continue business as usual, the 1.5-degree limit will only be reached between 2030 and 2052. In November, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) followed up with its national climate assessment. Prepared by 13 different federal agencies, its conclusions were no less clear. Climate ...
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Venezuelan ex-minister hoarded money in Switzerland

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 15:26
As the US justice authorities investigate corruption among Venezuela’s former leaders, there is evidence that embezzled state funds flowed into Swiss bank accounts. The investigative newsletter Gotham City*, which focuses on white-collar crime, has traced how the so-called “Bolivarian bourgeoisie” – powerful Venezuelans with links to the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez – diverted more than $1 billion (CHF995.8) of public money to finance their opulent lifestyles in the United States. For example, Alejandro Andrade, the former Chavez bodyguard appointed finance minister in 2007, pleaded guilty to corruption on November 19. Court documents examined by Gotham City show how he and his peers trusted Swiss banks to hide money. Andrade alone had 17 accounts with nine Swiss banks, including HSBC, Julius Bär, Credit Suisse, Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique in Geneva and PKB in Lugano, Gotham City journalists found. The former Venezuelan minister, who owned a racehorse ranch in ...
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