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What the Swiss can teach us about quality of life

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 08/19/2018 - 17:00
Squeezing in a lunchtime swim – and being able to get there by bus – is just one example of why Swiss cities keep topping quality of life surveys. In this edition of The Swiss Connection, we drop in on an international event in Zurich to hear why people are drawn there and to other places in Switzerland. Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes to ensure that you don’t miss the next one.
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We head back to school, and dogs teach seniors new tricks

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 08/19/2018 - 12:00
Here are some of the stories we'll be following the week of August 20: Monday Many people change their professions when they move to Switzerland from another country. It can be because their qualifications are not recognised, or because it’s a good moment to try something new. Heather Dean used to be a financial systems expert, but now she's a personal trainer. Monday This August, nearly 500,000 primary school students across Switzerland will start or return to school for a new year. One in three students is not a Swiss national and even more are born into dual nationality families. For many parents, their children starting school will be their first contact with the Swiss education system. Tuesday A senior home in Aargau has a therapy program involving lots of animals: cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, rabbits, ducks, donkey, guinea pigs… While a few of the cats are pets, most of the animals are in a therapy role. In particular, the home reports good results in reaching ...
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'Never a stranger in Los Angeles'

Swissinfo EN - Sun, 08/19/2018 - 11:00
When choreography and film production are your biggest passions, Los Angeles is the place to be. At least for 30-year-old Eveline Stampa, who has already had the chance to direct a short movie there. swissinfo.ch: Why did you leave Switzerland? Evelina Stampa: I have always spent long periods abroad, such as in New York or London, where I lived for three years completing my BA. Come to think of it, I have been in LA for almost three years now.  I used to work as a dancer and choreographer in Europe and taught dance and acting classes at various schools. With lots of luck and in a roundabout way, I managed to work as an assistant director for different theatre productions and on film sets. During this time, I realised that I wanted to develop my skills in this field.  As I have felt strongly affiliated to the States from a very early age, I knew that I wanted to study there. Attending the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television had always been a big dream of mine. After ...
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The Great Swiss climbing tour: learning the ropes

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 08/18/2018 - 17:00
What is sport climbing all about? And where are the most beautiful spots in Switzerland to reach new heights, hanging on by your fingernails? In this exclusive swissinfo.ch series, follow professional German climber Pirmin Bertle as he sets off on a journey in his van through Switzerland's natural wonders; finding out where you can climb hard, or simply take a deep breath and reconnect with nature.  Bertle has been living in Fribourg, Switzerland for ten years. He is one of the top sport rock climbers in the world, having bolted and climbed two of the hardest routes in the country, 'La Céne du Lézard' in Jansegg and 'Meiose' in Charmey, both in canton Fribourg.  At 1,800 metres above sea level, Jansegg is a paradise for climbers and hikers.
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Top performers: climbers, cows and Swiss universities

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 08/18/2018 - 13:45
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 12,000 “Elite cows” can produce around 12,000 litres of milk a year, nearly 70% more than an average animal, according to the Swiss breeders' association. Tuesday 2.04 Swiss alpinist Dani Arnold climbed the north face of the Grandes Jorasses mountain of the Mont Blanc massif in 2 hours and 4 minutes. Wednesday 2.3 The Swiss government now forecasts a surplus of CHF2.3 billion ($2.4 billion) for the 2018 financial year thanks to economic growth. Parliament last December approved a budget with just a CHF300 million surplus. Thursday 19 The Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) is still the best university in continental Europe. It was ranked 19th place worldwide, according to the Shanghai Ranking consultancy.  Friday 78 A radical proposal ...
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Architectural gems exposed on Instagram

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 08/18/2018 - 11:00
Photographer Philipp Heer, also known as @lerichti, has made a name for himself with beautiful Swiss architecture pictures on Instagram, where more than 63,000 people follow his work. swissinfo.ch takes a closer look.  A window frame, a doorway, patterned facades – graphic details of cool, modern concrete buildings. These architectural attributes, which are a focus of Heer’s work, are similar to the postcards you can buy in art galleries – morphed into something else: an Instagram post. Heer has had a passion for photography and architecture since his childhood. For him, it seemed a natural progression to connect the two hobbies to Instagram, he writes. When he started on the social platform in 2015, he chose '@lerichti' as a handle, a username. It is a combination of the French pronoun "le" and the urban development area where he is living – the Richti-Areal in Wallisellen, near Zurich.  Instagram is among the most popular social networks today, one billion users per month ...
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Remembering the Chapel Bridge fire

Swissinfo EN - Sat, 08/18/2018 - 08:00
Lucerne’s world famous covered bridge spanning the River Reuss is a magnet for tourists from all over the world. But the medieval Kapellbrücke, or Chapel Bridge, was nearly lost in a massive fire 25 years ago.  The bridge, built in 1365 as part of Lucerne’s fortifications, contained paintings dating back to the 17th century. Many of these were destroyed in the blaze, along with two thirds of the bridge. Lucerne residents were devastated. The exact cause of the fire has never been established, but it’s thought that it started on a boat beneath the bridge. The iconic structure was rebuilt and opened to the public again on April 14, 1994, and a surveillance system was put in place to prevent future fires. The renovations cost CHF3.4 million ($3.41 million) .  In 2013, Swiss Public Television, SRF, prepared this report to mark the 20th anniversary of the fire. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)
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Government’s stance on nuclear ban under scrutiny

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:32
Switzerland has decided not to sign a treaty banning nuclear arms saying it puts at risk the country’s approach to disarmament and security policies. But disarmament expert Marc Finaud questions the government’s arguments. Switzerland was one of 122 states to adopt the United Nations treaty in July 2017. As a result the government asked a working group to consider the pros and cons of ratifying the document. “During the negotiations Switzerland noted numerous issues requiring clarification. Since then, an interdepartmental working group headed by the Foreign Ministry has concluded that, from today's perspective, for Switzerland the arguments against an accession to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) outweigh the potential opportunities of an accession,” according to a government statement published on Wednesday. “The report is very detailed. All aspects of the treaty have been covered, be it legal, humanitarian, military, political and economic,” says Marc ...
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The crowd, the digital motivator, and his mobile phone

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:00
The tall young man looks like... well, a tall young man, dressed casually, fluffy stubble around the jaw, friendly dark eyes. Just as he was described in several newspaper articles over the past few months. And yes, Dimitri Rougy does come across as open-minded, clued-up, curious and passionate about politics all at the same time. Needless to say, the digital campaigner produces his mobile phone, which he puts on the table, when we meet in a café not far from parliament in the Swiss capital, Bern. Always reachable, his fingers twitching to send out a tweet, post a picture, answer a call? He politely apologises for the delay. He missed a train – entirely his fault, he says. Rougy is one of a team of four using a new form of crowd campaigning and social media to challenge a law cracking down on suspected welfare fraudsters. The 21-year old’s star has risen ever since he and three other citizens decided to collect the 50,000 signatures needed – as part of the direct democratic ...
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Perils of haven status haunt rebounding Swiss economy

Swissinfo EN - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:13
Business is good this summer for the operator of cable cars that take tourists to near the summit of the 3,000 metre Titlis mountain in the Swiss Alps, where a shop sells luxury watches to Asian and other tourists. “We reached quite a high [revenue] level in 2017 — maybe this year is even better,” said Peter Reinle, marketing director at Titlis Bergbahnen. Like the cable cars on Titlis, the Swiss economy is again reaching the heights. Since a severe foreign exchange shock in 2015, which saw exports wilt as the franc soared against the euro, Swiss industries have staged an impressive recovery, buoyed by a global economic upturn — with tourism boosted by rising visitor numbers, particularly from China. “The weather is favourable, the Swiss franc is a bit less strong and the economic situation in Europe is better — people can afford Switzerland again,” said Maurice Rapin, head of tourism at the Swiss cable car association. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is cautiously projecting ...
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Manufactured Assemblies Corporation and Logic PD Together Expand Suite of Capabilities

News Machinery - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 17:49

Cable & wire harness and box build/kiosk assembly experts Manufactured Assemblies Corporation (MAC) announced today that it has expanded its offering to provide advanced product design & engineering capabilities and electronics manufacturing services (EMS) through its new partnership with Minnesota-based Logic PD. -   - “Our relationship with Logic PD really opens up the possibility for both companies to build deeper, more beneficial relationships with our customers,” said Bradley J. Nime...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=227513

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US plane wreck to be cleared from Swiss Alps

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 17:00
Over 70 years after its emergency landing, a US military plane is emerging from a melting glacier in Switzerland. Local authorities want to clear the wreckage before winter.  The American Dakota C-53, which landed on the Gauli Glacier in the Bernese Oberland in 1946, is a magnet for visitors thanks to its exposed propellers, wings and engine parts.  But not for much longer. Recently, the crash site was visited by the mayor of Innertkirchen and representatives of the Bernese archaeology and environmental departments. Although there is some oil spillage, there is no immediate risk to the local environment, they found. Now they must decide what should happen to the remains of the plane, which could interest museums. The clean-up is expected to begin in September.  On November 19, 1946, the American Dakota C-53 came off course in the fog before making a safe landing high in the Bernese Alps, where it was spotted by coincidence at an altitude of 3,350 meters on the Gauli Glacier.  ...
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'I've got elf ears, a split tongue and canine teeth, but I'm not a freak'

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 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.  Sandy is 28-years-old, an entrepreneur, dog owner and body artist. She's had operations to lengthen her canine teeth, add scars to her chin, split her tongue and make her ears look elf-like. She has a magnet embedded in her finger.  Sandy tells True Talk about the prejudices she faces because of her appearance and ponders on what society would gain by just accepting her for who she is.
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Most wear-resistant metal alloy in the world engineered at Sandia National Laboratories

News Machinery - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 14:16

If you're ever unlucky enough to have a car with metal tires, you might consider a set made from a new alloy engineered at Sandia National Laboratories. You could skid — not drive, skid — around the Earth's equator 500 times before wearing out the tread. Sandia's materials science team has engineered a platinum-gold alloy believed to be the most wear-resistant metal in the world. It's 100 times more durable than high-strength steel, making it the first alloy, or combination of metals, in...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=227504

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Radical change for Swiss agricultural policy goes to vote

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 11:00
Farmers should be providing the local population with food produced in a sustainable way: that’s the vision behind an initiative going before voters in September. Opponents fear it will result in excessive state intervention in the agricultural market and a pricing policy that could be detrimental to foreign trade. The food sovereignty initiative was launched by the trade union groups Uniterre and L’autre syndicat from the French-speaking part of Switzerland in 2014 and is supported mainly by leftwing parties and an alliance of development aid and environmental groups. If passed, it would radically change Swiss agricultural policy. The initiative text is among the longest in the history of Swiss direct democracy. It outlines a ten-point programme for diversified and sustainable local agriculture, free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), with an emphasis on job creation and good salary conditions. It is based on the concept of food sovereignty developed by Via Campesina, ...
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Initiative aims to tighten food checks and balances

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 11:00
Do you know where the food on your plate has come from? An initiative before voters on September 23 aims to make the food we eat more ethical. Supporters say it will make production more sustainable, while opponents have criticised it as an utopian idea that will cost the consumer dearly. According to the ‘Fair Food’ initiative', the public should be eating food that meets the most stringent environmental and social standards. It comes in the wake of various food scandals in Europe, including the 2013 discovery of horse meat in beef lasagna products. The production of fruit and vegetables in the Almeria region of southern Spain, known as "the vegetable garden of Europe", was also a factor. European supermarkets are supplied year-round with strawberries, tomatoes or aubergines that have been intensively farmed in massive greenhouses. A feat that relies in part on migrants, who work in precarious conditions for only a few francs an hour, as shown in a report on the Kassensturz ...
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How does Switzerland compare when it comes to university tuition fees?

Swissinfo EN - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 08:25
The US and UK are the top destinations for international students looking to study abroad. Can relatively low tuition fees help Switzerland give them a run for their money? This June, swissinfo.ch asked readers what they would like to know about the university system in the US, UK and Switzerland. Our correspondents in these three countries then set about finding the answers. Here is what they were able to dig up about tuition fees: For the 2016/2017 school year, students from India and China made up about 50% of all international students in the US. The bulk of them were from China, but the growth of Indian students is outpacing those from China. These students are largely attracted to graduate-level, and practical training programs. Some universities target Indian students directly, like Arizona State University that offers fast-facts about its degree programs, or even the prevalence of Hinduism in the state. American universities tend to like international students because ...
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Pöyry awarded Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management Services assignment by SunPine for Biorefinery expansion in Piteå, Sweden

News Machinery - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 18:23

SunPine AB has awarded Pöyry with the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services assignment for SunPine biorefinery expansion project in Piteå, Sweden. The assignment includes all engineering disciplines, project management services, procurement and construction management services. Pöyry has been involved in the study phase of the project and has now the role to further develop the project in accordance with the conditions, standards and procedures of the existin...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=227486

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‘My parents loved me as if I were their own child’

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 11:00
​​​​​​​ With photographs and audio recordings, the photographer Carmela Harshani Odoni shows how adoption can be a stroke of good luck or bad luck. She was adopted and taken from Sri Lanka, and to this day, she hasn’t managed to trace her birth parents. Nonetheless, she is happy.  Carmela Harshani Odoni’s apartment in the Schosshalde district of Bern radiates family contentment and happiness: children‘s clothes lie alongside a laptop, a family calendar on the wall reminds everyone to take the dog for a walk, mice are burrowing noisily in sawdust in a spacious cage designed for their comfort. A terrier jumps around barking, gets stroked on his tummy, and then makes himself comfortable on a sofa on the balcony.  Carmela Harshani Odoni Carmela Harshani Odoni was born in 1980 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. When she was three weeks old, she was adopted by Swiss foster parents and grew up in Lucerne. After a photography apprenticeship and an internship at the Neue Luzerner Zeitung, she ...
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Why Swiss people use CHF200 banknotes

Swissinfo EN - Wed, 08/15/2018 - 09:37
​​​​​​​ The Swiss National Bank is rolling out its newest banknote – and it’s one that people will actually use in the high street despite its high value.  Starting next week, Swiss ATMs, cash registers and wallets will carry the latest CHF200 note, which is worth about $202. Wallets, you ask? Indeed, especially those of people who forget to ask for small notes when withdrawing cash.  “The CHF200 note is a part of Swiss history. We’re used to paying with 200- or even 1,000-franc notes. And the stores say money is money,” points out Rafael Domeisen from the ZHAW School of Management and Law. + Why Switzerland still has a CHF1,000 note He says that unlike a €200 note ($227), the risk that a CHF200 is fake is much lower, thanks especially to the security features of this latest series of Swiss banknotes. Unveiled on Wednesday, the CHF200 bill features images related to scientific exploration.  Zurich business psychologist Christian Fichter agrees that the Swiss don’t worry ...
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