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Updated: 41 min 19 sec ago

How America’s genealogy obsession touches Switzerland

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 11:00
​​​​​​​ Over-the-counter DNA testing kits and genealogy websites have made the study of family ancestry one of the fastest growing hobbies in the US. One group of Californians has taken a more traditional approach in rediscovering their common Swiss-Italian roots.  The flags of Switzerland and its Italian-speaking canton of Ticino flap in the wind above three gazebos at Finley Park in Santa Rosa. This is where more than 120 people have gathered on a July weekend to find answers to questions about their forefathers, all who said goodbye to the rugged Maggia valley in the late 19th or early 20th century.  But, like any quest for answers, it often leads to more questions.  This holds true in the case of genealogy of families with roots in the valley. Troy Goss, part of the Cerini family who migrated to California from the village of Giumaglio in the 1890s, has spent every weekend for the past five years collecting, translating, and analyzing 15,000 parish records to build out his ...
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Fireworks, munitions exports and parched countryside

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 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 10 Men make up 10% of people seeking help who feel sexually harassed at work, according to the Zurich Office for Gender Equality.  Tuesday 2.5 The weight, in kilograms, of fireworks that you can import into Switzerland. If they’re legal. Fireworks are big business on August 1, Swiss National Day.  Wednesday 66 It was announced that Sergio Marchionne, former CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, had died aged 66 in University Hospital Zurich. Two days later, the hospital said it had been treating the Canadian-Italian for a “serious illness” for more than a year. Fiat Chrysler said it hadn’t been aware of that. Thursday 205,200,000 Switzerland exported weapons and munitions worth CHF205.2 million in the first six months of the year. Just over half went to ...
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Summer in Geneva: ten top tips

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 11:00
What do expats and international workers like to get up to in summer in Geneva? We’ve put together a list of ten ideas based on some of your suggestions.  Tens of thousands of people work for the city’s international organisations and multinationals, many of them expats here for a few years. They’ve visited the main local tourist attractions like the Jet d’Eau fountain, but after a while they discover the city has a whole lot more to offer.  If you’re on your way to Geneva, for work or play, here are a few tips that’ll take you off the beaten track. Nir Ofek of the Glocals expat site is a fan of La Terrasse for a cool beer La Terrasse is a relaxed summer lakeside bar on Quai Wilson next to the Bains des Pâquis. Here a mixed crowd – from bankers to interns - sip reasonably priced cocktails and beers by the port, and spill out onto the nearby grass to relax, catch up with friends and colleagues and enjoy the spectacular views across the lake towards Mont Salève, the Mont ...
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Compromise: the biggest asset in Swiss politics

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 11:00
Swiss politicians have a tough nut to crack this summer: the free movement of labour between Switzerland and the European Union. Brussels insists on the free market, including for wages, but Bern wants to keep high Swiss salaries at any price. It’s going to be fiddly, but there’s a tried-and-tested approach to finding a solution: more negotiations! The government wants to achieve three strategic goals by the next parliamentary elections in October 2019: -        An overhaul of the country’s corporate tax system, following voters’ rejection of a first proposal last year; -        To make progress on reforming the pension scheme. An initial set of proposals was also thrown out by voters last year; -        To secure the future of the bilateral agreements with the 28-nation EU, Switzerland’s main trading partner. These goals will be difficult to achieve, as there’s a disconnect between politicians and voters: both chambers approved the corporate tax and pension reforms, but both ...
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After an earthquake, drones to the rescue?

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 11:00
Davide Scaramuzza develops autonomous drones that rely on their own cameras and sensors to navigate dangerous and unpredictable search-and-rescue situations. He tells swissinfo.ch about some of the most promising applications — and risks — associated with autonomous drones. A personal mission There are two reasons why I work on autonomous drones. The first is personal: I come from the region of Umbria in Italy, which has been devastated by earthquakes. Several villages dating back to the Middle Ages have been destroyed in the last decades, like Amatrice. My hometown was fortunately not hit, but I always wanted to develop robotic technologies that can help save people's lives.  The second reason is because search-and-rescue is one of the toughest and most challenging problems in robotics: If you have a drone that can fly in such complicated environments, among rubble and other things, then you can solve many other robotics problems. I want to build drones that are very small ...
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What goes on within a sect?

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 17:00
Katharina spent her childhood in the Central American jungle as a member of the Lichtoase" sect, until she finally managed to leave aged 20. In "True Talk" she speaks openly about "mind hacking" and abuse within the sect. She says, "Often sects are harmless at first sight, but become destructive, exploiting their members and pressuring them to stay."
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How well do you know International Geneva?

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 11:00
Have you been following recent developments in International Geneva? Take our multiple choice quiz to test your knowledge. Over the past 150 years, Geneva has evolved into one of the foremost centres of global governance. How well do you know this unique international hub and its activities?  Find out by taking our quiz below. There are ten multiple choice questions. For each question choose a reply; the correct answer will be revealed. ​​​​​​​ How did you do? Share your result in the comments section below. 
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Maudet shares his vision for Greater Geneva

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 11:00
The time is ripe to properly organise the development of Greater Geneva – the extended Franco-Swiss region of just under one million people, Pierre Maudet, the new Geneva president, tells swissinfo.ch. Last year, the Geneva politician failed in his attempt to become one of the seven cabinet ministers that make up the Federal Council (executive body) in Bern. But unperturbed he was comfortably re-elected as cantonal government minister in Geneva elections last April. The centre-right politician was then chosen by his peers as cantonal president for the next five years. His new responsibilities include overseeing the development of the Geneva region and so-called “International Geneva”, alongside his previous security portfolio. In an interview with swissinfo.ch, Maudet expressed his confidence about Greater Geneva’s future (see infobox).  Geneva and France Switzerland’s second biggest city is at a busy crossroads with France and the Alps. Just under one million people live in ...
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Apprenticeships and their social status – your views

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 11:00
​​​​​​​ We asked readers whether apprenticeships were considered a good option for young people in their home countries. While there were many positive voices, many said “not always”. Earlier this month swissinfo.ch published an article about whether social status plays a role in young people’s career choices - i.e. apprenticeship or academic route - in Switzerland. It featured a study that found that apprenticeships had not actually lost their social status, like some had feared. + Here's the original article on social status and career choice Vocational training was still popular among the Swiss and migrants from neighbouring countries like Austria and Germany. It was another matter among foreigners with no strong apprenticeship tradition. Our -  non-scientific - polls on social media showed that swissinfo’s international readers were more or less split over whether apprenticeships were considered a good option in their home countries as well: on twitter it was 55% ...
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Swiss expat group turns up heat on banks

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 11:00
Swiss banks’ restrictive policy towards the Swiss abroad has been a major concern for nearly a decade. First steps have been taken to tackle the issue, but more progress is needed, says Remo Gysin, president of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA). Many expatriate Swiss have complained about losing access to Swiss banking services and about unfair conditions, notably what they consider to be excessive fees. Parliament has discussed several proposals to improve the situation without agreeing on any political measures. Gysin does not mince his words criticising both the banking sector as well as the government. He also pledges to take a critical look at the strategy used in the parliamentary process over the past few years before the organisation decides on the next steps. The OSA represents the interests of the more than 750,000-strong Swiss Abroad community living mainly in neighbouring European countries – France, Germany and Italy - but also in North America. The ...
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