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New publication aims to be ‘good for the head’

Swissinfo EN - dim, 06/25/2017 - 18:35
As media habits shift in Switzerland, new projects are emerging to complement traditional publications. One of them launched last week. Zeynep Ersan Berdoz is full of energy. When swissinfo.ch meets the president of new online publication Bon pour la tête in Lausanne, in May, the project is in full construction phase: she is dividing her time between meeting journalists, designing the site, soliciting articles from freelancers, and presumably taking care of her other (primary) job as editor-in-chief of a consumer magazine. This week, the efforts of her and her team – 40 people, mainly volunteers and freelancers – were vindicated when the site went live just a few months after initial plans were conceived. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign in May, which raised over CHF200,000 ($205,680), the site has been online since Wednesday: free to consult for one week, after which a paywall will descend. Of course, work is only beginning: building a new media source in such ...
Catégories: News EN

American expats, Nazis and a churchman gone astray

Swissinfo EN - dim, 06/25/2017 - 17:00
Here are some of the stories we will feature in the week beginning June 26. Monday: Huldrych Zwingli, a key figure in the Protestant Reformation movement in Zurich and Switzerland, is presented in a different light. The latest in series of reports on the 500th anniversary of the religious, political, cultural upheaval that changed the Christian Church and society. Tuesday: What do the 500,000 special files on immigrants, including Nazi sympathisers and political refugees, reveal about the history of people who settled in the Swiss city of Basel in the 20th century? Thursday: The cabinet chief of staff, Walter Thurnherr, explains how Switzerland’s finely tuned system of government works, what impact digitalisation is having and what is being done against cyberattacks. Saturday: A look at contemporary architecture in Switzerland, based on a book that examines the influences of Peter Zumthor, Herzog & de Meuron and others on buildings designed by 16 Swiss architects.
Catégories: News EN

Pursuing a degree after fleeing to Switzerland

Swissinfo EN - dim, 06/25/2017 - 12:00
We follow a refugee from Zimbabwe getting his first taste of Swiss university life through a new "discovery semester" offering. 
Catégories: News EN

A photographic journey into the unknown

Swissinfo EN - sam, 06/24/2017 - 11:00
In April 2013, Swiss photographers Nico Krebs and Taiyo Onorato, who have worked together for more than 12 years, jumped into an old Land Cruiser and headed east. They had a rough route and stops in mind, with the final destination being Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.  It was a real expedition, a departure into the mystical kingdom of the East: Eurasia, Central Asia, the foothills of the Himalayas, the forests of Siberia, the various “Stan” republics, the gigantic breadth of the former Soviet Union. They covered half a continent, a land mass of which only a few images have stuck in our heads.  The countries and regions they visited are undergoing a shift from the Silk Road, post-communism and religious, territorial and ethic turmoil to the pressing desire to become part of global capitalism. This search for identity is palpable and is reflected in the photo album Continental Drift.  The images also describe a journey along the border between documentation and fiction. The ...
Catégories: News EN

Politician targets old age pensioners abroad

Swissinfo EN - ven, 06/23/2017 - 16:44
A proposal to cut old age pensions for beneficiaries living outside Switzerland has caused a public uproar. The debate on a reform of the state pension scheme, ahead of a vote in September, promises to be heated. The Swiss old age pension system is under pressure - the number of beneficiaries keeps growing but there are fewer contributors, causing the risk of a serious deficit. The proposal to cut the pensions of people living abroad comes from the Petra Gössi, the head of centre-right Radical Party, one of the main political parties in Switzerland. It would not only target the around 360,000 workers from Italy, Spain and Portugal who have spent a good part of their active professional lives in Switzerland, often in lowly-paid jobs, and have gone back to their countries of origin for retirement, but also the Swiss abroad community. “Old age pensioners living abroad don’t create value. They neither pay any taxes nor do they spend money [in Switzerland],” she is quoted as saying ...
Catégories: News EN

Swiss abroad keep yodelling tradition alive

Swissinfo EN - ven, 06/23/2017 - 16:39
Some people will go an awfully long way to yodel: the “Wildrose” yodel club, for example, has come all the way from Canada to take part in this weekend’s Federal Yodelling Festival in Brig-Glis, canton Valais. (Julie Hunt, swissinfo.ch) The Wildrose club was formed in Alberta 20 years ago by ten Swiss emigrants. Now there are 15 members of all ages and from all walks of life, some of them second generation Swiss.  Ahead of the festival, the group, together with the local Riederalp yodel club, gathered for a sing-song on the Eggishorn, overlooking the Aletsch glacier. swissinfo.ch talked to some of the Wildrose members about why they love Canada, what they miss about Switzerland, and whether it’s important to keep Swiss traditions alive when living abroad.  Yodelling almost died out in Switzerland when cheese production moved from the mountains to the valleys. Alpine herdsmen and dairymen used to yodel to keep each other posted with the latest news or to drive cattle home, at a ...
Catégories: News EN

Explore 150 years of global warming data in Switzerland

Swissinfo EN - ven, 06/23/2017 - 14:14
Global warming naturally comes to mind as a topic for reflection while Switzerland swelters in a Europe-wide heatwave. To help inform our thinking about this, swissinfo.ch compiled more than 150 years of Swiss temperature data in graphics. It illustrates both the changing climate and hotter temperatures in Switzerland in recent decades.  The Swiss meteorological office, MeteoSwiss, said it expected to record at least eight days of extraordinary temperatures in June 2017, compared to an average of two over recent past decades.  The animated graphic below shows how the monthly average temperatures in Switzerland evolved over the past century and a half. An interactive graphic afterward lets users explore the data year by year.  Since the 1980s, temperatures have risen markedly and since remained at a high level. Rising average temperature for all of Switzerland is clearly evident when looking at the deviation in yearly temperature against the 1981-2010 average.  ​​​​​​​
Catégories: News EN

Highest bridge in Europe opens

Swissinfo EN - ven, 06/23/2017 - 14:00
June 22 marks the official opening of the Tamina Bridge, the highest in Europe, connecting the Swiss villages of Pfäfers and Valens in canton St Gallen. (SRF/swisisnfo.ch) The two-lane asymmetrical concrete arch towers 200 metres above the valley. The 417-metre-long bridge took five years to build and cost CHF56 million ($57.5 million). It provides a safer winter route from Valens to Bad Ragaz. The old road, the Valenserstrasse, is prone to rockslides.  The bridge also provides easy access to Valens for firefighters from Pfäfers. It used to take them 30 minutes to arrive – a church once almost burnt down because of the delay. It's a plus for schoolchildren as well, who no longer have a 40km bus journey to cross the valley; it takes ten minutes by bike across the bridge.  More than 1km of new cantonal road had to be built to serve the bridge. In order to reduce the environmental impact, a natural forest reserve is being created, streams are being revitalised and crossings ...
Catégories: News EN

The imam who guides Muslims in Swiss prisons

Swissinfo EN - ven, 06/23/2017 - 11:00
An imam has been counselling Muslim prisoners for nearly 25 years in several Swiss prisons, long before Islamic terror and radicalisation became widespread issues. Today, they are frequent topics of conversation in his sessions with inmates. One of the prisons where he works is located in the centre of the Swiss capital city Bern and can accommodate 126 inmates. It is currently at capacity. Most prisoners are awaiting trial, serving a sentence or in detention pending deportation. The women are on the first floor, the men are on the second through fifth floors. Those who stand accused of having committed terrorist offences are also regularly imprisoned here. Four out of five prisoners are foreigners, and almost a third are Muslim. For the most part, they are able to practice their faith in prison. “In general we respect the prayer times,” says Monika Kummer, the prison director, who greets visitors and inmates alike with a kind word or smile. “But in urgent situations, for ...
Catégories: News EN

Ramjack to implement comprehensive wireless monitoring system at Saudi Arabian copper mine

News Machinery - ven, 06/23/2017 - 03:36

Ramjack has been chosen to implement an automated wireless monitoring system at the Jabal Sayid copper mine in Saudi Arabia. -   - The system will monitor the paste backfill process within the stopes of the mine and will include geotechnical monitoring instruments from Mine Design Technologies (MDT) and vibrating wire instruments from RST Instruments, connected to a wireless MineHop communication system supplied by Newtrax. -   - The comprehensive wireless monitoring system will allow en...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=210222

Catégories: News EN

Re-visiting a refugee centre

Swissinfo EN - jeu, 06/22/2017 - 17:00
Tama Vakeesan was born in Switzerland – to Tamil parents from Sri Lanka. The family fled war-torn Colombo, and started life in Switzerland at the Roggwil refugee centre in Oberaargau, canton Bern. Tama and her older brother, Yathu, visit a similar centre for asylum-seekers, also in Oberaargau, and relive their own childhood. (SRF Kulturplatz/swissinfo.ch)
Catégories: News EN

‘I can’t afford to come back home for holidays’

Swissinfo EN - jeu, 06/22/2017 - 15:20
Due to high prices and a strong franc, some Swiss abroad say they can no longer afford to come home to visit on holidays. A clear theme emerged from comments following a recent article by swissinfo.ch. The piece, which examined the reasons for Switzerland’s current difficulties in attracting tourists, provoked a barrage of commentary on Facebook. Sky-high prices were the main reason tourists gave for shunning the country: even Swiss expats complained of not being able to visit their homeland. Here we present a selection. Regretful expats J.H.: “As a Swiss woman living abroad, I could never come on holiday to my home country if my father wasn’t still living there. When he’s gone, I think that the other members of the family won’t be able to host us, financially. I find it a shame, because I am constantly losing ties with Switzerland, just like my children are, too.” H.U.: “Switzerland is simply too expensive. It makes me crazy to see the prices. I can no longer holiday in ...
Catégories: News EN

Jordan Valve Releases Animated Video on their Mark 80 Self Operated Temperature Regulator

News Machinery - jeu, 06/22/2017 - 15:00

Jordan Valve, a division of Richards Industries, has released an animated video highlighting the operation and benefits of one of their self operated temperature regulators -  The Mark 80 Series. The Mark 80 Series provides accurate temperature control whether your manufacturing requirements include tank heating, steam tracing, heat exchangers, air drying, or regulated cooling. Harry Woebkenberg, Richards' Vice President of Marketing said: “The Mark 80 Temperature Regulator is the most r...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=207859

Catégories: News EN

Building peace with rock bands, orchestras, and theatre

Swissinfo EN - jeu, 06/22/2017 - 11:00
Could art and culture be the future tools of diplomats and peacebuilders? A Swiss woman’s initiative is helping to make it happen, step by step. People have long turned to stories, painting, music and theatre as a way of coping with hardship and fear. But when it comes to conflict mediation, art is often held at arm’s length, seen as a cultural asset not to be confused with the “real work” that goes on behind closed doors. Lea Suter founded the PeacePrints initiative to show that art can play more of a role in the areas of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Suter, who comes from Switzerland, wants to show that cultural activities are not merely “decorations” for mediation processes but can be “active tools and agents of peace processes themselves”. Sitting outside the Palais des Nations where she is currently working on a mandate for the United Nations, Suter recalls a recent trip to Kosovo where she visited the School of Rock in the city of Mitrovica. There, young people ...
Catégories: News EN

How long do foreigners stay in Switzerland?

Swissinfo EN - mer, 06/21/2017 - 17:00
Switzerland has one of the highest proportions of foreign residents in the world. Around 40% of them were born in Switzerland or have lived in the country for over 20 years.  One-third of Swiss residents are of foreign origin. This figure includes people who immigrated to Switzerland, or whose parents moved here.  A closer look at permanent residents’ nationalities shows that around one quarter of the population is non-Swiss. This is one of the highest proportions in the world. More than a third of these foreign residents were born in Switzerland or have lived here for more than two decades. The graphic below breaks down the length of residence in Switzerland by nationality. Over 60% of foreign residents from Italy, Turkey and the former Yugoslav states of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo were born in Switzerland or moved here over 20 years ago.   Meanwhile, Germans, French, English and Polish residents stay in Switzerland for much shorter ...
Catégories: News EN

Switzerland an island for roaming costs

Swissinfo EN - mer, 06/21/2017 - 15:56
Travelling Europeans planning to use their mobile phones in Switzerland might want to reconsider – and start using a hashtag like #DontCallMeInSwitzerland – starting on Thursday. That is because roaming charges for mobile phone users in the European Union, and soon afterwards for Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, the three other countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), will be able to “roam like at home” under new EU rules for data services, voice calls and SMS. Left out of the deal is non-EU, non-EEA Switzerland, resulting in roaming charges for Swiss mobile phone users and Europeans travellers alike. Here’s a quick glance at what the community of those with Swiss interests need to know: How we got here Many Europeans used to switch off their mobile phones while travelling. More than a decade ago, the European Commission began working to reduce the consumer price of roaming. In 2013, it proposed the legislation to end roaming charges which takes effect on Thursday.  ...
Catégories: News EN

Making money from yodelling

Swissinfo EN - mer, 06/21/2017 - 12:01
While some people find yodelling a cacophony of clichés and others consider it a living art form, it is a welcome business opportunity for the people of canton Valais, where the National Yodelling Festival will be held this year. (SRF, swissinfo.ch) The National Yodelling Festival is organised by the Swiss Yodelling Association and takes place every three years in a different location in Switzerland. It is the climax of a series of local yodelling festivals. The Swiss Yodelling Association was founded in 1910 in Bern. Among its activities are training, courses, publications and organising national competitions for yodelling, alphorn playing and flag throwing – all Swiss customs that will feature at this year’s event. The first official National Yodelling Festival was held in Basel in 1924. This year will see the 30th edition held in Brig from June 22-25. Up to 15,000 yodellers, flag throwers and alphorn blowers will be cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd of an expected 150,000 ...
Catégories: News EN

Is Swiss healthcare working?

Swissinfo EN - mer, 06/21/2017 - 11:00
The Swiss healthcare system is reputed to be one of the best in the world. But in an era where health care is a subject of debate in many countries, we ask if the Swiss system is working for those on moderate to low incomes, as well as for the rich. The Euro health consumer index 2016 ranks Switzerland second out of 35 countries after The Netherlands in terms of overall indicators. It describes the system as “excellent, although expensive”. But health insurance premiums, paid to private companies, are now the second most common cause of indebtedness in Switzerland after tax, and these premiums have been rising every year. “When I lost one of my part-time jobs, my health insurance premium suddenly accounted for 20% of my small salary and I was in financial trouble,” says François (not his real name), a 44-year-old single Swiss man with a university education, currently living in Lausanne.  “Our system built on solidarity has become perverted. It is no longer for the users but for ...
Catégories: News EN

The ‘slightly different’ Alpine festival

Swissinfo EN - mar, 06/20/2017 - 16:51
Aymann, a Syrian refugee, deftly flips his opponent into the sawdust. But the opponent just manages to turn and land on his stomach rather than his back, which would have meant losing. Urged on by the audience, Aymann tries to turn him over but can’t. Both begin to laugh. They stand up and try again.  Swiss wrestling, known as Schwingen, is one of the many customs that the church charity HEKS wants to introduce to refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea or Sri Lanka who live in Switzerland.  Swiss traditions are explained and passed by professionals and well-known figures, for example champion wrestlers, alphorn players and yodellers.  The highlight of this campaign took place on June 17, National Refugee Day in Switzerland: an old-school Alpine festival outside Bern train station. People yodelled, threw flags, played traditional card game Jass and blew alphorns.  The 700 or so visitors celebrated not only old Swiss traditions, but also intercultural dialogue and solidarity. 
Catégories: News EN

The ‘slightly different’ Alpine festival

Swissinfo EN - mar, 06/20/2017 - 16:51
Aymann, a Syrian refugee, deftly flips his opponent into the sawdust. But the opponent just manages to turn and land on his stomach rather than his back, which would have meant losing. Urged on by the audience, Aymann tries to turn him over but can’t. Both begin to laugh. They stand up and try again.  Swiss wrestling, known as Schwingen, is one of the many customs that the church charity HEKS wants to introduce to refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea or Sri Lanka who live in Switzerland.  Swiss traditions are explained and passed by professionals and well-known figures, for example champion wrestlers, alphorn players and yodellers.  The highlight of this campaign took place on June 17, National Refugee Day in Switzerland: an old-school Alpine festival outside Bern train station. People yodelled, threw flags, played traditional card game Jass and blew alphorns.  The 700 or so visitors celebrated not only old Swiss traditions, but also intercultural dialogue and solidarity. 
Catégories: News EN