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Social status plays ‘no role’ in career choice

Swissinfo EN - il y a 12 heures 15 min
Swiss vocational training has a good reputation internationally, but fears have been raised that it is losing ground at home. But this only really applies to migrants, a study finds. At the recent International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training in Winterthur, participants praised the Swiss dual VET system, that combines education with an apprenticeship at a host company. Currently at least two thirds of Swiss school leavers go down this route. So why is there talk of a decline in its status? “I think that has a lot to do with developments in the economy, so in part with the trend towards upskilling because the labour market increasingly demands a post-secondary education” said Thomas Bolli from the KOF Swiss Economic Institute, part of the Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich. People may have the impression that apprenticeships are not a good enough basis for boosting their skills and education, Bolli said. There has been, for example, much ...
Catégories: News EN

The making of International Geneva

Swissinfo EN - lun, 07/16/2018 - 12:00
2019 will mark 100 years since the creation of the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations. With United States President Donald Trump attacking the UN system, it is more timely than ever to rally behind International Geneva, the seat of the League from 1919, write historian Sandrine Kott and Geneva politician Grégoire Carasso.  At the end of the highly destructive First World War, US President Woodrow Wilson recommended the creation of a "general association of nations" to protect world peace. In February 1919, the Treaty of Versailles laid the foundation for the League of Nations, the precursor to the UN, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) (simultaneously created in response to the labour movement). The two new organisations had their first meetings in Geneva in 1920, helping elevate the small Swiss town to an international city. Swiss writer Robert de Traz later mythologized this international status as a natural fulfilment of "the spirit of Geneva", ...
Catégories: News EN

Can the City of Peace resolve trade wars?

Swissinfo EN - lun, 07/16/2018 - 11:00
In the grand corridors of the World Trade Organisation, there is a new sense of urgency.  As Donald Trump ramps up trade tariffs, WTO headquarters, originally designed by Swiss architect George Epitaux in 1923 to house the new League of Nations International Labour Office, are coping with an unprecedented number of dispute cases.  “It’s fair to say our mettle is being tested,” says the WTO’s Director of Information, Keith Rockwell.  It’s all rather different from 2008, the last time I reported extensively on the World Trade Organisation. Then, trade ministers from around the world had gathered, they hoped, to put the final touches on an ambitious new deal which would lower trade barriers around the world and help developing countries access global markets.  That optimism was short lived: after nine days of fractious meetings, hours and hours of stalled talks followed by late night last minute developments, the deal known as Doha looked dead.  It was partially revived in Bali ...
Catégories: News EN

New Swiss stock exchange (gingerly) mulls cryptocurrencies

Swissinfo EN - dim, 07/15/2018 - 13:26
A Swiss digital stock exchange, designed to trade tokenised assets from next year, is playing coy on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offering (ICO) tokens that do not qualify as securities. The established financial industry is wary of the new asset class, but SIX Group is not ruling it out. SIX Group, which runs Switzerland’s stock exchanges, announced a week ago that it would launch its digital trading platform by mid-2019. But will the bridge between traditional and digital financial services eventually allow for the conversion of bitcoin to francs?  swissinfo.ch asked SIX Group spokesman Stephan Meier for some more details. swissinfo.ch: Will the SIX Digital Exchange allow the trading of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin? Stephan Meier: With the new service we will provide a safe environment for issuing and trading digital assets, and enable the tokenisation of existing securities and non-bankable assets to make previously untradeable assets tradeable.  Currently we ...
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Lover, leader, prisoner and carer: The multiple lives of Ma Anand Sheela

Swissinfo EN - dim, 07/15/2018 - 12:00
Once leader of the almost 5,000-strong Rajneesh spiritual commune in Oregon, Sheela Biernstiel now runs homes for the disabled in Switzerland. A flashback to the time swissinfo.ch met her. 
Catégories: News EN

Drones, bears, and summer camps

Swissinfo EN - dim, 07/15/2018 - 12:00
Here are the stories we'll be following the week of July 16, 2018: Tuesday When you weigh up a university degree as opposed to an apprenticeship course, do you see one as having a higher status than the other? We look at a new study which shows how shifting public perceptions of the value of apprenticeships don't necessarily reflect the reality. Wednesday Follow the 1,400 kilometre journey of Napa the bear, as it travels across Europe from Serbia to Switzerland to become the first resident of the Arosa Bear conservation centre (Arosa Bärenland) in the eastern canton of Graubünden. Thursday How many different types of drones are there? How do they work? How much do they cost, and where am I allowed to fly one in Switzerland? Drones are everywhere these days, and on Thursday we will answer some of the most common questions – sent by our readers – about drone technology. Friday When it comes to sending your kids to summer camp abroad, Switzerland – with its nature ...
Catégories: News EN

American by birth, Swiss by imprint

Swissinfo EN - dim, 07/15/2018 - 11:00
A dog sits on a wooden sleigh bed, chewing on a rabbit bone. The bed seems outsized in Claudia Bucher's small cottage. But it’s understandable why she keeps it. It’s one of the few possessions she has from her eccentric Swiss father.  The bed has travelled from Florida swamplands to the lawn of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles to its current resting place in an adobe home near Joshua Tree in California.  “It’s a family heirloom,” Claudia says. “For a while this was the guest bed, and we had all these illustrious characters like William Burroughs sleeping on it. And for a while it was my bed and I’d have to give it up so a visiting artist could sleep on it.” An art history professor by day, Claudia’s father François Bucher had a vision of building an artist and writers’ colony in Florida. He started by buying up plots of swampland near Tallahassee.  “I would go out in the pick-up truck with him. The first order of business was putting in some roads. We’d go traipsing through ...
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New plagues: ticks, cocaine and drones

Swissinfo EN - sam, 07/14/2018 - 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 150 Some 150 people in Switzerland have been infected with tick-borne encephalitis since the start of the year – a significant increase compared with previous years.  Tuesday 18 According to a survey by the expat network, Internations, 18% of Swiss who move abroad are classified as "optimisers". Read what defines "optimisers" and how they differ from "explorers", "go-getters" and "romantics".   Wednesday 15 The organisers of Switzerland's most prestigious film festival, Locarno, presented this year's line-up, announcing 15 films will compete for a Golden Leopard award this year. A few star directors will be present, notably Spike Lee.  Thursday 5 That's the number of tons of cocaine that circulate in Switzerland every year. Researchers estimate that about ...
Catégories: News EN

World Cup winners and losers – off the pitch

Swissinfo EN - sam, 07/14/2018 - 15:00
As the 2018 football World Cup in Russia comes to its dramatic end, it’s clear that winners and losers exist off the pitch as well as on it. Swiss photographer Kostas Maros met some of them in Basel. Winners Michael Heim, Felix Labhart and Lukas Holm from beer bar BrauBudeBasel toast a successful month, having shown Switzerland’s games in their bar and sold more beer to thirsty fans. Winners Tizian Aellig and Nora Gysin from vegetarian burger bar “Vegiman” say they are fascinated by how sports fans behave. During the World Cup they could not only study this behaviour but also sell loads of beer and burgers. Loser Markus Keller is a German-Portuguese dual national. Enough said. After both his teams crashed out early, he says he felt a double loser. Winners  The Nomatark team aimed to make people aware of the energy revolution by showing the World Cup matches on their solar-powered mobile cinema. They say that, thanks to their Solar World Cup Tour, ...
Catégories: News EN

Recruiting voters to be part of the campaign

Swissinfo EN - sam, 07/14/2018 - 11:00
Traditional politics has relied on influencing public opinion largely through the press. The new politics is all about mobilising crowds.  Does this mean the end of political discourse as we know it? Hardly. But campaigning for Switzerland’s next parliamentary elections is going to be different from what we have ever seen before. A press release from Zurich University recently created a stir: “Disappearing media are a threat to democracy,” it was headed. It quoted a political science study which claimed to show that turnout for local votes depends directly on the (dwindling) local media. This claim revealed a significant assumption. Our current understanding of political campaigning is based on the idea that information provided through the press is what citizens need to form their opinion. Claude Longchamp is a senior political expert and one of Switzerland's most experienced and highly-regarded political scientists and analysts. He founded the polling and research institute ...
Catégories: News EN

Radioactive Dust Causes Health and Safety Concerns at Former Nuclear Weapons Worksite

News Machinery - ven, 07/13/2018 - 14:59

The  Los Angeles Times  recently published an in-depth report about radioactive dust that workers were exposed to at a former nuclear weapons plant that was being demolished in Washington. The project came to a halt late last year, but not before contamination concerns went on for close to a year. According to the article, “The releases at the Department of Energy cleanup site spewed unknown amounts of plutonium dust into the environment, coated private automobiles with the toxic heavy met...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=226497

Catégories: News EN

GEA supplies largest buttermaking machine in India

News Machinery - ven, 07/13/2018 - 12:20

GEA recently sold its first buttermaking machine type BUE to an Indian dairy producer. Creamy Foods Limited, located in the state Uttar-Pradesh, placed an order for a GEA BUE 6000, which has a capacity of up to 6000kg/h butter, making it the largest buttermaking machine in India. The new machine will be brought into operation in February of 2019. Creamy Foods Limited is one of the largest global producers of ghee — the Indian equivalent to clarified butter in Europe and the primary cookin...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=226488

Catégories: News EN

Christoph Blocher: ‘The Swiss have to stay out of the EU’

Swissinfo EN - ven, 07/13/2018 - 09:50
Christoph Blocher’s hilltop home above Lake Zurich is the best known private residence in Switzerland. The modern, cream-coloured mansion, with manicured lawns and a glimmering 21-metre outdoor pool, features in campaign videos for his ultra-conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP), the most popular political movement in the country. Blocher is shown cutting the grass with scissors and belly-flopping into the pool. The comic clips, viewed more than 1m times on YouTube, attempt to soften the image of a hardline political party that backs tough restrictions on foreigners living in Switzerland and for Swiss independence from the EU. Wearing the same style of straw hat as in the clips, Blocher is in a humorous mood as he greets me on the driveway. A sprightly 77 years old, he apologises for his poor English but proudly notes “an Englishman’s home is his castle” as he surveys his property, built in terraces on the hillside. His cheery politeness and the house’s dreamy setting, with ...
Catégories: News EN

"Even deaf people are into music"

Swissinfo EN - jeu, 07/12/2018 - 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.  Fabienne is 33 and was born deaf, but that doesn't stop her from loving techno music. Unlike people who can hear the beat, she feels the rhythm through her body. But the similarities between the deaf and those who can hear don't end there. Just as there are different spoken dialects throughout Switzerland, there are also regional dialects in sign language.  On the negative side, she says,"Many people think you must be stupid if you can't talk, which is not the case. It makes people feel uncomfortable talking to a deaf person". She makes an appeal for more openness in society towards those who can't hear.   
Catégories: News EN

Combating the spread of wartime rape

Swissinfo EN - jeu, 07/12/2018 - 11:00
The Swiss non-governmental organisation Trial International, supported by Swiss diplomatic efforts, is campaigning to put an end to rape as a weapon of war, and the impunity which protects the perpetrators. “Today there is not a single conflict in the world where rape is not used. As a weapon of war it is extremely effective, with multiple repercussions which affect the victims, their families and their communities. And it is used all the more because impunity is the rule for the perpetrators of these atrocities.“ This is the summing-up of the situation from Céline Bardet, founder of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) “We are not weapons of war”.  Along with about fifty other activists, Bardet was attending a meeting organised by TRIAL International on June 18 and 19 in Geneva to mark the 15th anniversary of the Swiss NGO. Susannah Sirkin, of the NGO Physicians for Human Rights, takes a similar view: “The first thing needed is prevention. One of the things to do is to put an ...
Catégories: News EN

Family separation under US immigration law has a long history

Swissinfo EN - jeu, 07/12/2018 - 11:00
The US government’s separation of children and parents at the Mexican border has sparked disbelief around the world. But as Alexandra Dufresne explains, the separation of parents and children has been a part of US immigration law for a long time. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that between the fiscal years 2009 and 2013, possibly as many as 500,000 parents of American children were deported. Separations stemming from everyday detention and deportation are more mundane perhaps than those in recent news. But the harm these separations inflict on children is nonetheless significant.  From 2003-2005, I worked as the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Detention Attorney at Boston College Law School. My students and I, along with a colleague from a local nonprofit, were responsible for giving “Know Your Rights” presentations to the roughly 1,000 immigrants and refugees detained in four local jails. We also represented as many individuals in Immigration Court as we could, ...
Catégories: News EN

Game Changing Technology: Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan™ Engine Reduces Fuel Burn by 40 Million Gallons

News Machinery - mer, 07/11/2018 - 22:59

Pratt & Whitney customers have saved an estimated 40 million gallons of fuel worth more than $75 million USD, avoiding nearly 383,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions since the Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine entered service in early 2016.  That's equivalent to the energy use of 41,000 US homes for one year! The Pratt & Whitney GFT engine has also demonstrated its ability to reduce fuel burn by 16 percent, to reduce NOx emissions by 50 percent to the regulatory standard, and to lower...

Read the full story at https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=226416

Catégories: News EN

A new model for Swiss innovation

Swissinfo EN - mer, 07/11/2018 - 17:00
​​​​​​​ On Tuesday, the World Intellectual Property Organization named Switzerland the most innovative country for the eighth year in a row. André Kudelski, president of the newly rebranded Swiss innovation agency Innosuisse, spoke earlier this year with swissinfo.ch about how the country can avoid complacency, and why taking risks is a sure path to success. Traditional Swiss excellence in the areas of trademark filings, scientific publications and education spending, as well as emerging strengths in mobile app creation and green technologies, all helped the alpine nation claim the top spot in WIPO’s 2018 Global Innovation Index of 126 countries. + WIPO crowns Switzerland as world’s most innovative nation The report was published a little over halfway into the inaugural year of Innosuisse, which in January replaced the government’s executive Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI). Since 1996, CTI had been responsible for providing consulting services and financing to ...
Catégories: News EN

Glencore: an audacious business model in the dock

Swissinfo EN - mer, 07/11/2018 - 11:43
In a sleepy Swiss town 30km from Zurich sits one of the companies that keeps the global economy ticking, supplying the raw materials that touch every facet of modern life from mobile phones to automobiles and petroleum. Since its creation 44 years ago Glencore has become the biggest commodity trader in the world. But with that has come notoriety and this week the attentions of a US Department of Justice investigation into bribery and corruption that some believe will force the Switzerland-based group to change its business model. As well as being a major miner, it is the ultimate middleman, moving millions of tonnes of commodities across the globe, linking the suppliers of raw materials - often in developing countries - with consumers in wealthy and fast-growing ones, earning wafer-thin margins on large volumes along the way. But what sets Glencore apart from its peers is its appetite for risk, at times pushing the limits of what is allowed in the modern global economy.
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Meet a Neanderthal woman from one of Europe’s oldest cave sites

Swissinfo EN - mer, 07/11/2018 - 11:00
Some 70,000 years ago, a Neanderthal woman about 40 years old died in a small cave in western Switzerland. Or if she didn’t die there, her body was brought there, - maybe by family, maybe by a cave lion or wolf. We know of her because her upper jaw with teeth still intact was found in the cave. Now you can see the exact spot where the woman was discovered. Since early June, this cave, “La Grotte de Cotencher” – just a short drive and walk from the town of Neuchâtel – has been open to the public for guided tours. The cave is the oldest archeological site in this part of Switzerland showing human habitation. The woman’s jaw was found on a little shelf of earth the size of a dinner plate.  “We call her ‘La Dame de Cotencher”, says archeologist François-Xavier Chauvière, who has been in charge of excavations at the cave since 2016.  But the discovery of La Dame is only one dramatic archeological pinpoint along the 700-century timeline of this small cave. Here, in the layers of earth ...
Catégories: News EN