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  • Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:44:00 +0000: When it comes to day trippers, Lucerne tops Venice - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Around nine million tourists visit the picturesque Swiss city of Lucerne every year. It's estimated that, when it comes to the number of day trippers per inhabitant, Lucerne has more than Venice. It's great for the economy, but a nuisance for local people, disturbed by coaches and people clogging the streets. Swiss newspaper, the NZZ, found that, with 9.4 million visitors compared to 81,000 inhabitants, the city has 116 day trippers per inhabitant. In Venice, with its 260,000 inhabitants and 25 million visitors per year, the figure is 96. It's hard to compare two different places considering the small area that tourists are most likely to visit. Looking at just the centre of Venice, with its 50,000 residents, the numbers look quite different again.  Swiss Public Television, RTS, carried out a similar survey and also found that Lucerne topped the 'tourist intensity' league compared with Rome, Barcelona, Paris and Venice. However, Vatican City, with a resident population of just ...
  • Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:00:00 +0000: Teen mum: I wouldn't change it for the world - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    "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.  Nadja became pregnant at the age of 17. It was unplanned, but she decided to keep her child. It was a decision that changed the young woman's life - for the better, she says.   Nadja was already three months pregnant when she found out. For Nadja and her boyfriend, giving the baby up for adoption wasn't an option, they wanted to keep the baby. But this wasn't an easy decision for the young couple, Nadja says, as "in Switzerland there is almost no support for young mothers", adding "with child benefit of CHF220, I can barely buy enough nappies each month". Nevertheless, the 23-year-old doesn't regret her decision for a second: "My daughter is the best thing that ever happened to me. I wouldn't give her back for all the money in the world". (SRF, swissinfo.ch)
  • Thu, 20 Sep 2018 09:00:00 +0000: ‘You can’t buy coffee with bitcoin, but you can start a company’ - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Dozens of blockchain startups have got off the ground in Switzerland using cryptoassets as their startup capital, circumnavigating banks. But the strategy is not without risk. swissinfo.ch has traced 60 firms that have stumped up the new brand of digital money to either set up or inject fresh capital into their enterprise. It is a particularly attractive option for companies that raised high volumes of cryptocurrencies through initial coin offering (ICO) fundraising rounds. For some firms, using cryptoassets rather than francs to cover the founding capital requirement is the perfect antidote to banks refusing to open business accounts. SwissCrypOne is a Zug-based trading platform that connects investors with a crypto mining operation in Finland. “We spent days going around every bank in the region with a begging bowl, but were rejected by them all,” CEO Bing Voorham told swissinfo.ch. “Without the option of bitcoin, we were struggling to get established in Crypto Valley.” ...
  • Thu, 20 Sep 2018 09:00:00 +0000: Swiss springboard for Bitmain’s European crypto expansion - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    The world’s largest producer of bitcoin mining hardware, Bitmain, tells swissinfo.ch why it has chosen Switzerland as a location from which to expand its European footprint from a newly created ‘fintech hub’.  Beijing headquartered Bitmain has cornered the market in producing specialist computer cards and other equipment to create - or ‘mine’ - bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The incorporation of Bitmain Switzerland in Zug’s Crypto Valley last December therefore created a stir.  As the company seeks to expand globally, Switzerland’s central location, crypto-friendly political and regulatory sentiment and growing blockchain business cluster is the perfect springboard from which to develop the European market, explains Bernhard Müller, business development manager at Bitmain Switzerland. “We will help entrepreneurs get access to investments, so they can realise their blockchain projects,” he told swissinfo.ch. “We want to support and help grow the strong fintech ecosystem ...
  • Thu, 20 Sep 2018 08:43:00 +0000: When children forced to marry stay married - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Marriages involving minors must be annulled, according to Swiss law. However, exceptions are permitted if it seems to be in the child’s best interests. This provision must be done away with to combat forced marriages more effectively, says lawyer Anu Sivaganesan. If a 16-year-old is already married upon arrival in Switzerland, the marriage can be recognized in consideration of the teen’s interests. Article 105 (6) of the Swiss Civil Code calls for marriages with a minor spouse to be annulled, unless “the continuation of the marriage is in the best interests of that spouse”. A motion by parliamentarian Natalie Rickli of conservative right Swiss People’s Party is calling for this exception to be removed. The National Bureau for Forced Marriage welcomes this request. Its president, Anu Sivaganesan, has been pointing out a legal loophole for years. swissinfo.ch: Why should the law on married minors be revised? Anu Sivaganesan: The law provides for a balancing of interests that ...
  • Wed, 19 Sep 2018 16:14:00 +0000: Swiss art sales set a steady, humble pace - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    ​​​​​​​ Giacometti paintings led an intense night of bidding at Christie’s annual auction of Swiss art in Zurich. Netting a total CHF5,369,500, the auction house also bucked the downward trend of Swiss art sales in the last few years. The auction attracted interest from clients from 20 countries (+50% on 2017) with an increase in registered bidders of 48% over the same sale last year. The number of new registrants also doubled. Many artworks fetched values far above their highest estimates while the auction also featured more contemporary pieces (see gallery below). Hans-Peter Keller, Impressionist and Modern Art specialist at Christie’s in Zurich, told swissinfo.ch that the demand for more contemporary works is an imperative, as “sooner or later the offer of traditional pieces will diminish considerably”. The numbers prove Keller right: according to artprice.com, since 2000, the share of contemporary art in global sales jumped from 3% to 15%, while 19th century and Old Masters ...
  • Wed, 19 Sep 2018 09:00:00 +0000: Wettstein – the first Swiss diplomat had the city of Basel in mind - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    It was 370 years ago that the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) ended with the peace conference at Münster, Westphalia. Johann Rudolf Wettstein was the man of the hour for the Swiss Confederacy. Although Switzerland had largely been spared in the hostilities, there was a unique opportunity at the negotiating table to get clarity about things that Swiss are still concerned about: trade and the jurisdiction of foreign courts, power politics and the international status of the Confederacy. This was a herculean task that required a clever diplomat.  In 2018 we can commemorate two epoch-making peace treaties: the treaty of Versailles ending the First World War (1914-1918), and the treaty of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). While Versailles has gone down in history as a miscalculation with eventually disastrous results, the Peace of Westphalia is considered today as one of the most useful and long-lasting agreements in European history. swissinfo.ch asked Andreas ...
  • Wed, 19 Sep 2018 08:34:00 +0000: Six trend foods that grow in Switzerland - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Crops once exclusive to South and Central America are now flourishing in Switzerland as the demand for unusual foods and those with specific health benefits grows. Here are six examples. 1. Quinoa can give you ideas Growing quinoa in Switzerland was the 2014 brainchild of Mirjam Lüthi, a Swiss agronomist who researched the crop and found it to be compatible with the Swiss climate and its soil. Quinoa has its origins in the Andean region of South America, where it’s been grown for thousands of years. Highly nutritious and healthy, quinoa is becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland. Only a handful of farmers started planting the crop in 2015, whereas in 2017, there were 34 producers planting 40 hectares. 2. One potato, sweet potato  After the common potato and manioc, sweet potato is one of the world’s most popular root and tuber plants. The sweet potato is native to Central America and is cultivated in over 100 countries. In 2014 the sweet potato trend first came onto ...
  • Tue, 18 Sep 2018 15:00:00 +0000: Parts of US plane wreck pulled from glacier 70 years on - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Parts of a wrecked US military plane have been recovered from melting glacier ice 70 years after it made an emergency landing in the Alps.  The Swiss Air Force says it has pulled out important parts of the American Dakota C-53, which landed on the Gauli Glacier in the Bernese Oberland in 1946. But not all the parts have come to the surface. The cockpit, for example, remains under the ice.  "We found an engine block with the propeller, some parts of the wing and a lot of small pieces, bits of sheet metal, wooden parts and also some blankets," Fritz Teuscher, head of the recovery team, told a press briefing on Monday.  Up to two tonnes of recovered material is being airlifted to the valley.  “The Americans have given the plane to the government,” said Teuscher. Some parts will be put on display in an exhibition at the tourist centre in the village of Innertkirchen.  On November 19, 1946, the Dakota came off course in fog before making a safe landing high in the Bernese Alps, ...
  • Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:00:00 +0000: Why men can’t be rape victims in Switzerland - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Swiss criminal law defines rape as assault during vaginal sexual intercourse with a woman, legally exempting men from the status of victims. A proposal wants a legal reform, forcing parliament to use explicit language. “Coercing a person of the female gender to endure sexual intercourse” is the Swiss definition for the crime of rape. If a man is raped anally or a woman is penetrated with an object, this is only considered a so called “sexual assault”. In both cases, courts can hand down maximum prison sentences of up to ten years against the offender, but a minimum sentence of 12 months is only applicable in the case of rape. As for sexual assault, offenders may only face a monetary fine because it includes a series of other forms of sexual assault considered less serious. Oral sex It is a particularity of Swiss law to distinguish between anal rape of a man and vaginal rape of a woman, legally speaking. Most other countries know much broader – and gender-neutral – definitions.
  • Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:00:00 +0000: Why our cities aren’t as smart as they could be - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    We read about tech advances in energy all the time. But are low-consumption, high-efficiency ‘green’ technologies enough to create the kind of sustainable cities we’d like to live in? Passengers on bus line 23 of Geneva’s public transport operator TPG, which runs between the airport and municipality of Carouge, might not immediately notice anything out of the ordinary. Sure, the buses are remarkably clean, and so quiet all you can hear is the sound of tires on pavement. And, OK, a USB port built into one of the support bars (with the polite invitation to “charge your mobile device!”) is a bit unusual for a city bus. But what makes bus 23 truly unique happens so fast, you’ll miss it if you blink: every few stops, a mechanical arm extends from the roof of the vehicle – which is free of overhead lines – and hooks itself into an unassuming overhanging battery charging port, which could easily be mistaken for a street lamp. In the time it takes for passengers to step off and on the ...
  • Tue, 18 Sep 2018 08:47:00 +0000: Linking corporate taxation and pensions: a risky compromise - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    The Swiss Parliament has decided to link corporate tax reform (Tax Project 17) to the financing of old-age insurance. This is an unprecedented political manoeuvre that may not go down well with ordinary citizens.  The debate is closed: Parliament has completed its examination of Tax Project 17 and approved its link with the financing of the old age pensions. We look at what the fuss is all about.  What is Tax Project 17? Corporate tax reform is one of the most important issues facing the legislature today. Tax Project 17 (TP 17) is a new version of the third corporate tax reform, that was rejected by nearly 60% of voters in a referendum held on February 12, 2017. The objective of TP 17 remains the same: to comply with international requirements by eliminating special tax rebates for foreign companies, while retaining Switzerland's attractiveness as a low tax destination for all companies. FP 17 is therefore a second attempt at passing the failed tax reform measures by making ...
  • Tue, 18 Sep 2018 06:52:00 +0000: Credit Suisse/Finma: the usual suspects - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Who could ever have suspected it? Weak money-laundering defences at a Swiss bank, of all places. And in relation to Fifa and Petrobras, those beacons of moral probity. Thank heavens regulator Finma has shown how seriously Switzerland regards lapses at Credit Suisse. It has issued a press release. Enough sarcasm. European banking has a lucrative history of controls lax enough for money laundering and tax evasion to flourish. Tighter public morality is making this expensive for shareholders and bosses, as scandals at Danske and ING illustrate. Further trouble may be brewing. Finma has been probing several banks in relation to suspected corruption at Fifa, which runs world football, and to Petrobras of Brazil and Venezuela’s PDVSA. The regulator cannot levy fines. It can only demand reforms. It may be able to time announcements for best effect, however. If that applies here, Finma’s action against Credit Suisse may be the drum roll rather than the execution. Worse revelations may ...
  • Tue, 18 Sep 2018 05:42:00 +0000: Pupils must remain in education until 18 in Geneva - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Young people in Geneva now have to stay in education until they turn 18, which will see those with no post-school plans going back to school or starting an apprenticeship. The aim is to ensure that young people are not marginalised and are given an extra chance to finish their education, said Anne Emery-Torracinta, head of the Public Education department in canton Geneva. The initiative, which is unique in Switzerland, is pioneering in the fight against young people dropping out of school with no qualifications. Until now Geneva pupils could leave school at age 15. Every year 1,000 young people, of which 550 are under 18, break off their studies. They subsequently find themselves hovering close to the margins of society. Even if they have the support of their parents or can count on a series of casual jobs, they are four times more likely to find themselves long-term unemployed than their more qualified peers, experts say. Bottom of class Canton Geneva’s problem is a ...
  • Mon, 17 Sep 2018 15:00:00 +0000: Nestlé: battle for the millennial coffee drinker - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    A reader asked us what Nestlé’s purchase of a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee in 2017 means for the California company’s local employees. After a busy month for coffee drinkers with Coca-Cola’s purchase of Costa Coffee, Starbucks’ first store in Italy, and comments by a Nestlé executive about the potential for Blue Bottle to work Europe, the future of the local, independent coffee shop is more uncertain than ever. The quaint, local coffee shop has been a fierce battleground of globalization for decades. The disappearance of the beloved independent coffee shop pushed out by big coffee chains became a symbol of what was wrong with capitalism and free markets. Today there is a new sort of coffee battle underway. Instead of pushing out local coffee shops, the behemoths are discreetly swallowing up smaller brands that have won fans among young, hip coffee drinkers in local urban markets. Case in point is Nestlé, which in 2017 bought Blue Bottle Coffee – a coffee roaster and ...

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