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  • Fri, 26 May 2017 10:28:00 +0000: What the Swiss think of Switzerland when they're far from home - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Thanks to the tag #WeAreSwissAbroad, Swiss expats have been telling their stories of living far from home on Instagram. Here's a compilation of some of the best quotes from interviews published on swissinfo.ch. More than 750,000 Swiss live outside of Switzerland. Thanks to Instagram, we've tracked down expats in the Netherlands, Philippines, United States, Thailand, France, the United Kingdom, China, Italy and Austria.  Selina Thomas, Manila / Philippines "It’s incredible just how well organised Switzerland is. And how clean it is. You can take it for granted that everything is just going to work. Living here makes you appreciate just how important it is to keep infrastructure well maintained and to adapt it as necessary. If you don’t do that, the system is doomed to fail. Switzerland is an amazing country! Unfortunately, however, most people are under immense pressure to perform, which of course doesn’t make them all that pleasant to live with. There’s a real “me first” ...
  • Fri, 26 May 2017 09:00:00 +0000: In Switzerland, citizens have the last word on money matters - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    If citizens in the Swiss town of Aarau think that their politicians plan to waste too much money, they can interfere using a special veto power. Although it is rarely used, the measure’s effects manifest themselves in other ways. This article is part of #DearDemocracy, a platform on direct democracy issues from swissinfo.ch.  “Participatory budgeting” – where everyone can have a say on how public money is used – has become all the rage recently. Citizens of cities like Madrid and Paris have already had several chances to decide how multimillion-Euro budgets are spent. But Switzerland is the only country where the method is regularly used, according to the Italian research group Politis. For the Swiss, participatory budgeting has deep roots in the political landscape. Most cantons and communes hold optional or even required referendums on financial matters.  Control over the town’s finances In Aarau, a town between Bern and Zurich prized for its ...
  • Thu, 25 May 2017 15:00:00 +0000: A home for elderly drug addicts - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    What is life like for heroin addicts when they enter old age? One Swiss nursing home provides special care for them. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) Images of heroin junkies in Zurich when the city had an open drugs scene in the early 1990s went around the world. At the time, up to 3,000 addicts shot up on Platzspitz square every day, in abysmal hygenic conditions.  In 1992 the Zurich authorities finally closed it down. Shortly afterwards Bern followed suit and put an end to the capital city's scene. It was a sign that the authorities no longer tolerated the open drugs culture. Thanks to the introduction of medically controlled heroin distribution many junkies from that period have survived and are now entering old age. The nursing home Solina in Spiez is one of few places in Switzerland offering care to seniors with addiction.
  • Thu, 25 May 2017 09:00:00 +0000: Squeezing laundered money out of Swiss property - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Swiss real estate is currently an attractive option for foreigners looking for high yielding Swiss franc investments. But there are also more sinister reasons for wealthy people from abroad to put their money into Swiss bricks and mortar – money laundering. “Some criminals see Zug as a fashionable address to park their assets. Owning property there is a kind of status symbol,” says Susanne Grau, former economic crimes investigator with Zug police and now an independent consultant in the well-heeled, cosmopolitan city. Grau was speaking at a recent forum organised by anti-corruption NGO Transparency International in Bern. This is not the first time that Swiss real estate has been linked to money laundering and organised crime. In recent years the government, the financial regulator and the state prosecutor have all flagged up Switzerland’s continued vulnerabilities to money laundering and terrorist financing. However, anti-money laundering efforts have concentrated ...
  • Wed, 24 May 2017 12:18:00 +0000: Roger Moore: at home in Switzerland - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Roger Moore, who passed away this week in Switzerland, had a close relationship with the country. Like his James Bond character, Moore enjoyed skiing, as well as Nordic walking and the gastronomy on offer in the Swiss Alps. (SRF, swissinfo.ch) But as he told Swiss public television (TSR) in a 2007 interview, it was his children who first pressured him to move here in 1978, after they had learned to ski. “Being a weak father,” he said, and having been “waiting for an excuse to leave England” – he agreed. The family first moved to Gstaad, where they lived for some years before relocating to Crans-Montana. Moore, who could speak French, was a fan of mountain life, and showed his skiing abilities on screen in the 1985 Bond movie A View to a Kill, also shot on location in Switzerland. Moore’s only gripe with the country? That despite his appearance in an advertisement for Swiss Federal Railways, he still wasn’t given a half-price discount for traveling on Swiss trains. 
  • Wed, 24 May 2017 11:43:00 +0000: Welcome to Biel, ephemeral capital of Swiss photography - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    The city of Biel, known for being a center of the global watch industry, also is a cultural crossroads of national importance. For nearly a month every year, the largest bilingual city in the country welcomes a festival dedicated entirely to photography. The Biel Festival of Photography, which runs from May 5th to 28th, is an opportunity to discover the heritage of this often unknown Swiss city – while also enjoying a bit of physical exercise. The 28 exhibitions presented at the 21st edition of the festival, three-quarters of which are exclusively Swiss or worldwide, are distributed in eight separate venues.  Among them are three unusual locations: the Farel House, a witness to the architecture of the late 1950s; a former abandoned industrial building; and the Working Station, a private gallery space. This years's festival focuses on the notion of what is extreme. The themes dealt with are multiple: the flow of images, the omnipresence of technology, and the excesses of a global ...
  • Wed, 24 May 2017 09:00:00 +0000: Swiss keep up the patent pace - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Switzerland is the champion of the patent world, filing the most patent applications per head to the European Patent Office in 2016. But is the Swiss inventive spirit really unparalleled? A machine for sorting gravel, a barometer that works by atmospheric humidity and a special electric writing machine: these are just a few of the patents that were filed in Switzerland over a hundred years ago and very probably reviewed by a certain Albert Einstein. The famous German physicist worked at the Swiss Federal Office of Intellectual Property in Bern from 1902 to 1909, a place he spoke of as a worldly cloister where he hatched his most beautiful ideas. At that time, Switzerland had just brought an end to a trade war with Germany, which was accusing the Swiss chemical and pharmaceutical industry of copying its products. “Before the Swiss Federal Act on Patents came into force in 1888, Switzerland had been a country known for its forgeries,” says Louis Lagler, president of ...
  • Tue, 23 May 2017 12:50:00 +0000: Swiss canton pushes for mandatory voting - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Driven by concerns over low turnout, a Swiss political party has proposed mandatory voting in canton Jura. The northwestern region could one day follow the example of Schaffhausen, the only one of Switzerland’s 26 cantons that penalises non-voters. The Jura cantonal parliament is set to discuss the issue later this year and the government must then present a bill.  Ultimately, voters in the sparsely populated region bordering France must have the final say on the potential change to the cantonal constitution. The Independent Christian Social Democrats - the fourth-largest party in the 50-member Jura parliament - brought forward the idea of compulsory voting. “Democracy is weakened and loses its purpose if citizens stay away from politics,” parliamentarian Philippe Eggertswyler says in his motion on behalf of his party. “The right to vote had to be won with hard work over centuries, and people in many countries are still fighting for it." He says there is a ...
  • Tue, 23 May 2017 09:00:00 +0000: From mere mortal to climbing superstar - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
  • Mon, 22 May 2017 09:57:00 +0000: Five takeaways from Sunday’s Swiss energy vote - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    On May 21, Swiss voters endorsed a new energy law that aims to promote renewable energy, ban new nuclear power plants and ensure lower energy consumption. Sunday’s vote revealed five interesting lessons. 1. Doris Leuthard is having the time of her life Energy Minister and Swiss President Doris Leuthard could pretty much sell anything right now. When spotted at Bern train station on a recent Friday evening among tired-looking commuters, she stood out from the crowd not because of her notoriety but because she simply seemed the happiest. Sunday’s vote in favour of the Energy Strategy 2050 is her victory. Cabinet ministers have expertise in the specific issues they cover, but only Leuthard ever really seems positive and upbeat about her topic. That detail made the difference in the vote, the outcome of which was uncertain. Polls show that two-thirds of Swiss citizens trust Doris Leuthard, and almost as many voted for the new energy law (58%). 2. The ...
  • Mon, 22 May 2017 09:00:00 +0000: 'Nothing is more precious than love' - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    The new priest appeared before his congregation for the first time on 1 January 1519. The faithful sat shoulder to shoulder on the benches of Zurich's Grossmünster, for Huldrych Zwingli's reputation had preceded him: he was said to be a gifted preacher, if highly individual. Though there is no documentary evidence for this, we can assume that Anna Reinhart was among those listening to his sermon. She lived very close to the church. Daughter of the innkeeper of the "Rössli", Anna was said in her youth to be "an extremely lovely creature". And that probably explains why Hans Meyer von Knonau, scion of a leading family, fell hopelessly in love with her and wanted to marry her. His father was furious. He threatened to disinherit him and finally sent him to Constance. It didn't work: no sooner had Hans returned than he married Anna behind his father's back. "The Reinhart girl loved her husband, and he loved her too," wrote a surprised contemporary chronicler: marrying for ...
  • Mon, 22 May 2017 06:59:00 +0000: Particle physicist shuns hyperactive investments - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Cern practises cutting-edge science but its pension fund is surprisingly risk averse. The prestigious nuclear research centre near Geneva, is best known for blasting atoms around its Large Hadron Collider, a 27-kilometre tunnel that forms the world’s largest machine.  The organisation, founded in 1954 and straddling the border between Switzerland and France, declares boldly on its website: “What is the universe made of? How did it start? Physicists at Cern are seeking answers, using some of the world’s most powerful particle accelerators.”  Against this backdrop of cutting-edge science, it seems counterintuitive that the woman charged with ensuring a comfortable retirement for Cern’s community of 3,600 scientists, researchers and support staff is extremely risk averse.  Elena Manola-Bonthond, chief investment officer of Cern’s $4 billion (CHF4 billion) pension scheme, says: “I don’t like hyperactivity in investment management, or rushing into making decisions.
  • Sun, 21 May 2017 15:08:00 +0000: Swiss give green light for renewables and nuclear phase out - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Voters have endorsed a new energy law that aims to promote renewable energy, ban new nuclear power plants and lower energy consumption. Final results show just over 58% of voters on Sunday coming out in favour of the Energy Strategy programme. Supporters said the result is a "historic step for Switzerland", while opponents have warned of a shortage of energy supplies in winter. The places closest to the country's five nuclear reactors, where residents would arguably have the most to lose with their shutdown, rejected the reform with clear majorities. According to Claude Longchamp of the leading GfS Bern research institute, voters put their faith in the arguments of Energy Minister Doris Leuthard and the government over those of the opponents. "After six years of debate in parliament and at committee level, a new chapter in Switzerland's energy policy can begin," said Leuthard at a news conference. "But there is still a lot of work to do." She said ...
  • Sat, 20 May 2017 09:00:00 +0000: Vanessa, Rihanna and Hedi - first, second, third! - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Michael Rüegsegger, an auctioneer, gazes into his computer screen. The compressors of the high-pressure cleaners puff up, a group of brown cattle stands wet in the spray mist, while another truck drives forward and the last group of cattle prepares to unload. "I'm Michael," he says, briefly. "Today will be a long day!" The Juchhof farm, part of the city of Zurich's leased farm estates, plans to grow all of its produce organically in the future and stop raising animals as of 2018.  More than 60 dairy cows and the same number of cattle will be taken out of production together with five employees. The animal caretakers can continue to work at other city farms, but the animals are to be auctioned. The auction takes place at the Vianco Arena in Brunegg. It is unusual that so many animals from the same farm come under the hammer on the same day. Buyers from all over Switzerland are expected to attend. The whole day is in anticipation of the evening's big event. Several additional ...
  • Fri, 19 May 2017 13:19:00 +0000: Bird's-eye view - as precise as never before - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    New aerial images record details of Switzerland with an accuracy of 10cm - thanks to the latest technology deployed by the Federal Office of Topography. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) The federal office has come a long way since the days - more than a century ago - when the first topographical surveys of Switzerland were made by mounting cameras on pigeons. Since aircraft have been used, the quality of images has continued to improve with every technological advance. The latest camera the topography office has installed in its airplane can record details with an accuracy of 10cm. It will photograph all of western Switzerland in the coming months, with the results expected to be online by the end of the year. 
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