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  • Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:34:00 +0000: Tributes pour in for Swiss pop music pioneer - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Tributes have been pouring in following the death of Swiss pop star, Polo Hofer. The story and his importance for German-speaking Switzerland feature in many Swiss newspapers. The singer, who founded the first rock band (Rumpelstilz) to sing in dialect, died from lung cancer at his home in Oberhofen on lake Thun.  Rumpelstitz rocketed to the top of the charts with their song, “Kiosk”. Hofer went on to form the Schmetterband, which also scored a huge chart success with “Alperose” in 1985. In 2008, the song was voted the biggest Swiss hit of all time. Hofer had a turbulent relationship with his father, who once had him arrested to stop him performing. The singer also spent time in prison after stealing instruments from fellow musicians.  He lived life in the fast lane. Alcohol and drugs were his lifelong companions, and he campaigned for the legalisation of cannabis. He announced that he had incurable cancer in August 2016, and only appeared in public again a year later on the ...
  • Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:00:00 +0000: New Swiss school to open in Beijing - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    The Swiss School Beijing, opening next month, will be the first of its kind in China and the first new Swiss school abroad in more than three decades. “We are very excited about the start of term,” said Barbara Stäuble, president of the Association Swiss School Beijing, at the recent conference of Swiss Schools Abroad in Zurich where the buzz around the new Chinese location was palpable. The school, which will be housed in the existing Western Academy Beijing, will open on August 21 on a small scale, she explained. At first, it will offer Kindergarten as well as Primary 1 and 2 classes. The idea is to expand the school year by year, to reach 150 pupils. It will be part of network of 18 Swiss schools abroad, international schools promoting Swiss values. The Beijing location will be the first fully independent Swiss school abroad to open since 1981, since more recent openings have involved expanding existing schools. ​​​​​​​ So why now and why Beijing? The number of Swiss ...
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:00:00 +0000: Twelve things that might surprise you while visiting Switzerland - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    If you count yourself among the growing number of Americans visiting Switzerland – more than 900,000 of you are expected this year - best come prepared. During a recent trip to New England, I came to the realisation that there are indeed still many cultural differences between the US (Canada too) and Switzerland. The Swiss may patronise Starbucks, have a Netflix and Amazon account and walk around with their eyes glued to smartphone screens, but the small day-to-day things are decidedly different, as is the case in much of continental Europe. That must be what you are looking forward to, right? You may convince yourself it’s the Alpine scenery - and see it you will - but deep down, you want to return home and tell stories about the strange customs and habits of the Swiss. While you’re here, these things will take some getting used to. Coffee to stay: Cafés serve up coffee in real, non-disposable cups. Not everything is ‘to go’ in Switzerland. Cultural acclimatisation: Air ...
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:00:00 +0000: Will I ever truly be a ‘local’ in Switzerland? - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    A Basel resident from Turkey was inspired to reflect on her difficult Swiss integration process after a citizenship case involving a Turkish woman made waves in the international press. As a Turkish immigrant in Switzerland, it recently became clear to me that full integration does not necessarily lead to full citizenship and acceptance in Switzerland. A lifelong resident of the country with Turkish origins recently answered more than 100 somewhat bizarre interview questions only to be denied citizenship by her local municipality. If a Swiss-born woman with Turkish parents cannot be accepted in this country after three generations, how will I ever be?  In the city where I lived an "expat" life for five years (meaning a contract-based science job, automatically renewed one-year residence permits through the international company I worked for, automatic tax deductions, working in a multicultural environment, etc.) I established myself as an adult and a scientist and formed ...
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:00:00 +0000: Swiss startup flies a kite to produce wind power - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Switzerland's Twingtec project has designed a high-altitude solution to harvest wind power in places where normal wind turbines can’t be built. It has an ambitious goal: to revolutionise wind farming using drones.  If you have ever been up the Eiffel tower, on the Empire State Building, or just on a mountaintop, you know that the higher you go, the stronger the wind blows. It’s no secret to builders of wind turbines, who have long been building ever-higher towers and ever-longer rotor blades to improve the efficiency of their devices.  “Wind turbines have shown their usefulness, but they do have limits,” says Rolf Luchsinger of Twingtec. “They can’t get up to where the wind is strongest and most constant. For technical reasons, the height of towers can’t be extended ad infinitum. And construction of wind farms on mountains is made that much more difficult by the high costs – and by the attitude of those who consider them a blight on the landscape.”  There is a whole ...
  • Sun, 23 Jul 2017 10:00:00 +0000: Asian education and flying high to harness the wind - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Here's a selection of the stories we will be bringing you in the upcoming week. Monday   Is it possible to use drones to harness the wind at altitudes and places where normal wind turbines can’t be built? We’ll tell you about a Swiss start-up which is trying to do just that. The Twingtec project was on show at Expo 2017 in Astana.  Tuesday Swiss values and language will be two of the focal points for students attending the first Swiss School to open its doors in China. We report on the reason for the decision to expand the network of Swiss international schools to include the Chinese capital, Beijing.  Wednesday Are you planning on relocating to Switzerland? Should you buy or rent a home? What do you need to know about the property market? We’ll publish an overview of the housing situation to get you started.   Thursday We continue to follow the adventures of Tama Vakeesan, a young woman with Sri Lankan roots. She’s so far revealed why Tamil ...
  • Sun, 23 Jul 2017 09:00:00 +0000: Three climbs, two wheels, one day - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Switzerland is one of the best-kept secrets in cycling. Why? Smooth roads, giant mountain passes, exceptional landscapes, all wrapped in the history-infused heart of Europe. After a long day among the peaks, you wonder why there aren’t more riders. The destination was Andermatt: a small ski resort in central Switzerland where some of the country’s biggest mountain passes intersect. I arrived the evening before the ride, and I was nervous. My preparation had been patchy for a challenge which was not to be sniffed at – 3,000 metres of elevation gain in just over 100 km – and my fitness levels were much lower than usual for this time of year. The weather also looked ominous. Andermatt, surrounded by mountains on three sides, was shadowed by grim-looking clouds, and rain was forecast for noon the next day. I was the only person eating outside the restaurant on the main square, and the waiter – in Swiss folk-costume with warm-looking knee-socks – looked upwards and muttered as he ...
  • Sat, 22 Jul 2017 09:00:00 +0000: A Swiss in Paris - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    New York, Paris… 24-year-old Anja Glover has lived in some of the largest metropolitan cities around the world. This is no coincidence – after all, the young Swiss woman is studying urban sociology as well as working as a journalist. She especially loves the Parisian joie de vivre, which she sometimes finds lacking in Switzerland. SWI swissinfo.ch: What made you leave Switzerland? Are you planning to return some day? Anja Glover: I once read that not only plants, but also humans, need to be re-potted every now and then. After a few months in New York it was clear to me that I wanted to spend part of my life abroad. For the simple reason that here, far away from familiar surroundings, I learn something new every day and am less inclined to fall into a routine. Paris was an excellent opportunity for me. As an urban sociology student I am interested in culturally diverse cities, and I also learned French for many years. Plus, the city is just three hours from my home. But the ...
  • Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:00:00 +0000: Forging the dance talents of tomorrow - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    There is no magic formula to make it to the top in the world of dance. One thing that's for certain, is that it needs innate talent and relentless hard work. The Zurich Dance Academy trains young dancers with an all-round approach that has brought the school international acclaim. (Carlo Pisani, swissinfo.ch)  Diana Georgia Ionescu from Romania and Michele Esposito from Italy have a few things in common: they are both 17-year-olds for whom dance is their life, but they don’t have wealthy parents who can afford to support their dreams. The two teenagers were finalists in the 2017 ‘Prix de Lausanne’ dance competition. The prestigious Swiss competition was established in 1973, and is a stepping stone for many to a stage career. During the last edition at the beginning of February, out of the 67 candidates from 35 different countries who applied, 20 young talents reached the finals.   Two young dancers Among the winners was Diana, who took 7th place in the competition, earning ...
  • Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:00:00 +0000: When commuters are smelly, loud and rude - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Tama Vakeesan was born in Switzerland – to Tamil parents from Sri Lanka. This week, Tama and her friend Tony look at the downsides of commuting in Switzerland. (SRF Kulturplatz/swissinfo.ch)
  • Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:00:00 +0000: Geoblocking restricts online shoppers in Switzerland - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Swiss consumers face a major obstacle in the form of geoblocking, often resulting in limited choice and higher prices than if they lived elsewhere in Europe. But an end to the practice could be a long way off.  Online shopping is a fast-growing business with orders placed abroad by Swiss residents surging by 20% last year. Geoblocking is a common practice where retailers prevent online shoppers from buying cheaper products or services from sites outside their own country. Readers (see infobox) said cosmetics, perfumes, jewelry, TV shows, music downloads, radio shows, and online TV and film subscription services like Netflix were frequently geo-restricted.  Swissinfo.ch readers react ‘Unfair’, ‘unacceptable’ and ‘a never-ending nightmare’. These were just a few of the comments made by Swiss-based readers when asked about the geoblocking phenomenon.  “As soon as your Swiss IP is detected, the price goes right up. It’s because your point of sale is Switzerland,” wrote Gerome ...
  • Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:23:00 +0000: Frozen bodies found in glacier identified - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    A Swiss woman whose parents went missing 75 years ago is relieved that their bodies have finally been found after years of searching for them. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) The missing couple were Marcelin Dumoulin, a shoemaker, and his wife Francine, a teacher. The parents of seven children also kept cattle. They disappeared on August 15, 1942 in the Glacier 3000 region, at a height of 2,600m (8,530ft), after going to tend to their cows. Their daughter, Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, says she had never given up on finding her parents, even climbing the glacier three times to look for them. She was planning to go back there in August to mark the 75th year of their disappearance. In mid July, a man operating a ski piste machine discovered body parts buried in the ice, along with backpacks, tin bowls and a glass bottle, as well as male and female shoes. Identification was carried out by cross-matching their DNA with that of relatives.  Marceline Udry-Dumoulin says she is now planning to put her ...
  • Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:08:00 +0000: Swiss fountains: bubbling right under our noses - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    After a decade living in Switzerland, Steve Crump has got to know the country almost as well as his native US. One thing he appreciates is the quality and quantity of historic water fountains scattered throughout the country’s cities. You don’t have to spend much time in Basel, my home, or for that matter any community in Switzerland, before you notice them. In every town and every city, from Zürich to the smallest Dorf, you’ll find them. Brunnen. Water fountains.  I mentioned them recently to a Swiss friend in the context of features that I like about Switzerland and her blank look betrayed how she took them for granted. I suppose this is easy to do when living in a country so overflowing in beauty and abundance.   Not wanting her to remain unappreciative, however, I felt moved to explain why I like them so much. I started with the basics, the water itself. Simply stated, it’s perfect. Not possible to improve. Cool, fresh and free.  Next is their ubiquity. Hiking, ...
  • Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:00:00 +0000: Should anti-perspirants bear warning labels? - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    As the summer heats up, a Swiss political bid to label or ban products containing aluminium salts has again stirred up the debate over whether anti-perspirant deodorants are safe to use. Here’s why people are worried, and what the science says. In May, Lisa Mazzone of Switzerland’s Green Party asked Parliament to consider the risks associated with the use of aluminium salts in anti-perspirants, and to analyse the research on them with an eye toward adding warning labels or banning them entirely. In her argument before the House of Representatives, Mazzone said that demonstrating a clear causal link between aluminium salts and breast cancer would require long-term epidemiological research, involving a large-scale sample of women and up to 20 years of study. But she urged her fellow politicians to act now. “When in doubt, the precautionary principle must take precedence to guarantee the health and safety of the population,” Mazzone declared.  Mazzone’s call to action was ...
  • Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:00:00 +0000: Big, yes, but bad? Carnivore divides Swiss opinion - Top news - SWI swissinfo.ch
    Emotions run high whenever this elusive creature appears. As wolves make a comeback in Switzerland, they spark feelings of awe, fear, anger and fascination.  The anti-wolf camp hunted down the last wild Swiss wolf in the late 19th century. However, Canis lupis survived in other parts of Europe. In 1995, a lone grey wolf loped over from Italy. Now there are more than 30 living in the Swiss Alps. Since their return, wolves have divided opinion. But why such a fuss about so few? In comparison, many European nations – even small ones like Switzerland – have hundreds, while Russia and Canada have tens of thousands of wolves. It comes down to a debate between farmers and conservationists.  “Our ancestors killed off these predators. I don’t know why they’re coming back now,” says Hedwig Zuber, a sheep farmer in the Valaisian village of Furen. Despite using an electric fence, she and her husband have experienced two wolf attacks on their flock. Now they no longer put their 35 sheep ...
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